So, the old year has been kicked out in style while the new one met with the traditional optimism – sometimes against better knowledge and rightful scepticism. And look, this brand new 2013 already shows the first traces of those comfortable wrinkles and creases we tossed the old one out for. Must keep an eye on that.
Now that the empty bottles and the torn gift wrap has been swept into the usual dark corners, what remains of 2012, that Big James Bond Anniversary ™? I mean, what remains that hasn’t been said – rather written – here already?
Well, there have been some things I can think of. 2012 provided fans with more than just Eon’s official – and incredibly extensive – historiography in The James Bond Archives. We also have to thank for a number of publications that shed light on Bond’s history from within, yet from a different and unofficial perspective. We already talked about Charles Helfenstein’s ‘The Making of The Living Daylights‘ here – though, can one really talk too much about this tome? Currently it’s in stock at Barnes & Noble (where our link leads you) but will soon be in stock again at Amazon. It seems B&N just have the better connections to the publisher.
From a completely unexpected direction came another most interesting book. Unexpected because it’s the Bond memoirs of the one actress who’s been involved with the series more than any other except Lois Maxwell. Yet most people – even seasoned Bond fans – didn’t know about her connection with 007: Nikki van der Zyl. She is the voice we hear when Ursula Andress first appeared on the beach of Crab Key in ‘Dr No’. Since then Mrs van der Zyl has re-voiced numerous other female parts in the series until ‘Moonraker’. In addition to that she also coached German actor Gerd Froebe for his dialogue in ‘Goldfinger’. ‘For Your Ears Only‘ recounts the moving story of her life and her career at the heart of the British film industry, from the sidelines of many famous productions her contributions were crucial for, yet seldom adequately acknowledged. A fascinating read.
Another pleasant surprise gift for Bond fans came from an old and trusted friend of Bond’s exploits, Len Deighton. After long years of silence from this legend of the modern thriller we finally get ‘James Bond: My Long and Eventful Search for His Father‘, and not a day too early. It’s sadly “just” a short article, partly retelling the background of his meeting with Ian Fleming as noted in the – long since out of print – compilation ‘For Bond Lovers Only’, partly extending his foreword to Robert Sellers’s ‘The Battle For Bond’. But it’s a nifty piece of excellent writing, full of anecdotes and adventures Deighton experienced with Harry Saltzman and Kevin McClory, at a time when his input shaped part of Bond’s early steps on the big screen, and later when he became a contributor to the early stages of McClory’s ‘Warhead’ project. For friends of Deighton’s prose and those interested in a glimpse into the early years not to be missed. Currently it’s only available as Kindle-download.
Further news were provided by the always eager eye of John Cox and his very own The Book Bond. He was the first to report that both Ian Fleming’s ‘The Diamond Smugglers‘ and ‘Thrilling Cities‘ are going to get brand new print runs with the distinctive Amazon Vintage cover art. But that’s not all, he spotted a tiny sentence in the Radio Times, suggesting William Boyd already delivered his manuscript for his untitled Bond novel due for October 2013. And he already traced down the first Amazon listing for the book, which incidentally announces an impressive page count, too. Something to look forward to in 2013!
For Bond fans like me 2012 has been a marvellous year in every respect, absolutely fantastic. In time for the anniversary CommanderBond.net too did revive many fine traditions – both on the main page and the forums – that have been missed in recent years. Naturally the past year saw our focus to some extent on the cinematic part of James Bond. In 2013 now Bond will actually see his sixtieth anniversary as Ian Fleming’s character and arguably literature’s most celebrated spy. CBn is going to celebrate this event throughout the year with a number of activities centred on the literary heritage of 007. Without losing sight of the film phenomenon that introduced most current fans to the world of James Bond.
2013 is going to be a busy year.
Worth another shot will return in February.