The Gift That Keeps On Giving

For the last few days, the major newspapers in the U.S. have been carrying stories about a Russian spy ring that the F.B.I. just busted. Be sure to check out the neighbor’s reasoning for why Mrs. Murphy cannot be a spy. LOL! I’m not sure what I think of all of this, but I couldn’t help but think of Spooks and wonder how stories like this affect the writers, and lo and behold, there was an article on it.

The creator of Spooks on the Russian espionage scandal, its nostalgic spycraft and how fact can be less credible than fiction

David Wolstencroft
Guardian.co.uk Tuesday 29 June 2010 17.54 BST

The Russian spy ring scandal is full of inspiration for David Wolstencroft, the creator of TV’s Spooks, here with Hermione Norris as Ros Myers and Richard Armitage as Lucas North.

I will say this about the KGB: they are the gift that keeps on giving. Particularly, of course, if like me you’re a writer of espionage fiction. Although at this stage of the unspooling lunacy it’s hard to distinguish fact from parody.

Naturally, the Russian foreign intelligence service is now the SVR, not the KGB. As we all know, the cold war finished years ago. And there is absolutely nothing amusing about real people going to real prison.

However, nostalgia is a heady opiate – and where spies are concerned, I for one cannot get enough. This morning, it felt like someone put on Now That’s What I Call Spycraft and cranked up the volume. Or I was watching Smiley’s People, with a laughtrack.

Read the rest here.

He sounds pretty giddy, and although Lucas doesn’t qualify as a guy from suburbia, Harry might. Should be interesting to see what happens.

The perfect cover?

Up next the gift that really does keep on giving.

The Perfect Symphony

Richard_Armitage_as_John_Thornton

Previously, I said RA’s performance in the tea scene was like a maestro conducting the perfect symphony. I’m not sure what symphony that would be. Too many great ones to narrow it to one. But the symphony I was thinking of when I wrote that was The Firebird Suite by Stravinsky. It’s not too bold a statement to say that Stravinsky has probably influenced almost every modern composer in the last fifty years. When I first heard Martin Phipps’ score for “North and South,” I thought he might be influenced by Stravinsky. His use of chord progressions and his distinct use of rhythms was the giveaway. Oh, and how cool that I thought of a Russian but didn’t know at the time that RA seems to have an affinity for some things Russian — Crime and Punishment, vodka, brooding.

I was bummed to realize I couldn’t buy the “North and South” soundtrack. I’ve also noticed that if it’s put on any sites, it’s scrubbed in a fairly short period. Not sure if this is Martin Phipps or his producers. Whatever the case, they are quite thorough, and even if there is something I could embed at the moment, I don’t want to mess with putting up one of his pieces only to have the link go bad very quickly. However, there is plenty of Stravinsky up, so for your pleasure, the old master conducting The Firebird:

and another one of his pieces. This one forever changed music for me: