Spectre at the Feast

Ambrose Bierce wrote a short story printed on Christmas Day in 1886 called ‘An Inhabitant of Carcosa’. It’s a creepy story told in first person mainly about death and the afterlife. In 1895 Robert Chambers published a collection of short horror stories under the title ‘The King in Yellow’. The name is taken from a fictional play that drives anyone who reads it mad that is mentioned in most of the stories and serves as a connecting tissue for the whole collection. Quotes from the play introduce certain stories, one of them containing the line “But stranger still is Lost Carcosa”. Carcosa is mentioned in many of the stories too. Chambers made no secret of his homage to Bierce  and the stories from ‘The King in Yellow’ themselves share a similar dark atmosphere to ‘An Inhabitant of Carcosa’. Some years later in 1926 a writer called HP Lovecraft began having stories published, now dubbed the Cthulu Mythos, concerning themselves with a genre he termed ‘cosmological horror’, the notion that the vast universe contained horrors we could not comprehend and how insignificant we were in the face of them. Lovecraft equally payed homage to Bierce and Chambers using similar techniques as theirs in his shorts: first person and unreliable narrators, dark and pervasive atmosphere, a book – the infamous Necronomicon – that reappears in many stories and many other themes, styles and settings that they used. Many writers have added to the intertextual horror of the Cthulu Mythos over the years but it seems there has been a rather pointed resurgence in popular culture in the last two years.

My interest was first piqued when I was watching the first series of True Detective, which remains an absolute favourite, and the murderer and his accomplices talk explicitly about Lost Carcosa, the Yellow King, and talk at length about theoretical physics and humanity’s entirely redundant place in the universe and at a key moment a character demands Rust “take off your mask” which is a direct quote from the King in Yellow. This is more of a subtext in the inferior second series but still there in many ways. This added a deep and dark extra layer to something that was already pretty grim. Then there was a computer game released for the latest console generation entitled Bloodborne. Bloodborne is, in its entirety, a fond doffing of the hat to Lovecraft with its sanity meter, Shoggoth-type monsters, dream-like horrors and continual references to the Great Old ones and cities beyond the stars (how Carcosa is often described), all set in the Gothic Victoriana of a fictional city populated by werewolves and madmen. These are two very popular, very well-known pieces of cultural ephemera making explicit references to little known horror stories over a century old.

This weekend I went to see a play at the Royal Exchange in Manchester called ‘Pomona’. It is named after the bizarre and empty island between the canals in the centre of Manchester. It’s poster features someone wearing a Cthulu mask. The play itself is set in a maybe-future-maybe-now Manchester where girls are disappearing and the lives that are thrown together because of this. It shares a lot in common with True Detective in its themes but more so in its references to cosmological horror. Characters in the play are playing a role playing game based on Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulu and this may or may not be reflected in their real lives. The same paranoia, insignificance and helplessness infused within Bierce, Chambers and Lovecraft runs through the play like a stick of rock. Independently I could perhaps see that I was simply following my nose to seeking out these things being a fan of this type of high concept horror but it was then that the most subtle but definitely most striking entry into this canon showed itself without me having any idea it would be there.

I took a day trip to London to see Spectre as Skyfall had not only set itself as my favourite Bond but hands-down one of my favourite films and I had high hopes. Largely it delivered, it wasn’t as good as Skyfall (it was never going to be) and was rather long and flabby but was a hearken back to the late Connery/early Moore Bond films and was enjoyably fun and a bit daft. What truly amazed me, however, was its own references to the same intertextual lineage of cosmological horror present in Bierce, Chambers, Lovecraft, Bloodborne, True Detective and Pomona. I’m sure at this point I am being scoffed at but let me explain… and if you haven’t seen Spectre please do so but don’t proceed beyond this point as there will be spoilers.


First and foremost Spectre opens in the festival of the dead in Mexico City,  a hardly subtle planting of the flag in the same arena of the uncanny as the other entries but still a similarity. The concept of a shadowy organisation and corruption and paranoia and insignificance in the face of such a force are overriding themes in the others too and certainly in Spectre. The organisation itself is depicted as all pervasive and Bond having no idea what he is in for, “a kite dancing in the wind” but these are more general themes and ideas that I could easily just be bringing to the analysis without their overt presence within the film. As such let’s look at some specifics:

The most obvious is the meteorite. Blofeld (parenthetical aside: why the FUCK did they not just say who Christoph Waltz’s character was before hand? We all knew. The film’s called Spectre for fucks sake. Shit I hate marketing) brings Craig and Seydoux to look at the asteroid that created the crater where his base is, giving a little speech about the insignificance of man against the cosmos. Not only that but the asteroid is shaped with circular divots and drop lit creating the impression that the stone is covered in eyes. In short: it’s an inert Shoggoth from Lovecraft. Lovecraft also wrote a short called ‘The Rats in The Walls’ about a man driven mad by the scratching of rats in the walls of his house where he and his colleagues then explore discovering lost horrors in the foundations of the building. In Spectre Bond comically/drunkenly asks a rat who he works for only then for the rodent to disappear into the walls revealing a secret room beyond. Also worth mentioning a similar rat story is told (badly) by Vince Vaughan in True Detective 2. I did not catch the image but on the cork board above the picture Seydoux snatches in the secret room is a Victorian illustration that looked rather gothic horror. I’d be willing to bet on a freeze frame that is some thinly veiled reference to ineffable monstrosities from beyond the stars. Oh and then there’s the mysterious Mr. White from Casino Royal and Quantum of Solace  (intertextual again) referred to as ‘The Pale King’. The safehouse towards the end is called ‘Hildebrand Prints and Rarities’ a reference to Bond’s own mythos and a Fleming Short called ‘The Hildebrand Rarity’ about a rare fish that Bond goes fishing for (side note, Cthulu and associated monsters are beasts of the deep), the safehouse bears a striking resemblance to the description of the residence of Mr. Wilde in ‘Repairer of Reputations’ by Robert Chambers. Mr Wilde also has a cat, a scar and is well versed in everyone’s business using it for his own Machiavellian ends. Sounding familiar? There was also a wonderful moment where a crowd of drones tapping at keys suddenly halts and turns to face Bond in silhouette. A brilliantly chilling moment that isn’t a reference per se but definitely feels straight out of a Chambers/Lovecraft story.

The most blatant reference to Lovecraft/Bierce/Chambers however is in Spectre’s imagery and symbolism. In True Detective 1 the imagery of a vortex is seen throughout the series, either in the scrawls by the occultists or in the swirling flock of crows until it culminates with the swirling black hole of space Rust finally sees at the end of their case. In True Detective 2 two rorschach-like blotches seen above Vince Vaughan’s bed and on the tablecloth eerily reflect the empty sockets of his murdered colleague’s eyes. In Spectre the repeated imagery is the octopus logo of the organisation itself. Seen repeatedly throughout the film on the ring, it crops up in the corners of frame at regular instances but most subtly when Bond shoots the bulletproof glass which cracks in the same way as the film poster into the shape of the octopus. The octopus itself is shown in gargantuan size in the opening credit sequence, wrapping itself around naked and scantily clad women and none-too-subtly resembling every image of Cthulu available. If you think I am reading too much into this imagery Mendes put plenty in Skyfall, most notably the film’s use of Maritime paintings to convey Bond’s struggle for relevance in today’s world. For real, check it out. This kind of foreshadowing is used a lot in film, sometimes called a callback, and certainly if it is unstated this kind of visual storytelling is profoundly effective in conveying tone but also a deeper sense of a plot or subtext. Humans use symbolism to work through problems. Confronting our own failings is painful and difficult and not always rewarding which is why we tell stories with universal themes and identifiable characters and settings so we can project these feelings and thoughts onto the fiction and process our problems better. It is this cathartic process that can be refined and almost subconsciously adapted to tell a story or convey a point. Horror utilises this particularly well.

My favourite horror film is Don’t Look Now. It is not, on the whole, a scary film but it IS deeply, deeply unsettling throughout and it is the finale that is most terrifying. Roeg uses symbolism and imagery throughout the film to tell the story and to give the shocking ending such weight and horrifying depth. He uses three small things: broken glass, spilled water and the colour red. One of these will be in every scene in that film, maybe even every shot and it has a cumulative effect. From the opening shattering scene involving the broken glass spilling water onto the slide of a red hooded girl that mirrors their daughter’s awful drowning outside to THAT ending that will never leave me, the three pieces of symbolism and imagery connect the whole story start to finish and make it all the more haunting. It’s wonderful stuff. Spectre isn’t quite so involved but the use of its own symbolism that it undeniably cribs (maybe not intentionally) from those early horror writers lends the darker moments much more depth and weight.

So why now? Why is modern culture suddenly so keen on the cosmological horror of writers and stories from over a century ago? The pre-civil rights/post-war world Lovecraft wrote in, paranoia and the feeling of insignificance in the face of larger threats was ever present in society at the time. Lovecraft was also an indefensible racist and anti-semite, something that sadly pervades his work but goes a long way to explain where this resurgence of his and Chambers & Bierce’s brand of intertextual existential and worried horror in mainstream popular culture maybe coming from. We live in a world where (as Spectre also points out) the Snooper’s Charter is in headline news, we’re being watched by drones, innocent black people are being gunned down, school shootings are a near weekly occurrence, each new discovery from a comet to new pictures of Pluto places us in a inconceivably vast universe, wars abroad causing influxes of refugees to all shores across the globe and economic depression are almost all events shared with the time Lovecraft was writing.

‘The spectre at the feast’ is a turn of phrase in reference to Shakespeare’s Macbeth (oh look at that, another recent film) where Macbeth’s feast is ruined by him seeing the ghost of Banquo, indicating he cannot hide from his guilt as it is his burden. Some people sometimes call this ‘the elephant in the room’. We live in scary and uncertain times that we are struggling to find our place in and it should be deeply troubling to all of us that such massive global blockbuster fare as James Bond would be, intentionally or not, using iconography of a hundred years ago to reveal the horrors being wrought on the planet. This current crop of creative writers, directors, playwrites and game developers who are returning to these stories as they strike such a deep chord, are addressing our own Spectre at our own feast and I worry that this “fit is not momentary” and we should heed better this “very painting of our fears”.



Quid si nunc cœlum ruat?

Bond, as I said, is a symbol of decadence. A post war indulgence. A standard on which Great Britain and its once Empire flew its flag high and long. It is little wonder then it was hit so hard by the Economic Crisis. Such bastions of almost licentious displays of money would naturally be hardest hit. As such, Bond lost his studio and all his funding. Something that, no doubt, put the franchise into crisis and certainly made its identity a questionable thing. In retrospect and with the beauty of hindsight, I think this was a good thing. It allowed the film time to fester and ferment in the minds of the filmmakers, and most importantly, in the minds of the public.

If my post a few weeks ago didn’t have my cards slammed harder on the table than La Chiffre at a Poker game then I will restate the obvious. I am a big fan of Bond and this one topped my favourites before it was 2/3rds of the way through. It also staked a very bold claim in my top ten, full stop. If you want the pithy, Bond-esque, brief review without spoilers: Go and fucking see it. If you want a more meditative, rambling look at theory and technique that will contain spoilers, please read on.

The reason Skyfall was so successful for me (and I stress the ‘For Me’ part as I know many people who took quite a violent dislike to this one) is because it is quite a departure from established Bond canon. Sure it ticks every box you want a Bond film to tick: Aston Martin, Walther PPK, Nice suits, Exotic locations, Humorous one liners, Action, Espionage, blah blah blah. If you want a Bond film, it is there. It takes one hell of a sterling leap from its predecessors in its final third however. But we’ll get to that…

The two stars of this film were Dench and Deakin. Dame Judi turns in a performance I’ve seldom seen and certainly not in a mainstream blockbuster. M is a stone hard, unreadable, gun-toting iron woman with an almost pathological protective streak for her country. This edifice, beautifully mirroring the facade of Bond’s much fought for ‘Queen and Country’ slowly crumbles away until they are both literally sitting in their own ruins of centuries ago. Dench’s performance is underplayed and un-showy but she steals the whole thing through being given such full screen time. It is really something to watch one of the acting world’s truly best being given something meaty and showy and completely owning the whole thing. They would never award oscars for this sort of thing (Thankfully) but Dench, in my mind, just turned in a career high and a performance well above an action movie of this nature.

Roger Deakin is the cinematographer. Skip this paragraph if you ain’t a photography/cinema nerd. Skyfall was shot digitally on an Arri ALEXA in ARRIRAW at 4K DCP and it is beeeeeeeeeautiful. Now I personally love both digital and film and think they both serve a purpose, traditionally however, filmmakers have come to use/rely on digital due to the fact it is immediately able to be rendered in the computer for editing and after effects and it is much more responsive to this type of post production. Digital can be better blended than film. Film is an organic, chemical compound and digitising it is a struggle and not always convincing. Skyfall is the first film I have seen use a digital format in a way a film cinematographer uses celluloid. There are two glaring moments of CGI (we’re still not there yet): a man takes a looooong fall and a couple of Komodo Dragons. But that is it and for a film of this grandeur, length and spectacle that is impressive. What Deakin gets right is to not over sell the format. He does not use a grain filter most importantly to try to fool us, he keeps everything, crisp, clear and most importantly, DRY. The contrast is never boosted, colours are not over saturated, the dreaded HDR never rears its head, chromakey is not overly relied upon. The establishing shots (particularly of Shanghai and Macau by night) were so eye wideningly joyous that I was in love with the film from then on. I saw this in IMAX and can only recommend the experience. One negative against film at IMAX, unless shot in the enormous and unwieldy IMAX format, is that it can be slightly too dark and fringing can occur. The digital transfer of this film however is the first time I’ve really felt digital cinematography to be of a similar (still different) standard to film. The artistic merit for both is different but this is the first argument I’ve seen for a more grand and luxuriant digital cinema. Yet counter intuitively it is because Deakin holds it all back. In short it is kept simple to the point of emaciation. And, THAT ladies and gentlemen, is the key is to the whole riddle of why I love this movie.

The script is lean. I have heard it criticised for its verbose nature where as I would disagree. Deakin builds up to money shots by restraining every other shot. The script does the same. Dialogue is constant, even in action scenes, rattling along and keeping pace but it is when it slows, again like the cinematography, – Bardem’s entrance, those establishing shots, descending into the icy lake, the lingering and loving shot of Turner’s Fighting Temeraire – that we are fed sumptuous and delicious morsels that feed us a carbohydrate binge for the upcoming adrenalin charge. My favourite scene comes at the end of the second act when the international web of espionage has tightened and Bond is running through London, the Sound FX dim, the score pulses, the shots widen and Dench delivers with, orchestral grandeur, Tennyson’s poem Ulysees, drawing the audience so close to the screen you could hear a pin drop. It is this economy yet depth of tone that coats the whole film.

Everything is simplified. Bond has two gadgets, his suits are Alexander McQueen-esque Tom Ford designed slips, only fastening at a single button most times, the coats are simple plain cut, Crockett&Jones shoes with no detail and triple eyelets, rifles not lasers or automatics, the overblown modern architecture of modern MI6 is even deliberately undermined reducing it to a tunnel then to a bureaucrat’s pokey office, the cars are un-fussy Range Rovers, Jaguars and only one concession to the old school gaudiness with the DB5 but even that comes with a humorous asterisk. Even the sense of art hoovering up its context that I often speak of is used economically. A Leveson-style inquiry is presented in a very small courtroom. No every sense of the high ceilings, private jets, casinos and five-star hotels is carefully closeted away in favour of a more rich, dense yet economic fare.

It has its negatives. The real clincher for most will be one or both of two things: The 3rd act or its sexism. The latter cannot be ignored and should be addressed.

First and foremost it does not pass the Bechedel test but there is sadly more to it than that. Severine is Skyfall’s Bond Girl and is announced as a prostitute with a horrific and abusive past. Whom Bond duly shags in the shower. I’ve really tried to keep the spoilers to a minimum thus far but don’t read on if you haven’t seen it. Severine is shot by the evil villain Silva to which Bond makes a dismissive quip. It is admittedly hard to let this one slide. Bond is a throwback, which is not an excuse, but a lot of effort is put in to Bond’s background and his true character and motives, something I think is expertly done. However, this does not in any way paint him the hero, quite the opposite in fact. He is pictured as a self-indulgent, cynical, self-loathing, women hating, brute by the end. This does not forgive him and it does not try to endear him to us but it does develop Bond more than any other film and at least makes him more relatable. His nearest applicable character is Indiana Jones who, lest we forget, is a paedophile and a thief. Those aren’t jokes about Short Round either, watch Raiders again and pay close attention to Marion and Indiana’s conversation in her bar… There are sexist moments in this film that are uncomfortable but the film does at least make a firm effort to point the blame at an old and out of touch Imperialistic agent. Some will not be able to get past this however and I do understand/sympathise.

The finale however, is merely a matter of taste. I personally cannot put in to words how much I utterly fucking loved the final third of this film. Comparisons to Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs are justified. The under siege nature of Bond’s retreat is poetic to the point elegiac, despite the quips. The pacing of it all is so wonderfully tuned it feels like a gently ramped treadmill. Unfortunately, I am biased in favour of this ending. It is shot in Glencoe, a place I love, and Deakin’s photography as soon as they get to Scotland is so utterly beautiful I want to hang it on my fucking wall. Colour is stripped back to an almost non-existent palate which then literally explodes into a single flame of colour that is so beautifully lit it looks like those Turners we were treated to earlier in the film. I honestly wanted to cry it made me so happy and excited. They are in my favourite place, amongst the hills, in a spooky old abandoned house, there’s booby traps, gunfights, chases, duels and all majestically shot. Sadly people do not consider this Bond, and they are right. I was fully behind this tonal shift in the same way as I loved Danny Boyle’s Sunshine all the more for its similarly off-kilter finale. Others will probably find the down and dirty, horror-movie climax of Skyfall a bit jarring. I utterly fucking LOVED it.

Another Con: I have no idea why they put a model for Topman in the role of Q. Terrible bit of casting for a well written role.

Thomas Newman’s score is underwhelming and seems barely present but for 3 moments when the Bond theme kicks in and when he sumptuously reprises the films main title theme.

Comparisons to Dark Knight Rises, Straw Dogs, the Mission Impossible franchise, have all been made but the film it most resembles for me is Jaws. Jaws is a classic and perfect example of the 3 act structure every great story adheres to. Act 1: Set  up – Introduce your protagonist and their motives and a mystery to solve. Act 2: The Turn – The villain is revealed along with their motives putting the protagonist either in jeopardy or at odds with them. Act 3: The Stand – Our protagonist confronts the problem and villain and resolves the conflict. Interestingly this is a method for poetry. I know I write poetry so will read it wherever I find something I like but Jaws and Skyfall follow this convention sooooooo doggedly it is hard to ignore and hard not to root for. Hooper, Quint and Brody strike out to sea to face their villain in a mano-a-mano showdown while in Skyfall, Queen Victoria, Daddy Warbucks and the dude from Tomb Raider head into the hills in a Mano-a-mano showdown. I want to cheer the whole way through a last act THIS good.

I think I have made my case as well I can. For some it will not be what they want from a Bond Film but for me there are too many things about this film that seem tailor-made to appeal to me specifically for me to not like it: A subtle but powerhouse performance in the centre stage, images of Turner, that tonal shift, Artistic Cinematography, block colour and simply tailored clothes, Scotland, a ‘haunted’ house, an epic climax wreathed in flame, poetic allegory, actual poetry, Shanghai, an evocative string-led theme, real darkness in frame, confidence in pacing, soliloquising, the list goes on. All these things on their own would make me love a film but all in one? You had me at Shanghai, James. I could ramble on for paragraphs more and would love to discuss it with anyone who is interested at great length and I am DEFINITELY seeing at IMAX again but for now I’ll leave it at that.

James Bond will return but never like this. Eleven out of Ten.

The Name’s Franchise, Strict Boundary Franchise…

So as you will all be VERY much aware there’s a new James Bond film out at the end of the month and the new theme tune is available now. Now let’s get one thing straight. I bloody love the James Bond franchise, even the crap bits. Why? Because it is weirdly one of the most consistent franchises in the history of popular culture. Allow me to elucidate…

James Bond is a fictional MI5 agent who first appeared in the novel Casino Royale and was the creation of Ian Fleming. He wrote 12 novels and 2 short story collections with this character and they proved extremely successful, as you are no doubt aware. The name James Bond has come to encapsulate a brand worth hundreds of millions of pounds that branches from the books, computer games, watches, cars, perfumes, clothes, music and, yes, the films. Plus much, much more. Bond’s indelible image is so ingrained he was even filmed with the real Queen herself for London’s 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. What has made this ‘Brand’ so popular as to last and in fact grow so well in the last 60 years? Bond is a luxury, he is the height of decadence and was an aspiration in a post war world of poverty and rebuilding. At any time of austerity we look at lavish expense and grandeur with enviable eyes. Bond is also a hard and fast example of ‘The Patriarchy’. A “sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the cold war.” For this reason blokes LOVE a bit of James Bond. Nothing like credence being given to the empty argument of when ‘Men were Men and could treat women like shit whilst they lolled all over him’. But whilst these are all the obvious reasons, I like think my love for the character/brand/franchise is not limited to this view. Bond has certainly developed since his inception, the various interpretations of him in novels, computer games, radio, TV and comic books have fleshed out the character to a stronger degree making him less of a “dinosaur” and infinitely more fallible and complex despite the ever more preposterous events that surround him. But again this not why I enjoy all of it, including the naff bits.

Bond adheres to a pretty strict set of rules. I don’t think this is intentional but it is definitely there. There are the obvious things: He always wears his black suit at some point, he must always remain ‘cool’ whatever the situation, the beautiful women, blah blah blah but the devil is in the detail and James Bond has refined this to an art. Let’s look at actual details; “Shaken not stirred” refers to Bond’s famed preferred drink, the dry martini, yet it is a very clever metaphor that encapsulates the series. Bond himself is frequently shaken but never stirred, or rather – deterred. His car is almost always a sports car specifically, an Aston Martin. His watch has been an Omega for the last 20 years or so. It could be argued (validly) this is largely due to product placement in films and the need to ‘sell’. This is true but only on the surface as there are other details that don’t adhere to sales and besides a lot of the early films which began these trends were unfamiliar with product placement. Bond only uses a Walther pistol, initially a PPK but now the more solid PP9, but still remaining the Walther. (Parenthetical aside: Bond’s first firearm was the Beretta 418 but after receiving a fan letter from a gun collector Geoffrey Boothroyd stating that the Beretta had no real stopping power and would “fall apart” if removed too quickly from Bond’s holster, Fleming changed it to the Walther). This list of specifics is quite long but to give a detailed example let’s look at the theme tunes to the films:

Every bond film from Dr.No to Skyfall, has what has come to be known as a Bond Theme. They range wildly from classic belters (“Goldfinger”, “Thunderball”) to the poppy (“A View To A Kill”, “Living Daylights”) to the Rockin’ (“You know my name”, “Another way to die”) to the instrumental (“Dr.No” – What has now become part of the public conscious as the secret agent theme and the frickin’ AWESOME “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”) but musically there is a very definite template for each. They all have a brass section of some sort with a fairly taught blast, normally in the chorus. They all have a minor section. They all have a chromatic ascent/descent (this is so ingrained we automatically think of Bond when we hear it, listen to “Here There and Everywhere” by the Beatles, that minor sequence sounds like Bond). Normally a very bombastic string section (Adele’s offering certainly has this). The title of the film will be somewhere in there. Always by a current and popular artist/singer/band. Almost every Bond Theme has one of if not ALL these factors. It is by and large ignored or simply accepted when you go and see your bond film, you want your big theme. Yet despite all of them being so utterly different if we hear any of these tropes in another song we automatically think ‘Bond’. As such I really do like (almost) all the Bond themes and, yes, that includes Adele’s offering.

These specifics are even more evident if we look at other spy thrillers that tried to ape or cash in on James Bond around his first release cinematically. The Ipcress File, The Quiller Memorandum, Hammerhead and many more, all used what they thought were Bond-like tropes (The late John Barry who sadly passed away last year composed the theme for both The Ipcress File and The Quiller Memorandum) yet they are nothing like Her Majesty’s favourite spy. No one is and his character and associated gubbins remains an idelible part of the cultural landscape. A touchstone for the idea of elegance and decadence and yes an advert for a long dead Empire (but let’s not get too hung up on that…).

I think this is why I like the Bond thing. No matter who plays Bond, no matter what medium he is in, no matter where he goes, what he does, what goes on around him or what age we are in, Bond is a collection of certainties that seem unwavering whatever the economic or political turmoil. The franchise survived bankruptcy and the death of Fleming and Cubby Broccoli to endure into pensioner age because in “this ever-changing world in which we live in” Bond remains Shaken and not Stirred.

P.S. Answers to obvious questions people bring up when Bond is mentioned: Favourite Bond: Connery, because I just bloody love the man and the period they were made in but I think Brosnan and Craig are the closest to the books (I honestly liked them all. Apart from Lazenby). Favourite film: Tough one… Either From Russia With Love, Goldeneye or Casino Royale. Favourite Book: Live and Let Die, definitely. Favourite Theme Tune: Gotta be Carly hasn’t it?