When I was a boy I wanted to be a spy, an assassin or a safe-blowing burglar. I would still like to be a spy and sometimes I pick someone in a public and follow them. Iíve got a 100% record for not being spotted and beaten unconscious by the target. Iíve always been virtually invisible to women and can walk through the females changing rooms at the local swimming baths and not get noticed (these days I donít go and just watch my hidden live cameras.)
I would still like to be a safe-blowing cat burglar. One of the best stories from the Second World War is that of Eddie Chapman who was a safe-blowing burglar and wartime spy. While in prison in Nazi-occupied Jersey he offered his services to Germany as a spy and subsequently became a British double agent (his story is told in the brill book Operation Zigzag by Ben McIntyre.)
Before fleeing to Jersey Eddie had been a safecracker with a London West End gangs. He and his associates were known as the "Jelly Gang" as he was one of the first criminals to use gelignite to blow safes apart for mountains of cash. His speciality was hiding himself away in a cinema on Sunday nights, waiting until everyone went home, creeping down to the safe and then blowing the door off to take the weekendís takings.
As Iím too much of a coward to do this for real I thought Iíd do a quick painting. Here it is but I canít pretend itís my idea. I was watching a documentary about Eddie and paused it when the narrator was blowing a safe. I printed it out and made my own version. It all came together quickly but most of what I painted was obliterated when I daubed in the explosive flames. I knows itís only 32% good quality but the pleasure of doing it was about 88%.
If you would like to know about Eddie the link is here...
If you would like to buy the painting its £40,000.
About to add the flamesÖ.
The painting was loosely based on this bit of the documentaryÖ