On meeting multiple James Bondses
It's a story I've alluded to on many occasions on these pages, but never quite managed to tell in full.
That is – thanks to recent changes in the Official Secrets Act – UNTIL NOW.
For I've met James Bond.
The real, 100 per cent genuine James Bond.
On a weekly basis. All five of him.
In a previous existence, way back in the mid-1980s, I worked at the Unemployment Benefit Office in Reading. I was, after a small amount of training and a reminder not to engage the customers in fisticuffs, in charge of people with the surname A-C.
Amongst my claimants, I was less than surprised to find, were no less than five James Bonds, all of whom signed on within 15 minutes of each other on a Monday morning.
Every last one of them, you will not be surprised to hear, has previously changed their name by deed poll in the thought that possessing the superspy's name would open a door to fame, fortune and loose women.
Or, one of them could have been the real 007, deep, DEEP undercover in the heart of the Thames Valley, saving the world from SPECTRE agents running around with dodgy UB-40 cards and forged jobseekers' bus passes.
If that were the case, at least four of them were either complete liars, extremely well-placed decoys or poor, dead George Lazenby.
Their lot in life, it seemed, consisted of the long, lonely wait for a new set of top secret orders to come with their dole cheque, which, thanks to the wizards at Q Division, turned into strong lager within ten minutes of its arrival.
Of course, that all happened in the days when I was part of MI6's secret operations against the forces of SMERSH - Smert Spionem - Death to Spies - and a lightly-oiled Miss Moneypenny was nothing to be scared of. In fact, we were all issued with a number of glossy 10x8s of the service's favourite receptionist and minx, which we were told to guard with our lives, just to ensure our loyalty to the cause.
Just to be on the safe side, and in the name of national security, I went through my records to check: I had no claimants called Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who might have signed on every Tuesday.
Sadly for those of you with an interest with butch Russian lesbians, Rosa Klebb's claim would have been handled by the office downstairs, so I had no idea about the knife-wielding dyke of the Russian Steppe.
As I've said, this sort of thing is revealed only on a "need-to-know" basis, so only tell everybody on the entire internet.