So. Is there a British Standard for Terror? A kitemark for approved design when it comes to bomb-making?
Huh? OK. That probably sounds a bit off the wall. It emerged, this afternoon, from a conversation with the boy – who continues to be fascinated by and to obsess over all things military and associated with death and destruction.
Therefore we got to talking, as one does, about bombs…and then car-bombs…and then booby-traps: a typical family Sunday afternoon.
From there, we went to things like James Bond and defusing bombs and…the bit that’s always had me puzzled.
Because in film after film, series after series, whether we’re talking Spooks or Austin Powers, there’s a plot line that turns up eventually. It’s the bit, where our hero is sat, all alone naturally, in a vehicle or in a basement with a bomb. Sometimes, if the director has got a bit excitable, it’s a nuclear device. Other times, its no more than “enough explosive to blow us all to kingdom come”.
You know the scene.
Nine times out of ten, the plot goes: secret agent phones a friend (obviously, some hi-tech boffin who wears a white coat and does nothing all day except sit around behind a computer and boff); said boffin explains that agent needs to cut the red wire (or the blue wire, or whatever).
Moment of tension as agent reaches out to tweak the wire in question and then…wait!
I meant the OTHER wire. Phew! That was close.
And so, with sweat dripping down his brow, the agent cuts the wire, just as the timer reaches 1. Or occasionally, if a director is being particularly pedantic, as it clicks over to zero.
Additional moment of tension and then…nothing. No boom. Nada.
Which sort of takes us back to the start of this blog: is there a British Standard when it comes to bomb making? Because mostly, the long-distance boffin is dishing out advice purely and simply on the colour coding of the wires. And forgive me if I’ve got this wrong: but I had thought the whole point of such creations was to go bang, causing the maximum destruction possible.
And adhering neatly to some widely known standard of colour coding does seem to run exactly counter to this logic.
I dunno. Personally, I preferred the talking bombs of “Dark Star” – now there’s one for the film obsessives. An early John Carpenter, if not his first full-length feature, including an intelligent bomb and an attempt to talk it out of detonating by engaging it in philosophical debate. Now there’s one I’d like to see Bond try.