Current playlist: Two Door Cinema Club, Bad Decisions
I think I was a little harsh on my previous year-long re-obsession with the Man From UNCLE. Because it was fun. Aside from giving me an excuse to dust off the DVDs and my collection (I was a notorious collector so I have the books, magazines, comics, etc.).
And there were a couple of trips to Melbourne, because the NGV love their mid-twentieth century modernism, and they had exhibitions on mid-twentieth century Danish design and mid-twentieth century Australian fashion and fashion photography.-
There were also that trip to the UK that involved some fun scouting of locations, the accidental mod walk of London (the one that started with Carnaby Street and ended with The Jam exhibition), and seeing the film again in Leicester Square, because I try to be in my shabby hotel room as little as possible in London (you pay $$$ for very little compared to local hotels, for shame, London, for shame).
There was a side visit to Bletchley Park, the ultimate spy theme park, which I also loved (Turing pilgrimage).
Not to mention getting into John Le Carre. My Dad tried to get me to read him when I was younger, because they were proper spy novels, and had no volcano lairs. I left them alone for the very same reason. And I’m glad I did, because coming to them now as a thoroughly embittered civil servant, I get it, I really get it, as its 90% hair tearing office politics and only 10% Checkpoint Charlie shenanigans, if you’re lucky.
By happy coincidence, my reading coincided with The Night Manager on TV and I won tickets to see Our Kind Of Traitor (by then I was fan enough to answer the quiz without resort to Google).
So, yes, my year of wallowing in the spy genre was fun and satisfying. Educational, even (as there’s a lot to learn about the Cold War that I never knew when I was actually living it).
So I don’t want to say it was a waste of time. I loved my days out in London and Melbourne. I loved re-watching old films like To Catch a Thief and North By Northwest. I loved playing my old 60s CDs and records.
I’ve read up on Philby, watched all the films, discovered Agatha Christie wrote a lot of spy novels disguised as ‘Tec fic, revisited Buchan and Fleming and dabbled with Greene.
Yeah, don’t call it a year wasted, because honestly, I achieved little else. But I saw some groovy threads, heard some groovy tunes, saw some pleasing Danish chairs and discovered a new favourite author. Not a waste of my time. Please don’t call it that.