a ’37 convertible too,
Tomorrow evening. Watch this space.
a ’37 convertible too,
Tomorrow evening. Watch this space.
‘Well, it’s Christmas time again…’
Noises in our chimney. Soft and faint, but very definitely noises. And very definitely coming closer. Like what you’d expect to hear when a large and not particularly slim person is about to use the chimney to transport a stately gift box down from the rooftop right into CBn-house’s offices. Not much longer now…
Until then CommanderBond.net’s team wishes everybody
Grateful thanks to Mark O’Connell, author of Catching Bullets, for the kind permission to use above artwork.
Watch this space.
So here we are, in the end, reaching our destination after a journey of 14 months, countless blunders on my side and a few prematurely published ‘drafts’. The water surface is coming nearer most rapidly. This is now definitely the moment to make an impact. If not now, when?
This final 007th Minute comes to you with original artwork by designer & illustrator Mike Mahle. Further works from Mike can be found at his own site. Grateful acknowledgements for the kind permission to use this marvellous image.
Oh, opinion. Jim’s. Yours can be aired here. Thank you for flying with CommanderBond.net.
This is the end. Beautiful friend.
Hold your breath and…
No, don’t. Asphyxiation might be your jolly – not judging (I am a bit) – but you’d be tucked up in dead before you finished this; it has girthbloat. If bidding for oblivion, bore yourself to death reading it. Still, I don’t want your sticky end on my hands (fnarr). The guilt I’ll cope with, via the medium of indifference; it’s that I’ve always found grinding my heel into an upturned face far more satisfying. Or, as I age, paying someone else to do it. It’s murder on the knees.
Judi Dench snuff movie Skyfall is where we start. A billion-dollar Bond behemoth, so one little prick on the internet (hi there) isn’t going to burst it. Still, all that tremendous, oddly heartwarming success (albeit having had no stake in the film beyond “going to see it”) does lead me to contemplate blockbusters. Or, more precisely, Blockbusters.
For those blessed with ignorance, Blockbusters was a tiffin-time British quiz programme of the 1980s, broadcast via the harlotry of commercial television, aimed at a beteenaged audience. One could tell that because of the prizes, habitually a “programmable” ZX Spectrum (48K “ram”, no less), a box of coloured pencils or a cultural weekend in tropical Cannock (go for the pencils). Doubtless a modern equivalent would have to dole out fake tan, mobile telephones or Tablets. Can’t help feeling tablets in those days were more fun: when one dropped them, it wasn’t the machine that got itself shattered. Halcyon days. If only I could remember them.
Still hoping for a “Never say never again”-reboot? Another possible “Warhead”-project, maybe this time with Pierce Brosnan returning for one last time as James Bond?
There won´t be any rival Bond film anymore. The McClory family has finally sold the remaining rights in an undisclosed settlement with MGM & Danjaq.
Apperently, EON has not been sitting on their hands while waiting for Sam Mendes to turn his eye towards Bond 24. Hey, they actually could do a “Thunderball”-remake now…
See the story here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/james-bond-mgm-danjaq-settle-656432
After many years of applying for an interview with James Bond, in late 2013 – in time to tie in with the publication of William Boyd’s Bond novel ‘Solo’ and officially just to give a unique review by its hero himself – the Ministry of Defence finally granted us a brief visit at the secret location the agent inhabits for some years now. Accompanied by a number of plainclothes representatives from the Ministry’s branch of public relations, our rapporteur met James Bond in the discreet retirement installation for Her Majesty’s distinguished civil servants in the countryside.
Discuss this interview here
At my inquiry after the whereabouts of Mr Bond a friendly nurse points to the garden. ‘Mr Bond is in our bus shelter in the park.’ Indeed, there is a glass shelter with one orange bench and a bus stop sign beside one of the gravel paths. My spirits sink immediately. Such shelters are used in retirement homes as a kind of anchor or brace, to keep disoriented patients from running away. They want to leave the strange foreign surroundings, see the bus stop and decide to just wait for the bus instead of walking the whole way home. It works remarkably well with most cases of senility and Alzheimer’s. Here I feel this has got to be some cruel prank by Whitehall, granting access to the world’s most famous secret agent only once he’s been reduced to a mumbling shadow of his former self. Nonetheless I head for the shelter, expecting the worst.
Bond must have read my thoughts in my face. ‘Don’t worry, I haven’t become an avid advocate of public transport. It’s just because they don’t let us smoke inside,’ he says with a grim smile as he raises to meet me. ‘Too unhealthy. As if that would make any difference for our lot.’ He blows a dragon stream of smoke from his nostrils and measures me with his grey-blue eyes.
‘So – you are one of my “fans”? One of these “internet people” who write about me,’ Bond says with a wary glance and gives me a firm – if brief and somewhat bony – handshake. ‘Do take a seat.’
I pause and look at the second figure at the far end of the bench, a small woman in a twin-set, a huge handbag on her knees, an air of mild abstraction around her. Apparently she’s searching for some obscure treasure, muttering to herself.
‘Oh, do not mind her at all, she’s busy with her bag.’ And in a lower voice he adds ‘Just pretend she’s waiting for her bus, OK?’
So I sit to Bond’s left, the rummaging lady with her belongings at the other end, mumbling during most of the interview just below the level where it would disturb our talk.
‘Now, young man, let’s get this over with. What do you want to know?’ It’s obvious James Bond these days doesn’t enjoy this kind of PR duty too much, if at all.
‘Mr Bond, since when do you live here?’
Bond frowns. ‘Young man, I was given to understand this interview was concerning itself with this new novel, ‘Solo’, and with nothing else. In fact that was one of the reasons I agreed to it in the first place.
‘But since you ask,’ he continues before I can apologise for my faux-pas, ‘ I’ve been living here for some years now; the blasted age, you see? I was living in Southern France, on Jamaica and on Guernsey before that. Good times – but there inevitably comes a point when you have to trade independence for the amenities a place like this provides.
‘Still, a damn nuisance I’m not even allowed to smoke in my own room,’ he adds with a frown. ‘Not as if I demand a King’s ransom, just a bit of privacy and personal freedom.’
With this he shakes a fresh cigarette from an expensive looking carton and lights it on the stub he has just smoked down to the filter. Strewn around the bench are dozens of old cigarette butts, indicating this ersatz bus shelter is his favourite place around here.
James Bond looks very much like himself: tall, relatively lean for his age – a wide chest hints to his former swimming days but also to high living – and his eyes still don’t show that rheumy look one usually associates with people of Bond’s age. If he has acquired a gut his tall built still helps keeping it in check. Bond’s hair has gone completely white and is much thinner, his face now heavily lined by the years and the adventures – so much so you can’t point to the famous thin scar any more – but otherwise this is undeniably James Bond.
Through the smoke he looks at me, prodding me with a gesture to go on with the interview.
After the fuss about last 007th Minute’s headline (see here), I decided to just try the same trick a second time. It’s a good deed in a bad world and everyone will be happy about it.
Or maybe it’s a not-so-good deed in a less-than-fabulous world and nobody is going to notice it…
Anyway, here goes. CommanderBond.net’s resident ‘No Precious Oil for Bleak Water!’ expert examines the 007th minute of ‘Quantum of Solace’. Opinion aplenty, all of it Jacques Stewart’s very own – though you may share a slice of his – and none of it without the odd grain of irony.
Debate the veracity of his observations here
Revolution, evolution, resolution. Revelation.
The origin of the specious, Casino Royale misled some that what was to follow would be as previously begat. A mild dabble in black & white, realism (pfft) and moody mirrorstaring now out of Eon’s system, the Bonds would surely settle into comfy routine, the backstory done. Casino Royale wasn’t as startling as the demented fire & brimstone trollpreaching lead anyone simple enough to believe, to so believe. Bond was complete – must have been; said his name, earned his theme – so steering complacent passage beckoned. We’d seen it before.
We were the Bond-Knowers, a tremendous way to use up the only life one lives. To do anything else but give us “a Bond film” would be heretical and lead to purges or at least be anonymously commented on most tartly with brave spelling solutions and voluntary exposure of the quality of one’s education. If creating Bond was what Eon was now up to, we were entitled to see the creation come forth in the way oodles of films and umpteen books had taught us. If I’ve understood it correctly – questionable – creationism manifests itself in a variety of ways. The Word that is Bond was written by Fleming in the 1950s. The Word that is Bond was written by Fleming in the 1960s. The Word etc was the Connery films, or at least the ones where he’s not morbidly obese. If undereducated, the Word – word, bro – is something with the Pierce Brosnan gentleman. It appears that creationism is as susceptible to evolution as anything else. The Bond series not having been overburdened with originality since the 1960s, there was an understandable view that the first Craig having created the world, all would then come to pass as given and bode well in 00-heaven. Amen.
Until one encountered the Anti-Bond.
At which juncture, “persons” were upset, gnashing teeth, mashing keyboards, their heads spinning as they wrote in tongues, vomiting us a “view”, blaming the convulsions on trying to follow the editing. Expressing themselves in a way that witchburning used to satisfy, Quantum of Solace shook various clashing faiths in Bond, whichever version one considered gospel.
Some raged at the lack of explicit/explosive “closure” (ugh) of the Vesper “arc” (ugh ugh), others at the milky villainy or the inconclusive approach to Mr White and chums. For many, jiggycam confused (James Bond is in a chase and he wins; is this hard?) and for a select bunch, the undergraduate realpolitik didn’t appeal. The song’s apparently dreadful, the ‘plane fight crashlanded in from another film, Bond shoving Mathis in a skip epitomises what should happen to the film and what goes on, goes on too quickly to engage. And the gunbarrel’s all done wrong, inevitably. For a few hardy troglodytes, Mr Craig remained a problem, but most evolved people seemed to have pushed themselves up by their hairy knuckles and overcome this. Many told the world that it wasn’t could have been better (surely the fate of all Bonds once the glee erodes) but should have been better. Should of. Or longer (albeit plumped with what has never been satisfactorily fingered).
However, it seemed rare to dislike all these (and other) allegedly negative attributes, and the gnawing seemed not so much between those who liked it and those who didn’t, but between those who loathed it for X seeking dominance over those disliking Y. For the poor sods who admired it (hi), all one could do was watch. Not in (much) superiority but, for one’s own part, in bewilderment at how vicious it became, humanity and consideration of one human for another, gone. How apt.
Now easily (too easily) perceived as the go-between of two “bigger” Bond films, Quantum of Solace undoubtedly establishes that each unhappy Bond fan is unhappy in their own way.
Team and members of CommanderBond.net wish Sir Roger Moore a very happy birthday and many happy returns in the best of health.
Here’s to you, Sir Roger!
Incidentally it seems a certain Simon Templar also celebrates his birthday on this very date, as well as the 15th Earl of Marnock, His Lordship Brett Rupert George Robert Mark Anthony Andrew Sinclair.
We raise our glasses to these gentlemen.
The perfect 007-themed cruise? Locations aplenty, excitement, class and action on the tracks of James Bond’s most memorable assignments? A generous week filled with fine dining and guided tours to the places where 007 saved the world? Enormous fun in the company of Bond fans from around the globe?
Impossible to find, you say?
Search no more, Matt Sherman’s OO Sailin’ Two is just what you are looking for. This is the deal:
James Sailing With His Pals
“Unlimited entertainment and food on Royal Caribbean and experts in port touring Bond locations? This will be the can’t miss week of the year!” said Matt Sherman, organizer of OO Sailin’ Two. Sherman, who has led dozens of Bond and spy fan events, promises great fun on tap for the agents descending on the Caribbean from around the world.
Fans will receive a guided locations tour in New Orleans, Louisiana from Live and Let Die on Saturday, March 8, 2014 before sailing aboard Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas to Key West to celebrate on location for Licence to Kill’s 25th Anniversary.
The cruise continues to Royal Caribbean’s private island, Coco Cay, and to Nassau in The Bahamas where Sherman and other experts will lead two more guided tours to locations from more Bond books and films, 15 in all during the week, including fan favorites Casino Royale, Thunderball and The Spy Who Loved Me.
“Fans will have their photos taken in the exact steps of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, five Bonds in all,” said Sherman. Must do locations like The One & Only Ocean Club and The British Colonial Hotel will be visited plus dozens more unique OO7 book and film locations, along with ample free time in Key West, New Orleans and The Bahamas.
At sea, fans will play unique and fun trivia challenges from “Worst Agent?” to “Subtext That Film!” to “The World’s Biggest Bond Bash”, and dine (and dine, and dine!) and do shows including the high-flying Royal Caribbean Aerial Acrobatics. Daily themed fun includes sipping potables at the 1960s-themed R Bar and the Serenade’s British pub at CBN meet ups, free lessons on a unique gyroscopic table in the Bombay Billiards Club and playing the night away with the gang at the Serenade’s Casino Royale. First time cruisers are welcomed and will be in the party atmosphere straight away.
Sherman has hosted previous Bond locales tours and fan meets in New Orleans, Key West and The Bahamas, and in Chicago, Jamaica, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco, which have featured on TV and in print internationally. His Bond collectibles have appeared in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and on HGTV and VH-1. His contributions have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Parade Magazine, Time and Time Europe.
For more information on OOSailin’ Two sailing in March 2014 and previous fan events, please visit the OOSailin’ website or contact:
Celebrating a film’s ‘birthday’ is a bit of a silly idea, isn’t it? After all it’s not as if a film could actually ‘die’. So making it, say, 50 years down the road isn’t so much a feat as a simple sign that time moves in one direction, and one direction only.
But today we do not just celebrate an ordinary film. This evening it’s 50 years since a true classic found its way onto the silver screen of London’s Odeon theatre. And from there right into the hearts of an army of Bond fans. The Bond phenomenon shaped modern pop-culture’s surface like few other trends and ‘From Russia With Love’ can justifiably be regarded as part of its cutting edge. It went deeper into early sixties sensibilities and the mindset of the Cold War than any other Bond film. And it was more serious about its business, influencing the entire spectrum of the spy genre. Terence Young’s landmark did not just teach audiences to tell the true Englishman by his choice of wine to go with fish. It also moved the action into dark corners where telling friend from foe wasn’t always easy. Where fights were tough, deadly serious business, bloody in the truest sense. Where Bond’s enemy’s enemy was decidedly not his friend, regardless how many times 007 profited from the silent killer in his wake. And where the beautiful woman is indeed an enemy agent, out to lure the hero – though unwittingly – to his doom.
‘From Russia With Love’ today is regarded as one of the great classics of both British cinema and of Eon’s Bond series. It is a favourite with many fans and critics and keeps coming up on top places with many rankings. It was indeed a marvellous cast of fortune that combined Ian Fleming’s original novel – a treasure in its own right – with the talents of Maibaum, Harwood, Barry, Hunt, Moore and countless others in the production team and in front of the camera. On top of this it was Pedro Armendáriz’s last role, enriching Eon’s Bond world with a character unsurpassed to this very day. Kerim Bey IS the epitome of Bond’s ally: shrewd, resourceful, charismatic. Many came after him, only few came close.
So it is with a sense of deep gratitude for this gem that I raise CommanderBond.net’s imaginary glass and toast to 50 years of ‘From Russia With Love’. I have no doubts this film will still be celebrated many more years from now.
Here’s to you, old friend!
Grateful thanks to Mark O’Connell for the kind permission to use marvellous above image. Mark O’Connell is the author of CATCHING BULLETS - MEMOIRS OF A BOND FAN “co-starring” Barbara Broccoli, Mark Gatiss and Maud Adams. Available now; for more details see www.markoconnell.co.uk