CommanderBond.net
  1. The 007th Chapter: Icebreaker – Rivke

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart – this time cunningly presented as a rerun. It’s summer time after all…

     

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    A famous episode of Hancock’s Half Hour is “The East Cheam Drama Festival”. Hancock, Hattie Jacques, Bill Kerr and Daniel Craig Sid James grapple “Look Back in Hunger” and “The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven and the songs that made him famous” and, titweepingly magnificently, “Jack’s Return Home.” In a coruscating exposure of the zeitgeist, poverty-stricken Joshua (Hancock) and wife Martha (Hattie) are menaced by landlord Jasper Stonyheart (Sid). It’s complex. Their son Jack is presumed dead – impaled by “the Zulus” – but Martha claims she insured his life, so all is well. Inopportunely, Jack (Bill) returns home, penniless. So Martha shoots him. ©BBC Worldwide, amongst others (prob’ly).

     

    Hancock: Aha, me old darlin’, you’ve shot Jack.

    Hattie: Yes, and I took out a policy on you as well, so watch it.

    Hancock: Wait a minute, I have a surprise for you. For thirteen years, you have thought I am Joshua, your husband.

    Hattie: Well, aren’t you?

    Hancock: No; stand back while I take my wig off. There…

    Hattie: Good heavens! Frederick!

    Hancock: Yes, Frederick. What do you say to that, Jasper Stonyheart?

    Sid: I’m not Jasper, I’ve been wearing this wig and pretending to be Jasper. This is who I really am. There!

    Hancock: Good heavens! Jonathan!

    Sid: Yes, Jonathan. I didn’t trust either of you, especially you, Martha.

    Hattie: And you were right not to, Jonathan, for you see, I am not Martha!

    Hancock: Not Martha?

    Hattie: No! There, now do you recognise me?

    Hancock: Gad! It’s Gladys.

    Hattie: Yes, Gladys, the girl you wronged.

    Hancock: Then who pray is the poor wretch we’ve killed?

    Bill: Fear not! You didn’t kill me! I was saved by my silver cigarette case. There! Do you not recognise me without the wig?

    Sid: Yes, I should have guessed – Ronald!

     

    Welcome to Icebreaker.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2016-07-12
  2. The 007th Chapter: Licence Renewed – King of the Castle

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart (yep, this one should have come before For Special Services, you get a cigar…)

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    In my youth (that’s not a location update) I set a “quiz” for my College. Brain-mashers like “Abbreviations excluded, name the only U.S state written using one line of typewriter keys” (Alaska; no-one knew (no-one cared)) and “Name the only country written using one line of typewriter keys”. Peru, but some “body” said Eire (fair point), another that “it’s Republic of Peru, actually, I know thart, actually, because I gap-yeared tharh, actually, licking yurts, communing with my spirituality, yah, and photocopying for my uncle at KPMG Lima.” There was such a fight. I encouraged it. Ectually.

    I also had a round on “James Bond”. This was 1993 (hence “typewriter”), with 007 as relevant and welcome as anything else dead for four years that sane folks hoped would never return, like Eastern European communism, that Dr Who children’s programme or the Ayatollah Khomeini (give him time). Select questions went:

     

    1. Which two Bond films to date do not feature a helicopter? (Child-like optimism to say “to date”, but child-like I was (rather than current lifestyle choice of childish), and brilliant. Precocious, smackable little weasel)

    2. Why is A View to a Kill unique amongst the Bond films? (Keep it clean. In early 2015, this answer still holds)

    3. Which author has written the most James Bond novels?

     

    There were others, such as Q’s I.Q. to the nearest five points (it’s five; trick question), something something watches something (it really doesn’t matter) and Anne Fleming’s inside leg measurement (loads of people knew it; some reputation, that) but I’ve forgotten the rest.

     

    Question 1? Yes, you, with the mittens…

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2016-05-09
  3. The 007th Chapter: For Special Services – Invitation by Force

     

     

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart – cunningly presented out of sequence…

     

     

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    Contains huge spoilers. Of a book over thirty years old. Isn’t it terrible, that news about The Titanic? Bet you can’t guess who Darth Vader really is. I think I’ve drunk wine younger than this book. Once, with regret. 

     

    I’m thinking… Ronseal.

     

    I haven’t succumbed to product placement (yet) but as I age, I dwell on how to keep wood. If none-the-wiser, or just aghast at the squalor of that joke, Ronseal is a creosote (this won’t get more exciting). Other brands are available but Ronseal stands out for possessing a bouquet that smacks-up dead quick dirt cheap, and having been advertised with the slogan “it does exactly what it says on the tin”, a phrase that has entered the wider lexicon, like those “Keep Calm” things – Keep Calm and Drop Dead – and “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and cultivate Type-2 diabetes”.

     

    This springs to mind not through an urge to paint the fence – one engages the little people for that, how charming they are with their “vans” and their “views” – but because I hold a-mitt a 1987 Coronet UK paperback of For Special Services. It looks chewed. There’s a distinct – dog?  – toothmark at the moment Bond eats a tuna sandwich and drinks Perrier. I might be blaming the hound unfairly; could have been me, enraged at this dumbing-down / plebbing-up of 007. There’s another incision just as Bond crams his gut with “chicken pie” and Apple Jonathan – presumably not Sir Jony Ive, although since Bill Gates gets an oblique reference in Role of Honour one can’t dismiss the thought. Fair’s fair, both meals are comforting beige stodge, so I might have been trying to join in. “Beige stodge” seems apt, somehow.

     

    Back to the “point” – the selling (or selling out) of Gardner Bond. Can’t judge a book by its cover, say “they”. Codswallop: the cover has “James Bond” in letters larger than both title and author, there’s a silhouette of a dinner-jacketed man taking aim and the base has “007”, big and bold. Little else upon which to judge it, frankly. It does exactly what it says on the tin. The book has James Bond 007 in it, although moot whether it’s ectually Ken Spoon (or Ron Seal). For Special Services might be open to many criticisms – on their way, lovey – but terminal ambiguity is not one. There is nothing else this could be. Anyone spotting you reading it – once they’ve stopped pointing fingers and whispering (although that’s nothing to do with the book and you know it) – would be in no doubt about what it was; similar absence of doubt in their deciding to flee, chop-chop quick.

     

    The back cover risks undermining this single-mindedness, instilling anxiety whether such tin-based-promise will come true. Things start “well”, boasting that Bond comes armed “with a new pair of Sykes-Fairburn commando daggers and a new Heckler & Koch VP70 hand gun”, as if that can impress non-mental people, and evidence of a burgeoning trend that hardware gets top billing. Still, the book delivers, narrating inanimate serial-numbered murder-things in greater detail than its characters. Possibly the point is that 007 is just an inanimate serially-numbered murder-thing too. Mr Gardner, you scamp. As if that wasn’t enough tedious name-checking of story-hijacking objects, the “turbo-charged silver SAAB 900” clanks back. The author’s note thanks SAAB (GB) Ltd for “proving that the James Bond SAAB really does exist” even if they don’t any more. Karma caught up with them. Because it wasn’t driving a frickin’ SAAB.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-12-24
  4. The 007th Chapter: Icebreaker – Rivke

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart

     

    IBWC600

     

     

     

     

     

    A famous episode of Hancock’s Half Hour is “The East Cheam Drama Festival”. Hancock, Hattie Jacques, Bill Kerr and Daniel Craig Sid James grapple “Look Back in Hunger” and “The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven and the songs that made him famous” and, titweepingly magnificently, “Jack’s Return Home.” In a coruscating exposure of the zeitgeist, poverty-stricken Joshua (Hancock) and wife Martha (Hattie) are menaced by landlord Jasper Stonyheart (Sid). It’s complex. Their son Jack is presumed dead – impaled by “the Zulus” – but Martha claims she insured his life, so all is well. Inopportunely, Jack (Bill) returns home, penniless. So Martha shoots him. ©BBC Worldwide, amongst others (prob’ly).

     

    Hancock: Aha, me old darlin’, you’ve shot Jack.

    Hattie: Yes, and I took out a policy on you as well, so watch it.

    Hancock: Wait a minute, I have a surprise for you. For thirteen years, you have thought I am Joshua, your husband.

    Hattie: Well, aren’t you?

    Hancock: No; stand back while I take my wig off. There…

    Hattie: Good heavens! Frederick!

    Hancock: Yes, Frederick. What do you say to that, Jasper Stonyheart?

    Sid: I’m not Jasper, I’ve been wearing this wig and pretending to be Jasper. This is who I really am. There!

    Hancock: Good heavens! Jonathan!

    Sid: Yes, Jonathan. I didn’t trust either of you, especially you, Martha.

    Hattie: And you were right not to, Jonathan, for you see, I am not Martha!

    Hancock: Not Martha?

    Hattie: No! There, now do you recognise me?

    Hancock: Gad! It’s Gladys.

    Hattie: Yes, Gladys, the girl you wronged.

    Hancock: Then who pray is the poor wretched we’ve killed?

    Bill: Fear not! You didn’t kill me! I was saved by my silver cigarette case. There! Do you not recognise me without the wig?

    Sid: Yes, I should have guessed – Ronald!

     

    Welcome to Icebreaker.

     

    We’re in a hotel room. Again. A formula emerges.

     

    Some label Bond “formulaic”, usually to disparage the films and/or books as poorer endeavours than ventures that would assault their Gran to grab a tenth of Bond’s money attention money. Optimistic rivals occasionally claim to better 007 with “reality” or “pop music”, then implode into obscurity whilst Bond rumbles on, chiselling the best ideas from their lukewarm corpses but otherwise as untroubled in its way as a triple-hulled supertanker is by one sickly anchovy. “Formula” – the disdain clinging to 007 films for decades, grot from the Bond factory family, complacent and undeserving of serious critique or awards. Populist with a capital Pee, consumer goods as soulful as a hubcap in a hedge, made for a stunningly plebby denominator that can’t do hard Italian neorealist cinema and sneered at as anti-artistic crap. F’rexample, every decade Sight & Sound conducts a poll of the greatest films of all time: A View to a Kill’s never on it. Some say that’s their loss (the same some who can’t have seen any other film ever made, mind), but indicative of an attitude as lofty as the hillock of cash sat upon by those making 007.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-12-15
  5. The 007th Chapter: Licence Renewed – King of the Castle

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart

    LRWC600

    In my youth (that’s not a location update) I set a “quiz” for my College. Brain-mashers like “Abbreviations excluded, name the only U.S state written using one line of typewriter keys” (Alaska; no-one knew (no-one cared)) and “Name the only country written using one line of typewriter keys”. Peru, but some “body” said Eire (fair point), another that “it’s Republic of Peru, actually, I know thart, actually, because I gap-yeared tharh, actually, licking yurts, communing with my spirituality, yah, and photocopying for my uncle at KPMG Lima.” There was such a fight. I encouraged it. Ectually.

    I also had a round on “James Bond”. This was 1993 (hence “typewriter”), with 007 as relevant and welcome as anything else dead for four years that sane folks hoped would never return, like Eastern European communism, that Dr Who children’s programme or the Ayatollah Khomeini (give him time). Select questions went:

     

    1. Which two Bond films to date do not feature a helicopter? (Child-like optimism to say “to date”, but child-like I was (rather than current lifestyle choice of childish), and brilliant. Precocious, smackable little weasel)

    2. Why is A View to a Kill unique amongst the Bond films? (Keep it clean. In early 2015, this answer still holds)

    3. Which author has written the most James Bond novels?

     

    There were others, such as Q’s I.Q. to the nearest five points (it’s five; trick question), something something watches something (it really doesn’t matter) and Anne Fleming’s inside leg measurement (loads of people knew it; some reputation, that) but I’ve forgotten the rest.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-09-16
  6. James Bond fans unite to get John Gardner's 007 back in action

    GardnerRenewed.org

    John Gardner

    John Gardner

    In the early-1980s, novelist John Gardner (1926-2007) undertook the impossible task of bringing Ian Fleming’s “master spy” James Bond 007 into the new decade, ending up with a product that reinvigorated the Bond literary franchise after many years of inactivity. First published by Glidrose Publications (currently Ian Fleming Publications) and Jonathan Cape in 1981, Licence Renewed was the first of 14 original James Bond novels written by Gardner.

    May 2011 will mark the 30th anniversary of the release of Licence Renewed and in honor of this anniversary, a campaign to get all 14 of Gardner’s James Bond novels reprinted began on the CommanderBond.net Forums on April 16, 2010.

    From 1981 to 1996, Gardner penned 14 original novels and 2 novelizations featuring James Bond 007. The majority of Gardner’s novels have been out of print for 20 or more years and COLD, Gardner’s final contribution to the series, hasn’t been in print since 1997!

    The purpose of the “Reprint John Gardner’s 007 Now” campaign is to gather “followers” that wish to see these novels reprinted (complete with uniform cover art) in the near future.

    GardnerRenewed.org

    There are many ways to get involved and show your support. They include:

    If you’re unfamiliar with John Gardner’s literary 007 series, feel free to check out the following CommanderBond.net ‘Looking Back…’ series:

    Fans can also participate in CBn’s Blades Library Book Club, where they can post their own reviews of Gardner’s Bond novels on the CBn Forums. Full details here.

    As always, keep your browsers locked on the CommanderBond.net main page and our Discussion Forums for all the latest literary 007 coverage and news.

    Visit CommanderBond.net on…
    Twitter | Facebook | MySpace

    Devin Zydel @ 2010-04-30
  7. John Gardner's The Liquidator to return in 2010

    John Gardner’s The Liquidator will be back in action in 2010.

    According to an update posted on the recently redesigned and relaunched John-Gardner.com website, the James Bond author’s very first novel, 1964’s The Liquidator, is set to be reprinted later this year in the UK.

    The comedic thriller introduced secret agent Boysie Oakes, a character Gardner would be bring back for several of his future novels in the series, such as Understrike and Amber Nine.

    This new reprint of The Liquidator will be released by classic thrillers and crime publisher Ostara Publishing. No specific release date has been announced yet, but October 2010 is the targeted month.

    For an interesting take on the connections between Gardner’s James Bond series and The Liquidator, check out the following CommanderBond.net article: Past James Bond Author References In John Gardner’s ‘The Liquidator’.

    Keep your browsers locked on the CommanderBond.net main page and our Discussion Forums for all the latest literary 007 coverage and news.

    Visit CommanderBond.net on…
    Twitter | Facebook | MySpace

    Devin Zydel @ 2010-04-27
  8. John-Gardner.com is back in action

    The offcial website for author John Gardner, www.John-Gardner.com, is back in action with an all-new look.

    John Gardner

    John Gardner

    Best known by James Bond fans as the continuation author who guided 007 through 14 official novels and 2 novelizations in the 1980’s and 90’s, Mr. Gardner’s contributions to the literary Bond legacy should not be understated.

    The redesigned and relaunched website has several new features, including a news section and Twitter feed to make it even easier for followers to stay up to date.

    Also worth checking out is the biography section and the photo galleries, featuring numerous editions of the Bond novels, from 1981’s Licence Renewed to 1996’s COLD.

    Check it out today: www.John-Gardner.com

    Keep your browsers locked on the CommanderBond.net main page and our Discussion Forums for all the latest literary 007 coverage and news.

    Visit CommanderBond.net on…
    Twitter | Facebook | MySpace

    Devin Zydel @ 2010-04-13
  9. The Blades Library Book Club: COLD

    Welcome back to The Blades Library Book Club – the place for quality discussions of the books of James Bond!

    John Gardner's 'COLD'

    John Gardner’s COLD

    Every two months a James Bond 007 novel is chosen for the club members to read. A thread is posted in the club forums listing locations on where you can find the novel. Discussions about the book will go on as the book is read and when it is finished. Another thread will be created so that club members can post their review and give a rating on the current book.

    All fans of the Literary Bond are eligible for membership. All you need to do to sign up is register on the CBn Forums (it’s free and only takes a minute) and then post your name in the sign up thread.

    The Book Club’s 29th Book

    We are progressing though the James Bond 007 novels in chronological order, since quite a number of members are using the club as an opportunity to read the books for the very first time. The club has just finished all fourteen of the Ian Fleming novels as well as the one-time-only Bond novel by Kingsley Amis, Colonel Sun. Most recently, the club moved onto the John Gardner era, and now continues with his fourteenth and final novel: 1996’s COLD (published as Cold Fall in the US).

    Obtaining The Book

    Ordering online should be fairly easy. COLD can be ordered online (although in used condition) from the following sources:

    Discuss other places to buy COLD or where you got your copy in this thread.

    Discuss The Book While Reading

    Want to talk about the book while reading it? Post a new thread in The Blades Library.

    Review And Rate The Book

    After you have finished reading COLD, you can discuss it with other club members in The Blades Library, and give the book your personal rating out of five in this thread.

    If you have any questions or suggestions just post them in a new thread. Happy reading.

    *New* Archive Of All Past Read Books

    Additionally, club members can review or comment on any of the past read books in the club any time they want. Click here for the full archive of the past read books in the club.

    Previous Books Read

    Devin Zydel @ 2008-10-24
  10. The Blades Library Book Club: SeaFire

    Welcome back to The Blades Library Book Club – the place for quality discussions of the books of James Bond!

    John Gardner's 'SeaFire'

    John Gardner’s SeaFire

    Every two months a James Bond 007 novel is chosen for the club members to read. A thread is posted in the club forums listing locations on where you can find the novel. Discussions about the book will go on as the book is read and when it is finished. Another thread will be created so that club members can post their review and give a rating on the current book.

    All fans of the Literary Bond are eligible for membership. All you need to do to sign up is register on the CBn Forums (it’s free and only takes a minute) and then post your name in the sign up thread.

    The Book Club’s 28th Book

    Currently we are progressing though the James Bond 007 novels in chronological order, since quite a number of members are using the club as an opportunity to read the books for the very first time. The club has just finished all fourteen of the Ian Fleming novels as well as the one-time-only Bond novel by Kingsley Amis, Colonel Sun. Most recently, the club moved onto the John Gardner era, and now continues with his thirteenth novel: 1994’s SeaFire.

    Obtaining The Book

    Ordering online should be fairly easy. SeaFire can be ordered online (although in used condition) from the following sources:

    Discuss other places to buy SeaFire or where you got your copy in this thread.

    Discuss The Book While Reading

    Want to talk about the book while reading it? Post a new thread in The Blades Library.

    Review And Rate The Book

    After you have finished reading SeaFire, you can discuss it with other club members in The Blades Library, and give the book your personal rating out of five in this thread.

    If you have any questions or suggestions just post them in a new thread. Happy reading.

    *New* Archive Of All Past Read Books

    Additionally, club members can review or comment on any of the past read books in the club any time they want. Click here for the full archive of the past read books in the club.

    Previous Books Read

    Devin Zydel @ 2008-08-15
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