hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach
From the idyllic backdrop of the Caribbean Sea caressing the shores of sun-kissed bluffs, Goldeneye the island retreat where Ian Fleming spawned the novels that inspired the iconic British Spy we have come to know and love – James Bond 007, the world’s most notable secret agent; provides a backdrop for creativity that is iconic as it is intriguing.
“We often find our richest sources of creative inspiration through our experiences and connections with other people, places, and things.”
Ian Fleming, a former member of the British navy, turned journalist, writer cum novelist with a creative and vivid imagination that conjured several novels including a collection of short stories on Agent 007 that became cinematic scripts with epic notoriety. It was not until 1958, the eponymous Agent 007 emerged in Dr. No; a book by Fleming that later became a blockbuster movie with the world renowned and beloved icon character, James Bond – 007 in 1962.
Jamaica, the island retreat where Ian Fleming’s spy character James Bond emerged was nonetheless an experience for the author, where life traversed from the mundane to the exotic. Providing a canvass for literati and the kaleidoscope for the enigmatic Bond, James Bond 007 with his witty, yet uncanny characterization for espionage. Jamaica became the ideal mosaic for Fleming while retreating in his artist colony and became the birthplace for Bond.
“I wrote every one of the Bond thrillers here with the jalousies closed around me so that I would not be distracted by the birds and the flowers and the sunshine outside… Would these books have been born if I had not been living in the gorgeous vacuum of a Jamaican holiday? I doubt it.”
From its rustic settings to the resort lifestyle, Jamaica was the prized backdrop for this international spy’s early films. It provided the ambiance for fictional sanctuaries for romantic respites and unrequited fantasies from skimpy bikinis to the nudity of the Bond girls.
“The first law for a secret agent is to get his geography right.”
Like Bond, James Bond 007 – 50 years of cinematic adventure, Jamaica celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence from the British Empire. In acknowledgement of Ian Fleming’s contribution to Jamaica, through the creation of the world’s most loved spy character, the Government in 2010 named an interntional airport in his honour – Ian Fleming International Airport which is approximately 5 kilometres from Goldeneye.
Bond movies are an experimental journey in design, culture, adventure and style – from automobiles, espionage, exoticism, guns, gadgets, girls, machismo, music, nudity to skimpy bikinis, romance, sexuality, luxury travel, tailor-made suits from Saville Row to Tom Ford, villainous geniuses to special effects. James Bond 007 is intriguing as the novels that enlivened this international secret agent throughout this enviable $5 billion film franchise, that has sustained Bondmania for five decades.
The Bond franchise with its cerebral, sensual, salacious charm and machismo thespians from Connery to Craig; and seductively sexy, provocatively styled names and fashion femme fatales – Bond girls – with uber appeals from the quintessential Bond girl Ursula Andress (Honey Ryder), Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore), Jane Seymour (Solitaire), Lois Chiles (Holly Goodhead), Kim Basinger (Domino Petachi ), Grace Jones (May Day), Terri Hatcher (Paris Carver), Halle Berry (Jinx), Gemma Arterton (Strawberry Fields) and Naomi Harris (Eve Moneypenny) are jaw-dropping as they are boggling; and beckons research on feminism with a critical lens from Bond’s perspective.
The Bond movies are a lesson in design and special effects as they are immaculately curated; and as the music is orchestrated to enliven cinematography and box-office annals. From the sets of Ken Adams to the scores from John Barry’s Orchestra (Dr. No & On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) croonings of Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger, Moonraker & Diamonds are Forever, Nancy Sinatra’s You Only Live Twice, Louis Armstrong’s We Have All the Time In The World, (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), Paul McCarty and Wings Live and Lets Die, Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better (The Living Daylights), Sheena Easton’s For Your Eyes Only, Duran Duran’s A View to A Kill, Tina Turner’s Goldeneye, K D Lang’s Surrender (Tomorrow Never Dies), Sheryl Crow’s Tomorrow Never Dies, Madonna’s Die Another Day, Jack White and Alicia Keys’ Another Way to Die, to the latest chart topping instalment by Adele, Skyfall. The Bond franchise has blended eclecticism from music genres to distinct scores for the silver screens from music maestros and oblivions.
Bond, James Bond or 007 beckons worldwide attention of gamut proportions. Our world famous Secret Agent stylistically reminded us – his audience – in this latest flick from the Bond franchise Skyfall , he prefers his vodka martini shaken, not stirred, and will occasionally have a Heineken. The Bond franchise is in the uber class of movie franchises for branding, marketing, promotion, publicity and longevity; with exhibitions from London, Washington, and now Toronto. It has earned the enviable title of the longest running movie franchise in the world with the unrelenting by-liner the second highest grossing film series (and the single most successful adjusted for inflation) with its 23rd official cinematic flick, Skyfall debutant October 2012.
Kudos to the amazing cast and curators, from shrewd actors, crews, directors, producers, composers, writers (from Purvis, Wade, Logan and Wilson) musical maestros, to innovative artists, persistent creative thinkers and movers from Broccoli, Saltzman to Maibaum and directors from Young, Broccoli , Wilson, Hamilton, Glen, Deakins to Mendes; movie houses MGM, Columbia to Sony and Eon.
The Bond franchise melds modernity and tradition into a tapestry that typifies the exotic, eclectic, contemporary and urbane appeals of some of the world’s desirable destinations, vibrant locales, snapshots, plots and scenes that depicts exhilaratingly, the daring to the relaxing, vicariously, vividly or overtly. Bond, James Bond, 007 captivatingly like Diamonds Are Forever (1971) will be around for a long-time to come and as we realize that Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), the cinematic feats are etched in our memories as we look at it with a Goldeneye (1995).
Bond, James Bond or 007 whichever you prefer, is an iconoclast, a provocateur, style icon, trendsetter and refreshingly a revolutionaire with an unshaken commitment and an unstirred sensibility to Her Majesty Secret Service. In a toast to 50 glorious years of James Bond will you have a shaken martini, Heineken or a glass of champagne? Ian Fleming probably would have had a Red Stripe beer!! Which drink will you have? As we toast the creatively exciting years ahead for this uber cinematic franchise, bar none!!.
• Ian Fleming’s Jamaica (www.nytimes.com)
• Ian Fleming 007 – Jamaica 1946-1964 (www.ianfleming.com)
• On Golden Bond: 50 Years of Sexy Espionage (http://www.rappler.com/entertainment)
• Best of Bond…..James Bond: 50 Years, 50 Tracks (http://www.absolutepunk.net)
• The Birth of Bond (www.vanityfair.com)
• 50 Years of Bond Themes (http://www.007.com)
© 2012 Hugh Anthony. All rights reserved.