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  1. Did Bond Bring Back The Belt?

    Given the importance of James Bond’s art of living in both the cinematic and literary Bond incarnations I’ve always been surprised by the lack of availability of merchandise associated with the lifestyle.

    Certainly there have been the odd trinkets, a martini-shaker here, a plastic cap gun there and even sunglasses named after the veritable spy; but never anything en masse, never any major line of clothing and accessories for Bond fans to indulge themselves in. Despite the absence of one uber-brand, I recently happened across evidence of the world of James Bond influencing the world of fashion. And I’m not forced to ask myself, has James Bond brought back the belt?

    Summer has hit the Southern Hemisphere and people are back in the shops en masse. Personally, I never left. And it’s only through roaming various shopping blocks that I’ve noticed a the influence of James Bond upon women’s summer fashion.

    It all started during a search for a bikini. Obviously the garment was not for me, but if a female friend wants my fashion opinion and in turn twirls around half naked, I’m more than happy to lend a hand. When it comes to bikinis, you can never overlook Seafolly. Available in the UK, Australia and various European countries they have a wide array of women’s beachwear. Their range is extensive, extending from the revealing string bikini to board-shorts, yet this seasons line-up included something I hadn’t noted before; the belted bikini.

    Ursula Andress made the belted bikini a classic icon in James Bond’s first cinematic outing, Dr No. So classic the image, Lindy Hemming used it as the basis for Izabella Scorupco’s bikini in GoldenEye and then again for Halle Berry’s in Die Another Day. But with the belted bikini in their range, Seafolly have taken every mans fantasy a step closer to reality.

    Of the bikinis in Seafolly’s range, I first came across the ‘Urban Sport’. A sexy little blue number its hipster pants sported a minimalist belt. As soon as my eyes fell upon them Andress’ exit from the Jamaican sea sprung to mind, and they were soon on my companions ‘to try on’ list.

    Despite the obvious connotations that the belt evoked, the ‘Urban Sport’ line felt like it just didn’t quite reach the Bondian ideal. Perhaps it was the powder blue colour or the striped belt, but as sexy as it was, the ‘Urban Sport’ just didn’t quite reach the standard Ursula Andress had so effortlessly set.

    Then I came across the ‘Diva’. Another belt sporting line, yet this one came in white with its halter neck top even sporting slight ruffles. The ‘Diva’ was it, the closest thing to the ideal, the bikini for all real world Bond Girls.

    But despite the obvious prominence of belts in Seafolly’s range, it didn’t conclude that they were Bond influenced, nor that James Bond had brought back the belt. After all, I am a Bond fan and my connection between these bikinis and anything in the celluloid Bond could have all been some deep Bond induced fantasy in need of thorough psychiatric attention.

    Perhaps not.

    It was another shopping experience that affirmed my belief. This time, the belt featured on a skirt so short it would certainly be the zenith of every boys fantasy, were it not for the fact it was in a ghastly green colour. Despite its general lack of material, the designers had still managed to incorporate a belt. But how exactly does a skirt evoke a Bond girl image, let alone one based upon a bikini? Well, this one succeeded quite well. For the belt buckle was something you’d only have previously found on Halle Berry in Die Another Day. For unlike previously unmanufactured buckles this one formed the letter J, in the exact fashion of Berry’s.

    Perhaps Bond has brought back the belt after all.

    daniel @ 2004-01-12
  2. Aishwarya's Agent Denies Bond Rumours

    Aishwarya Rai’s agent has denied rumours that the Bollywood actress is connected with Bond 21.

    Rumours of Rai’s involvement with the 21st James Bond film first surfaced in April 2003, and it has seemed that most of them have been self-propelled with Rai revealing in interviews her supposed casting.

    However, her Los Angeles based agent has reportedly denied such casting. “The entire James Bond situation is nothing more than a rumour. Ash is not the next Bond girl,” he commented, “Ash did not meet Pierce Brosnan at a Hollywood party, and no casting director has contacted us with any offer. No matter how many times the press insists that she is starring in Bond, we must continually correct the statement and confirm the fact.”

    With a little over a year till Bond 21 starts lensing and a tenative release date of late 2005, casting rumours are overly premature at this stage.

    To discuss the news, visit this thread of the Bond 21 Forums. Thanks to ‘ranjitkk’ for the tip-off

    daniel @ 2004-01-08
  3. OP, CR & AVTAK On Oz TV

    The first week of 2004 will end with James Bond taking the Sunday night movie timeslot, with Network Ten airing Roger Moore’s Octopussy.

    The 1983 James Bond film will air on January 5 at 8:30pm on Ten.

    Also look out for 1967’s spoof Bond film, Casino Royale, the following night. Ten will again be airing the 007 film, though at the much later timeslot of 11:30pm.

    This will be followed up with Ten screening Moore’s last Bond outing, A View To A Kill, on the Tuesday night. The successive airing of Bond films promises another for the Wednesday, though details are yet to be revealed.

    daniel @ 2003-12-30
  4. OHMSS Watch Sells For 22,912 Pounds

    A watch feature in the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service has sold for £22,912 at an auction in London.

    The auction was conduction by Christie’s and featured movie memorabilia including pieces from other film series including the Star Wars and Superman series.

    The watch up for auction was a Rolex worn by one-time Bond George Lazenby in 1969 film. The initial estimate placed the watches value between £5,000-£7,000, however, the watch reached the much higher value making it the item with the highest bid from the auction.

    The watch wasn’t the only piece of Bond history up for auction, also up for grabs were items from the collection of Peter Hunt, who passed away recently. The items included his working scripts for all of the 1960s Bond films.

    Source: Ananova.

    daniel @ 2003-12-17
  5. David Levison Working on EoN Score

    Composer David Levison has revealed that he has been hired to work on Sean Calley’s score for the forthcoming James Bond game, Everything or Nothing.

    Levison is performing two function for the game; audio mixing of Calley’s score and also creating the interactive segmentation to ensure that the score matches the onscreen game play.

    As a Music and Sound Designer, Levison has many LucasArts titles on his CV including Star Wars: Jedi Fighter and RTX Red Rock.

    Source: Music 4 Games.

    daniel @ 2003-12-16
  6. Mya Discusses Involvement with EoN

    IGN Music has interviewed singer Mya on her involvement with the forthcoming James Bond gaming title, Everything or Nothing.

    In the article, Mya discusses what her involvement in the project meant in terms of work, “I sort of found out everything that would be happening within the video game when I got to the recording studio. I got to scream from the bottom of my lungs and I got to kick and fight and all kinds of things that I didn’t know I’d be doing when I walked into the session. So it was really interesting and a different project for me in that aspect.” Also discussed is Mya’s writing and singing of a unique song to serves as the theme tune for the game.

    The article also features three pictures from the game, showing James Bond and NSA Agent Mya Sterling ‘on screen’.

    For all you music fans, if you look along the right hand side of the page, you also can click on a link enabling you to hear a short snippet of the ‘techno version’ of her song Everything Or Nothing.

    daniel @ 2003-12-07
  7. Cary Grant; The Bond Connection

    The interest that Martin Sterling and Gary Morecambe, authors of Martini’s, Girls and Guns: Fifty Years of 007, show in the world of James Bond is more apparent then ever with the recently released paperback publication of their autobiographical work, Cary Grant: In Name Only.

    While Grant is, obviously, the primary focus of the work, its connections with the 007 are numerous. Most apparent to Bond fans will be the books detailing of Grant’s relationship with Bond producer Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli. It was a friendship that would stretch from the mid-1930’s until Grant’s death in 1986, and as a result Cubby appears throughout the book including accounts of their first meeting when Cubby was 25 and later when Grant served as best man at the wedding of Cubby and Dana Broccoli in 1959. Of particular interest to Bond fans will be comments from Michael G Wilson on his memories of that day.

    Also covered in the book is Cubby’s offering of the role of 007 to Grant for the film Dr No and Grants subsequent refusal to do more than one Bond film. Grant’s connection with the cinematic James Bond is also furthered with the authors interviewing of Roger Moore, the pair being good friends.

    Ian Fleming is also mentioned in the autobiography, as he and Grant were acquaintances through their mutual friend Noel Coward. The book also speculates that Fleming may have been influenced in his creation of the character of James Bond by Grant’s portrayal of Devlin in 1946’s Notorious.

    However, Fleming’s appearance is most interesting due to the possibility that he got Coward to recruit the Grant into William Stephenson’s Hollywood celebrity spy ring during the Second World War. It is known that Coward worked for them, and his good friendship with Grant is well documented.

    Cary Grant: In Name Only is available from Amazon UK.

    daniel @ 2003-12-03
  8. Bond Cars At UK Motorshow

    The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish seen in the most recent James Bond film, Die Another Day, will be featured at a car exhibition in at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire.

    The Vanquish displayed at the Motor Centre will be one of the gadget laden vehicles used for filming parts of the Ice Chase scene. The Jaguar XJR from the same chase sequence will also be on display.

    The cars will be on display until the New Year, with the Heritage Motor Centre open every day (bar public holidays) between 10:00am and 5:00pm. Further details can be found at www.heritage-motor-centre.co.uk.

    daniel @ 2003-12-03
  9. Facing Foward With 'Face Blind'

    Like many before him, Raymond Benson may forever be associated with the world of James Bond. Yet with his latest work, Face Blind, hitting shelves, the author seems determined to forge a new literary career away from the world of Bond. In doing so, he’s quick to point out that “Face Blind is a suspense novel that is entirely different from the Bond books.”

    This difference came in the fact that the “characters, story, universe” were all his own creation, something that obviously granted him much more creative freedom. “I could let the characters go where they wanted to go and I didn’t have to stop and think whether of not ‘whozit’ would do such a thing.”

    While such a creative freedom may have seemed like the lifting of a literary technicality for Benson, it did not change his technique in Face Blind‘s penning. As with his Bond novels, Benson still began with the creation of an outline, though he concedes it “wasn’t as detailed” as those he created for the Bond novels. Though again this provided more creative freedom, “I left myself room to improvise during the writing if I needed to. In fact, I decided to kill off a major character halfway through the story when I was writing, and this didn’t occur in the original outline.”

    It becomes apparent throughout the process of questioning and responding that ‘freedom’ may best describe Benson’s penning of Face Blind. Like Fleming, Benson is known to have traveled to most of the locations in each of his Bond works for research purposes, yet his ability to situate Face Blind solely in the United States allowed for less extensive travel research. Benson reveals that he was only required to travel to Ohio, where a small number of the novel’s chapters take place. For the scenes set in New York, Benson relied heavily on his knowledge of the city, having lived there for eleven years and having traveled back on numerous occasions. Benson’s use of the city will come as a point of interest for Bond fans, with Benson revealing that he placed Hannah, the female protagonist, in his old studio apartment in the city. Moreover, it is the same studio apartment used by James Suzuki, Bond’s son, in the short story Blast From The Past.

    Creative freedom aside, I asked Benson where the idea for the novels plot came from – prosopagnosia (face blindness) isn’t, after all, one of the more commonly known diseases. His answer contains references to Bond related actors such as Pierce Brosnan, John Cleese and Elizabeth Hurley, for it was in the 2001 BBC documentary The Human Face that Benson first encountered the idea. “One section of the [documentary] series dealt with disorders of the face, not only actual physical disorders, but disorders in the brain that effect the way people look at and decipher faces. One of these disorders is prosopagnosia in which a person is unable to recognize the faces [of people] except in a strict context.” Benson develops an example to explain such a strict context, for instance, a person suffering prosopagnosia can only identify people by other attributes, such as the location they frequently encounter them in or by their individual voice.

    With his latest novel in the bookstores, Benson is happy to admit that future plans are very much in motion. He admits that he has already completed his new book and while he remains tight-lipped about its plot he does reveal that he’s aiming for publication sometime next year. There are also plans to get Evil Hours published, it having only previously appeared as an e-book and print-on-demand novel. While future plans abound, a return to the world of James Bond for Benson does not appear to be on the horizon. “A lot of people ask about updating the Bedside Companion, but it just wouldn’t be ethical. After being in the hot seat of creating Bond novels, I can’t go back again and be a critic of the films, other authors’ novels, or even my own. It just wouldn’t be right.”

    But there may be a glimmer of hope, though perhaps only a slight one. Benson makes a note of one other project, a memoir on his experiences with the world of James Bond. However, he concedes it may never see the light of day as he “can’t imagine that there’s anyone who would want to read it.”

    Bond fans are certain to disagree.

    daniel @ 2003-11-24
  10. Publicity Falsely Declares Reality TV Winner Female Villain

    There’s nothing like an association with the James Bond series to guarantee you some publicity, even if that association is merely a rumour. Such is the case of Alex Parks, winner of Britain’s ‘reality’ TV Show ‘Fame Academy’.

    British tabloid The Sunday Mirror has reported that Parks has been offered “a cameo role as a baddie in the” next James Bond film.

    With Bond 21 a year from lensing the news should be considered a simple publicity stunt given that casting for the film would only be in its infancy, if at all, and certainly not focusing on ‘cameo roles’ for reality TV show winners.

    Unfortunately, the false news is likely to move through media sources in the UK.

    To discuss the rumour please visit this thread of the Bond 21 Forums.

    daniel @ 2003-11-17