|Whatever happened to...?
||[Oct. 29th, 2008|11:35 pm]
|||||Metal on Metal - Kraftwerk - TransEurope Express||]|
Adam Diment? If still alive, he'd be in his mid-sixties by now.
He wrote four rather good James-Bondy secret agent thrillers from 1967-1971. These are sometimes described as spoofs, but in my view they're neither spoof nor pastiche, just very much of their time, the Swinging Sixties. Less martini and Savile Row, more pot and Carnaby Street; just as much sex and violence, though. Think Austin Powers done in-period and (more or less) serious.
The titles were The Dolly Dolly Spy, The Great Spy Race, The Bang Bang Birds and Think, Inc.. (I have all but Bang Bang, which I must track down for completeness' sake; they're thoroughly out of date, but still a fun read.) Diment ended the last one with what I interpret as a definite plot hook for a sequel, and then...
There was a website devoted to the books, but that's vanished too (I should have saved it off-line) and web information is extremely spotty. I've seen one suggestion that Diment went all hippie and headed off to some Maharishi-run ashram in India, another that his hero's fictional drug habit was but a pale shadow of his own and it caught up with him.
Who can say? Can you?
Yeah, I shouldn't have used "track down" with its implication of difficulty. Finding the books - even hardback first editions - is fairly straightforward. Finding information about the author, who was, in his day, both well-known and wealthy, is another matter entirely!
Just for background: this was prompted by seeing John le Carré interviewed on BBC4 last weekend, and wondering what had become of his contemporary thriller-writers of the late 60s-early 70s.
Alastair MacLean (dead); Hammond Innes (dead); John Gardner (dead); Desmond Bagley (dead - but Running Blind still makes me want to see Iceland); Len Deighton (alive and writing); Brian Callison (alive and writing); Frederick Forsyth (alive and writing); and of course Adam Diment (alive? dead? transcendent? pickled?)
The interesting part about several of these writers, Diment most obviously, is that their material has dated badly, both in terms of technology and of sociology (call it Political Correctness if you like) - but then the same thing could be said about Ian Fleming's original Bond novels. They remain in print, but I'd be very interested to hear the opinion of a 21st century teen who'd read Casino Royale (published 1953) for the first time after seeing the 2006 movie...
Iceland could certainly do with the tourism revenue at the moment, it seems.
As to that last question you raise, I similarly wonder what the reaction will be if that Saint project for TV being put together in Toronto at the moment triggers a reprint renaissance of the original novels and collections by the late Mr. Charteris. Will he be posthumously applauded as someone who "opened up a closing door" or doomed to obscurity as a social relic of his times?
Certainly the movie version with Val Kilmer did nothing for Charteris's novels - but then that particular movie wasn't really up to much in any case and (AFAIK) used the title, and the name of the character, but nothing else.
A bit like the Avengers movie with Fiennes and Thurman; a great let-down for everyone who used to watch the TV show with McNee and Rigg.
From what I've been led to understand by sources close to the novelization of that movie, earlier drafts of the script were intended to be far more respectful of the original source material. The studio, as might be sadly expected and feared in such instances, made their objections known and had them enforced as the production process rolled onward, removing the bulk of the references and riffs that long-time fans might hope to find.
I'm inclined to believe the reports. Whether the project in Toronto falls prey to similar lack of respect for the source material and roots of the series...?
No idea yet.
2010-01-16 11:06 pm (UTC)
You know to let me know should you come up here.
Believe me, we will! Alan and Colette told us about how much they enjoyed their own visit to Iceland a few years back, and we've been determined to go as well. Landscape yes, unlimited hot water yes, Brennivin yes, smoked lamb yes, hakarl...not so yes. In fact no. A lot. :-)
Ah, but the problem is that Wayback Machine needs to know the URL of the original website, and I can't remember it!
And of course being a fansite (based through supermarket chain Tesco, IIRC!) it wasn't anything as obvious as www.adamdiment.com, or dolly-dolly-spy.com, or whatever. I know, because I spent a rather boring half-hour with Wayback trying out various combinations of names, titles and hyphenations.
Bill Harry's page was one of the first things I found; unfortunately it's made up mostly of quotes from reviews and back-cover blurb, has very little original material, and contains nothing I didn't know already.
Oh-ho! Illegal activity - and not to do with drugs, either.
T Records created and inherited by HM Treasury
Division within T Records of Finance Divisions
T 295 Treasury: Overseas Finance (Exchange Control) Division: Registered Files (2 FEC Series)
Scope and content F A Diment (currency swindle by Adam Diment against Stanley Canter, film producer, involving illegal export of money)
Covering dates 1969 Mar 29-1969 May 08
Now that's interesting...
Granted, in the late '60s "illegal export of money" from the UK started at some ridiculously low level; you were only allowed to carry fifty quid or something similar in cash or negotiable securities out of the country (I think this gets a mention somewhere in Diment and/or Forsyth); but from the sound of it Diment was dealing in larger sums than a pocketful of used fivers...
He wrote two more books after this incident before doing the disappearing trick that's intriguing me, so I wonder how it panned out: a fine, a jail sentence or what?
As for the movie, I remember reading about it while I was still at school (age 13) in a friend's father's Sunday colour supplement.
Jeremy and I shouldn't have been reading the Diment books at all at that age (too much sex, more graphically described than in Fleming - though tame, tame, tame nowadays...) but we enjoyed them immensely; the hero Philip McAlpine didn't take himself as seriously as Bond. Even then, both of us agreed that David Hemmings was wrong for the part (if we'd known the word "petulant", that was how we'd have described him) and Terence Stamp did "tough" so much better.
It may have collapsed because of the money swindle - but it may also have been another one of the thousand projects a year that just never get made. Probably just as well; can you imagine how laughable and out-of-date it would look like? Roger Moore as Bond in flares and a safari suit is bad enough; Austin Powers played straight would be ridiculous...
Pointed here by hrrunka
- I'd never thought to check up on the whereabouts of Adam Diment, though I have enjoyed his novels. Very interesting!
Keep watching - thanks to eleika
I already have a bit of info that I never knew about.
2009-10-30 06:16 am (UTC)
Adam, now 66, is happy and well and living life to the full in far off places.