I first encountered James Bond at the age of ten. At the time, my family was in-between homes, and we were living, for the summer, in a small camper at a trailer park more accurately described as a trailer city. The park often had hundreds of campers – some permanent, others temporary – situated on acres and acres of hilly land on a lake in Northern Illinois. With hundreds and thousands of people visiting every weekend, one of the main events for the crowds were the outdoor movies hosted every Friday and Saturday night. This is where I saw my first James Bond film.
Timothy Dalton rarely tops anyone’s list of top 007 actors. Coming off 12 years and seven movies of Roger Moore, Dalton cut a rather rough and serious tone that – while closer to Fleming’s original vision of Bond – turned off many fans who’d grown accustomed to Moore’s tongue-in-cheek style. In fact, Dalton played Bond only twice, and while some of this is due to Eon’s long legal troubles, many blamed the heaviness of his interpretation.
In License to Kill, Dalton’s second movie, James Bond sets out to avenge the attempted murder of his longtime colleague from the CIA, and friend, Felix Leiter, who was nearly eaten to death when he ran afoul of a major drug cartel. For a ten year old boy living in a campground in Northern Illinois – seeing a devil-may-care spy, with super-cool gadgets, who had no trouble with the ladies, chase bad guys all over exotic locations, with a relentless focus on his mission of vengeance, was eye opening. At this point in my life, with the exception of a brief visit to Tampa, FL the year prior, I had not seen much of the world beyond Illinois. And while I had yet to enter the peak-girl-awareness phase of adolescence, his nonchalance with the ladies and simultaneous relentless pursuit of mission and pleasure were fascinating and compelling.
Eventually, I started exploring the extensive back catalog of Bond movies. On the weekends, during summer break, and during sick days home from school, Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Living Daylights – all brought a sense of fascination and adventure; a temporary, two-hour escape for a young boy whose own adventures included little more than riding my bike around our small town and the occasional hunting excursion with my father. The missions and lifestyle of James Bond presented many daydreams of possibility. From there it was Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig, and the original Fleming novels – and so goes my nearly thirty year obsession with all things Bond.
In both the novels and the movies, 007 acts as a stand-in for the reader or viewer. He’s a man that embodies an unattainable adventurous, thrilling, and exotic lifestyle that is anything but dull and boring. He’s a man fully dedicated to living life his way, in the intentional pursuit of mission – preferring the variety, challenge, danger, and excitement of the secret agent life over the confines of his London office – and the pursuit of personal pleasure – throwing himself headlong into the pursuit of food, drink, women, luxury, driving, and high-stakes gambling. In short, he’s every boy’s – every man’s – unattainable fantasy.
Welcome to Everyday Bond. My focus here is to explore the character of James Bond, as portrayed in the novels and movies, with a view to bringing a little bit of that unattainable life – the life lived by James Bond – into the everyday. We’ll explore Bond’s approach to life, his philosophy, attitudes, lifestyle choices, etc., and discuss various ways we – the everyday guy – can realistically inject elements of the James Bond lifestyle into our everyday experiences.
No one can – realistically – live like James Bond. Not fully. The one man who came close – Ian Fleming himself – died in his fifties as a result of trying. As I said earlier, Bond is meant to be a stand-in for the reader or viewer, allowing them to experience adventures and a lifestyle that would be near impossible for the average man, but that doesn’t mean we cannot at least draw upon the escapist adventures of Bond to, in some small way, elevate our daily experiences.
I hope you enjoy this blog. It’s going to be a part time gig for me, and that means I’ll be posting whenever time allows. Expect to find musings discussing various quotes from the novels, commentary on the movies, reviews, discussion of affordable alternatives to some of Bond’s more expensive tastes, curation of articles and videos from other James Bond related sites, and occasional James Bond related news. I encourage you to subscribe and to also follow @everydaybond007 on Twitter for the latest updates.