Saturday 13 April 2013

Harry Styles or Harry's Styles? .....

No, this website has not suddenly gone all 'One Direction'. This is a short post about an interesting contemporary cultural reference to Len Deighton's 'Harry Palmer' character (the unnamed spy in his first five books).

Shortlist magazine - the free sheet in London and other major cities which looks at style, consumer goods, entertainment and music - last week rand an interesting feature on the influence of 'mod' culture on the UK, forty years after its hey-day in the late sixties. Cue obvious reference to the 'Modfather' Paul Weller, parkas, Vespas and Mary Quant.

Tucked away on the third page is a reference to 'Harry's style' - Michael Caine's characterisation of Len's spy character is regarded as an icon of Mod-style. Take a look at the article below:

Spot the spelling mistake.


  1. Ha, "Etonion". Was Harry's boss an Etonian in the movies? I don't recall whether Dalby's school was ever mentioned, but Dawlish is described at one point as a Harrow man.

  2. I think it's just a shorthand for "posh", the journalist I suspect wouldn't know the difference between Eton, Westminster or Harrow.

  3. "Michael Caine's characterisation of Len's spy character is regarded as an icon of Mod-style"
    This is reading too much into the image, and repeating what the description says. Then ( and now) he was (is) a cockney, but Bond and Bond with glasses? Oh, NO! He was anything but. His glasses-not unique as thick frames were not unusual those days, and the rain coat- usual sort of thing.

  4. Simon, I don't disagree - the article clearly is written by a journalist who's looking for 20 quick ideas to throw together.

  5. @Rob. I agree with your comment about the journalist. The beauty of the character, Harry Palmer was, he was so un-Bond like and a commoner, which must have attracted Harry Saltzman (it certainly attracted me and and countless others, and the novel became a best seller very soon)as he wanted a nice diversion from the action-packed first three Bond films, and wanted to produce a film where the main character can act rather than thump some one or shoot some one from the word go- Saltzman must have liked the subtlety and twists in the narrative. That showed Saltzman was not an one dimensional producer like Broccoli. Look what happened to the quality of Bond films when he was no longer associated with the Bond franchise.

    As for the thick frame, I agree it went well with the rain coat, and Harry Palmer became an instant hit. I could see a few of my friends who liked thin metal frames, going for the black thick plastic frames and they provided a good support for the glass lens which were thick those days, as plastic lens were just coming in the States, and were expensive.