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.
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.
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…