Easily my favourite genre of TV drama is the espionage thriller. First it was American spies in Homeland, then it was French ones in The Bureau and now, finally, I am catching up on Cold-War era East German spooks in the brilliant Deutschland 83. The personalities vary depending on the nationality of the agent but the spy craft is always the same. I have been watching shows like this for so many years that I regard myself as a pretty much qualified secret agent.
Admittedly, my natural personality traits wouldn’t mark me out as an obvious MI6 candidate. I mean, I’d have to work on my really loud speaking voice, rampant indiscretion and constant need for attention. But the more important stuff, like switching identical briefcases on trains, hiding coded messages inside old library books and making up awesome false identities (“Bonsoir madame! I am Everald De Boise, a diamond dealer with a club foot from Bruges”) I am totally ready for.
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In fact, should any spymasters be reading this (a lot of them do take The Big Issue, I’m told), please keep me in mind next time any freelance work comes up. I couldn’t commit to anything full time as I have this column to write, childcare to take care of and quite a busy Fifa 2021 playing schedule to keep up with. But any simple missions you’ve got going, particularly ones based in warm climates, then I’m your man.
I should say, mind you, that I am only really interested in working for liberal democracies with at least half-decent human rights records. I mean, yes, I am desperate for money and recognition but I still have my ethics. Ideally I’d do a bit of part-time spying for somewhere benign and lovely like Denmark. Do the Danes even have a spy agency? It doesn’t seem to fit with their laidback attitude to life. But I suppose they need someone to keep an eye on the Swedes in case they try to make a regional power-grab at some point.