Friday, January 14, 2005

Killer hero

I seldom listen to BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs because, not least, the ever-so-feminine 1950s-style Home Service voice used by Sue Lawley irritates me. But the last two editions have been interesting.

Last week Carlos Acosta told how he made his way out of the poorest part of Havana to be come a principal ballet dancer [at the Royal Ballet?].

This week it was Andy McNab, multimillionaire author of Bravo Two Zero which is about escapades and capture in the "First" (1991) Gulf War.

McNab, who is said to be one of the most highly decorated British soldiers in a hundred years, came across as amoral. On his time in Derry in British military intelligence: "If I'd been born there I would have been IRA. But I wasn't. I was from South London". And that's all there is to it.

Asked if he would kill again if he needed the money, he unhesitatingly said yes.

My first, partly contradictory, reactions: a) how strange to live in a culture that fawns upon highly efficient killers; b) how clear and easy - and weirdly attractive - is the world he portrays himself as living in; c) how clever he is at, among other things, exploiting this (partly-fictional?) persona for gain.

McNab's choice in music not too surprising to me, given we are both roughly same generation (he's five to ten years older?) and both Londoners: Madness, Bowie, The Pogues etc.

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