The first James Bond movie I ever saw in the cinema was “A View to a Kill”. The pre-credit sequence, I’ll never forget, it in some ways changed the way I looked at life and the world, forever! During the duke out in the snow, Bond gets knocked off his skis after blowing up a snowmobile, fortuitously the front ski of the snowmobile lands close to Bond, so he decides to use it as a snow board. From that point on Bond uses it to escape the bad guys all to the tune of the beach boys, in the snow. I was baffled, I had never seen snow boarding before, and like every thing Bond did seemed as alien and futuristic as any thing seen in Star Wars or Battlestar Galatica.Growing up in Dublin in the 80s, we had access to British TV, we lived in glorious 6 channel land, unlike my country cousins who languished in 2 channel land before the arrival of multi-channel in 1988. The one show I used to catch, but couldn’t fathom was Ski Sunday, here we saw people who got to travel all over the world and … ski, bizarre! They might as well have gone into space, which Bond did in Moonraker, the possibility of doing such a thing, for me, was about as likely. But then in 1999 I was sent to the States on extended business and during a relatively dry winter I finally got to a mountain of snow. It was Hunter Mountain, in the Catskills, in upstate New York. As people who know the mountain, it’s not great, a big lump of ice and if there is ever anything that is like piste, it only lasts about the first 20 minutes in the morning before it is all scratched away.However, I couldn’t believe it at the age of 23, I finally got to hit some slopes, I forwent learning skiing and went straight to snowboarding, why wouldn’t you, didn’t you see James Bond skate across the water on one? The first weekend was hard, the second weekend was hard, the third weekend was hard, but slowly I got it, graduating out of the green slopes, which are still the most dangerous, to blue and then hints of black. I was doing it, I was just like James Bond. Twelve years later I still am.
It was while I was traveling around Europe recently I came up with the theory that maybe James Bond was, if not created, but in some way used by the establishment to help heal the broken continent after the war. It is truly amazing that now you can glide between France, Italy and Switzerland without border controls when the same places lay in ash 60 years ago. While the James Bond books were written in the 50s, Bond arrived in movie form in the 60s, he traveled around the world, lived the high life and treated women in a way that would surely have him reported to human resources for sexual harassment in the work place, just because Miss Moneypenny didn’t say no didn’t make it right. He was showing a possible life style that we some day might enjoy. Sure we have to take low cost airlines like Ryanair, but an inhabitant in one part of Europe can be in another in the space of a morning (usually very very early in the morning, with carry on less than 7Kg) and modern day smartphones leave most of the Q gadgets for dust.
I have very much enjoyed, the most recent incarnation of Bond, in the form of Daniel Craig, I still can’t believe there were so called purists that felt Bond could never be blond. I hope that after his more than competent performance they are hiding in the same hole as people who were putting down Jedi as their religion on census forms back in the late 90s. That of course was before Lucas decided to make them all celibate monks, thus matching the reality not the fantasy of those said fans. I am looking forward to the next movie and have them filling out the roster, the next movie, Skyfall, is supposed to have Q and Miss Moneypenny. I myself have recently auditioned for a classic part, and am waiting to hear back if I got it. It’s “Man with Wine Bottle”, it’s a pivotal role I think you’ll agree, I just hope that being a student of the method acting technique doesn’t kill me in the process.
I don’t know if Bond can change the world again, it would be nice to think so, but I will always have the beach boys playing in the back of my head while shredding up a mountain. Now if only I can see if I can get into space.