Sunday, August 08, 2010


The handsome fellow above is one James Bond (the drawing itself is done by Ian Fleming, and it represents what he thought Bond looked like), and he was "born" April, 13th, 1953. Of course, born is kind of a broad term, that is the date that "Casino Royale" was first published. There is a great deal about the history of Mr. Bond, and included in that debate is his actual birth year. There have been several years (1917, 1920, 1921, or 1924) that have been thought to have been the year he was born, but Fleming never said the year, so I figure it is not that important. For, really and truly, James Bond is immortal even if that weren't true of every literary character on some level, it is very true of James Bond. The world, shithole that it is, will ALWAYS need James Bond. His remit is never going to be revoked, his license to kill, his saving the day, will never grow out of date.

I was thinking of saving Mr. Bond until the last day of the hero parade, since he is probably in the top 5 of my all time heroes, but since today was hero light, I brought him out. I figure it being 8-8 means we should bring out oo7 (and those are o's not zeroes). Also, there was a mini-marathon of Bond movies on last night, and I watched a bit of them, then decided to go to my local bar, and with the help of the internet, my obliging bartender attempt to recreate Bond's martini. I tried to recreate the "Vesper", and though I had to substitute a few ingredients, and made do with Beefeater gin instead of Gordon's , I was able to get the drink made. I must confess that at first it tasted a bit like furniture polish, but after a couple of more sips it got better. I can also see why Bond stated that he only would drink one of them when he was trying to concentrate. About halfway through, I got that warm, fuzzy feeling that means happiness is right around the corner, and I figure two or maybe three of these would be sufficient for an entire night's drinking.

I must confess I am a fan of the movie Bond, and have not really read many of the stories that Fleming wrote about him, it is shameful of me to say that but it is true. There is a lot of differences between our big screen Bond, and the Bond that Fleming described, and you could spend the rest of the day (if you want) reading all about them. His background is a bit blurry, but one thing we do know is the name came from some famous ornithologist (Fleming was a avid birdwatcher, and the real Mr. Bond had written a book on bird that Fleming owned). Fleming said that he wanted a bland name something that was not exotic, and it is a tribute to Bond that now days, "Bond, James Bond" is a catchphrase in popular culture. Taking a bland name, and making it that famous takes some skill.

Bond's heritage is partly Scottish (written in by Fleming after he was so impressed with Sean Connery's portrayal of Bond), and the family motto is "Orbos non sufficit" (Latin for "the world is not enough). Fleming's Bond was a bit more gritty that you see on screen. He smoked somewhere on average 70 cigarettes a day, in total (in all the books) he consumed 317 drinks, and only 17 of there were the martinis which made "the shaken not stirred" line famous. It is an average of one drink every 7 pages, so our boy Bond is not exactly going to join the Temperance League anytime soon. Most people agree that Bond is heavily based upon Fleming himself, they both went to the same schools, liked the same schools, and shared many of the same personal habits. Where ever the inspiration came from for Bond, Fleming created a masterpiece (the code name oo7, came from a bus line that Fleming was familiar with, and is still in service today). A hero that saves the world from evil over and over again, at a cost certainly, but some cost is to be expected. England (at first), and then the rest of the world (as his popularity grew) needed Bond. In 1953, a hero (an English) hero was just what England needed, someone who was able to with all that class, and style, still be a cold blooded, ruthless killer that got the job done.

The screen Bond has gone through a lot of changes as well, and differs in many respects from Fleming's written Bond. My favourite Bond, by miles, is Sean Connery. He was the first Bond that I saw, and like a first love, has remained my idea of James Bond every since. I could not stand Roger Moore's "comic" Bond, and lost a lot of interest in Bond for the decade that Moore portrayed him. In all, the film Bond has been portrayed by a Scot, an Aussie, a Welshman, an Irishman, and two Englishmen, that is a pretty wide grouping, but thankfully (at least in my opinion) no American has played Bond in any "official" status. It just wouldn't be right, almost as bad as having Robert Downey Jr. play (badly in my view) Sherlock Holmes. There are some characters that just have to be English (or at least from the general area). Each one of them brought their own interpretation to the role, and not all of them were to my taste, but James Bond is still James Bond, no matter who is currently in the role.

His is an ageless, timeless (wearing either the Rolex Submariner or Omega Seamaster watch), classy, womanizer, that can, and will kill people in cold blood without a second thought. He isn't an animal, but he can be at times, he is suave, but has a lot of his own personal demons (just like the rest of us). He might not be a "good guy" instead he might be a "bad guy" just fighting on the good team, but he is certainly someone you want on your side, flaws and all. He will always be one of my idols, one of the people I strive to be a bit more like (minus the killing people part I suppose). I doubt I will ever come close, and I shudder to think how badly it would end if the world was relying on me to save it. But, the world doesn't need me to save it (since I doubt that I would try), it has James Bond for that, and while he might not always think the world is worth saving, he still does his duty, and saves it nonetheless. So, it is for those world saving feats, done with such class, and style, that James Bond (April 13th, 1953???-present), you are my (363rd) hero of the day.

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