Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Modesty Blaise

As part of my research for my tattoo of amazing women, I've been looking for pics of that uber-femme assassin, Modesty Blaise. I've been reading the Modesty Blaise books, written by Peter O'Donnell, since I was but a wee one, and she had a profound influence on me in terms of the concept of simply accepting oneself. Not that I have been able to do so - that's a whole other story - but the fact that Modesty came from pretty bad origins (enslaved as a child, walking across the desert in bare feet over the course of many years, killing her enslaver at a very tender age) gave me a great sense of respect for this woman who lived life on her own terms.

Modesty and her sidekick, Willie Garvin, were closer than any couple in love. The best thinga bout them was, they weren't a couple; they simply ... were. Willie was quite the player, and to be honest, so was Modesty. She didn't give a damn about her bad reputation long before Avril Lavigne sang the song.

Modesty was almost perfect. Almost. She had the money, the means, the abilities; she was a killer second to none. Even when she was on the back foot, she never lost her sense of self. And if it ever all got too much for her, there was only one person who was allowed to see her weak - Willie. They relied on each other for everything.

Again, it's about the concept of making family for yourself. Neither of them had anyone else; they had lots of friends - they were an outgoing pair. But when it came to the person who could be relied on to take a bullet for them, no questions asked, well, the list was very small.

Modesty was fallible, of course. She sometimes got the snot kicked out of her just so she could infiltrate an organisation. But she was hardcore. She would take any kind of humiliation, do whatever was necessary, to get where she needed to be and do what she had to.

She was unflinchingly loyal to her friends. She made her family, not just from Willie, but from a very few, very select people with whom she'd shared experiences that would have killed most people. She never needed to be saved; she was usually the one doing the saving.

Modesty was one of my first childhood heroines. She's withstood the test of time.

I just hope there's never going to be a remade movie about her ... I don't think they could bring her quiet strength, indomitable spirit and plain sexiness to the screen without sexualising her and making her 'vulnerable' for the sake of it.

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