From Wembley With Love

By Rob Last edited 149 months ago
From Wembley With Love
sideburns.jpg

Boy oh boy, we just love spy stories here at Londonist, and this one is particularly good because it involves a Frenchman, sideburns, nosey old women and the word "Londonistan".

The Telegraph article revolves around the life story of one Pierre Martinet, a former French spy whose book (the catchily titled La DGSE, Action Service, An Agent Comes Out of the Shadow) comes out tomorrow.

The book apaprently gives a "hands-on account of the profession" including Pierre's time spent in London where he monitored a suspected member of the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, the GIA, and Finsbury Park's very own Abu Hamza.

So how does a Frenchman in London 'blend in' to aid his spying antics?

On one mission to London he thought it best to grow sideburns and sport a tweed cap. He also admits that his pidgin English was a serious handicap.

Another barrier which Pierre had to get over was...driving on the left side of the road:

His unit had a right-hand-drive vehicle shipped over the Channel to give them practice.

James Bond eat your heart out.

But it seems the spy's most feared nemesis is not a menacing melgomaniacs stroking white cats or even pools of man-eating sharks, but curious pensioners who live in Wembley:

Without doubt an agent's worst enemy, he claimed, is the nosey grandmother who peeps through her curtains and rings the police if she notices anything untoward. Such a nightmare neighbour forced him to abandon his surveillance of Abu Walid's home in Wembley, which he nicknames "Londonistan", and flee the capital.

Londonistan? Hmmm, could catch on we suppose.

Last Updated 27 April 2005