Meet Philip McAlpine, the legendary hash-smoking, swinging Sixties hipster spy
Philip McAlpine is a tall, sexy, rich and fashionably attired spy in his early twenties. Think James Bond – but much younger and groovier. Blackmailed by “dandified moulting stoat” Rupert Quine into joining an arcane and unethical branch of MI6, he proves gifted in the sophisticated skills required to be a top-level spy.
McAlpine is a grounded, reluctant spy, revealing his fears and doubts as well as thrilling confidence and prowess both in and out of bed. In lingo and attitudes we might call 'rooted' in the late Sixties and early Seventies ("make the James Bond novels appear as if they were written by Andrea Dworkin" – Rob Baker), McAlpine wisecracks his way around the globe to overcome byzantine challenges, supervillains and exquisite, dizzy girlfriends. At rest, he lies in bed with a single malt and a chick, smokes hashish, tops up his suntan and contemplates escape from his lucrative contract.
The Dolly Dolly Spy (1967); The Great Spy Race (1968); The Bang Bang Birds (1968) and Think Inc. (1971) are written by Adam Diment, who bore more than a passing resemblance to his hero. The books made him hugely famous, very well-off and brought him a Hollywood film deal which was to star David Hemmings (of Michelangelo Antonioni’s cult film about a fashion photographer, Blow Up (1966)) as the screen McAlpine. All this was abruptly cut short when Adam Diment went missing, seemingly done with fame and his doppelganger spy. In 1975, the Observer asked “Whatever happened to Adam Diment?”
Variously spotted in Zurich, Rome, the Far East and Kent, Diment has proven gloriously elusive. In 2008, two anonymous letters written in 1969 to to the department of Exchange Control of the Bank of England were released by the National Archives, clarifying earlier rumours of a currency swindle. One letter involves the export of 2,400 US dollars paid by the film producer Stanley Canter, while the other hints at some kind of drug-deal.
In 2015, Esquire magazine printed a comprehensive investigation by John Michael O’Sullivan: The Extraordinary Case of the Missing Spy Novelist, reigniting the long-smouldering mystery that has intrigued many online forums, including Rob Baker’s Another Nickel in the Machine as well as Voices of East Anglia; Teleport-City; Mercurie and Books & Boots…
Quine was right. This country is, for the time being, a whore. Our Empire has gone and our people remain lazy. We are clever, original, class-ridden and small. The sooner we can get back to being another small country and forget our now useless role of world arbitrator the better. Nobody has listened to our advice for years; it is just accepting this fact which is painful. Meanwhile we export fashion and trend to the rest of them, like a good little whore should. I had been the ponce scurrying round for Britannia among the rumbling power blocks who now run the world.
Own Adam Diment's hip blue velvet jacket from the 1960s!
Friday, 31 March 2017
New £1000 pledge level added for Adam Diment's original blue velvet jacket. Slim fit and superb quality, there's only one of these beauties in the whole wide world. Check it out! (We're still looking for the frilly pirate shirts...)
Great new piece in the Guardian this morning – spread the word!
Thursday, 30 March 2017
"Perhaps half a century after his first flush of celebrity, he is ready for a return. As every spy aficionado knows, you only live twice…"
These people are helping to fund The Complete Philip McAlpine Collection.