This is not a new thing. No,no, not by far. I have very fond memories of my introduction to Mr Bond. We met at the Drive In, in the back of a olive green station wagon, amid blankets and pillows and a picnic basket. He wore a baby blue polo shirt and khakis rolled up at the ankles.
I wore pyjamas and pigtails.
Although I was five at the time, it was love at first sight, true love at first sight for me and James Bond. Yet, I must confess there was another man in my life back then: Charlton Heston. Some of you familiar with the Oldbitey incarnation know that, for a period in my life, Charlton was THE MAN. I swear that every movie I saw, every movie that came on TV, starred Charlton Heston, and he was always the hero. Of everything. Bible tales, SciFi adventures, circus stories, any time I looked at a screen there was Charlton Heston. It was all about Heston–until I saw Dr No. And then I had two men, two heroes: James Bond and Charlton Heston. They fought bad guys and bad apes, drove cool vehicles, and could carry off shirtless scenes with aplomb. I understood shirtless Bond aplomb, even at the age to five.
Mind you, When I say Bond aplomb, I don’t mean the Roger Moore James Bond. With the exception of Live and Let Die and The Man with The Golden Gun, I’d like to wipe out the Bond history with Moore (He was groovy as The Saint). The point is, somewhere along the lines of my viewing Bond movies, about when I was 10 and hadn’t quite discovered the appeal of Edward Fairfax Rochester and Jane Eyre, I picked up the Ian Fleming Bond novels. I sucked them down like a pack of Chips Ahoy. As a result, I stared to pay more attention to the movies. It didn’t matter if the film titles were the same as the books and sometimes bore little resemblance to the action between the pages, I liked the fact the novels were different to the movies because they were new adventures. They satisfied me when the Moore Bond got silly and gadety, and punny (even though I love puns), and LAME.
While I remained terribly, terribly fond of Mr Heston, it became all about Mr Bond–that is, book Bond and Connery’s Bond. The two married well..and then retired. After that, I tolerated Lazenby’s portrayal, and dismissed Moore. I quite appreciated Timothy Dalton’s Bond (and tolerated his Rochester). Dalton was more like book Bond, like the early Connery Bond was. I liked the first three Bond movies with Pierce Brosnan and enjoyed his take on JB, but that changed with the Mooreishnesss of Die Another Day–really, an invisible car? Die Another Day, despite the fact Toby Stephens (the best Rochester ever) was in it, was a slap in the Bond face. Yes, it is sorta interesting that Toby has played a Bond Villain, portrayed Bond in BBC radio broadcasts, and was narrator/Bond on the audio version of Jefferey Deaver’s Bond in Carte Blanche). However, Stephens aside, it became clear cinema 007 had begun to slide back towards Moore. I feared for celluloid Bond. I had run out of Bond books and Charlton Heston was dead.
Then came Daniel Craig, who, like Toby Stephens (did I mention Toby has given us the best portrayal of Rochester to date?), possesses that brutal, ugly-handsome quality that book Bond does. He appeared on screen, dry, sardonic, cold, his eyes icy, and all at once I was in the back of that olive green station wagon, in my pyjamas and pigtails, with the picnic basket and the man I loved. And the world was saved.
So yes, I’ve read all the Bond books countless number of times. I’ve seen the movies a squillion times, even the–shudder–Moore ones. I’ve read the ‘licensed Bond” books too, right down to “Kate Westbrook’s” Moneypenny Diaries. So, I ‘ll let you in on a little, ahem, secret of my Bondsanity. I have this goofy little fan-fictiony Bond idea in my head–but not in any way you’d imagine. My friend Swell, a fellow Bond-lover, already knows about it. One day I’ll tell you more. Meanwhile, in TWENTY-SEVEN days Skyfall will drop here in Oz. I have my Gold Class ticket and my Swell Bondage Buddy will be be at my side.
Maybe I’ll wear my hair in pigtails.