i Editor's Letter: Bonding with Bond

 

 

Rebecca Armstrong wrote a charming column in Monday's i about going to see Skyfall, the new Bond movie, and how it reminded her so much of her father with whom she, um, Bonded, through 007. I know what she means.

At the risk of invading my own Ma's privacy, for most of my life she has been a widow. We never really talked about men: she is an old-school Italian Catholic of a certain generation, and I am male, and her son. There was one exception (maybe two - that priest in The Thorn Birds, Richard Chamberlain!). I knew, because she perhaps even said out loud, that she found James Bond handsome. Not just any Bond, but Roger Moore's Bond, the one that viewed through a modern prism, we ridicule for his corny humour, chat-up lines and single eyebrow acting.

Perhaps she had watched him in The Saint, one of the first British heroes she would have seen after coming over from Italy, perhaps he was everyone's idea of the suave English gentleman – it was after all the era of the Milk Tray Man. It helped that he married a beautiful Italian.

Most men (and many women) have a relationship with Bond, wittingly or otherwise. Our perception of what makes a "real" or "desirable" man is so reflected in who plays the contemporary 007. The full 180-degree arc of public sexual fantasy runs from Ursula Andress emerging in that bikini in Dr No (1962) to Daniel Craig in those trunks in Casino Royale (2006). Daniel Craig's masculine but ambiguous Bond perfectly sums up the ideal of the modern male. Skyfall? Can't wait.

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