CommanderBond.net
  1. The 007th Chapter: Casino Royale – Rouge et Noir

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart
     CRWC600
    Jacques Stewart was born in 1973 and educated at Eton. After a brief period at Top Man at Guildford he went abroad to waste his education. In 1994, having failed to be crowned Emperor of the Cress, he joined a Fiat Punto to a tree and amputated his left foot. During both Gulf Wars, he watched them on the telly. His wartime experiences provided him with first-hand knowledge of his expanding waistline.After the wars he continued as a self-employed menace with a private income. He bought his house, House, in Oxfordshire and there at the age of forty he wrote The 007th Minute, a meretricious e-book slagging of the films featuring Commander James Bond. By the time of his death in 2744, seven people had downloaded it and one had even finished it, disappointed. Dr No, the first film featuring James Bond and starring Sean Connery, was released in 1962 and is one he actually quite likes and the Bond films continue to be huge international successes despite what he or any other anonymous human dust on the internet types about them. He is also the author of the magical children’s book You Were A Mistake.The opinions of Jacques Stewart were immediately recognised as total pus by his contemporaries 007izkewl, iluvpiersbrosmam and downloadtransformersfourherehotbabes. With the invention of James Bond, Ian Fleming created the greatest British fictional icon of the late twentieth century.
    That, you already knew.This is not a serious experiment.

    It resolves nothing, and proves less. In seeking to establish what the 007th chapters of the Bond books tell us of the core ingredients of such enterprises, do not come expecting truth or revelation. The only fact that can be asserted of these brainbursts is that they are my opinions, but I might be lying about that, to tell the truth (or not). Nor are these pieces intended as a guide for aspiring writers of Bond – be they “official” or fan fiction. The latter category may glean nothing from this exercise; the Bond novels tend to have right good spelling and grammar. Plots. Characters. Big words. As far as those charged with filling remainder shops with licensed literary Bond go, they might just get depressed.

    However, if you’re familiar with the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 (it’s a page-turner: the car chase is fab), you’ll be aware that copyright in literary works persists until 31 December of the seventieth year after the author’s death. Accordingly, in principle anyway, on 1 January 2035, it’s open season on Ian Fleming’s works. In principle. It may be quite tricky – you’re welcome to try, if you’re still around and fancy litigation as a retirement plan. There’s the small matter of the continuation novels and short stories, evidently created to better the cultural life of the planet and not just preserve rights (God forbid you’d think that: tchoh!) and the equally splendid situation that the books now come with the deathly warning that James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under licence by IFP (kind of them). Trademark protection only lasts ten years, but critically it’s renewable (whereas, in so many ways, Ian Fleming is not, however many grave-based revolutions folks assert he performs on hearing (despite being heavily death) of a blond Bond or an invisible car). Given the happy-go-lucky good-natured attitude to their intellectual property that Danjaq have often demonstrated to this website, one suspects they’re unlikely to forget to send the form in on time.

    I suppose that doesn’t technically stop someone from using the text of (say) Thunderball and changing the name and number – seemed to be the heart of the McClory argument, that – but one would doubt both the sanity and the point. I’m in no position to judge either, though, as will rapidly emerge.

    Insfoar as there’s any structure to the venture, let’s play Goldfinger:

    Volume 1: Happenstance will concentrate on the Flemings;

    Volume 2: Coincidence on the Gardners and Bensons; and

    Volume 3: Enemy Action, Although It’s Actually Extremely Damaging Friendly Fire, What the Bloody Hell Are IFP Thinking? on the likes of Higson, Faulks, Deaver and Boyd.

    Knowing full well that I have been amiss on Amis and ungood on Wood and [something para-rhyming with Pearson (nothing para- rhymes with Pearson)] on Pearson, my views on their efforts will have to wait until this emerges as an e-book although if you’re that desperate to know, you can make a pretty accurate guess.As a clue, the overall structure may follow the classic dramatic arc of a first bit where everything’s sunshiney and delicious; middle part, all dark and horrible and nasty and stuff goes very wrong; third act, heroically back to form. Not too confident about that last one, frankly, but let’s get going.

    For the 007th chapter, I’m concentrating on the actual chapter itself as a snapshot of the written Bond. Whilst, as with the films, I could digress into laboured reviews of the remainder of the (de)merits of the product, that would necessitate having to read them all, and I have neither the time nor the patience nor (when it comes to more than a handful of the non-Fleming output) the absence of dignity.

    All “quotes” from texts are, unless otherwise stated, copyright Ian Fleming Publications Limited.

     

    The 007th Chapter – Casino Royale: Rouge et Noir

    continue reading…

    H.Sc. @ 2014-02-24
  2. Worth another shot… in March

    Image 'Icegun vs. Woodbazooka' by 'Aurelian Breeden' (c)

    Image ‘Icegun vs. Woodbazooka’ by ‘Aurelian Breeden’ (c)

    Hush!

    Do you hear that? No?

    Be quiet. Very quiet.

    Quieter! Stop breathing, for a while…

    Do you hear it now?

    Very faintly, far in the distance?

    Somewhere out there there is an almost inaudible sound, a tiny ticking, like a very expensive lady’s wristwatch.

    That is the sound of Ian Fleming Publications preparing for their 2013 Grand Slam, the brand-new James Bond novel by William Boyd.

    Surprisingly it sounds very much like – nothing. In fact some of our well-known eavesdroppers insist that – according to their readings – there is no such noise to be heard at all. They claim I must be suffering from ‘auditory hallucinations’ as they put it.

    What do the Ferrets know. I know better. I can hear the works of IFP ticking away thin slices of time until September. The lady may have just changed her timepiece to a digital, that won’t help her.

    I can still hear it ticking. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock…

    Do you listen, IFP? I can still hear you! Night and day, night and day! Night and …

     

    March over already? Phew, that was the worst March since…well, since February. Which was bad enough for a February, let alone a March. What have we missed? Tons of things, evidently. But only few of a cursory Bond connection.

    Still, some things went – almost – unnoticed.

    Such as the activities of the University of Illinois’ Rare Book and Manuscript Library to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the publication of ‘Casino Royale’.  An exhibition of the University’s Fleming treasures (“The Birth of Bond: Ian Fleming’s ‘Casino Royale’ at 60” , April 12th – July 1st), a lecture (“Casino Royale and Beyond: 60 years of Ian Fleming’s literary Bond” Opening Event) by Michael VanBlaricum, President of the Ian Fleming Foundation, on the exhibition’s opening day (April 12th, free admission ) and a second exhibition concerning itself with “Unconventional Bond: The Strange Life of Casino Royale on Film” (April 16th – June 16th, Spurlock Museum) aim to entertain and inform both seasoned fans and newcomers to the literary 007 alike.

    From the University’s own pages:

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — “The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.” That’s the opening line of “Casino Royale,” the novel that introduced secret agent James Bond to the world, launching a franchise of books and blockbuster movies that continues to this day. April 13 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of “Casino Royale,” and the University of Illinois will recognize the event with a collaborative celebration hosted by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Spurlock Museum, and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music.

     

    Titled “The Birth of Bond: Ian Fleming’s ‘Casino Royale’ at 60,” the event will feature a collection of first editions, manuscripts and Fleming ephemera at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library; a film festival and display of Bond movie costumes and props at the Spurlock Museum; a collection of audio recordings, photographs and sheet music (including the original 2006 “Casino Royale” score) at the Sousa Archives; and a performance of music from the Bond movies and books by the U. of I. Concert Jazz Band. A full schedule of events is online.

     

    Much of the material featured in “The Birth of Bond” comes from the collection of Michael L. VanBlaricum, the president of the Ian Fleming Foundation and a U. of I. alumnus who is loaning pieces of his personal collection of Fleming first editions, manuscripts, letters, recordings, sheet music and movie props to the three campus sites.

     

    VanBlaricum will give a one-hour talk on Fleming and Bond at 3 p.m. on April 12 (Friday), in the library auditorium (Room 66), followed by a reception in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Room 346). The jazz concert, on April 13 (Saturday), will begin at 7 p.m. in the Knight Auditorium at Spurlock Museum, and will include a piano medley of Bond themes performed by Raymond Benson, one of the continuation authors hired by the Fleming family to carry on the James Bond novels after Ian Fleming’s death, as well as themes from the Bond movies and music mentioned in Fleming’s books.

    Grateful thanks to CBner ‘Major Tallon’ and Ms Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities News Editor at the University of Illinois, for pointing us to this and providing assistance.

     

    What else?

    Well, of course the new Bond book was published. In February even. Nobody seemed to notice, strange. Oh, I’m not talking about that William Boyd thingy, that one is ticking away somewhere behind IFP’s iron curtains backstage, rather loudly I might add (‘Sir? Would you mind? Ticking a little bit less prominently? There’s people trying to write a column here, you know. Ta muchly!’).

    No, what was published in February by the University of Alberta Press was Kimmy Beach’s ‘The Last Temptation of Bond’. The first – as far as I am aware – epic Bond poem ever. Or ‘evah’, whichever you prefer. Kimmy Beach is the author of – amongst others – ‘Nice Day for Murder – Poems for James Cagney’ and ‘Alarum Within: Theatre Poems’ so I guess it’s safe to assume she is a seasoned poet. According to her blog she also is a dedicated Bond fan. Both passions had to collide somewhere along the road and the fruit of this is now available at Amazon and supposedly other places, too.

    I cannot claim even the faintest kind of authority in the realm of poetry, so I better skip any pretensions of erudite appraisal. Beach herself calls the book her take on Nikos Kazantzakis’ ‘Last Temptation of Christ’ with a Bond theme, the ageing 007 coming to terms with his own mortality and accordingly having to deal with the many women in his life. It sounds like a fun idea and I will check it out one of these days.

    My thanks go to Double 0 Section for digging it out, and to The Book Bond for bringing it to our attention.

     

    Losses: We’ve sadly lost Richard Griffiths. R.I.P.

     

    And that already was this month’s shot.

    Worth another shot will return once this ear-shattering ticking noise stops…

     

    H.Sc. @ 2013-04-10
  3. Worth another shot… in February

    Oscar one and a half, image by James Salmond Furniture, used with kind permission

     

    As everybody can plainly see with a glance at the image that comes with this shot, February was clearly dedicated to the Academy Awards, the James Bond tribute at said sad event, and of course the spectacular congregation of all six Bond actors on stage! That even more spectacularly – after repeatedly being debunked by various parties – really didn’t happen then. Scandalous!

     

    Which is why we won’t waste further words on this event.

     

    CBners’ new fan shirt creation, supposedly comes with Bond’s private number

    What we will mention in this shot is the brand-new, all British-Racing-Green CBn fan t-shirt, designed by CBners themselves and up for grabs for the next six days. Provided the goal of 25 orders is met by then. Shouldn’t really be a problem, the rumour mill suggests this t-shirt comes with the number of Bond’s direct line at SIS HQ and the number of his secure home line. In code of course (something to do with the number of threads used, divided by the square root of the moon phases). The shirt asks for a mere $ 15.00, hardly too much for Bond’s phone number, even if you shouldn’t be able to decipher it.

     

    In other news: CBn started a side-career in the building industry! Our first project is Build BOND 24, a multiple choice poll game in – currently – five brand new threads in the CBn Forum Games section. Starting with the basics (Bond, girl, villain),   going to locations, the must-haves (conventions, bling and signature lore),  a story and a ride, and finally some kind of noise to go with the whole experience, you can choose amongst a wealth of carefully worded suggestions as well as add your very own personal scintillations. Be sure to leave a contact address and don’t move too far from your phone, just in case you get a call by a certain production company.

     

    And now for something completely different…

    Matt Helm – somewhat of a ‘colleague’ of Bond from the other side of the Atlantic – is finally coming back! Starting this February Titan Books reprints the popular tough-as-nails secret agent series by Donald Hamilton. The first two – DEATH OF A CITIZEN and THE WRECKING CREW – are already out; April, August and October will see further reprints. That’s not news, you say? So you already knew about the prequel MATT HELM: THE WAR YEARS, too? Well, for those that don’t, it’s a brand new Matt Helm story by Keith Wease, a long-time Matt Helm fan whose work, according to Donald Hamilton’s son, captures the voice of his father quite successfully. Currently MATT HELM: THE WAR YEARS is available on Kindle.

     

    Worth another shot will return, once we’ve upgraded our deciphering hardware. Until then keep calm and…

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    H.Sc. @ 2013-03-11
  4. Worth another shot… in January

    ‘Chinese cleaver’ by ‘panduh’ (c)

    January has been a surprisingly quiet month for us fans. Quiet not in absolute terms – just take a look at the wildly exciting speculation about all six Bond actors possibly showing up at the Oscar ceremony, the guessing game around this event’s Bond tribute and the five nominations for the Academy Awards – but quiet in a post-coital sort of way; a deeply satisfied, warm, lush and drowsy dampness after a major climax in the eventful history of Her Majesty’s favourite parachute escort. It borders on melancholy and one would like to turn back time and live through it all again.

    Not that everybody was downright ecstatic about ‘Skyfall’. Yet it’s hardly overstated to claim the film has met with an overall very favourable reception by audience and critics alike.

    As often is the case with this kind of ‘event’ productions numerous public figures seized the opportunity to delve into the – for most of them – foreign realm of film criticism and give their own opinion, often with entertaining results. One of the more illustrious figures to weigh in was none other than Sebastian Faulks himself, a favourite with British literary critics and ennobled by a fate which chose him to pen 2008’s ‘Devil May Care’, a Bond continuation novel tasked with commemorating the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, written “as” Ian Fleming and, in so doing, giving us Bond playing tennis, a Bond girl masquerading as a sex-slave heroin addict, death by administration of paddlesteamer and M doing yoga.

    Mr Faulks delivered his opinion on ‘Skyfall’ together with his up-to-then-missing verdict upon ‘Quantum of Solace’, and for good measure provided readers with his professional insights into Ian Fleming’s literary character; all in a day’s work. A buy-one/get-three sort of deal; we are sure you can acquire ‘Devil May Care’ in such an arrangement, should the fancy take you. The resulting critique embraced such a revealing nature that it went a long way towards explaining – perhaps unwittingly – some fundamental misconceptions about both film and book Bond; though on whose side, one comments not.

    However, Mr Faulks succeeded in making it into the headlines of The Telegraph and – never miss a good rehash; I know what I’m talking about – the Daily Mail. Further January headlines concerned themselves with the case of brutal butchering ‘Skyfall’ underwent at the hands of Chinese censors in order to gain access to Chinese theatres. The chopped version omits a few tiny details that weren’t deemed worthy of amusing the audiences under protection of the PRC. We were so very not-amused about this revelation.

    Though on closer inspection the mutual outcry indeed seems a bit hard to understand. ‘Skyfall’ shares its fate with the likes of ‘MIB3’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and countless other productions I can’t be bothered to list here. It would have been much more of a sensation had the film made it to China’s cinemas without any cuts and changes.

    A different sort of ‘Skyfall’ review was provided by cartoon artist, writer and illustrator Josh Edelglass, creator of the film parody web comic MotionPicturesComics.com. In January he finished a six-week run covering ‘Skyfall’. Premise of his web-comic series are a boy and his robot jumping into various films and commenting on the spectacle in tongue-in-cheek manner reminiscent of movie parodies in MAD magazine tradition . His take on ‘Skyfall’ can be found here.

    Finally Jason Whiton’s fanblog Spyvibe rediscovered a piece of surviving Fleming trivia on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs website. The programme featured prominent figures in interviews with host Roy Plomley, discussing the show’s premise of  which records to have with you on a desert island. Fleming was Plomley’s guest for an August 1963 broadcast, of which just short of 10 minutes can be heard. Intriguing stuff indeed.

    Worth another shot will return… in March.

    H.Sc. @ 2013-02-06
  5. Worth another shot… in December

    ‘Confetti Street’ by ‘Antoaneta’ (c)

    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.

     

    H.Sc. @ 2013-01-08
  6. Worth another bloody shot… in November

     

     

    ‘Well, it’s Christmas time again,

    decorations are all hung by the fire.

    Everybody’s singin’

    all the bells are ringing out,

    and it’s Christmas all over again…’

     

     

     

     

     

    Rule of thumb: when you are struggling to find a halfway-decent hook for your tiny piece of monthly column, and it’s already the 3rd and you can’t decide on the hook, the layout or the images to go with it… then there is nothing better than inspiration provided by The Admiral himself. Kudos to Dave Winter for helping me out here.

    What’s it all about? In the words of The Admiral:

    Keep calm and… TAKE THE BLOODY SHOT!

    Order a t-shirt for $20 within 7 days in order for the campaign to be a success (we need 50 orders for the shirts to be printed): http://teespring.com/takethebloodyshot 

    Enjoy Skyfall? Now wear the T-shirt with the fantastic quote from M in the pre-titles sequence.

    Given the fact it’s that time of the year (yet) again, this item might be just the right thing to buy your significant other for the stocking. Add one for yourself, too. This shirt is decidedly shirt-ish, the colour sufficiently bright to lighten up the dark winter days (and nights), and the slogan is downright unbeatable in terms of cultural impact – Bond can attest to that. A modern classic for generations to come. Elegant, stylish, timeless – just what the tasteful Bond fan is looking for.

     

     

    And now – TAKE THE BLOODY SHOT!

     

     

     

     

    continue reading…

    H.Sc. @ 2012-12-03
  7. Worth another shot… in October

    Image by ‘Defence Images’/MOD/SAC Tracey Dobson (c)

    No sooner was the September shot finished when virtually all hell broke loose. Not because of my flimsy prattle, it just happened to coincide with Adele’s main title song turning from ‘official rumour’ to official fact.

     

    From that day onward October was riddled with the mortar impacts of the ‘Skyfall’ PR campaign. Adele’s song ‘Skyfall’ was officially supposed to set out into the big wide world on October 5th, but somehow a snippet of it ‘leaked’ a few days earlier – and met with an enormous demand, making the final release then a lesson in skyrocketing the iTunes Charts. It immediately went to No 1 in most of Western Europe and managed practically everywhere else in Europe to climb the top ten. When was the last time we’ve seen such happening to a Bond song? Actually – when was the first time???

     

    As could be expected the song still isn’t everybody’s favourite, for various reasons I’m not qualified to write about even speculatively. My personal impression (and nothing else will you get here) was it’s perhaps a bit short on substance. And yet I haven’t been able to get the thing out of my system for weeks now, so it probably achieved what it was supposed to. Well done, Ms Adkins. Very well done!

     

    continue reading…

    H.Sc. @ 2012-11-05
  8. Worth another shot… in September

    Image by id-iom (c)

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘… wake me up when September ends.’

     

    I actually wanted to use this line right after putting the last full stop under the August version of our new thingy (and I see only now I didn’t put a full stop there either; well, can’t be helped). And now I was close to missing the beginning of October for real. Happens…

     

    Follows opinion. Mine, and mine only. If you want one of your own – fine, go and form one.

     

    continue reading…

    H.Sc. @ 2012-10-01
  9. Worth another shot… in August

    Image by Jeremy Mates

     

    And another new thing from CommanderBond.net (May flowers? August corn!). ‘Worth another shot’ from now on is going to wrap up the past month, with everything that didn’t make it on the main page but should have. Or did make it and merits another shot. What it says, actually. We do as yet not know where exactly this is going to take us. For the time being it will be a couple of links, revisits, thoughts and notes, nothing too pretentious. Could be in some months it’s going to centre upon a particular theme or event. But I promise it won’t stoop to publishing anybody’s shopping list. Well, Bond’s perhaps, but that’s another story.

     

    Oh, and of course it’s entirely a subjective opinion piece. Meaning whoever is doing it is speaking entirely for himself. You may have your own shot.

     

    So what was it this August that kept our minds busy, what was – nearly – forgotten, and what should perhaps better have been?

    continue reading…

    H.Sc. @ 2012-08-31
  10. The CBn Dossier, January – March 007

    Jacques Stewart

    Welcome to the January – March 2007 CBn Dossier, a wrap-up of all the latest James Bond news and rumours. Coverage will be focusing on Casino Royale, Bond 22, current and upcoming literary 007 releases, and much more…

    This quarterly dossier is written by Jim. If you think that’s bad, it could have been much worse: he could have sung it to you.

    Cashino Royale

    The end of last year provided substantial critical acclaim for Casino Royale; the beginning of this one demonstrated its extraordinary financial success when it continued to shovel megadollars Broccoliwards. By the end of January, it had passed the $100 million mark in the UK, unheard of for a Bond film, and by March had outgrossed every other Bond film in the US and Worldwide to become the most successful of an already pretty frickin’ outrageously successful series. I mean, this was hardly “Help a starving Broccolus”, was it?

    Never mind picking which country to set the next Bond in; they’re now pretty much in a position to buy a country. Possibly not China, where the film opened in January (and whilst Italy had a two month wait, China had a forty-five year one; was Amazon delivering?).

    Ah!, the naysayers would cry (they mainly operate in monosyllables, and even “Ah!” is an exhausting intellectual demand) “Ah! (or, indeed, “Nay!”) But that does not take into account that when Thunderball was released in 1732, the dollar was worth 11p (although that’s pretty much what it’s worth now, nicht wahr?) and everyone on the planet and every single one of the twelvety billion types of beetle went to see Goldfinger at a time when for one British pound you could still buy a cinema ticket, a round of lager (whatever that may be) and the home journey fare on some vile rattling public transport contraption and still have change left over for a Life Peerage”.

    So what?

    OK, so inflation unadjusted, it’s the most successful Bond film ever. Adjusted, it’s about fifth or thereabouts, something like that (I lost interest). Maladjusted, with august bodies flinging numerous awards at it and people the world over still chucking coin, it’s a terrible flop.

    “Thank you for a successful boycott”. Oh, it was nothing really.

    Oh go on, have some more of our money, please

    Equally discourteous to records, the DVD release of Casino Royale has also been hugely lucrative, helped by many retailers in the USA lobbing rare memorabilia/ghastly tat out with each purchase and, in the UK, substantial price-cutting. ASDA, allegedly a “shop” (? no idea) in the northern tundra of England, has been selling the DVD for only £7.00 ($1,356.99 US). A word of caution: given that a couple of years ago in something calling itself Newcastle-upon-Tyne one could buy a “house” for 50 pence, this may not represent such good value. “Casino Royale DVD: fourteen times more expensive than your shack”; tough sell. Rampagingly inadequate bivouacery aside, it does appear to be jolly popular even if the Special Features have come in for criticism, which seems unwise because the more they are criticised, the more inevitable the “we listened to the fans and therefore decided to release an Ultimate Megalith three disc edition £26.99, don’t blame us, you wanted it” in about, ooh, June. God bless Casino Royale, and all who profit by her.

    Oh! Scars

    Maybe it was a tadgette optimistic, but there seemed to be some surprise around these parts that, despite its extraordinarily strong reviews towards the end of last year, Casino Royale didn’t receive any Oscar nominations (and what have things come to – and how happy are we that they have? – when “Bond film not nominated for Oscars”is actually a bit of a shock?), and therefore did not win any (I think that’s how it works).

    Still, Martin Scorsese would really have been left wondering who he had offended in a previous life if the James Bond series – y’know, that one with the metal-toothed giants, psychopathic midgets, upsetting acting and invisible cars – had come along and handed him his perennial and umpteenth smack in the nadgers.

    Anyway, there was still the BAFTAs on 11 February, and the British “Academy” seemed to have been muchly keen – in its “academic judgment” (watching some films) – to hurl nominations at Casino Royale. On the night, Bond fans the world o’er had fingers (gold or otherwise) and hooks and electronic turbogloves of death crossed. Bit of a shame that it only came away with two; Best Sound (sounds lovely) – how do they measure that? “That one was a nice sound, but I don’t like that sound as much, ooh take it away”? Is it about one specific, individual sound during the film – if so, which one? I think we should be told – and Best Newcomer for Ms Green (looks lovely). One could apparently vote for Ms. Green at the BAFTA website although the one time I tried my screen froze and all sorts of horrible things started happening. Doubtless I am very old and even more less of doubt (I know that’s grammatically suspect but it pleases me) there was a very simple solution but I suspect that it was something to do with computers and accordingly, even if very simple, additionally very boring.

    Raising the Standard

    Early February brought the news that Daniel Craig had been awarded the “Best Actor” prize at The Evening Standard Film awards.

    This is evidently a conspiracy by the British film industry to award prizes to its pals and to try to ensure that American producers stay in the UK despite the strong pound and this is why every Bond actor has always received this award… um…

    Um.

    An EMPIRE. Conquered. Fact.

    Best Film. Best Actor. Best Female Newcomer. Splendid. Frankly “they” can give Ms Green as many awards as they want; I know I’d like to give her one. Gloss tarnished a bit by there being no EMPIRE awards ceremony until November (when, presumably, the films of 2007 will be suitably garlanded (early money for Best Actor: Optimus Prime)), but it’s still a pretty substantial haul and is one “voted for by real human beings” unlike the Oscars, which are presumably voted for by a plate of Marmite sandwiches.

    All very good, but can you now please kill Pritpal, and very horribly? Ta.

    Also “something to do with computers”, the year started with the release of Charlie Higson’s third Young Bond novel, Double or Die, a zippy rip-roarer of a read. Instant review in the heading to this bit.

    With some nice – but thankfully not overwhelming – references to “other bits of Bond” and his traditionally fine sense of atmosphere and often brutal violence, Mr Higson has surprised many with this series which, if the standard is maintained with the remaining two books (release dates now announced), will probably be reflected on in years to come as “a sound idea, amazingly”. But most impressive amongst the successes of Double or Die – instant bestseller, 120,000 sold – is that IFP managed to keep the final title a secret until the unveiling on 3 January. Given that the Casino Royale script seemed to be freely available months before we witnessed Daniel Craig administering fragments of toilet cubicle to that spaniel-haired man, and yet this teensy bit of info about YB3 was kept under wraps until the last poss min, Eon could learn a thing or two from IFP about business. And that’s not a sentence I would have believed credible a handful of years ago.

    On that point, hasn’t the Bond world really been shaken up of late? Eon and IFP really motoring and producing product of substantial quality. Young Bond. Blond Bond. Award nominations. Award wins. Critical credibility. It all seems to have been revolutionised and yet it’s still here, and earning as much (and more) than it ever did. This new Bond age seems to be chugging along very merrily. We seem to be heading into Centenary Year in 2008 very nicely.

    While I’m on, being a Bond fan’s quite good now, isn’t it? A few years ago, in polite company, one could have been stoned to death – or at least been made to wear a tag around one’s ankle – if one announced that one quite, well sorta, liked (sotto voce) James Bond. An opinion as welcome as a lusty paedophile popping out of a birthday cake. Yet now, the social stigma seems to be lifting (although obviously a middle-aged man buying and reading a book aimed at children is fine … um) and maybe there will come a time soon when we don’t have to sign a register at the police station, wait for the rozzers to confiscate our secret hoard of “Roger Moore sings Megadeth: Unplugged” videos and have to suppress our inner desires by pretending to like Jessica Tandy films.

    What do you mean that’s only me?

    The Man with the Olden Gun

    Ian Fleming’s Colt .357 Magnum (some sort of gun, apparently) sold for $23,000 at auction in March. I shall now record my reaction to this vital news through the medium of dance.

    You’re too kind.

    Top Nobs Speak!

    Barb Broc and an assortment of Lamonts and Arnolds popped up all over the shop to chat about Casino Royale and Bond 22, all giving off a whiff of a vibe of not quite believing how well it all turned out. Our new safely ensconsed 007 also discussed his belief in the “importance of non-Bond roles”. Said instant millionaire Daniel Craig.

    Purvis and Wade also speak! (But who wrote their dialogue?)

    Seemingly unchastened by having inflicted Die Another Day upon a world too lovely to suffer, but doubtless buoyed up by the generous scoops of praise decorating Casino Royale, the two lads spent some time dealing with rumours for B-22. Moneypenny and Q aren’t that necessary, it would appear (bit odd that it’s taken twenty-odd films to realise this), and will appear only if the story justifies it (given that their repetoire of “stories” has included The World is Not Enough and DUD, approach this with extreme caution) and the Algerian loveknot may turn into an Algerian love triangle, although filming in Algeria could be a problem – there seems to be a subtle hint of war there at the moment (unless the Broccolis buy Algeria, which may be feasible). The “Algerian Boyfriend” thingy seems to be gathering pace, and the usual Goran Whassface and Jean Reno rumours are hoving into view; my money’s on Reno (rather than in Reno) and whilst I accept that he’s Moroccan not Algerian, we’ve all just been convinced that a Dane can play an Albanian so it shouldn’t be too hard.

    Of most interest to CBn members, never averse to speculating, was Pee and Dubya’s comment that Bond 22 won’t be based on Risico. Whilst the reason’s very obvious to we eleven fans of Carole Bouquet’s handlebar moustache, this has inevitably raised the cry “Ah!” (here they go again) “Ah! But they didn’t say it wouldn’t be called Risico!”. No, they didn’t. But, on that logic, they didn’t say it wouldn’t be called “The Adventure of the Gay Elvis” either. Accordingly, Bobby and Neily have confirmed by their silence the following:-

    • 1. James Bond’s middle name will be revealed. They didn’t say it wouldn’t be, so it will. Fact!
    • 2. Given that these are the persons responsible for “Christmas Jones”, expect the middle name to be something stooopid like “Waitrose” or “Wroughton” or “Grrr”.
    • 3. The villain will be a holographic representation of the Second Test match against New Zealand at Lord’s in 1994. They didn’t say it wouldn’t be, so it will. Fact!
    • 4. The girl will be called “Sony”. This one actually has an upsetting air of the inevitable about it. Might be played by Abbie Cornish, but might equally be played by 7-Zark-7 from Battle of the Planets.
    • 5. Giancarlo Giannini will return (this is great – always liked him). And Bond will kill Mathis by cutting him open below the diaphragm, eviscerating him and throwing him off a balcony, his organs splashing to earth… well, maybe not. But somehow, it’s so Daniel Craig.

    Actually, James Grrr Bond seems to fit. Reminds me of the sounds Mrs Jim was making watching Mr Craig walking out of the sea in the entirely non-gratuitous product placement for Daniel Craig’s rolled-up socks.

    Anyway, that’s Bee Two Two. Expect the script to be leaked online tomorrow.

    You’d think they’d be queuing up to do it

    But apparently not. Both Roger Michell and Martin Campbell discussed in January their high probability of not directing The Adventure of the Gay Elvis. Fair enough; with premiere after premiere and, given the splendid product, having evidently given of himself hugely, Mr Campbell probably feels like he’s been buggered by a rhino. Still, it’d be nice to have him back in a few years. CBn wishes him the best for the future.

    Of Mr Michell, he who set Notting Hill before me, thank you so very very much for that, the main point of interest was that TAGE (pronounced “Tadger” to those in the know) was due to start filming in January 2007 (rather than the likely start in January 2008) meaning that we would have a marketing man’s moist fantasy (what a truly foul thought) of a Bond film in 007.

    Stuff it – in 2007 you get the DVD, by Blu-Ray (I have no idea what this means, nor do I want to find out) or by valve or steam or however the lovely magic works; be happy with that, and perhaps some collectors’ cards for a stultifyingly large price. 2008, the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, will bring us Young Bond book 4, a bit more of Moneypenny’s diary, the second film of a finally critically respectable James Bond and the centenary novel. What more do you want, and what more, really, could there possibly be?

    Well, probably some more of the comic strips from Titan, the latest of which, Death Wing, was announced in January (as a replacement for the previously announced Nightbird). And, frankly, if you think Death Wing is as good a title as “The Adventure of the Gay Elvis” you can just poo off, yer bounder.

    On that centenary novel, I did hear – I have my sources, albeit sometimes provocatively unreliable – about an author who had been suggested. A national treasure, immensely erudite, darker than the surface suggests, ostensibly of the Higson ilk, and if you’ve read his stuff, more appropriate than it may first appear, but as it may come to nought I won’t bother telling you about the Stephen Fry rumour.

    Meanwhile, back at the plot, if Bond Tutu has no takers for a director, I’m quite prepared to do it if no-one else is available. I have my price – not in cash, it’s just in ensuring that Mrs Jim is kept away from Mr Craig. I have rarely seen her salivate so. [Note: rarely. Not “never”. You mind your own businesss, you mucky pup].

    A second helping of Haggis?

    Towards the end of March, Paul Haggis dropped/flung to the ground with wanton abandon some thunderous hints about any prospective involvement he may have with Bond 22; whilst general reaction to his contribution to Casino Royale (if a little hazy as to what exactly can be identified as his) has been extremely positive amongst CBn members, it falls upon the nasty man in the corner (me) to point out that none of those awards won have been for best screenplay, have they? Nurr. Well, not yet anyway – the Edgar ceremony is due in April.

    Whoever it is, they had better get a move on: it appears that there is currently no finished script and the thing is due to open on 7 November 2008 against the unutterably unpleasant-sounding Madagascar 2, and about a fortnight before Dumbledore Does Death. That’s only nineteen months from now. Nineteen months ago was August 2005 when there was confident predicting amongst some of the more delusional brethren about a last minute deal to reanimate Mr Brosnan; that just feels like yesterday. Accordingly, November 2008 feels like tomorrow. Get a move on.

    For Sale. Several Careless Owners. $924 million o.n.o.

    I know that Aston Martins are expensive, but that’s ridiculous. Don’t want one now. No, take it away. You can’t make me.

    Oh, go on then. If it means putting the children out to work rather than having them learn French or Heroin or YouTube or whatever schools do these days, then so be it. That paper round had better pay well, or there’ll be trubbel*.

    *this is how one of my twin sons (thirteen) wrote “trouble” in an essay. Thirteen! When I was thirteen I…

    Still hurts.

    Lest We Forget

    Before we get too distracted by all that is bright shiny and new, there were some films ‘n’ stuff before October 2006, y’know. In April/May there will be a Bond Film marathon “in” Manhatten; a second wave of individual Ultimate Edition DVDs of the first 20 films has been announced and the popularity amongst broadcasters for Bond film series does not seem to abate. And there were some Bonds before Ol’ Blue Eyes: the slightly-can’t-quite-put-me-finger-on-it unsatisfying Hot Fuzz was worth watching due to a smashing turn by Timothy Dalton; one forgets how good he was as Bond, and how good he wasn’t quite allowed to be. Even the supporting of Manchester City can be overlooked due to his magnificent voiceover work for Brain’s Faggots.

    Stuff what we done

    During the past few months, Paul gave us all some French on the increasingly sophisticated CBn podcasts, which was exceptionally kind of him and made an old man very happy. Additionally, CBn interviewed the creators of The Art of Bond and Licence to Thrill: James Bond Posters and, thanks to CBn member Genrewriter, looked back at what was for many of our members their introduction to James Bond, and for others a welcome re-introduction, 1995’s GoldenEye. An impressive and heartfelt series of articles, although one awaits the rejoinder of “Last Hurrahs: Diamonds are Forever, A View to a Kill, Licence to Kill and Die Another Day” with some nervousness, because they’re all rubbish*.

    *NB this is an opinion and not necessarily representative of a collective CBn view. Yet. Give me time.

    Sometimes we come in hard copy too: thanks to Ajay and chums, a number of members have had the opportunity of seeing themselves in print in the latest edition of the JBIFC’s excellent magazine, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. 007 Magazine is also excellent. Both are excellent. Splendid.

    Good.

    Additionally, CBn also looked at the A.S.P handgun, weapon of choice of John Gardner’s James Bond in many of his continuation novels in the 1980s and 1990s. CBn hastens to add that it respects the right and freedom of citizens of the United States of America to bear arms, and notes that this derives from protecting themselves from British reprisals during the War of Independence. CBn calls upon you all to put down your guns because – and you read it here first – CBn is pleased to officially declare that the War of Independence has ended. We have that power.

    And we have that power because of our numbers: during January, CBn achieved 8,000 registered members for its forums. If you haven’t yet joined, why not give it a try? Particularly popular threads in the early part of 2007 have been: “What colour is Roger Moore’s brain?”; “Moonraker – Splendid or not so splendid?” (clue: splendid); “Never Say Never Again: Bettering the Cultural Progress of the Planet or Just Cynical Money-Grabbing Bewiggery?” and “Have you pleasured her today sexy man here are pills“. But, seriously, we do appreciate all our members’ efforts to keep our fora the most erudite, amusing and downright sorta comfynice of their kind. Many thanks.

    Don’t forget to enter our competitions, either. None of them involve premium rate ‘phonelines but do seek an adult’s permission, particularly if that adult doesn’t want you on the computer because he wants to look at pictures of dolly birds.

    …and CBn member mccartney007 had a film out.

    On the Slab

    So, as we look forward to 007 in 007 (y’see what I did there? Do you? Do you? Grim, wasn’t it?), what will happen? Will Bond 22 find itself a director and a title, and a story? Will the centenary novel be related to Bond 22 in any way? Will Bond 22 film in Pinewood or Prague? Will Colin Salmon please stop being a silly sausage?

    Yes, No, Yes, No. But not necessarily in that order.

    ‘bye ‘bye.

    Related Links

    Jim @ 2007-04-02
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