Here’s a screenshot from the undersecretary’s office in the atmospheric film adaptation of John le Carre’s spy thriller “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”
The time is 1973, and the office blends the modern and classic in a compelling way. It also mixes black and brown, which is the color scheme I’ve been working on in my own place. The wood-paneled walls have elegant gilt detailing, while the chairs in the foreground are modern and there’s an abstract sculpture on the desk (the saw-like item at center).
Original style comes from juxtapositions rather than following a formula. Don’t be afraid to tinker.
This appears to be an American blog, so you can be forgiven for failing to understand some of the subtleties of this film. Oliver Lacon, the undersecretary, is not a man whose style should be emulated, if that is indeed your goal. Everything, from his car to his house and clothes, paints a picture of a privileged and moneyed yet uncultured man, a man that has always been on the periphery of English society, never quite able to gain acceptance amongst his peers. Lacon behaves pompously to mask his incompetence in his role at Whitehall and surrounds himself with distasteful and sometimes vulgar (his house) possessions in an embarrassing (the Minister clearly dismisses Lacon as wet) attempt to appear worthy to the elite. Thoroughly contrived and misguided.
Take a look at Smiley’s and Control’s flats in the film – they are rather more authentic representations of the natural style that characterised the homes of educated, professional, intelligent men. Of course, whichever you emulate in your American ‘den’, it’ll be contrived.
This is clearly not your first time to condescend, then is it, “Bob.” Being so superior to we rude Yanks, I don’t see why you even bothered to comment here.
Oh—I get it. It’s because of your insecurities, and also probably your resentment of of our success.
Thank you, Henry, for saying exactly the thing that should be said to our visitor from across the sea. I really don’t understand the enjoyment some people appear to derive from being rude to strangers to no purpose, but internet comment sections contain ample evidence that such folk indeed exist. The motives you suggest are perhaps the best explanation.
Thank you, Charlottesville.
In re-reading my hastily jotted riposte, I realize now that I should have said “us” instead of “we,” thus giving our dear friend “Bob” yet more ammo for his engorged condescension gland. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
And regardless of the undersecretary’s moral shortcomings, I liked his office.
Oh, dear, living up to your emotional stereotype. Henry, I came upon this site by accident. I decided to comment both to educate and stir you predictable Yanks. Alas, it seems I’ve succeeded only with the second. Actually, I find the ‘Anglophile’ phenomenon rather intriguing, so I’ll continue with the hope of inciting further, less emotional, comments.
Beyond failing to perceive the admittedly faint jocularity of my last comment, your responses prove that actually, no, you don’t ‘get it’, or us. Insecurities? Hardly. What inhabitants of the New World fail to understand, or even appreciate, is that our identity as a people and our culture is so ingrained in us, quite possibly at the cell level, that we are absolutely secure in ourselves; none of it enters conscious thought.
Resentment of the U.S? No Brit I know resents the U.S. for its historical financial success, if that’s what you referred to – some of its political dealings, yes, but not success. We measure success differently here – an abundance of gilded wall panels does not score highly, even amongst the elite, hence Lacon’s ostracisation.
You must understand, I don’t mean to condescend, dear colonials, certainly not beyond facetiousness. You Yanks take us rather too seriously, perhaps because you take yourselves too seriously.
That was precious, Bob. Please share more. We can’t wait to be further enlightened by you!
I would, but you seem disinterested in playing, so I’ll leave you to your thrilling discussions on politics, at 4am.
I think you mean “uninterested.”
Precisely, Christian. Poor Bob. Tricky language, English, until one gets the hang of it.
Where’s the “like” button? Christian’s & Charlottesville’s are definite “likes.”
Bob appears to be unaware of what we call “time zones.”
Oops. Well, one can’t always be perfect with one’s English like you Yanks, can one? Now I’m uninterested (you see, I’m learning) – I was hoping for some clever jibes at us Brits in response to my stirring, but it seems you’re not able to descend from your intellectual political discussions to engage in a bit of banter. Instead, typical personal and weak net-nerd comments. Not very sporting. And there is only one timezone. Good day.
Ah, name calling! Number One on the list of illegitimate debate tactics. We take it as poor form and bad sportsmanship.
Incidentally, dear old Bob, what are all these “political discussions” you keeping goinng on about? I’ve been reading this blog since its inception, and haven’t noticed anything overtly political (though I did castigate the hedonism and libertinism of the bachelors of the eponymous pad).
Alas, as one who has spent all too much time in Dear Old Blighty, I can attest that the social and aesthetic standards to which our correspondent pretends are more the exception than the rule there–just as here. I except the Athenaeum Club to some extent, but even it’s fallen on hard times, thematically speaking.