Vision + Sound: The Glimmer Girl Playlist revealed!

The novel has cultural pointers-a-plenty in amongst the espionage. Some are staples of an escapist spy story such as travelogue and style but music plays a key part.

Below I reveal the background of some of the tunes I selected to match the taste and listening of various characters and scenes within the novel.

For Shev, The GLIMMER Girl herself, it’s the urban cutting edge of Green Tea Peng’s Hu Man, and Sampa the Great’s Final Flow.

Green Tea Peng Photography by Richard Dawker

The Specials’ Gangsters for the scene in SIS Chief Admiral Dewhurst’s office.

The Specials’ eponymous LP

It’s the Small Faces’ Tin Soldier and Bowie’s Wild is the Wind for veteran spy, St John Bradley.

David Bowie’s Wild Is the Wind single

Scenes such as Commander Smith-Cummings dash through a tempest at the novel’s prologue are represented by folk of Catherine Tickell and The Darkening.

Catherine Tickell & The Darkening

Evocative pieces by Cara Dillon and Fay Hield embellish the novel’s Celtic folklore elements set in 1920s Ireland with Stick in the Wheel’s Villon Song representing the murderous Jonah Spirewick.

Cara Dillon
Fay Hield

Modern Icelandic scenes are covered by A Man Called Adam’s Mountains and Waterfalls and the Easter egg inclusion of Terry Callier’s Lazarus Man…

A Man Called Adam‘s Mountains and Waterfalls LP
Terry Callier’s Time Peace LP

Along with the epic (when isn’t she) and spy flick-esque Time Out of the World from Goldfrapp.

Goldfrapp’s Supernature LP

This feast for the ears listenable on the Spotify link 👇🏼

Thanks for reading AND enjoy the trip.

Beneath the streets of Limehouse…

‘This is it, she thought. Not hanging doors on a brutal building site or forcing T level carpentry into the heads of nutty kids in East London. This is living.
Every second within the Hive was accounted for. The facility was thus named not for the level of industry that thundered away beneath its façade, but for its architecture, designed to train an unknown number of field agents in the hermetic quarantine of self-contained units, modelled on the inherent genius of the appis meliffra, the European honeybee…’

Above the Hive

The Hive

‘CCTV showed the coast was clear from all approaches. Shev emerged from the Hive into the arched tunnel on Ratcliffe Lane— the covert egress—adorned as usual by the dank scent of stale urine.

Aerosol graffiti intermittently graced the drab Victorian brickwork, its flow covering all surfaces within a square mile like twenty- first century hieroglyphs, its message unintelligible to any soul over twenty-one and foreign to the borough, save for the sprayed red runic S and N either side of the central Venn-like overlapping letters of SOON. This was the logo that appeared on walls, windows and pavements across Europe that tinder summer, as the ominous harbinger of the Grass Riots…’

Review: The Internecine Project

The Internecine Project. The rhythm of syllables in the three word title lets us know that we’re in for: An espionage thriller from the golden age of such outings.

Poster by Gary Mills

It’s the ingredients that make this one special. Starting with the cast headed by that Icon of Cool, James Coburn, portraying a cold-hearted economics professor and former spy, who is also a partner in a powerful international corporation and has been offered a position as a close advisor to the US President.

In order to take the job Coburn plans a domino-effect elimination of a group of four individuals with knowledge of his espionage past. They’ve all served him as agents in the paid supply of intelligence.

Michael Jayston plays a scientist who in return for funding has provided weaponised chemicals and technology, Harry Andrews as a big-eared masseur reporting loose-lipped conversations held in an exclusive spa, Ian Hendry as a senior civil servant passing on UK Government secrets and Christiane Krügeras a high-class prostitute who hands over recordings and films of her clients. Outside of his targets Coburn has a perfect ‘gorgeous-in-your-50s’ pairing with the stunning Lee Grant as American journalist and old flame who has watched his immoral ascent to power.

Lee Grant

Almost a decade earlier James Coburn had two outings as spoofer-spy Derek Flint and his own iconic style and charisma inspired The Glimmer Girl’s St John Bradley. Michael Jayston would later add to his spy chops in the roles of both Peter Guillam in the TV adaption of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Adam Hall’s Quiller and as a narrator of John Le Carre audio books. Harry Andrews also appeared in, amongst many much more notable outings, the spy movies The Mackintosh Man with Paul Newman and Modesty Blaise. Ian Hendry had an earlier key role in alongside Michael Caine in Get Carter, which shared another key ingredient of this film: the music of Roy Budd. Intrinsic to the spy movie formula, Budd lets-off big time with the free jazz score of percussion and double bass solos to ratchet up the tension in key scenes, most notably a confrontation in a shower.

James  Coburn
James Coburn (sans ‘tache)

Next the setting- London,1974 in and around Mayfair, seen largely by moonlight. The nearest we get to gadgets that qualify The Internecine Project as spy-fi are the sonic assassination weapon that Jayston supplies and Coburn’s opulent office with a back-lit map of London hidden behind a glass art screen. All in all it makes M’s gaff look like a corner of cardboard city.

As it was in the era, everyone who walks through Coburn’s door is served a stiff drink and he puffs on a cigar as his intrinsically planned hits are carried out across one night, signified by coded rings of various length on his red telephone.

One final part of the formula ticks the box for me. Obscurity. I was unaware of The Internecine Project until I stumbled upon it on a You Tube Channel whilst researching something else. My only criticism would be some of the sound production is muffled, particularly some of Lee Grant’s lines to James Coburn. They share an exchange toward the end of the movie which has proven largely prescient regarding non-elected aides close to power.

So if those almost perfectly prepared ingredients wet your spy-fi appetite search out and enjoy The Internecine Project.