14 October 2015 4633 Views


by James Murphy


james bond 2005





TIME: 00:07 GMT (Seriously)





Another week, another memo. Must I really attend to the little details like paperwork? Yes. Of course. It’s the 21st century. I don’t have a secretary. Mary Goodnight unavailable. MoneyPenny now a sometime field agent. Ms Ponsonby missing in action. Etc.

The release of SPECTRE is imminent. And with that comes the inevitable tide of promotional interviews and the like. One might even fear saturation? We have the Heineken adverts, one final (dare I say, superfluous?) trailer and a few TV Spots.

All should go ‘viral’. See for yourself below:







Point is: this is a well oiled machine in my name. I pity the poor bloke who plays me. I am told at least six men have had a go at the gig. Sir Roger Moore (88 today: many happy returns!) managed seven simulated 007 adventures, back to back. I think he did rather splendidly. Ruthless and determined when he needed to be but charming, gentlemanly, funny and dashing on most occasions. Believe it or not, THAT is ‘me’. THAT is the ‘true’ James Bond.





I do NOT, contrary to fanboy belief, like brooding in a corner about the finer points of the human condition. Yes of course I have done that: haven’t we all? I’m just not defined by that kind of activity. If I were to veer into the realm of self reflection too deeply, then I’d be dead in the field before an assignment had even kicked off. And any dwelling on events past would inevitably preclude my attempting similar adventures in the future. Always moving forward: that’s me.


Read the books, if in doubt. I did have one major nervous breakdown. Once. But in fairness, my beloved wife had just died. I’d really rather not ‘go’ there. And once again: Sir Rog kind of captured that in one look to the camera. THAT, dear reader, is true ‘acting’. And it’s possibly THE most accurate depiction of how I contain my true grief, sorrow, guilt and world weary doubt. I give a look, then I move on.


That said, I know times change. In today’s world, there is no Cold War (yeah, right: just keep telling yourself that so you can sleep soundly in the deluded dream of ignorant bliss that is the civilian life). There is of course a ‘war on terror’ and I do engage the enemy. But Bond movies are there to somehow represent the cares and trends of the time, without actually escalating things. So don’t expect ‘From ISIS with love‘ anytime soon.






And so it is that we have SPECTRE. One gets a sense that there is an ‘evil’ or a ‘big bad’. But it is a faceless, nation-less, multi ethnic and secular conspiracy: framing an order on the true fears we face in a chaotic and uncertain world.

To pad things out and match the zeitgeist of a hero with a war in the mind and soul, it appears that I will be on some kind of ‘character arc’? Speculative, naturally (even I cannot access a sneak peak at the finished film yet, despite all my skills and the film using my name).

But I think we are looking at further reminders of my ‘past’ and an ultimate choice about how to move on from that (perhaps in the alluring arms of Lea Seydoux: she is almost daring me to leave active service in the clips released so far, and who could refuse her?). That’s just fine. I do ‘settle down’ as it happens (cf the novel, Man with the Golden Gun), albeit reluctantly. I accept a pipe and slippers end to life.


lea seydoux 2




The film-makers can of course marry me off into some self contained yet sequel friendly sunset. Or kill me: and even EON Productions lack the ‘balls’ to do that (there you are, dear old Pierce Brosnan: happy now?!). I just hope they don’t labour things too much. I am not Batman, you know.

If I do pack it in and face my fears of pastures beyond the killing and the spying, it would be with a shrug of shoulder and arch of eyebrow, rather than via some ‘dark (k)night’ of the soul or endearingly moving ‘cafe in Florence’. But you all know what you are doing, Bond film makers. And I know you won’t let me down.







In any event, SPECTRE should be brilliant. Might even break the Skyfall box office record. Fingers crossed. The stakes are high but in a good way. Which is why one could understand Daniel Craig considering his own future in the role. It’s ten years since he was announced as the man worthy enough to play me. It was a controversial choice at the time and did seem tough on Pierce Brosnan, who had a great run and made me look suave and sleek and super-cool.


But I never doubted you for a second, Daniel. Layer Cake, Tomb Raider, Archangel, Enduring Love, Sylvia and little things called charisma, talent and a masculine ‘look’ made you a natural fit for the job.

In one sense, Mr. Craig has said all he can and done all that’s possible with this iteration of the 007 part. And a decade is a pretty good time to once again recharge the franchise. Why not go with a new Bond in a 60s setpiece and restore the old escapist gloss and fun?


HANG ON. No. NO. NO! Sod that.


m office





See, fact is I APPROVE of you, playing me. I genuinely think that you can and indeed SHOULD age in this part. Obviously we don’t want you playing Bond beyond 55 as that would just be silly. But you can easily turn in two more movies.  Take it to 52, perhaps?


Go all broody and dark and small scale again if you must with the next one after SPECTRE. Then give us a brilliant, patriotic, barnstorming, escapist Spy Who Loved Me style caper to complete your tenure. THEN you can retire. THEN your Bond can do pipe and slippers. People can speculate all they want about the next James Bond in the meantime. It just cements your hold on the role. Trust me.

The ‘would rather slash my wrists than do another one‘ comment was unfortunate. DON’T make a joke like that again if possible. But your grumpy abandon was one of the reasons you owned this role with such aplomb in the first place. So don’t muck it up by giving up. Not yet. Or I’ll take that vial of potassium cyanide (the one I always lie about destroying). And then nobody will play me ever again.




Just kidding. I will always be needed in some guise. And the less P/C, the better. Because it’s a very dark world. One in which my old favourite PLAYBOY mag will no longer show tasteful nudes in a new publicity stunt. Ian Fleming would be ashamed of the proprietors’ failure (and he once let them publish stories of my exploits..tsk tsk..).  The healthy male who previously gravitated to PLAYBOY can be instead exposed to some of the most violent and evil images imaginable, c/o society’s general complacency about Internet pornography and via the not so dulcet tones and images in the average pop video (Rhianna and co: take note).

Speaking of music though: before I go, a word about THAT song. Oh yes. Sam Smith’sWriting’s on the Wall‘. Ok: on first few listens it grates and grinds the old eardrums like some torture devised by GoldFinger on a particularly sadistic day off.  BUT. Listen again. And again. And..AGAIN! And..Bingo! HOOKED! Beautiful strings and horn action. It’s a great song, Mr. Smith. Flawed but great. Bit like me. So it’s a perfect fit. And the first Bond theme to reach NUMBER ONE in the charts. Good show. Well Done.

Granted, the filmmakers could have saved a bunch of cash by simply taking Adele’s Skyfall song and subbing the word ‘Skyfall’ with ‘SPECTRE’ (seriously: try it; kinda works). And maybe next time they can give us one of the old style big jazz band songs that basically allude to my virility and machismo (‘it’s all about cock’ as the late, great John Barry once said to his 007 composer successor, the equally great David Arnold). 

But THOSE lyrics in ‘Writing’s On the Wall‘ are insightful and wise. They do sum me up and touch a nerve. I am a man that failed to face consequences my entire life. A person without commitment or attachment, because that suited me and my purposes and arguably some others whom I so faithfully served. But it has to stop at some point.



Whether I succeed or fail in attempting change, it is through that very uncertain step towards a measure of reformation where one might find – dare I say it – a certain ‘Quantum of Solace(the feeling, not the movie, though the latter was just fine by me btw). Basically, some small sense of humanity, warmth, civility and comfort.

The only possible trigger for such traumatic change? Well, it could be one, final and lasting love. I simply don’t know yet. Like you, dear reader, I shall have to wait and see SPECTRE in October /November (depending on where I am based on assignment) to find out.


Anyway, it’s late. And I have a mission briefing with M and Tanner in the morning. Must dash.  See you again soon, no doubt. 









Mi6 HQ/ Kings Road, Chelsea






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