Tuesday 21 January 2014

Fourth question & answer interview with Len Deighton – exclusive to the Deighton Dossier

The author kindly answers reader Q's
© Pluriform 2014 and © The Deighton Dossier 2014 - not for reproduction without permission

One of the nice bonuses of creating the Deighton Dossier website and blog a few years ago was that eventually it came to the attention of Len that it existed as the only major online presence for his work. Happily, Len’s always been very supportive of the blog and the site, as in the way of modern social media both have provided a way for fans to read more about Len and his work, and to share views and ideas about his work and connected genres.

With Len celebrating his 85th birthday next month and enjoying retirement, it’s doubly positive that over the last three years he’s given up his time to answer some of my questions about his work and life, and indeed questions from other fans across the globe connected through the blog or the Facebook page. With interviews with Len in the media of a limited number, it’s great that he’s willing to give up time to write for this site exclusively. 

For the first Q&A interview of 2014, the questions are split between questions submitted by readers, and some of my own (an indulgence, as the blog editor!). My questions specifically focus on the Samson Series of novels, my favourites which I’m reading again. A number of blog readers submitted a variety of different questions which Len’s been kind enough to answer. I hope you find the responses stimulating and continue your discussions as readers in the comments section below.

There are some familiar stories retold, some fascinating insights into the writing process for the thriller writer, his thoughts on Bond's reading matter and, intriguingly, a hint of ‘what might have been’ (or even, perhaps, what ‘might still be’) regarding the ‘missing’ story of Bernard, Fiona, Dicky et all once the Wall had fallen. 

Now, what reader wouldn’t want to read that novel. It would definitely put the cherry on the spy fiction parfait!

Read on.

Monday 20 January 2014

A place on the Great British Bake-Off next?....

Saturday's Daily Mail newspaper on Saturday carried an article in the magazine looking at some of the pioneers of cooking in the UK in the 'sixties, prompted by a new book by Italian cook Anna del Conte with a foreword by Nigella Lawson, lately of the courtroom and TV chef du jour.

The article includes a look at other pioneers alongside del Conte, so naturally they've included a short piece by Len on his role as one of the pioneers of making cooking something in the 1960s which men - even spies like Harry Palmer - could do without feeling embarrassed. Len's rather scornful of the modern trend for TV cookery as education and provides a witty rejoinder.

Len writes:
"All TV programmes are designed as entertainment. Watching cookery shows to learn about cooking is like watching a Grand Prix to learn how to drive."
Thanks to Ron Vaughan for the hat-tip.

Friday 17 January 2014

Normal service resuming ....

Just over 25 years ago, it started falling down
To all Deighton Dossier readers, an extremely belated Happy 2014! The frequency of posting on this blog was a victim of Christmas, the New Year, holidays and a host of other factors. I aim to get back in the swing of things shortly, posting about Len's works, the wider spy fiction genre and the Cold War period in more detail.

What might I write about? Well, there's still a hell of a load of things to write about Len's life and works, particularly covering some of the fiction books we haven't discussed much on this forum. I'd be interested in readers' suggestions of which books we might have a more in-depth discussion about on this forum. I've had a note from Len recently which indicates he's working on the Q&A I shared with him before Christmas, which had a mixture of my questions and questions from blog readers. As soon as he shares that, it'll get posted up here and on the main website.

Elsewhere, 2014 represents the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War period which, ironically, spawned such a creative flowering in fiction and movies. Though not on the same scale as 2014's century commemorations of WW1 - which, based on the first few weeks of the year, will include considerable debate about Oh! What a Lovely War and the debate over the value and causes of the war - the end of the Cold War will I'm sure see a lot of online and media debate about whether we're safer or not now, or if the rise of China represents a new form of Cold War?

Blog readers - do suggest please things you'd like to see covered or you yourselves would like to write about on this blog. I'm keen to take more contributions from Deighton readers and collectors around the world.