Author Topic: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread  (Read 7631 times)

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« on: January 12, 2019, 07:12:38 AM »
Bought a box of Bond last year and have been picking at them intermittently since. Loved Casino Royale and the two books of short stories and just finished Live and Let Die.

Ian wasn't dying about The Black People, was he?

Anyone read much Bond? How do you like it?

timebug

  • Father of Serge
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2019, 05:41:30 PM »
It's good stuff, with the proviso that you remember when reading it that they were written
in the fifties and early sixties; written by an arrogant upper class man, who believed all that
he was told, and much of the rubbish he was told, makes it into the books!
(Sumo wrestlers draw their testicles into their body when fighting; homosexuals can't whistle!)
If you forget the films, and read the books with Bulldog Drummond in mind; Bond, on the page
is a stiff necked, ultra patriotoc 'British Bulldog' with all the authors prejudices and background!
In other words non-PC  rip roaring boys own comic adventures!

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2019, 10:33:33 PM »
Read Diamonds Are Forever for a book club a couple of years ago. It was good fun escapism, but yeah, there's definitely some hilariously offensive stuff in there. (Highlights of that one include Bond musing that although he doesn't mind black people, the thought of touching one makes his skin crawl, and also whingeing that traumatised gang-rape victim Tiffany Case needs to just get over it and shag him.)

I've got a Vintage reissue of the Spectre trilogy (Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice) on my desk which I've yet to start.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2019, 11:00:12 AM »
I think Fleming is a great writer, I have phrases and whole passages marked in his book that I'd have felt bad not acknowledging. I like to flick back through books I'm unlikely to reread and still find something of some value.

I was definitely amused by Bond's general dislike of women in Casino Royale and some of the shorts, because that's Bond - he's a character. Even if the words are put there by Fleming, the filtration carries enough of a disconnect that you can justify the difference between the opinions of the character or those of his creator.

But it isn't Bond that refers to every appearance of a black man or woman in Live and Let Die as the action of a 'negro' or 'negress' - that's Fleming. I think that's what made it so difficult. It's not an unpleasant character, it's an unpleasant real person, speaking his hatred (if it's hatred) directly to you.

I've taken a break to read The Road and Kill Your Friends (fancied some new authors) but I suppose Moonraker is next. Odd that the third book wasn't filmed until well into the run of the third actor. I doubt Jaws'll be appearing.

Egyptian Feast

  • Nice girls don't wear cha-cha heels
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2019, 12:17:42 PM »
Moonraker is a cracking read, one of my favourites in the series. No Jaws and indeed no similarity at all to the 1979 film, though the Branson/Musk-esque villain with the mysterious past could have inspired numerous bad guys in the franchise, such as the Toby Stephens character in Die Another Day.

I was re-reading the series in order a few years back, but stalled on Thunderball. I must get back to it, though I may skip The Spy Who Loved Me, one of the worst books I've ever read. Fair play to Fleming for following it up with the best novel in the series, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but it doesn't make up for thinking he could actually pull off a novel written from the perspective of a woman. Tedious, embarrassing and cringeworthy. No wonder approximately 0% of the novel made it into the 'adaptation'.


magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2019, 01:36:54 PM »
Does he really? That sounds fascinating. Are any of the others not written from the usual "Bond thought [X] as he shifted the gears of his [elaborately described vehicle]" perspective? Fleming writing on behalf of women, I'll look forward to that.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2019, 03:34:54 PM »
I read most of them when I was a teenager - I borrowed them from the library where they had a fantastic set of them with the Richard Chopping dust jackets:



I enjoyed them, but I don't think I'd re-read them now I'm nearly 50. Well, I might be tempted by Moonraker, OHMSS, and You Only Live Twice (looking past its bizarre interpretation of Japanese culture) I remember these being decent.

The Spy Who Loved Me was good in parts, if I recall correctly - but the terrible parts more than made up for that.

Was Fleming a product of his time and place? Or was he actually awful?

Egyptian Feast

  • Nice girls don't wear cha-cha heels
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2019, 03:46:27 PM »
Does he really? That sounds fascinating. Are any of the others not written from the usual "Bond thought [X] as he shifted the gears of his [elaborately described vehicle]" perspective? Fleming writing on behalf of women, I'll look forward to that.

From Fleming's introduction, which should give you an idea of the contents:

Quote
I found what follows lying on my desk one morning. As you will see, it appears to be the first person story of a young woman, evidently beautiful and not unskilled in the arts of love. According to her story, she appears to have been involved, both perilously and romantically, with the same James Bond whose secret service exploits I myself have written from time to time. With the manuscript was a note signed 'Vivienne Michel' assuring me that what she had written was 'purest truth and from the depths of her heart'. I was interested in this view of James Bond, through the wrong end of the telescope so to speak, and after obtaining clearance for certain minor infringements of the Official Secrets Act I have much pleasure in sponsoring its publication.

I don't believe he wrote any other Bond stories from another perspective (perhaps one of the short stories, but I don't think so). The novel was poorly received, and Fleming complained to his publisher: "I had become increasingly surprised to find my thrillers, which were designed for an adult audience, being read in schools, and that young people were making a hero out of James Bond ... So it crossed my mind to write a cautionary tale about Bond, to put the record straight in the minds particularly of younger readers ... the experiment has obviously gone very much awry". He wasn't wrong.


magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2019, 07:45:29 PM »
Anyone tried Bond's recipe for scrambled eggs? To be accompanied by champagne and low lighting.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2019, 09:55:06 PM »
Ha! Not quite, although apart from the amount of butter it's fairly standard.

But: HOW many eggs? The recipe I saw said 12. I assumed this was for 2 people... you wouldn't shit for a week!

Quote from: thejamesbonddossier.com
in How To Write A Thriller, Fleming mentions that so frequent was Bond’s consumption of scrambled eggs in an early draft of Live And Let Die that a proof-reader pointed out to him the security risked this posed to Bond, writing that whoever was following him need only walk into a restaurant and ask, “Was there a man here eating scrambled eggs?”

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2019, 10:02:21 PM »
Another interesting James Bond site I've come across dealt with his clothes: www.bondsuits.com - which in spite of being by an American, is actually quite good.

non capisco

  • Burning with optimism's flames
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2019, 10:11:16 PM »
It's good stuff, with the proviso that you remember when reading it that they were written
in the fifties and early sixties; written by an arrogant upper class man, who believed all that
he was told, and much of the rubbish he was told, makes it into the books!
(Sumo wrestlers draw their testicles into their body when fighting; homosexuals can't whistle!)

Hahaha, yes, I'd forgotten about that. That's in 'The Man With The Golden Gun' if I remember correctly, I remember delighting in reading that bit to a mate of mine who's gay and once bemoaned the fact that he's never been able to whistle. "He had you lot pegged, old Ian Fleming!" The sumo wrestlers thing is perhaps even more insane. It does appear the daft prick would believe anything. Bond is basically an idealised version of how Fleming saw himself so the chapter towards the start of 'Live And Let Die' where 007 gets all scared and has to go to bed after reading some bullshit book about voodoo makes perfect sense.

"Here, Ian. You know that Italian men have barbed penises, like cats do?"
"REALLY?"
"Yeah, everyone knows that. It's a well known fact."

CHAPTER EIGHT: WOP PARADISE
Bond lit his eight thousandth cigarette of the day and disembarked from the gondola to go and meet his Italian contact Guiseppe Dolce. He found a small eaterie and ordered a shit ton of scrambled eggs and a Martini.

"Shaken not stirred."
"Yes-a, Meees-ta Bond-a."

He sat down at a corner table and waited for Dolce who was characteristically late. Probably teaching his secretary a lesson with his barbed penis, a curious feature common to all Italian men. He gave silent thanks for his normal British dingus that just went all hard and straight when aroused, not barbed like every male in this wretched country. Or rotating and detachable, like the Japanese.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2019, 10:43:14 PM by non capisco »

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2019, 12:35:58 AM »
Another interesting James Bond site I've come across dealt with his clothes: www.bondsuits.com - which in spite of being by an American, is actually quite good.

There's also this one:

http://www.jamesbondlifestyle.com

Basically every prop, gadget, accessory and piece of clothing they can source from the films and where to buy if available.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2019, 09:43:01 AM »
Something in the Bond books which seems to have left a strong impression (years after I read them) was how Fleming always emphasised if someone moved with economical precision, or somesuch. Foreign assassins and hit men never fussed or fluttered. If they reached for something, in a pocket or on a table, their fingers always closed around the object first time with no messing about. As if they'd been practising. I suppose it's supposed to make you think of cats, who kill, eat, then sleep - rigorously conserving their energy for the chase.

As I say, it made an impression as a virtue worth having, because to this day I occasionally find myself consciously being economical with my movements (which, written down, looks like 'constipation') .

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2019, 11:27:48 AM »
One of the less obvious takes from the books (which struck me as a teenager and even more so now) is that old-fashioned misogyny doesn't really get you very far and leads to an immensely sad and lonely life.

I read them in order and was struck by how the romantic interests either dupe him, die on him (both in the first book), refuse him, or the relationships just go sour in between the end of one book and the start of a another. Bond seems to 'love' most of the women involved so it isn't a case of casually tossing them aside; I'd even argue there's a moral aspect to the stories (although I don't think it was deliberate on Fleming's behalf), something that the films don't have (apart from OHMSS and that's probably why it's been slowly re-evaluated over the years).

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2019, 01:55:53 PM »
The first two, Casino Royale and Live and Let Die, have such strong S & M overtones: CR with the scene where Bond's buttocks are beaten bloody; LALD with the scene where the wounded Bond is tied together with a nude woman, then the pair of them trailed behind a motorboat as bleeding shark bait.

timebug

  • Father of Serge
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2019, 09:30:53 AM »
Apparently, he also quoted stuff he had been told, when Bond spoke about wine with differrent meals; I know naff all about wine myself, but he would be told this stuff, and put the opinions in Bonds mouth, resulting in (to real wine buffs) absolute bollocks about which wine suited which meal. There is somewhere online (I never keep URL's!) a lengthy piece with some wine expert, bemoaning this fact. It seems that whilst Mr Fleming was able to cobble together a decent plot from time to time, his hero was riddled with all the bullshit opinions/'facts' that the writer had been saddled with!

madhair60

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Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2019, 08:56:32 AM »
Any particular book I should start with, or just go through in release order?

timebug

  • Father of Serge
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2019, 09:42:42 AM »
I would go in the order they were published if you can; it does not happen often, but now and then Bond is reflecting on his past life and mentions 'when I met.....'  or 'when ........ was killed...' and if you have read them in order, you will get the references.

Mark Steels Stockbroker

  • Lost in the former West
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2019, 05:19:21 PM »
FRWL has Smersh deciding to get rid of the old lothario who's been ruining their operations, so they recount all the previous books plots, including the one they weren't in.

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2019, 08:52:20 PM »
I would go in the order they were published if you can...

I seem to recall it does matter around OHMSS, You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun, whereas the others tend to be passing references to the previous adventure when he meets M at the beginning. I think I read Moonraker first as a kid which is an unusual one because it's really of its time (British rockets!) and you aren't reminded of the film plot at all while reading it.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2019, 12:43:56 PM »
I'm after finishing Dr No just now, which I read in just a few sittings. It's a lot less racist and sexist than the preceding books, still has an unhealthy supply of both though.

But!

It's really streamlined, and really fucking good. It only has a handful of characters in it, the introduction of Dr No is brilliant and the gauntlet he has Bond run through towards the end is excellently described. Great chapter with a centipede, too. Has resorted my faith in the series after the very unpleasant From Russia With Love.

Danger Man

  • Let's stand together
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2019, 04:47:13 PM »
But it isn't Bond that refers to every appearance of a black man or woman in Live and Let Die as the action of a 'negro' or 'negress' - that's Fleming. I think that's what made it so difficult. It's not an unpleasant character, it's an unpleasant real person, speaking his hatred (if it's hatred) directly to you.

'Negro' was not considered offensive in the 1960's. In fact, when it was replaced with 'black' in the 1970's, some older people found 'black' offensive and wanted to continue with 'negro'.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2019, 06:25:37 PM »
Aye, maybe it wasn't, but he never once refers to a black person as 'man' or 'woman' - they are always given that designation, which is what I found unpleasant.

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2019, 12:59:01 AM »
Apparently, he also quoted stuff he had been told, when Bond spoke about wine with differrent meals; I know naff all about wine myself, but he would be told this stuff, and put the opinions in Bonds mouth, resulting in (to real wine buffs) absolute bollocks about which wine suited which meal. There is somewhere online (I never keep URL's!) a lengthy piece with some wine expert, bemoaning this fact. It seems that whilst Mr Fleming was able to cobble together a decent plot from time to time, his hero was riddled with all the bullshit opinions/'facts' that the writer had been saddled with!

This was also true of his choice for Bond's gun - he was happy to incorporate new info when experts corrected him.

https://jamesbond.fandom.com/wiki/Beretta_418

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2019, 10:19:12 AM »
I liked a lot of his writing in the Bond tales.  He's a sexist knob, though.

timebug

  • Father of Serge
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2020, 10:01:32 AM »
An old chestnut came up in conversation with a fellow Bond (book) Fan the other day. It was widely rumoured
that at the end of 'From Russia With Love' when Rosa Klebb kicks Bond with the Curare tipped boots, he falls to
the floor and the book ends; allegedly,this was Flemings 'Reichenbach Falls' moment. He had supposedly had
enough of Bond and had effectively killed him off. Following either demand from the fans, and/or the publisher
he was resurrected in 'Dr No'. Like Sherlock Holmes,(post Reichenbach) there are fans who have analysed and
read the texts to death,who claim the hero was 'never quite the same, or as good as before.
I like them all, even the dreadful 'Spy Who Loved Me'. Yes it's shite, but kudos to the writer for at least trying
something different. I would say off the top of my head that my favourites are 'Casino Royale' and ;Goldfinger'
although I always liked the flat bleakness of 'O.H.M.S.S' too.
As has been said already on this thread, Fleming was a pompous upper crust sexist knob; but on most days he
was able to churn out an enjoyable slice of escapism and keep the reader happy for a few hours.
And for the more prurient among you/us there is the crappy TV fil 'Spymaker;The life of Ian Fleming' which features
a young Kate Humble of 'Animal Park' fame, in a rather nice topless bedroom scene!

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

  • My head really was bulbous.
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2020, 10:19:29 AM »
The bedroom doesn't have a ceiling?

Rich Uncle Skeleton

  • Oh it's a whole flock of detectives.
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2020, 01:22:42 AM »


CHAPTER EIGHT: WOP PARADISE


Didn't want to paste the whole lot in the guffaw thread (possibly a second time) but this post is still one of my favourite ever here.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2020, 11:02:36 AM »
Agreed.

"...rotating and detatchable, like the Japanese," is fantastic.

I've tried the Scrambled eggs recipe a couple of times too. I went into immediate cardiac arrest from all the butter, and was egg-bound for a week.

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