Friday, 19 March 2010

Bored with Books?


Bored with books? Writing them that is. Fancy a change of career? Apparently the not-so-secret services advertise on the tube these days! Could you describe the last person to get off the train? How good is your observation? Are you inventive and resourceful? Now, I think that a writer would be the perfect fit for this kind of job. We’re observant, we sit on the tube memorising people to turn into characters for stories, and we might just suit the unconventional profile it seems to require.
I looked at MI6's website, as instructed by the ad, and they’re currently recruiting for ‘operational’ staff. Apparently it helps if (apart from having a memory for faces) you speak Arabic, Urdu, Pashtun, Farsi and any other kind of Taliban-speak. No guessing where they’re expected to operate then! But the other language requirement was a bit of a surprise. They also need fluent Chinese speakers. So we’re spying on the Chinese now?
One of my daughter’s friends used to go out with someone who worked for MI6, ostensibly as ‘technical support’ staff. His job was to dream up weird and wonderful ways of getting weapons and fake bombs through airport security and then try them out. When oiled with Guinness he would even tell you how often he succeeded. The statistics were not reassuring. But what an amazing occupation.
And think of the material for the books you might write afterwards! Lots of authors started out as spies. Ian Fleming, John le Carre, T.E. Lawrence, Graham Greene, Rudyard Kipling. Not many women on the list, but someone’s got to be first!

1 comment:

  1. Careful! If he reveals too much he might have to kill you!

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