Sunday, 18 September 2011

Tinker Tailor

Fantasy Bob is pleased to see that there is a new movie version of John Le Carre's celebrated thriller on release.


Nevertheless FB expects to be disappointed when he watches the film since it will no doubt follow the conventional interpretation of the text and be full of tradecraft jargon and dead letter drops.  Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that when Le Carre wrote Tinker Tailor Soldier Bowler he had in mind the cold war tension between Great Britain and Russia and the attempt by the KGB to undermine British intelligence effort through the recruiting of a mole.  Convention has it that the story involves the recall of partially retired officer George Smiley to root out this mole, which after some huffing and puffing he does successfully.

Mole Damage at Circus CC
 Alas, this is a fairly narrow view of the novel formed by the usual bunch of cricket hating literary critics that are a blight on this nation's cultural life. FB has always inclined to the view that while Le Carre certainly was concerned about moles, his focus was the mole that was undermining Circus CC's square.  The damage to a normally first rate playing surface was severe.  In desperation Circus CC turn to retired but still doughty groundsman Smiley to assist them.  Smiley is a groundsman of a doughtiness comparable only to Carlton's own doughty but unnamed curator.  Smiley has difficulty with a spin bowler from a rival club Moscow CC called Karla who may have introduced the mole into Circus CC's square to provide an uneven surface that his tweakers could exploit.  Smiley smokes the mole out (literally - his pipe is just too strong for it) and the playing surface is pristine for the end of season fixture between the rival teams from which Circus CC emerge triumphant. 

An excellent read - films and books about the adventures of doughty groundsmen are all too rare.  But all the reviews of the film are positive so it looks like a good bet even if its true cricketing theme is overlooked.

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