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.