Len Deighton’s works are sometimes cited as cultural reference points, particularly when journalists are writing stories about the sixties and the spy novel or the intrigues of international spy operations. Equally, he is often referenced by more unlikely people. Below is a selection of some media references to Deighton which demonstrate how variedly his stories and characters are cited.
Zoe Williams, columnist, The Guardian
She often includes regular oblique Deighton references in her columns which show that she’s definitely a fan and has read many of his works. For example:
“I was educated between 1977 and 1994. During that time, we were taught the following about the USSR. 1) They couldn't afford Levi's. 2) They had a lot of great art, but they didn't look after it properly. 3) They all had to share flats with their parents. Not one person, not even the teacher-lefties, ever mentioned the fact that some people celebrated the revolution of their own accord. Never. It was as if the history syllabus for the nation's every age group had been set by Len Deighton. Doesn't that seem weird?”
The Guardian, 11 January 2003
“Maybe women have a thinner membrane between their two active brain cortices, which facilitates the big-picture analyses known as multitasking but leaves them unable to concentrate on the novels of Len Deighton enough that they would know what Bernard Samson's best friend is called (although I'm a woman, and I know that).”
The Guardian, 2 January 2006
“In Britain, it is OK to order for a companion, male or female, but only if you are American and it is the 1930s (cf Rex in Brideshead Revisited). It is OK - you are still a man, remember - to order for an underling, provided you are both field agents for HM government (cf Frank and Bernard's lunch in Len Deighton's Spy Line).”
The Guardian, 26 February 2008
Anthony Masters, author
"Deighton believes that writers have much in common with spies; he has deliberately adopted a mask of ordinariness so that he can watch without drawing attention to himself, and listen to conversations without people turning round to look at him. He lives with his fictitious spies all the time, plotting every detail of their lives."
Literary Agents, 1987
Keith Chegwin, 80’s TV presenter
“Books help me to detach from real life, too. I'm a Len Deighton fan. Spy novels are a great way to escape.”
My cultural life, The Guardian, 27 August 1999
Fay Maschler, Evening Standard restaurant critic
"Len Deighton was once my guest for lunch at The Mirabelle in the days when it was a creaking, old-fashioned French restaurant staffed by waiters as old as the revolution. Anti-hero Harry Palmer's interest in cooking, as described in The Ipcress File, the first of Deighton's riveting spy thrillers, reflects one of the author's passions.
The title of Deighton's first cookery book - Ou Est le Garlic? - is still one of the best. 'What shall I order here?' said Len. 'I don't so much need to be told where to go as what to eat when I get there.' Since The Mirabelle had been his choice of venue, I was flummoxed, but he had a sound point."
Evening Standard, 1 November 2006
Lemmy Kilmister, late lead singer of Mötorhead
“I never travel without a luxury: books, especially non-fiction and Len Deighton.”
Lemmy never travels without, The Guardian, 22 January
'Luckily, Lemmy is happy enough in his own company. When he's not touring he collects Nazi memorabilia (his prized possession is a Luftwaffe sword worth $12,000), watches the Discovery Channel and reads copiously. At the moment he's re-reading a Len Deighton trilogy. "There are a lot of good books around. People don't read any more. It's a sad state of affairs. Reading's the only thing that allows you to use your imagination. When you watch films it's someone else's vision, isn't it?"'
Lemmy: Motor Mouth, The Independent, 15 October 2005
"'Bomber' was based on the book of the same name by Len Deighton. I got it out the library a few weeks before writing the song."
Lemmy on Classic Albums: Ace of Spades, DVD
Rachel Cooke, food writer
"If your béarnaise is separating, he's your man."
The Top 50 Cook Books, Observer Food Magazine, 15 August 2010.