Monday, September 26, 2011

I Applied For A Job At MI5

Lara PulverOnce. A long time ago.

Before I was lucky enough (cough cough) to land my current job in whose warm bosomy bower I have slept peaceably for the last 13 years.

Not sure what drove me to it. I remember seeing an advert in a national newspaper announcing that “the 5” (as those of us in the know call it; those of us not referring to it as MFI) were recruiting. And further more they were recruiting non-graduates which is precisely what I was at the time.

Perhaps my life was lacking excitement. It was certainly lacking travel, a fake Russian accent and a Parker ball pen that not only transformed into a MIG fighter but had a little naked lady in the end whose clothes fell off when you turned the pen upright.

I thought, sod it, I could be a spy. I could serve Queen and country. I could take photos of top secret documents with a mini camera hidden in my cravat or my diamante cufflinks. I could sleep with loads of gorgeous foreign women and rifle their leathery attaché cases whilst they slept afterwards in post coital bliss, I could. I really could, I thought. Blimey. I’ll fill in the application form right now and send it off.

I sent it off.

I heard nothing back from MI5 but MFI offered me a job selling bedroom furniture to couples who wanted to luxuriate in post coital bliss. I suspected they were sleeper agents so I told them to go and get stuffed. Ha ha.

Thus ended my career as a top British spy.

I watch Spooks now with a personal sense of chagrin. But also, it has to be said, with a sense of smugness. Because despite the wildly comic imagineering above I know that there is nothing very glamorous about being a spy.

From what I’ve heard (and I will never reveal my sources, damned infidel of the capitalist state) The 5 are as prone to budget cuts as every other Government department. The chances of getting a nudey-lady pen is about as likely as Cameron and Clegg sucking each other’s nipples live on national television. And quite frankly if the money was available I’m sure we’d all much rather take the pen.

Real spying is tedious, dirty, lonely and more likely to drive the spy into an anorak and uber-geekiness than into the arms of a busty Russian spyess whose name is so complicated to pronounce you end up with a tongue like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s left bicep.

And yet Spooks continues to captivate me.

Even though I know they are selling the dream of MI5 rather than the reality.

I love the gadgets. I love the fact they can seemingly tap into and control everything from the internet, mobile phone networks, weather satellites and the internal wash cycle on your Zanussi washer-dryer just with a little tap of their youthful upwardly mobile index fingers. I love the moral dilemmas they go through every week; how they justify not only risking themselves but others in their quest to keep the rest of us safe. I love the pained looks they give to camera just before they do something totally immoral and inhumane. Once again with feeling, dahling, once again.

And I love the glamorous women. We’ve had Keeley Hawes. We’ve had Hermione Norris. And now we’ve got Lara Pulver. All legs, lethality and brooding brunetteness.

Marvellous.

Do I regret my application to The 5?

No.

And nor do I regret that they turned me down.

Real spies are non-descript and anonymous. They are never glamorous. They catch the Tube and the bus. They catch pneumonia and the shits from eating crap food in dodgy bedsits. They are poorly paid and over-stressed. They have to beat their consciences into submission with alcohol, narcotics or the psychological disorder of your choice.

I’m happy to employ myself in the fantasy and leave the reality to the fish and the cold sharks of society.

But just remember: I do it for you guys. To keep you safe.

Now pass me another Vimto, bartender. Shaken, not stirred.



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33 comments:

missbehaving said...

Keeley hawes was a trail blazer, I liked Hermione but she didn't have the lethal combo of apparent innocence and guile with guts and intellect that Keeley had. And Tom, oh Tom of my dreams, I loved him and how fitting that the two should be together IRL, keeps hope alive for me. As you know I am a huge Spooks fan/addict, I have a special kind of love for Harry and Ruth too, oh and Malcolm and poor Colin.... I could go on, and on and on...

Steve said...

Missbehaving: don't want to give you any spoilers but series 10 looks like it might have a significant casualty list... and we're only up to episode 2!

Nota Bene said...

Without meaning to be harsh, I suspect...and I say this carefully...and slowly...and from a long distance...that I need to mention the name Johnny English. That would certainly be me.

My head has been turned by Downton Abbey I'm afraid. But I must add that after just two episodes in the second series, I may have to return to Spooks. Even if they've stopped filming outside my office:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ6g1a3RDo0

Steve said...

Nota Bene: if you're Johnny English I'd be the sidekick Agent Bough. Without a doubt.

Nothing any good ever gets filmed around here. Well, except for the Upstairs Downstairs (remake) external shots. Oh and we had Justin Fletcher here in the summer. Not the same ball game really, is it?

Martin Lower said...

Blow the Aston Martin or MIG fighter. Give me the nudey lady pen every time!

I'm easily pleased.....

Marginalia said...

I prefer my spies shaken not stirred. Give me Kathy Burke and Gary Oldman any day.

You must get out more, dear boy. Take a walk on the wide side and order a side salad with your Big Mac and don't spare the mayo.

Steve said...

Martin Lower: you'll please the auditors too. Unless, of course, they're stamping down on unnecessary stationary.

Marginalia: a walk on "the wide side"? Better forgo the salads, then, in favour of extra burgers and chips.

Dicky said...

Is MFI defunct now? I believe so. Yes M15 would be a nice employer me thinks. I think they are in a huge building as the train comes into Waterloo. I often see strange looking chaps walking around that way.

Steve said...

Dicky: is John Cleese among them?

Gorilla Bananas said...

I suggest you reapply. Macho spies are now out of fashion and M15 are looking for agents who won't behave differently if their balls get zapped by a laser beam. Plus you won't need a false beard for disguise.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: I may ask if you'd be my referee or character witness. I've always wanted to see Guantanamo Bay.

Nana Go-Go said...

D'ya think she's the 'mole' - treacherous cow?Bet she`s a double-agent. She`s just too good to be true and I hate her hair!
On the plus side, Top Gear was hilarious!

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: mole? I'd have to investigate her tunnel before I could answer that one... ;-)

Löst Jimmy said...

Mini cameras in cravats. Yes that does sound like MI5.
I was more a DI6 man myself (Dredger in Action Comics)

London City Mum said...

Steve - you are far too suave to be a spy. James Bond eat your heart out. Here is someone with the true gift of the perfect punchline: Blake, Stephen Blake.

LCM x

TimeWarden said...

Lara Pulver is actually a Russian spy, undercover at Section D-cup having been relocated from Sherwood Forest, whose real name is Letitia Pullover and once worked as a traffic cop in her homeland!

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: if I'm being perfectly honest I was more of a Walter The Softie from The Beano.

LCM: ah, Miss Moneypenny. You don't fool me, you know. I know it's you in that wetsuit.

TimeWarden: enough with the name, rank and serial number already. Tell me what I need to know: does she get her kit off?

libby said...

I could tell you a spy story...truly......but then I'd have to kill you....nuff said.

Being Me said...

Never once seen an episode of Spooks (much to my father's and husband's dismay... for me). And now I know the real deal turned you down, well, I'm going to stick to Downton Abbey.

Steve said...

Libby: these days they use drugs that wipe your mind. Admit it: you just want to kill me for the pleasure.

Being Me: I always knew you were a class bird.

joebloggs said...

Dont really see you as Mi5 more a MI High kind of guy. Well lets face it you are already half way there being a janitor and all. (perhaps there is more truth to this post than you make out. maybe you weren't turned down and you head up an international spy ring from the basement of your government building!!! see were on to you now !)

lunarossa said...

I'm very faithful to Spooks although in the past years they managed to "kill" all my favourites! Said that, I think that the real "spooks" are more similar to the ones depicted by le Carre in Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy than the glamorous on BBC! Enjoy your foxy lady! Ciao. A.x

Steve said...

Joe: right on the nail yet again. What can I say? It's the school uniforms...

Lunarossa: yes, the body count is rather higher... and still rising. I'm amazed MI5 can keep running on a skeleton staff.

Suzanne said...

Three words... Hong Kong Phooey!

Steve said...

Suzanne: story of my life... stuck in a filing cabinet.

Rol said...

"Cameron and Clegg sucking each other’s nipples live on national television"

You're incorrigible. You'll do anything to get your hits up.

Steve said...

Rol: and anything to get other people's tits out.

Trish @ Mum's Gone To ... said...

My son has just completed part of his French GCSE where he had to review his favourite film. He chose Johnny English. He got an 'A' and a pen with a naked lady in the end.

Ok I fibbed about the pen, but that's what spies do.

Steve said...

Trish: I was really jealous there for all of ten seconds. ;-)

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

I don't want to be seen as fishing for compilments but I'm with Being Me on Downton Abbey.

Actually I did apply for a job in the Secret Service when I was living in our Capital City: nothing exciting, just receptionist. But the need for secrecy (ie no pillow talk, nor revealing the nature of the work) even at the front desk made me glad that I didn't make the grade.

Steve said...

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: fish all you like. You're a classy bird too. Now tell me... how much did they pay you and where have you hidden the microfiche?

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Somewhere in the Secret Garden of Course :-)

Steve said...

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: let me guess... it's on the Pinky-Ponk? Or have you been sly and hidden it in Upsy-Daisy's bed?