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  1. The 007th Chapter: The Spy Who Loved Me – Come Into My Parlour

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart

     

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    I found what follows knifed into my cranium one morning. As you will see, it appears to be the first person story of a young woman (it’s in the interests of keeping a consistent number of testicles to write “young”), evidently beautiful (and in the interests of my lovely, lovely face) and not unskilled in the arts of love (and of the joint account). According to her story, she appears to have been involved, both perilously and romantically (but mostly perilously), with the same Jacques Stewart whose pointless exploits I myself have written from time to time. With the manuscript was a note signed (in my blood) ‘Mrs Jeem’, assuring me that what she had written was ‘purest truth and from the depths of her heart; take out the bins and deworm the dog’. I was interested in this view of Ian Flemeeeeng, through the wrong end of the telescope so to speak, and after obtaining clearance for certain minor infringements of domestic bliss, I have much pleasure in sponsoring its publication, otherwise she’ll make me sleep in the boathouse once again and its roof leaks.

     

    Send help.

     

    JS.

     

     

     

    ‘Allo. 

     

    Fnarr! Ten-line sentences! Ees what ma ‘usband does, ees eet not? Believe eet, talking to ‘eem is worse. I theenk ‘e breathes through ‘is plump skeen, jibber-jabber-jibber-jabber-bluh-bluh-bluh in that dialect of ‘is. Shaddap you face! Pigliainculo! We of Napoli can talk, but ‘e takes – as ‘e would say –  the sheety biscuit. Not that ‘e is allowed biscuits, the fat ‘ippo; ‘e ‘as to lose twenny pound, figlio di puttana. I know, I know, ‘e would say the easy way to do that is to give me money for shoes. Is “man” (!) who theenks shoes cost twenny pound. 

     

    Stronzo!

     

    What does ‘e mean, “wrong end of the telescope”? I’ve seen ‘is telescope. Need telescope to see eet. Piccolo. ‘E likes James Bond. Is bambino, ‘asn’t grown up. Is path-et-eeec, no? Thees James Bond, ‘e marry a di Vicenza, no? She mad, she die, ees good: northern slurt. 

     

    [Mrs Jim interjects: Ectually, although Italian by birth, I (was) moved to England at three years of age and raised in East Sussex. I have no discernable accent affecting my pronunciation and certainly nothing like the preposterous depiction here. If anything, my English accent corrupts my Italian.  My professional letterhead doesn’t read “screeching blowsy fishwife psychopath cliché” but rather “consultant surgical oncologist”. I appreciate, however, that this nonsense is about an Ian Fleming novel, so cohering with the style I must adopt heightened characteristics and a farcically impenetrable, offensive manner of speaking so that the reader appreciates that I am “foreign”. I am fond of shoes, though. And swearing. As for persons of the Veneto: no strong feelings. If they stay out of my way, I stay out of theirs.]

     

    So, I do review-a. Thees Vivienne Michel – mignotta. End. Fine. Ciao!

     

    ‘As to be longer? Perche? Ma ‘usband makes ees longer? Is eet to compensate? 

     

    Part One: Mi

     

    “I was running away”. Along with creetics, leetle-boy Bond fans and readers wan’ing good time (testa di cazzo! Not that-a sort-a good time). I don’t theenk woman, she writes eet. I theenk eet ees Ian Flemeeeeng in slurt’s dress and whore’s shoes (twenny pound). Ees man who pretends to be woman, like ma ‘usband does when ‘e theenks I’m no in ‘ouse. What is thees – Silence of Lamb? Non mi rompere il coglioni! Man should be man. Was ‘e at Eeeeeeeton? Ah! Explains eet. Mamma knew. Mamma said. If it wasn’t for the keeeds…

     

    What-a can I tell you about-a my life? I was born in Napoli brothel to meeeeserable whore with ‘eart of lead and Latvian – how you say eet? – stevadore with an ‘ump. We were poor, but we weren’t ‘appy. I ‘ad to eat fish’eads until I was eight-a and then we shot-a the dog. I was urchina bella, stealing kerchiefs and inexplicably breaking into song and dance routines despite rickets and diurnal cholera outbreaks. Dio mio! And then wicked theatre producer, ‘e found me and put me in ees girlie show and [insert-a Tiffany Case life story…’ere. When done, insert-a Vivienne Michel life story where you goddamn-a like; I no judge you]. And now I am ‘ere, bird with a weeng down, feeeedled-with in cinema non-paradiso by thees Derek feelth and rejected by Aryan ‘omophobe and ridin’ my Vespa all a-carefree and leathered-up and alone which eeesn’t very wise for a veeectim of abuse at the rough ‘ands of men, save as moist sleaze fantasy by thees Ian Flemeeeeng. ‘As she not seen Psycho? 

     

    [A consultant surgical oncologist writes: Me accent’s slipping. Manchester? Liverpool? (Where?) No: ‘Ove. Sorry, darling – Hhhhhhove. Horrible Hairy Hove Hhhhhhaberdashhhhery. None of the above is true. My parents were doctors. I have never owned a Vespa. Like motorbikes, their only benefit is as a guarantee of imminent organ donation. I drive a Maserati. No, I aim a Masterati.  It weeds out the weaker cars. I don’t believe I know a Derek – one doesn’t mix with the teaching classes – but you’d be surprised at the number of Aryan ‘omophobes one encounters in Hhhhhenley-on-Thames. Usually trying to get my vote]

     

    Part Two: Them

     

    When all thees ‘appens, eet ees Friday 13th. Ees no subtle, no? Ees like pulp gangster tale. Ees not very good pulp gangster tale. She gonna be raped! She just victeeeem. She a-knows she ees victeeeem. She prisoner of dirty old-a man in ‘er ‘ead. Thees Flemeeeeng, ees bad-toothed stinkeeng alcoholic middle-aged “man” tryin’ to get into body of young woman. Ees peeg! If he write eet today, bad man pretend to be young woman on eenternet and ‘e get-a locked up with other bad men and become rottinculo. This a-Flemeeeeng, he just a-drool, old-a cazzone. Bastardo!

     

    Ees a gum-shoe novel, but in bad-a shoes. 

     

    Knock-a knock-a. 

     

    Part Three: ‘Eem

     

    Bond-a turns up! He dressed-a like gangster! Is no subtle. “All women love semi-rape. They love to be taken”. No they don’t-a. What ees thees rubbish my ‘usband reads? Ian Flemeeeeng? Ian Flemeeeeng? You ‘ear me? Li mortacchi tua! You leetle boys all pretendin’ to be-a James Bond with your dreenking and seely watches and priddy cars, and thees is the sort of theeng you like! Merda! ‘E jus’ doin’ ‘eet to shock, like bambina when she excreta everywhere and seets there, all smiles. Ees disturbed child writin’ for stupeed children. What ees thees? ‘E theenks that because ‘e write as woman, ees okay to say eet? Sheet-weet. 

     

    [A consultant surgical oncologist writes: The sentiment is possibly criminal. Why have I allowed this revoltingly poor book into the house? There’s no ambiguity in what is expressed. It may be a inciting influence on the weak-minded i.e. the sort of people at whom it is aimed. I would say I thought better of my husband but on reflection realise I don’t and that this is well down to his usual standard. I shall have words with Jacques. I shall win]

     

    The policeman, he-a called “Stonor”. Like-a Stonor ‘Ouse. Ees close to us. You weeel know eeet not for eets park and ‘istory but (I weep-a for you, you crumbs-a of livin’) because eet was in “Bond feelm”, a seely cartoon, one of the ones with ‘eem ‘oo look meees’rable, like he ‘ad rough end of cello up ‘is lady rose. 

     

    ‘Ees all a nice-a chat thees Stonor ‘as with ‘er but it all comes to one theeng – she ees rough slurt, and she gonna end-a up in ditch. 

     

    I ‘ave ‘ad enough of thees. Thees book, ees feelth. Ees thrown in been. I shall ‘ave to ‘and back to Jeem to write rest of eet. You might not notice difference but I’ve trouble keeping eet up. As ma ‘usband would say, annoyeengly, fnarr. 

     

    What does eet mean? 

     

    [Sound of shackles being unlocked, bag removed from head, an overweight body being dumped in a chair and hasty removal of first edition of a misguided book from the “been”]

     

    Thank you, scrumblenumpkin. Didn’t even have to say the safe word. Ooh, sore wrists.

     

    [A consultant surgical oncologist writes: Indicative of girth of telescope that it’s only the wrists rather than the entire arms. My tragedy]

     

    Enough with folie a deux. Time for folie a Fleming. What is this? The Spy Who Loved Me; the life of Vivienne Michel, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying..?

     

    …confidence?

     

    …complacency?

     

    …underestimation?

     

    …exhaustion?

     

    …conflict?

     

    …concern?

     

    …guilt?

     

    Perhaps all, but never convincingly settling on one as predominant.

     

    Must have been “unexpected” upon receipt at Jonathan Cape, causing alarm that flicking through pages of Bond as if they were banknotes might end due to baffling authorial self-indulgence. Queries, too, about what was in the cigarettes Fleming devoured as ravenously as they devoured him. As with its namesake film, to unleash this in the teeth of litigation and when James Bond’s future might have been doubted, displays bravado. This tenth book is yet bolder than that tenth film which, gloriously, is a remix played at maximum volume, but mistakes confidence for excessive invulnerable boasting. Fleming had already done that with Goldfinger. This first person narrative, Jane Eyre meets Midwood Books meets critical outrage, teeters along the high, thin wire between bravery and stupidity. As conflicting motives tumble with it, I can’t decide which side it falls. Fall, however, it does.

     

    Not dissimilar to the film, there’s self-awareness (that the films would not shake for decades), something that often accompanies outward swagger. Unlike the Eon series’  grisly backslapping knowingness of its own demerits, this book arguably backstabs. What is Fleming saying? This is all James Bond is; my tragedy is that this is what I have ectually achieved. Doused in champagne, caviar and scrambled eggs but understand, please – clear even for Bs and Cs – that it’s no better than equivalent sleazetrash in  racks in the lobbies of motels and read by persons frequenting them. Ah, my legacy. This is all I can do, this is all I’ve been doing, and I am defeated by it. You simply thought it was better because there was Bridge.

     

    Alternatively, is Fleming mockingly taking on US pulp and, finessing it through Bond norms, beating that lot at their own game? Is it just a piss-take? Of whom, though? If it’s of the reader, this is an act of brutal complacency, a writer overconfident that he could write rubbish and people would still buy it. However, such a charge is easier to sustain were this a more regular affair. Evidently some thought went into it, unlike Goldfinger’s easy cruise-control. Exhausted, then? The spy may have loved me, but has the author fallen out of love with the spy? Turning against his creation just at the point when others will take 007 and let him run completely out of hand? Like its heroine, psychologically it’s all over the place, hard to read, and that’s not a million miles from suggesting some of it is unreadable. Some distaste at its contents aside (albeit understandable), the benefit of The Spy Who Loved Me and its justified place in the series is that it’s a horrifyingly raw exposure of an author losing control of his creation. Possibly his mind, with it.

     

    Several sources assert that Fleming was aghast at being read by juveniles. Given that he freely unleashed excessive! exclamation! marks!, Lower-Sixth common-room opinions, “Pussy Galore”, demented ex-Nazis hurling rockets at Her Maj, “homages” of books he enjoyed and a fascinated terror of women, one wonders what he reasonably expected. Perhaps, Ian old lollipop, you could have made them less juvenile in the first place? Ignoring that argument in favour of the income stream, he chose to deliver a cautionary tale about the lack of difference between James Bond and other two-bit rapey gangsters and how the superficial allure of that world is no place for nice young persons. Is it, accordingly… a children’s book – or at least one aimed at them? If so, it’s the second most salacious Young Adult fiction imaginable (after John Wayne Gacy’s Boy’s Bumper Book of Clowns). Not too surprising, given the decidedly mixedmessages of “James Bond and the Adventure of the Dirty Lady in the Motel” that he needed another go at junior storytime with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The Spy Who Loved Me has plenty bang bang; as for chitty, depends how cleft one’s palate is. If you need help, Mrs Jim is handy with a scalpel.

     

    Cramming this parable with the most explicit sex of his work – the “Me” part of the book is a wantonly grimy Hot Sleaze Shocker – with a heroine expressly depicted as loose and an exciting gunfought chase around burning buildings, suggests confusion, or hypocrisy, in the attempt to steer impressionable youthery away from Bond. For his next trick, Mr Fleming will magically eat a cake and yet still have it. Gangsters, girls and guns are real turn-offs for the adolescent, aren’t they? Like the end of a moralising cartoon, the child-catching violence sunk by an epilogued “message”, admittedly more commonly “to conquer Castle Greyskull, learn to work together as a team [buy our toys]” rather than “wanton sluts who have had an abortion only narrowly avoid a fiery hell”, but Fox doubtless has that in development. Strange to try to dissuade those seeking shocks by increasing the more shocking elements to overload. Bit like my father’s idea that, in finding one’s offspring (hi) taking a nip o’ booze, making the little swine finish the bottle to teach me a lesson; the lesson being that alcohol is smashing, and I’ve never looked back. Possibly counterproductive. Fleming should have just unleashed a 200 page version of Quantum of Solace and bored the little sods to death. The sensation is that of a tabloid berating television for shocking acts of Ban-This-Sick-Filth-Now-ness and proving its point by printing close-up stills over many moistly-worded, drooling pages.

     

    The irony of the title – the spy doesn’t love her, he buggers off before a nice eggy breakfast, ordering her to change her soap, indicating she’s a skank (with just cause) – could suggest that Vivienne is an unreliable narrator. Put Bond in a (marginally) more normal scenario than Dr No and how does he behave, particularly to a young lady we have come to “know”? As reprehensibly as ever, even more so given that Vivienne is “real”, which I suspect is the point. And how does this woman, verderbt, verdammt, verraten, react? Does she loathe him, like a sensible person? No; it’s hero worship and another jumbling of what the message might be striving to be. Are we meant to sympathise with her, or think her daft? I don’t read empowerment – nor empathy, nor sympathy – in articulating the tale through this female voice, so “daft” it must be. Although that undermines the (possible) message, it does open up the idea that she represents a fabulously embittered critique of an unblinking hero worship of 007 (and puts the “semi-rape” stuff into the mouth of a cretin, the only place that can harbour it). Given that she’s the only one who ever slept with him, she’s Bond fan number one. Look at her. Just look at her. Learning nothing, off she will scoot and probably end up murdered. Bond fans. Too stupid to accept the truth, all a-gurgle at this terrible, terrible man. Biting the hand that feeds him, is Fleming, in between mouthfuls of that everlasting cake. Whether one is meant to tut at her struggle, or lick one’s lips precisely because of it, is hard to decide. The book might be a good idea, but query whether this was the right conveyance for it. A morality tale, but one that leers. What does Vivienne learn by all this? Sod all. An uncritical Dr Watson in motorcycle leathers, and now I’ve an image of Nigel Bruce that’s going to take some shaking out of me.

     

    In having Bond seen through the eyes of another major character, the opportunity for finger-wagging presents itself handsomely, although given the content of the book, you just don’t know where that finger has been. Urr. On reflection, it had to be “the girl”; a villain’s (or more amusingly, a minor villain’s) perspective (as with From Russia with Love) would inevitably be skewed towards the “Well, they would say that about Bond, wouldn’t they?” but the impression of Vivienne is that she’s a bit thick to be deceived so easily by the obvious trap at the motel and her lovers: Derek, an old Etonian, and Kurt, whose views aren’t radically different from those Bond has himself expressed, and then 007 who encapsulates several aspects of both – and of Horror and Sluggsy – but is in some mysterious way “better”. The ongoing themes from chapter 20 of Casino Royale – which now looks like a manifesto for the series itself – that the heroes and villains get all mixed up… made as explicit as it ever will be.

     

    In hindsight, fascinating timing. At the end of its publication year, we received the Eon-ised Dr No and – Professor Dent and swamp guard aside – the films would not (until recently) share the qualms of an author coming to terms with what he has done. Look at that merchandising, all those toy DB5s sold on the back of Goldfinger, in which a woman is taken to a barn and raped – or semi-raped (because she appears to like it) – or the model space shuttles that naturally emanate from a defenceless girl being ripped apart by Dobermans, or the opportunity to buy a watch whilst your misguided peamind prays that others will think you are James Bond as a result, a man who destroys homes in downtown St Petersburg with a tank, the git. Admittedly, Fleming expresses discomfort ten books in, money in the bank, a Presidential-endorsement made and multiple films on the horizon, which isn’t medal-level bravery but could be mentioned in dispatches for attempted gallantry, similar to J.K. Rowling bravely outing Dumbledore once all the enriching wizardry was done.

     

    Just like Vivienne Michel, we didn’t want to listen. Faced with this borderline-rapist clumsy thug snob, what did we do? We embraced the monster and instilled him into Western culture to such an extent it would be hard to imagine it without him. We were “warned”, albeit by the very person who was as culpable of romanticising 007 just as much as Vivienne Michel.

     

    The films doubtless boosted awareness of Fleming, but their jackbooting of what Bond “is”, appealing to the undemanding, easily deceived and product-placers offering budget if their baubles are shown in a benevolent arc-light, might not “get” what Fleming was saying with The Spy Who Loved Me (even if its execution doesn’t say it well). This is not a man to be liked, says Fleming, trying to wean us off any admiration we had, lest we be considered as gullible as Vivienne. Yet Eon turned him into the greatest hero-icon commodity of the century. The legacy of the (mostly) formulaic films haunts “James Bond” and whilst the Fleming estate doubtless benefits by association with the series, this book – others, true, but this one especially – demonstrates that Ian Fleming is underestimated by any parallel preconception that he is a writer as formulaic as the committee-minds that puked up Octopussy or GoldenEye. The Spy Who Loved Me may not be a successful departure, but as a day-release respite from the prison of “James Bond”, it has appeal.

     

    Then he goes and spoils it all by saying something stupid like “semi-rape” and, stunned, one argues that it should be locked up forever and the key not just thrown away but melted down.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-01-27
  2. The 007th Chapter: Thunderball – Fasten Your Lap-Strap

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart

     

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    Based on an original screen treatment by Jacques Stewart and two strapping young chaps he met in the pub. Several pints of wine later, he can’t recall who suggested what, officer, but once you’ve struggled to the end, you’ll know they won’t sue for credit. Defamation, perhaps.

     

    Datedly jiggerscreeched at the outset of many a DVD:

     

    You wouldn’t steal a car. Correct. That’s not “couldn’t”, so presumably it’s not a challenge. I wouldn’t steal two nuclear bombs either (he writes, attempting to discipline this drivel). As for “couldn’t”, that’s for me to know and for you to find out.  Top tip: stock up on tinned food before 29 August 1997. No, that hasn’t been and gone; you were told that by The Man and chose to believe it because “they” fed you distracting consumerist pleasures. If the views dripsneered onto message boards establish a date by spot-testing social mores of the age, it’s currently June 1959.

     

    You wouldn’t steal a handbag. True again! Oh, how you know me. You complete me. I love you.

     

    You wouldn’t steal a television. Spooky now.

     

    You wouldn’t steal a movie. Well, not so much steal as sorta borrow it. Don’t worry, nobody really minds. Trust to luck that the same nobody notices.

     

    Unfortunately, despite clever hiding of it in the next hugely anticipated adventure of the singlemost culturally significant fictional character of the twentieth century, “notice” is what they did. “Mind”, too. James Bond did not believe in luck, we are told. Ian Fleming patently didn’t believe in good judgment, save for the one handed down that accelerated his demise. Did he learn his lesson? The Spy Who Loved Me suggests not: he pinched that from a “Vivienne Michel”, although she wisely kept quiet and chose instead to pursue a more rewarding career as a motel nymph.

     

    Hindsight rendering the question a fat lot of use, but it’s questionable whether the Thunderball litigation was interested in preserving the sanctity of contribution per se or rather the incredible opportunity that presented itself to secure rights to the tale as a springboard for the ancillary cash graspable in selling toys and “lifestyle” tat; worth suing for. “Exploitation of intellectual property” rarely had a rawer example. It’s difficult to regard Never Say Never Again as bettering the cultural stock of the human experience, ars gratia artis and all that, but squeezing the golden thunderballs at our expense made someone rich and kept shareholders and pension funds all smiles. Doubtless – and indeed, legally – those promulgating the case were entitled to do so, just as I’m legally entitled to unblock a toilet with my bare hands, although exercising such entitlement seems grubby.

     

    This is in obvious contrast to the altruistic fluffiness of Danjaq, a charitable enterprise of greater benevolence than a rest home for insufficiently wounded kittens.

     

    It’ll be on the litigious side of unwise to comment – even within a facetious piece – about who did what to whom because a ) there’s probably still someone kicking around with a stake in the outcome of the Thunderball trial and b ) rich people squabbling about who gets to relieve us of yet more money is unedifying. The case’s legacy is mixed: the brace of films it spawned are peerless, at differing ends of that scale, although it seems that Blofeld could now appear in future Eon films. Given their previous loon-based depiction of him, and multiple parodies since, it’s moot why the Broccoli factory would want to reintroduce his roundly-mocked persona to disrupt the current balance of begloomed despair, peevish insubordination, a half-naked  drunk and a M named Gareth. Possible that the implausibility of The Cackling Wig O’Skyfall buttered us up for insertion of Ernst.  It wouldn’t be our first time, either, although it strikes me that making Silva an information exploiter shoots Blofeld’s bolt, unless there’s opportunity to pick up the Skyfall plot thread of the leaking of British agents’ names, mysteriously abandoned half way through in favour of Grab a Granny.

     

    The spavined whining about recent Bond ripping off Bourne forgets that Bond’s most successful film, pre-rebooting, was itself spawned of a rip-off. Perhaps that’s what the film-makers mean when they umpteenthly claim they’re “going back to Fleming”. “Perhaps”. Choppy waters, and dangerous to stay in too long: the sharks, they circle. Query whether Thunderball should even come into an exercise of finding the core of a Fleming Bond, if it’s not all his own work. It might be a diversion to try to work out what’s plainly him and what’s more doubtful. Whilst the idea of (say) SPECTRE could be the result of collaborative work (don’t know and don’t care, in equal measure), the articulation of the ideas one assumes is his alone otherwise Blofeld sharing Fleming’s birthdate and his antipathy towards Germans is one mother of a coincidence.

     

    The dangers of collaboration laid bare, not just in Thunderball’s genesis but also in its story. Tickled fitfully in waspish references to the inadequacies of SHAPE in From a View to a Kill, here Fleming prods further with a warning about the loopholes created by bringing together nations of differing temperament – such as the British and, y’know, Italians - in preservation not of individual nationalistic goals, just been through a war where that was the villain’s “journey”, but pursuing instead the abstract, conflicted, exploitable ideological nonsense of “peace”, each partner nation having its own definition. The advantage of teamwork is that no individual is responsible for errors; a problem shared is a problem blamed. That absence of responsibility is also its disadvantage, also a tendency to be infiltrated, a notion that Mr Gardner ran with many (many, many) times.  Loopholes through which private enterprise without an ideology other than wealth can skip freely, causing merry hell.

     

    Collaboration allows a pantomime Italian – a wartime enemy – onto the Vindicator, leading to disaster. It’s not an Englishman who steals the bombs, is it? The mutually suspicious and fractured cabal that defends Britain is in contrast to the (…erm) union of crooks – a U.N. of crime, a largely European union at that – headed with fierce purpose by a Greek Pole connected to the Abwehr (inevitably). Bond, knackered instrument of a weakened state, undergoes a futile rebooting at Shrublands, starkly juxtaposed with the introduction of the ruthless SPECTRE, itself a collaborative entity but one with energy, one with a point. How can an exhausted and unfit Britain Bond cope?

     

    In this atmosphere of fractious marriage, where stands the purpose of a James Bond? 007 is no team-mate; the sports he favours are single-player mode. After a distressing episode with a yoghurt, he recaptures his single-minded, booze-and-eggs fuelled identity and saves the day. Come on Britain! Don’t let your identity be subsumed! This is what we need! Ish. The book leaves me with a question: under which flag does Bond sail? The threat here is to an American interest and 007 seems integrated into and comfortable with the culture: the amused, detached observer of the USA in Live and Let Die and Diamonds are Forever is gone, as has the paternalistic riding to the rescue of Dr No. He’s a fuzzier World citizen who happens to be British, something the films cling onto when they can’t justify (beyond bolstering the opening weekend’s grosses) why 007 should (say) stop Max Zorrrrr’n giving California a much-needed bath. There are neither Americans nor British in (the book version of) SPECTRE. Special Relationship takes on the Special Executive? I suppose that’s what the concluding battle represents, that Britain and the US depend on each other and it’s a relationship best consummated. In Felix Leiter’s dreams, anyway,

     

    Identity is eroded, be it Bond a (momentarily) changed man via the Shrublands digression, or Britain’s capacity to determine and defend itself by itself withered by the political expediency of NATO. Too many cooks spoiling an undecided broth and SPECTRE – pragmatic and determined, unburdened by any political belief that can be turned against it – strolls by and nicks its nukes. One way of preventing war is, through eroding the psychological frontiers of statehood, diminishing the egregious nationalism that often allies itself with it. Accidentally on purpose, that allows private enterprise to thrive. There are no nations; just companies. No populace; just shareholders. The only boundary is the amount of disposable income one has. That it’s revealed that SIS has bought information from SPECTRE in the past, and now it’s SPECTRE giving them the run-around, only emphasises how ineffectual, how wheezily behind the pace of the game, post-war nationhood is.

     

    Whilst it’s stretching things to suggest Thunderball is a communist tract, there is a small-p political edge, SPECTRE as an exaggerated extraction of post-war consumerist and corporate opportunism and building a infrastructure of a “state” unlimited by physical frontiers, the commoditisation of violence that doesn’t even have an ostensible excuse in religious fanaticism or flag-waving simple-headedness, making it difficult to infiltrate and undermine.  You knew where you were with SMERSH; behind it there was a belief that could be analysed, turned. It’s not the case when the only purpose is money. The Russians are now out of the game and when they return in The Man with the Golden Gun, they’re also in it for the cash. With national culture confused, co-dependent and cross-fertilised, the lacuna in power is filled by private enterprise out to make a fast buck. Look at all the millionaires who stand for election without any evident policies, f’rexample.

     

    A politically-associated multinational corporation provoking international incidents to bloat the income stream? As if.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-01-20
  3. Shooting “SPECTRE” – Clapperboard 2

    And they´re back!  In Austria.

     

    Stefan Rogall @ 2015-01-06
  4. Merry Xmas from CommanderBond.net

    CBn Xmas 2014

    Heiko Baumann @ 2014-12-24
  5. Belvedere Vodka: The Launch

    As we’ve learned over the past couple of days, there’s a new ingredient in Bond’s Vesper Martini: Polish vodka.

    It’s good news all round as luxury, rye-based Belvedere replaces bargain bucket Smirnoff in 007’s signature drink. This week, A rainy Covent Garden heralded the start of the new partnership between luxury powerhouse LVMH and Eon Productions. The Bond in Motion exhibition looked suitably chic; bedecked in lit “silver sabre” magnums of the spirit, the Martinis were shaken or stirred to your preference and the music pumped out to the suited & booted/befrocked of London. Tinie Tempah was on the decks, but he seemed normal sized and in fine fettle.

    BV_007_Silver Saber

    Special Editions: 007 Silver Sabre & MI6 Edition

    CommanderBond.net, however, first learned of the change not in an underground bunker filled with 007’s rides (vehicular, mind), but in a very exclusive members’ club down a very anonymous street the day previous; a low key setting with an intrinsic link to the Bond universe. We can’t say more than that – as it was all very hush-hush – but suffice it to say it was the perfect surrounding in which to learn a bit more about Bond’s new tipple.

    A select few of us were ushered in to the private bar to meet Belvedere boffin and in-house mixologist Claire Smith (@belvedereclaire) who taught us all about the subtle variations and myriad options available when ordering a Martini; we were introduced us to their “reversed Vesper” in which the measures of gin to vodka are switched to create a smoother, vodka-centric drink; and after we had our fill, we sat down with Charles Gibb (@presbelve), the softly spoken President of Belvedere, who described the partnership as “the largest [they] have ever undertaken.” Mr Gibb went on to outline extensive plans that include worldwide advertising and public relations campaigns, a large social media presence, various promotions and events in bars, nightclubs and stores & the unveiling of two limited edition bottles.

    You’ve probably read all about them by now, but let’s re-iterate anyway: the first has a very limited run of 100, it features the SIS headquarters in place of the Belweder Palace and features green detailing in place of the usual blue – in homage to Captain Sir George Mansfield Smith Cumming’s choice of green ink when initialling documents with his initial “C” (and quite frankly, with that compendium of names, who can blame him using only one letter?). The second edition is the 007 “Silver Sabre”, an LED-luminated silver bottle with laser-etched Bondian details. It does look rather sexy in low light (we can say from first hand experience).

    Bartenders & cocktail purists around the world will agree that the newest ingredient in the Vesper Martini is certainly a step up from what has gone before and should prove a much welcomed boost to Belvedere’s profile worldwide. Mr Gibb, going into greater detail about the newly minted relationship with 007 said “it’s all about synergies when you’re looking at any partnership: Bond is a man of taste, a man of distinction, of style and substance and we’re a vodka of authenticity, of heritage. We like to say we’re a vodka for those who know the difference.”

    Amen, Mr Gibb – mine’s a reversed Vesper.

    @mrpauldunphy @ 2014-12-18
  6. Belvedere announces partnership with James Bond

    PRESS RELEASE – DECEMBER 16 2014,
    LONDON, UK

    Belvedere, the world’s original luxury vodka, is delighted to collaborate with Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment to promote SPECTRE, the highly anticipated 24th installment of the James Bond series, due for global release on November 6, 2015.

    BV_MI6Bottle_Black

    Limited Edition Belvedere Bottle 1/100

    Belvedere will release two custom made, limited edition bottles to celebrate Bond’s vodka martini ‘Shaken not Stirred’, and its partnership with the 24th Bond adventure, SPECTRE. In an unprecedented move, Belvedere has replaced the iconic Belvedere Palace with the famous MI6 headquarters. Belvedere’s signature blue palette will be switched for a distinctive green, mirroring the secret spy agency’s ink of choice, creating a truly memorable collector’s edition of 100 bottles. A 007 twist will also be applied to Belvedere’s iconic Silver Sabre bottles, known for their cutting edge, metallic aesthetic and illuminating technology.

     

    Belvedere’s SPECTRE marketing program will include a global advertising campaign and a wide range of promotion and activation rights around the film. The marketing campaign will be launched as of February 2015, with a strong focus of efforts in on-premise establishments and retail stores across multiple countries. Belvedere is the vodka of choice for tastemakers who Know the Difference, echoing the award-winning campaign promoting knowledgeable choices.

    President of Belvedere Vodka, Charles Gibb states: “James Bond is recognised as the most admired and influential tastemaker in the world. We’re delighted that Belvedere will be partnering with SPECTRE, our largest global partnership to date.”

    Dwight Caines, president of Theatrical Marketing for Sony Pictures, said: “James Bond’s cool attitude and stylish sophistication have always gone hand-in-hand with his choice of vodka martini. Belvedere is a perfect match.”

    Excellent choice, Mr. Bond

    CommanderBond.net attended the official launch party in Covent Garden, London. More to follow.

    @mrpauldunphy @ 2014-12-16
  7. Joint statement by James Bond fansite editors

     

    Regarding the leaking of the confidential SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT correspondence and ‘SPECTRE’ script drafts 

     

    As editors of the websites ‘James Bond Brasil’ (www.jamesbondbrasil.com), ‘James Bond-magasinet’ (www.jamesbondnorge.no), ‘The Bond Bulletin’ (thebondbulletin.blogspot.de) as well as the James Bond Club Germany (www.james-bond-club.de), we, Marcos Kontze, Morten Steingrimsen, Benjamin Lind and Andreas Pott wish to state, that we will not publish or write about any information that has been circulating in media and on the web, and has been illegally obtained from Sony Pictures Entertainment in the recent hacker attack.

     

    Furthermore, we refuse to comment on the content and nature of the above mentioned informations, to divulge this content in any form or respond to any queries regarding to it.

     

    The intention of our websites and the content published within is to inform other Bond Fans about current developments, events and stories from the James Bond universe and not to damage the people who put a lot of work and effort into the making of the Bond Films that we all love and admire. We feel that enough damage and disrespect has been done and sincerely wish Sony Pictures Entertainment, MGM and EON Productions that a swift resolution of the matter can be achieved.

     

    Marcos Kontze – Editor, ‘James Bond Brasil’

     

    Morten Steingrimsen – Editor, ‘James Bond-magasinet’

     

    Benjamin Lind – Editor, ‘The Bond Bulletin’ & ‘Adviser of James Bond Club Germany’

     

    Andreas Pott – President of ‘James Bond Club Deutschland’

     

    The team of CommanderBond.net hereby supports the spirit of this initiative. Crew and members of our site appeal to the loyalty of all Bond fans to the series to do likewise.

     

    David Winter – Editor of ‘CommanderBond.net’

     

    The initiative is also supported by the Swiss Fan Club ‘James Bond Club Schweiz’

     

    Markus Hartmann – President of ‘James Bond Club Schweiz’

     

    Helmut Schierer @ 2014-12-14
  8. Important EON Productions statement on SPECTRE

    EON PRODUCTIONS, the producers of the James Bond films, learned this morning that an early version of the screenplay for the new Bond film SPECTRE is amongst the material stolen and illegally made public by hackers who infiltrated the Sony Pictures Entertainment computer system.
    Eon Productions is concerned that third parties who have received the stolen screenplay may seek to publish it or its contents. The screenplay for SPECTRE is the confidential information of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Danjaq, LLC, and is protected by the laws of copyright in the United Kingdom and around the world. It may not (in whole or in part) be published, reproduced, disseminated or otherwise utilised by anyone who obtains a copy of it. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Danjaq LLC will take all necessary steps to protect their rights against the persons who stole the screenplay, and against anyone who makes infringing uses of it or attempts to take commercial advantage of confidential property it knows to be stolen.

     

    http://www.007.com/statement-on-spectre/

    Helmut Schierer @ 2014-12-14
  9. Shooting “SPECTRE” – Day One

    Although there are several reports that “Spectre” had already started shooting with a few days in Morocco, today, December 8th, marks the official start of principal photography.

    And here is, what we hope will be updated with more photos regularly, the first clapper (and a little hint?):

    B4WJbmpIIAE4NuC

    Bond´s office?

    Stefan Rogall @ 2014-12-08
  10. fvQoT2A

    BOND 24 is called “SPECTRE”

    The official press release:

    James Bond returns next year in SPECTRE. Announced today at Pinewood Studios by Director Sam Mendes, returning cast members Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris and Rory Kinnear will be joined by Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, David Bautista and Andrew Scott. Locations for SPECTRE will include Pinewood London, Mexico City, Rome, Tangier and Erfoud, Morocco. Bond is also back in the snow, this time in Sölden, Austria as well as other locations Obertilliach and Lake Altausee. The 24th Bond outing will also see a brand new Aston Martin designed specially for this film, called the DB10. SPECTRE is out on 6th November 2015.

     

    The official teaser poster:

     

    Spectre_onesheet-691x1024

    Stefan Rogall @ 2014-12-04
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