Festival Around Town
. an icon at touring exshibition Bond Bound
Of human bond-age
Gentleman shpy David Pollock goesh undercover to inveshtigate the makings of
character James Bond is, that his presentation
and marketing seems to fall so readily in step with the times. From Sean Connery throughout the smooth, swinging 60s, to the more cartoonishly lurid 70s and early-80$ of Roger Moore, the smug, yuppified era of Timothy Dalton, the laddish yet indefinably metrosexual Pierce Brosnan and now Daniel Craig’s more broadly-defined revisionist take on the character, Bond remains the same, but always strikingly different.
Of course, that’s the Bond we’re most familiar with; the movie icon. This cinematic character is one stage removed again from the original Bond, though — the rakish gentleman spy whom Ian Fleming defined over 12 novels and two short story collections between 1953 and 1966.
As explicitly stated in the subtitle of the City Art Centre’s new Bond Bound exhibition (‘lan Fleming and the Art of Cover Design’), this Bond is supposed to be the one we come to know more about here, but it’s still hard to end up leaving the show without an image of Connery’s sly grin plastered across the memory.
Clearly aware that it’s not as engaging for a viewer to look at a book cover as it is to be dazzled by a large movie poster, the curators have chosen to show a broad spectrum of visual representations of the character. So the first images we see upon entering the exhibition are three international posters for the latest Casino Royale film, featuring Craig in his finest GQ Man pose, all unhooked bowtie, tousled hair and pout.
Across from these hang a selection of posters from the clearly heavily trailed From Russia With Love (1963), the sequel to the character’s hugely
I t’s strange, considering how conservative a
90 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE 7—14 Aug 2008
successful cinematic debut Dr No. ‘James Bond est de retour,’ they blast over eye-catchingly bright colours and images of slinky girls. ‘James Bond is back}
And there’s that grin of Connery’s which remains hard to clear from the mind. This was the period when Bond stopped being a popular character in pulp novels and became an icon.
Period artefacts ﬁll out the show, including a manuscript of On Her Majesty ’3 Secret Service which has been annotated by the late Fleming, and a rather wonderful letter to the author from Hugh Hefner. The Playboy publisher, in typical ‘one thing on his mind’ mode, asserts that, ‘Ursula Andress (Dr No’s original Bond girl) is going to be difﬁcult to beat for sex interest.’
Also featured are an extensive set of illustrations by John Burningham from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Fleming’s only children’s book, and a couple of pages from the forthcoming comic adaptation of Charlie Higson’s Young Bond book ‘Double or Die’ by Judge Dredd artist Kev Walker.
After such a selection, the rear room’s rows of original book covers from editions printed around the world over the last five decades feel like something of an anticlimax, or at least a part of the show to be pored over rather than blown away by. In truth, Bond Bound itself doesn’t offer a wealth of new knowledge to even a casual fan of the character, but it does demonstrate how first impressions are important to the continued success of such a legend.
Bond Bound: Ian Fleming and the Art of Cover Design is at the City Art Contra, Edinburgh, until Sun 14 Sop. 0009 e
=l< ‘l’ho Edinburgh Military Tattoo Whatever you might think of the politics behind it, there's no denying the impressive pomp and spectacle of this Edinburgh institution. Marching bands, military displays and international dance. Throughout August, Cast/e Esplanade, Edinburgh Castle. * Foatival o! Spirituality and Poaco This year, the multi-faith, multi-faceted festival is all about the rellies: Arun Gandhi (Mahatma’s grandson) and Valerie Hemingway (Ernest’s daughter-in-law, who now works for Barack Obama) are giving talks, along with the thinking lefty’s Man from Del Monte, Martin Bell, and cuddly cleric Rabbi Lionel Blue. See page 92.
Various venues, until Sun 24 Aug.
* Dance Baao Alongside an excellent performance programme, Dance Base are offering a special series of Festival-long workshops in various specialist dance forms (look out for the Bollywood dance workshop on Sunday 10 August), and an exhibition, A Decade of Dance, focussing on X-Factor Dance (the renowned UK company, not the way they do jazz hands on the telly).
Dance Base, until Sun 24 Aug. * Bond Bound: Ian Flaming and tho Art of Covor Dulgn An exshibition about the art of the worldsh mosht famoush shpy? Fashcinating. See review, left. CityArt Centre, until Sat 13 Sep.