1. Daniel Craig Ate My Hamster

    By @mrpauldunphy on 2006-03-10

    Bandwagon anyone? Go on it’s free.

    Oh, dear Danny Craig, if you’d only have answered the inane questions flung at you like the creamy expostulate lobbed at Clarice Starling by that wrong ‘un next to Hannibal Lecter’s cell in that bit of Silence of the Lambs at the press conference back in October, maybe you’d have been spared the countless catty jibes and unnecessary column inches as long as your reportedly munificent member since then. Maybe.

    The internet has plentiful good sides (free porn, countless sources of information about Murdoch from the A-Team & up-to-the minute cutting-edge as-it-happens ultra-hyphenated NEWS) but surely its main drawback has to be the ease with which the ill-educated, misinformed and ineffably stupid (political extremists, crack-addled, conspiracist mongs and Fiona Cummins from The Mirror) can spread utter dirge to a wider audience than if they just stood on boxes in their respective town squares and oyez’d their tits off.

    I’m all for freedom of speech, as long as it’s among people who have something worthwhile to say.

    “Now, Paul,” you may ejaculate, “I can’t imagine you have much to say of worth, either” and you doubting-faced Thomases may be right, but nob jokes aside, it must be worth more than the unqualified pish that modern entertainment journos feel necessary to write from day to day, let alone on our beloved 007.

    Us fans knew that something went a bit White Star Line the moment newspapers hit the stands come October 15th last year. Craig was dubbed “boring” (!) “ugly” (!!) and blonde (!!!…Oh, hang on…That bit’s a fact) by the red-topped British Tabloids…And the Daily Mail (but no-one listens to what The Mail says, because they used to write glowing editorials about the Nazis; to receive a less-than-positive reception from this august enterprise is probably a good thing. I’d provide a link….But I just don’t like them). The Mirror waded in the pun-pit pen-first by ousting Craig as “Deadly Dull Dan: The Man with the Golden Gum,” and after dubbing Craig “James Bland,” decided to seek out a real person called James Bland to comment on the new inauguration. Oh, how we nearly shat ourselves with the hilarity and high-brow humour. He was knocked for daring to wear a buoyancy-aid while skimming his way to the conference care of the Royal Marines, despite the fact that all the Marines behind him were wearing something shockingly similar. And they were real Marines ‘n’all. Real life ones. Not actors pretending to be Royal Navy Commanders. Real Marines. Trained ones. Real-life, trained Marines. Point laboured enough? Sure the press conference was a bit pap, but still. Real Marines. Actor pretending. Real. Pretend.

    Nothing much happened after that. Until mid-last month when we discovered that Craig had his teeth twunted by a stray fist. Needless to say that The Sunday Mirror was all over it like a rash, and deemed the story so important that it was made a front page spread featuring more killer wordplay: “Daniel Craig is 0w 0w Seven” (personally I thought “Double 0w Seven” would have been more erudite a wisecrack but, hey ho.)

    Oh how the detractors and naysayers guffawed and rubbed their hands in glee. “Casino Royale is being brought to its KNEES!” they probably snarled, “lets go one better and make a website about our hate.” And so the painfully inept was born. Apparently conceived by “Life-long fans of 007,” it was just the news-scissor that tabloid journos possessing weapons-grade idiocy wanted to use in order to cut the carefully woven blanket of Casino Royale. Many saw this as the mouthpiece of Bond fandom, rabid negativity making us question our very faith in the producers: & various decent news outlets saw this as the majority fan reaction when the true majority (I’m talking you and me, my pretty little strawberry) know that it’s just knee-jerk stupidity by those “life-long fans”. Those with any sense will know to reserve judgment until 17th November, maybe occasionally curling a lip, raising an eyebrow or licking the computer screen at the developments as they happen.

    Not even blatant tabloid lies about Craig being afraid of water, or being unable to drive a manual car will shake my unerring feeling that I am unqualified to judge anything until I have seen the film as an artistic whole. And no number of paparazzi snaps, “insider” reports, script reviews or even trailers will have me dressing up in woman’s clothing and parading around Sunset Boulevard, stopping undercover policemen to tell them that Daniel Craig is wrong for Bond. I’ll simply comment “this film looks to be shaping up nicely,” or “hmm….Don’t agree with that, but I’ll wait and see.” I appreciate that Eon are finally trying to do something interesting with the character, but it seems like they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Babs and Mickey G were criticised for not going out on a limb enough with Die Another Day; sticking to tried and tested principles, but when they dump Brosnan for a relative unknown, vow to rid the audience of all the bloated self-importance of DAD and get someone in to temper the ramblings of Purvis & Wade they get equally slammed. Conversely, they could have gone about some of their duties in the last 18 months with a little more aplomb and tact.

    On the bright side though, it does look like the British Plebsheets are beginning to give our darling agent a bit of a reprieve what with The Sun telling girls to relax about Craig being Bond or something (when it was them getting all spazzed-up about it in the first place). We also now are on the cusp of media outlets being allowed to visit the set of Casino Royale, a move probably initiated to temper all the rubbish that’s been circulating. But as the next few weeks and months may yet hold more surprises and utter eyewash from the keyboards of the inherently lazy entertainment journalist, us fans just know to take it all with a heart disease endangering mountain of the sea’s finest.

    Restarts/rebirths and origin-story worries aside, we -as fans- should now accept the fact that Brozzer won’t be Bond for 2006 and focus on what is shaping up to be the (supposedly, hopefully, seemingly, finally) most artistically interesting and critical Bond film since 1969.

    Saying that though, I don’t agree with Judi Dench as M. That just mucks up the little strands of continuity over the… Oh, what? Ah right… It’ll be explained… It’ll be explained…

    A version of this article can be heard in the 7 March, 2006 CBn podcast.