Sunday, 24 June 2012

BOND, BROSNAN, BOOKS AND ROUNDABOUTS...


Jacket design by Stefan Dreja

I once borrowed a book from my local central library, and - against a
multicoloured panoply of flowers in a sunken roundabout - sat reading it
as a glorious mid-'70s hot summer sun shone down upon me. The book was
JAMES BOND IN THE CINEMA by JOHN BROSNAN, and a year or
two later, I was able to obtain my very own copy from GRANT'S
BOOKSHOP just outside Glasgow's Central Station.

Sean Connery as James Bond
The book was published in 1972
and covers the first seven movies in
the series, DR. NO to DIAMONDS
ARE FOREVER. It's an extremely
entertaining and engrossing read,
capturing the mood of the films
perfectly, although there are a few
minor discrepancies in the descrip-
tion of events. However, Brosnan
originally hailed from Australia,
where Bond movies were heavily
edited in line with the country's
strict censorship laws, so that no
doubt accounts for some of the
occasional and inconsequential
(relatively speaking, of course)
inaccuracies in matters of detail.

Before the age of videos and DVDs in which a viewer could watch and
freeze-frame a movie at his leisure and to his heart's content, the only way
to 'relive' a film was to go and see it again at the cinema (this was before the
Bond back-catalogue had been sold to TV), buy the soundtrack LP - or to
immerse oneself in the pages of a book such as this devoted to the subject.
Brosnan's book is lavishly illustrated with over one hundred stills,
virtually all supplied by UNITED ARTISTS themselves.

Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore
I was so impressed by this book
that I bought another copy a few
years later direct from the publishers,
THE TANTIVY PRESS. Now I
have a pristine copy, plus my well-
thumbed original which I can delve
into whenever the fancy takes me.
And, whenever I do, I'm right back
in the darkened gloom of my local
cinema (middle seat, back row) on
a Saturday afternoon in the early
'70s - where I was lucky enough to
see all six of SEAN CONNERY's
'official' EON Bond blockbusters on
the largest screen in Scotland in the
first purpose-built cinema in the
U.K. since the second world war.
  
Or I'm back in that sunken
roundabout on a glorious sunny
day a few years later, reading
the book for the very first time.
Little did I know then that ten
or so years afterwards, I'd be
lettering some of the author's
NIGHT ZERO/BEYOND ZERO
scripts (drawn by artist KEVIN
HOPGOOD) for 2000 A.D. I
never got to meet John Brosnan
or to talk to him, but I remember
asking editor ALAN McKENZIE
to tell him how much I'd enjoyed
his book and some of his movie
reviews in DEZ SKINN's
STARBURST magazine. 

Sadly, although that sunken roundabout still exists, the flowers and
the wooden bench (one of several) I sat upon are now gone, and the
roundabout itself is in a delapidated condition. However, my memories
of that day are as sharp and as clear as they ever were, and - should they
ever be in danger of fading (like the colours of those long-vanished
blooms) - John Brosnan's superb book is only an arm's reach away.

The roundabout (where I first read the book) in its glory days

11 comments:

Dougie said...

Are we talking about the very big roundabout between EK town centre and Churchill Avenue? Are there no flower beds there now? That's a pity.

I've been enjoying the Connery Bonds these past weekends. God knows how many times I've seen them.

baab said...

Thats an excellent cover.

Kid said...

Dougie, I believe that the flowerbeds and benches were removed a good many years ago and replaced with a central flagpole with a few seats at the base. Nowhere near as glorious as it had been in the '60s and '70s. I'm not sure if the sloping flower beds around the edge of the roundabout are still there 'though - might just be bushes of some kind.

******

baab, very effective, ain't it?

baab said...

It is very effective ,It looks very modern,If there is such a thing nowadays.

Kid said...

And just think - it was produced in 1972 - yet still looks modern. Amazing.

B Smith said...

Amazing? It's terrible!

Oh well, each to their own...

You did remind me, though, of that time back in the early eighties when Starburst was essential reading (and with such a tiny font crammed into those narrow columns a very meaty read), and Brosnan's reviews and column doubly so.

Kid said...

Ah, but you misunderstand, not knowing the strictures. (Little word-play there.) The cover is simple and effective, being seemingly colours applied over tracings of stills from the films. What's amazing is that it's still quite modern-looking after forty years.

Anonymous said...

I agree with B Smith. That cover is AWFUL! Worth buying the book for that piccy of Honor Blackman though!

Kid said...

It's certainly not the best 'drawn' cover I've ever seen, but it IS certainly effective. It jumped right off the shelves at you in bookshops back in the day.

Regarding that pic of Pussy, years later someone eventually ripped it out of the library's copy of the book. I used my own copy to make a replacement for it.

Anonymous said...

I had the 1972 edition, and I seem to remember reading in Starlog sometime in the late 1970s-early 1980s that there were plans for an updated edition, that would include the Roger Moore films. BTW, one of the "minor inconsistencies" in the book was a scene in Thunderball. Brosnan says that Fiona (Luciana Paluzzi) slaps Bond after he insults her. IIRC, that scene was in You Only Live Twice, with Karin Dor. But maybe, after a while, one redheaded femme fatale looks pretty much the same as another.

Kid said...

When I received my other copy (still first printing I believe) direct from the publishers, an accompanying note made mention of an updated edition, which piqued my curiosity. I wrote back asking for more information, and the response I eventually received said that legal issues had prevented the book's release - but gave no details.

Interestingly, when I bought my original copy from Grant's Bookshop, there were two different versions available. One was smaller with red binding under the dustjacket, and the other was slightly longer, with (I think) grey binding. The taller book just had more margin top and bottom of the page - the image size was the same in both books. I went for the smaller one because that was the version I had first got from the library.