Tuesday, 1 January 2013

OPINION: Why I'll never be James Bond by Russell Ford


Russell Ford

Why I'll never be James Bond.


Women want to be with him, men want to be him. The heartbreaking truth however, is definitive; I will never be James Bond.

Like everyman (probably more than most), I too have stood in front of the mirror perfecting my iconic introduction, “the name’s Bond, James Bond.” Hands clasped together, index fingers pointed resolutely; I alternate between Connery's Shhh-cottish-hhh brogue and Brosnan's American-twang, before ultimately settling on my own articulation of the legendary line. I’ve seen the movies, I’ve completed the games. I’ve moved stealthily around the house to the soundtracks. However, there comes a time when the indisputable double-0-fact becomes undeniably obvious; I would make a terrible MI6 agent.

This painful realisation is the uncomfortable truth of my existence. I am not expected to talk, or die; I will never ask the admiral where he’d like his bombs delivered or ever be required to wear a superfluous papilla; I am not leading man material. I am a reserved, rational realist; careful and cautious, happiest in the safety of my comfort zone. Forget Fleming’s title; I believe, you only live once, so take extra care and try to prolong that life as much as you possibly can. Under no circumstance (even under orders from Her Majesty or M) would I ever be foolish enough to get myself into a difficult situation where the only possible chance of escape could involve cause of death. Diamonds may be forever, but I am not. Tomorrow Never Dies; but, I will. Physically feeble and emotionally sensitive, I am too weak to endure and experience the pain of torture; let alone joke about the situation when beaten and tied naked to a chair (even if someone is scratching my balls.) A license to squeal would be more beneficial; as within minutes I would have surely disclosed all of MI6 most confidential secrets.  

The lifestyle of James Bond is one of elegant sophistication; smooth, smart and charming 007 has been at the height of fashion and pop-culture since the nineteen- sixties. Impeccably dressed for combat or cocktails and presentable in all situations, James Bond does not shop in Next and watch Strictly Come Dancing. His evenings consist of debonair tuxedos and champagne of the highest quality. He enjoys fine dining and only the best available. If MI6 were ever foolish enough to have given me a license to kill, I would have died aboard the Orient Express with Kerim Bey, if not before. The diet of a double-0 consists of girls, guns and martinis. I enjoy an occasional Nando’s and a bowl of Fruit and Fibre. My taste-buds have, so far, been sheltered from the lavish exuberance of luxury cuisine. I do not require my drinks to be made in any particular style. I don’t know my Bollinger from Dom Perignon, and I often wonder if I would even be able to taste the difference between a Vodka Martini that had been shaken and one that had been stirred. James Bond may just be the man with the golden tongue. Honestly, who else could possibly identify a villain by what he orders for dinner? More importantly who orders green figs and yoghurt for breakfast? Not me that’s for sure. 

In order to complete his assignments, James Bond has to be physically fit. A master of hand-to-hand combat, double-0-seven knows karate, boxing and judo. He also knows five ways to kill a man with a single blow. I hold a film studies degree, a twenty-metre swimming certificate and a level 1 FA coaching badge; none of which required me to kill or injure my peers or instructors. While James Bond runs, I walk; while James Bond acts, I talk. He skis like a champion and swings like a pro; a physical presence ready for action. I am a rake of a man; lean and not mean. I am the pathetic henchman that Bond beats up with a towel during Goldeneye. The supporting character knocked unconscious by a slap from an ageing Roger Moore. Naturally sporting I can run, jump and race; however, in combat I would cry.  Faced with a fight to the death, I would almost certainly drown in a pool of pitiful tears. It’s true, I am an Octopussy; more willing to lose my dignity than my life in a fist-fight. 

James Bond has been lucky to have shared the screen with some of the most brilliant and beautiful women of our times. Each incarnation of 007 has had his fair share of attractive Bond girls; however, I do not share Bond’s passion for feasting on the flesh. Where is the pleasure in sex for dinner, death for breakfast? The James Bond art of seduction is a manual that should have been left just off the coast of Crab Key. After the danger of the Doctor and his dragon surely Bond should have settled into a relationship with the bright and beautiful Honey Ryder. Together, the duo could have continued reading the encyclopaedia and searching for shells in their spare time. If I were James Bond, there would have been barely 10 minutes of a 007 adventure. I may be a romantic fool, but I wouldn’t have flown to Jamaica in the first place. I would probably have ended up marrying Sylvia Trench and working a nine-to-five from Universal Exports, London head office. 

I don’t gamble or smoke; I am fluent in only one language and I don’t know a great restaurant in Karachi.  I hate flying as a passenger and driving fast down country lanes. Maybe, I need to follow Dorothy down the yellow brick road and ask the great and powerful Oz for some bravery? Perhaps, double-0-seven isn’t as intelligent as everyone makes out? Ultimately, after 23 official James Bond movies, it’s justified that nobody does it better than 007; especially not me!

All those wasted hours in front of the mirror and I am scarcely a shadow of the world most famous spy. Maybe, I should have gone for the role of Q? Wanted; a geek in his mid-twenties, who never jokes about his work - no field-work required. Now, where did I put that mirror?