Thursday, 25 May 2017

Cambodia and USA and Kent - shaken not stirred

James Bond fan Jay Raman of US Embassy in Phnom Penh makes some interesting points on the sad death of 007 (003?) Roger Moore with his tribute of his favourite Bond films:

1)For Your Eyes Only
2)The Spy Who Loved Me
4)Live and Let Die
5)The Man with the Golden Gun
7)View to a Kill

And Jay a keen fan of Cambodian rock and roll and film with his dynamic work on Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten highlighting Khmer heritage:

Roger Moore though was brought up here in Kent - in Gravsend, Bexley and Tunbridge Wells - often bemoaning later that he no longer recognised many of the towns from the onslaught of Hitler and council town planners.

While author Ian Fleming lived near Canterbury - where he wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - and was devoted to East Kent's Royal St George's golf course near here in sunny Ramsgate.

That golf course the inspiration for the golf game in Goldfinger - but filmed at Stoke Park, Stoke Poges near the film studios and coincidentally the site for Daniel Craig's last pre-Bond film Layer Cake.

And Royal St George’s now host of the 2020 Masters Golf Open. Asian-American Tiger Woods featuring in previous Masters at Bond's course.
My selection of Roger Moore films would be of a slightly different order:

1. Spy Who Loved Me - the Union Jack parachute in the opening credits?
2. Live and Let Die - Bond in Harlem foiling a Caribbean heroin plot?
3. Moonraker – Bond in Space and Jaws, one of the few villains making another appearance
4. Man with the Golden Gun - Asian tourism in Thailand's Krabi benefiting to this day with James Bond Island: Sheriff JW Pepper appearing again from Live and Let Die and wrestling with both the Louisiana and Thailand waterways.
5. Octopussy - Bond as a clown?!
6. For Your Eyes Only - Bond in a Citroen 2CV, Jay?(!) :-)
7. View to a Kill - Duran Duran soundtrack need I say more

And East Kent's Manston airport briefly featured in Pierce Brosnan's Die Another Day as a North Korean airfield. And Manston briefly mentioned in the Moonraker novel with East Kent the base for the V2 missiles hidden near the White Cliffs of Dover.

Manston featuring in my politics work for the Infratil and council crimes of recent years, including gunrunning via Ostend airport to Africa, and UN-sanctioned aircraft for blood diamonds.

Interestingly Ian Fleming wrote a non-Bondian book on diamond smugglers.

In my film marketing work I worked on a few Bond movies, and who can resist a Connery ranking:

1. From Russia With Love
2. Goldfinger
3. You Only Live Twice
4. Diamonds Are Forever
5. Thunderball
6. Dr.No
7. Never Say Never Again

I've only just finished the novel of From Russia With Love - surely the best of all the Bond films, and with the best villains with both Robert Shaw's Red Grant and Rosa Klebb? And the most radiant Bond girl in Daniela Bianchi?

And Roger Moore giving Pussy Galore and Plenty O'Toole a run for their money in the double-entendre names stakes.

Interesting too that the novel sparked the lift-off of the James Bond craze after then-President John F. Kennedy cited it as one of his favourite books.
And Bond's entrance in the novel in breakfasting on Great British Seville marmalade, perhaps inspiring both Paddington Bear and Guy Verhofsdat breakfast favourites, the latter the chief EU negotitator warming up for more Brexit silliness in recent interviews.
Or perhaps not.

But interestingly JFK created the Peace Corps with Thailand and Malaysia the first recipients of US volunteers and students in 1962 - and so a UK version shamelessly copying the American initiative is long overdue. Tim Kaine, recent VP-candidate, former Governor and current Senator of Virginia introducing Jamestown400 links with Kent, and keen blues harp player, and also a Peace Corps volunteer in Central America.

Current Governor Terry McAuliffe keeping up Virginia's strong performance in ASEAN exports, despite being an ocean and a continent away from Asia - two continents if you wanted to include Australia as well as USA - and indeed nearer to Kent than Krabi. And the Governor like Bond no stranger to occasionally wrestling a few alligators.

Food for thought on Meiji Kent and UK ASEAN exports. And on the breakfast theme First Lady Mrs McAuliffe carrying out sterling work with her Breakfast Club work for under-nourished schools/communities. Hunger and Malnutrition surely absurd for both G7 nations if not any nation in 21st century?

And Kentucky's Matthew Barzun former US Ambassador to UK also opening the Pocahontas400 events in Kent earlier this year - Pocahontas as America's first Ambassador?

But if rumours of Fleming being inspired by the 007 bus route to Canterbury may not be correct, then surely the revitalised James Bond Trail is long overdue from Visit Kent and East Kent Council?

Is it so outrageous for Kent University to have a James Bonds strand in its Cinema courses, and Creative Industries Conferences with CCU or Visit Kent?

At the very least a keen Bond fan like Jay could celebrate an East Kent pilgrimage with opening a can of Dr. Pepper to JW - or a vodka martini or two to 003 - in celebration at the nineteenth hole of the Royal St George's?

Even President Trump might take a break from his Make America Great Britain Again work - with or without Kent's rascally Farage - for a turnout on Bond's golf course

While with all the Bond novels and short stories - and even Fleming's Goldeneye writing house in Jamaica where the novels were written - now used up, shouldn't there be a law limiting any future Bonds to no more than 7 Bond films so as not to overtake Roger's achievement?

And certainly a ban on American Bonds, with Woody Allen making a poor showing in Casino Royale?


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