Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Would the Real James Bond Please Stand Up?

I heard a news article on the radio today about Russian spies being caught in America and was astounded. Not because the Americans had managed to catch Russian spies, but by the very fact that there were any spies left to catch! Didn't the James Bond school of spies die with the Cold War??? I mean, I know that Hollywood are still making the films, but surely they couldn't be based in any type of reality, could they?

Aren't they all hi-tech, doing it in cyberspace over the internet with malware and stuff?

Mind you, I do remember hearing an interview, sometime within the last year, where a representative of our very own MI5 (or it may have been MI6), was explaining why they were actively, and publicly, seeking new recruits to train as agents..... The recruiting part I could understand, but to do it publicly??? Doesn't that kind of defeat the point of the whole undercover thing? Having said that, it was also round about the same time, if memory serves, that MI5 had appointed a new “M”, an “M” who is married to a woman who thought nothing of announcing hubbies' new appointment - on Facebook (dear Facebook, how I love you!), not only that, but she posted details of their upcoming holiday!!! Can you imagine the conversation at their dinner table on the evening of that story breaking! If I was him, I think I would be talking to 007 the next morning, making discrete plans for hunnybun to go on a holiday of her very own – a very long, very quiet, holiday, somewhere far, far away.

Anyway, I bumped into my friend Fiona today, and she mentioned the Russian spy news story. I told her about the MI5/6 recruitment drive, and the fact that it had briefly crossed my mind to apply, just because it would be a cool thing to put on my C.V. Then I had realised that it was exactly the sort of thing you can't put on a C.V. Damn! It would have been fun. I would have camped it up. Put on a false accent. And a fake moustache. Maybe have a fake hump as well. The dressing-up disguise possibilities are endless!

Plus the fact that I have actual, real experience of “dealings” with MI5 (or was it MI6, I can never remember). Yes folks, it's true. It happened when I was with a boyfriend whose brother was recruited by said department to train as “a covert operative” - a SPY!!! Boyfriend and I were rolling around the floor when bro' told us what he was up to – a less likely candidate would be hard to imagine! I mean, this guy was lovely, a real softy, wouldn't harm a fly. But, hey, he was probably a preferred candidate specifically because he seemed so unlikely. He had to sign the Official Secrets Act (which I'm possibly breaking now by even mentioning that this happened!), and was not allowed to talk about it with any of his family or friends, nobody. He had got special permission to talk to BF and I so he could make sure that neither of us had been members of the Communist Party, or had any other dirty little secrets lurking in our pasts, as he wasn't the only one who would be getting a thorough vetting before his training was complete – all members of his immediate family (including me) were going to be vetted as well, and his immediate concern was that either BF or I would wreck his chances because we had been on a CND protest march, or something. Through our tears of laughter, we managed to reassure him that neither of us had any deep, dark secrets.

So he went on his merry way to continue his training (next step, being introduced to “Q” presumably). A few days later, I noticed that my phone (landline, of course, this was in the time long, long ago before mobiles), was making a clicking noise every time I went to use it, or answer it, or just before I replaced the receiver after being on the line. When I told my BF, he joked that it was probably MI5/6 tapping the line to make sure I wasn't a Commie! Oh how we laughed!

Turned out to be true.

My 'phoneline was tapped.

???? !!!!!

BF's bro' made an unexpected trip back up to Scotland (he had, of course, been based in London, in the nerve centre of all things British and covert, in the amazingly un-camouflaged building that sits on the Thames, looking like a sore thumb, where our official Secret Director, Secret Managers and all our Secret Agents are based – know it? - thought you would). He had come back specifically in order to strongly suggest that I desist from saying “Good night secret agent guys, sorry it was only a mundane chat with my mum”, or making other such comments. Apparently, there really WERE agents listening-in on our telephone conversations....OMG! OMG! OMG!

I didn't believe him - until he quoted parts of conversations I'd had with my mum. I asked him how he had known the details he had just come out with? “Because, as I said......” (he was very patient explaining this to me) “......YOU'RE PHONE IS TAPPED AND THERE ARE AGENTS LISTENING-IN!”. I asked how he had found this out (almost expecting him to say “Because I'm a SPY, YOU IDIOT!”. But he didn't. He just told me, in a very quiet voice, that his boss had come to his desk with two other agents, and a transcript of several days worth of my boring phone conversations...complete with comments to agents top and bottom. He had then been asked exactly what the meaning of my comments were....had bro' told us our 'phone had been tapped, as that seemed to be the only explanation to how I could have known about the tap? Oops! After trying to explain about his bro's stupid girlfriend and her inappropriate and warped sense of humour, he had been sent to “have a little chat” with me. I was very relived he hadn't been sent to do anything else, and that our “little chat” concluded with me apologising profusely for almost wrecking his chances as the new James Bond, and finished with me still having all fingernails intact. I must admit that, even at this point, I still couldn't resist the urge to make jokes about it, but I was trying hard not to.

Anyway, bro' went back to his Spy 1:1 (Intermediate) training back in London, and I bit my lip every time the 'phone rang. I kinda missed those 'phone tap guys, even though they couldn't answer back (or possibly because they couldn't answer back), but I got used to not talking as soon as I picked up the receiver and heard the “click” just before the dialling tone cut-in.  

Coincidentally, this was about the same time that bro' got his first introduction to the gun he would be carrying, every day, everywhere, and expected to use, if required.

That was when he decided to quit.

Turns-out that BF and I had, happily, been absolutely correct in our opinion that bro' was really a big softie at heart, and that there was no way he could ever bring himself to be violent against another person (or animal, come to that). BF and I were delighted, even though it meant that there would be no chance of us getting a shot of bro's special spy gadgets.

James Bond can keep his gun, I prefer the softies.

Must look-up Facebook, see if bro' is on there.......

….....and see what “M” has been up to – maybe his wife has posted some more holiday pics!

Image: Susie B /


Alistair said...

I get your point, however I don't think we'll ever be free of the dreaded mince spies....

Alistair said...

Want to make it a career?