EDitorial ± 15-Dec-2003

Leave It To Harry

I first came across one in a cafe in Orford sometime in the 90s. Looking back on it, I remember not knowing what to do with the thing, though there aren't exactly too many buttons or switches. Clue: John Shuttleworth pronounces the final two syllables of the word as the first name of Arsenal's Monsieur Henry.

Then, rifling through various unmarked VHS tapes the other night, I popped one in the machine, hit the triangle, and The Ipcress File began to play. The first three minutes show the brain drain in action as a chap who's been reading The New Scientist disappears on board a train. Cut to the sound of Harry Palmer's alarm clock.

Once he's found his trademark specs, what does he do? He puts the kettle on, fetches a tin of coffee beans, grinds a small amount, and puts a couple of spoonfuls into, you've guessed it, a cafetiere! And this is 1965!

Insubordinate, insolent, with possible criminal tendencies First, get your beans   The Americans have put a tail on Palmer. Have they? How very tiresome Put a handful in the grinder
And he doesn't even have my sense of humour Grind while still half asleep   You know, it's funny, if Radcliffe had been here, I'd have been a hero Next, grab your cafetiere
There's also Funeral In Berlin Add water, slightly off the boil   And Billion Dollar Brain, which is rather odd Allow to brew, then plunge
Shall we forget Bullet to Beijing? Pour ...   And also Midnight in St. Petersburg? ... and enjoy!

Granted he's meant to be a gourmet, not unlike Len Deighton, who wrote the book. And there's talk that one of the film executives did a deal with the manufacturers of the cafetiere to promote it. Plus Len's hands make their own appearance when breaking a couple of eggs, since Caine couldn't do this.

Even so, a cafetiere nearly 40 years ago — bodum's up!

Be seeing you!