Designing 007

Having been breast fed on James Bond it was only natural that we should end up back at the Barbican Centre last Friday, ready to celebrate and squeal over ‘Fifty years of Bond Style’.

No doubt aimed completely at my market (the booking site that is), when purchasing our tickets online the night before, there was a ‘special’ on for those interested in a cut-price cocktail at the Martini Bar. If that doesn’t get you thinking about ‘quality’ I don’t know what will.  Ohh, I was so excited, I woke up every hour on the hour, fearing I’d miss my alarm.

So on to the show – first stop, first room – Goldfinger (1964). A huge array of grand stuff filled this exhibition space. You could gaze upon…here’s a teaser…

  • A Gold Record recording of Dame Shirley Bassey’s, title song hit
  • Scaramanga’s golden gun
  • Video footage of a clearly dazzled Roger Moore meeting Lady Diana
  • Dust jacket designs from 1957-1960

And further interesting titbits taken from this room:

Apparently, it took Mr Ian Fleming just eight weeks to produce a novel.  Additionally, they kindly listed several of the authors whom inspired him – including Patrick ‘Paddy’ Leigh Fermor;  Evelyn Waugh, Graham Green and Somerset Maugham.

Next stop, next room – Q Branch – can it get any better for my 12 year associate…

Teaser time:

  • See a model – good size for teddies and half a small baby – of the Lotus Esprit (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977) – remember that super cool, amphibious vehicle that drives firstly into the water, shoots down a helicopter, takes out a couple of underwater villain assistants and then casually drives up the sand, past a load of heavily bronzed, astonished European folk enjoying a day of leisure.
  • Lend your eyes to time spent viewing the Little Nellie Combat Storyboard (You Only Live Twice, 1967)
  • Take in ‘Rebreather’ (from Thunder Ball) which apparently permitted the user, 4 minutes of oxygen.
  • And I really loved this piece of information – apparently, ’the first digital watch ever seen’, appeared in Live and Let Die.

Another room.  And this is when I became a little more excited than excited, for it was CASINO.

Think fabulous, mirrored and filled to the brim with tailored tuxedos and figure enticing evening wear.

Now for the painful teasing part.

  • Plenty O’Toole’s (Diamonds are Forever)  – dress requires special mention – for not only its excellent breast presentation, though also for its ability to remain stylish without giving off ‘cheap’ signals.
  • Beautiful Vesper Lynd’s (Casino Royale) – I can only explain it as deep purple, stop what you are doing everyone and take a look at how simply stunning I am in this Robert Cavalli evening gown.
  • Major Anya Amasova ’s (The Spy Who Loved Me – think Triple X) – night blue silk jersey dress with Swarovski ‘elements’ adorning the neckline and straps. You know the outfit she heads into the desert in, exceptionally accessorised with clutch and gun, and cigarette stash that she removes from her thigh on the boat ride (back from the desert temple, where Jaws took both Bond and herself on) in a very clever attempt to get the microfilm plans and stop Bond from hitting on her.

Then behind a half wall – miniature space suits from Moonraker (1979).

Ahh and just when you thought you got your monies worth – it’s time for ‘Area 2’

Villains and Enigmas

Though note as you are crossing the hall from ‘Area 1’ to ‘Area 2’ – you receive bonus pleasure from seeing the real swimsuits that Halle Berry, Ursula Andress, Sean Connery and Daniel (ahhh) Craig ever so kindly positioned their bodies into.

Top treats from Area 2

  • Storyboard of the Cuban jungle sequence illustrating the evil deeds of Xenla Onatopp (Remember the very naughty, hot, baddy from Goldeneye). Slightly Manga in appearance, (the illustrations, not Ms Onatopp).
  • Not for the faint hearted – Elektra King’s Torture Chair.
  • Jinx Johnson’s (Halle Berry to you and I) leather cat suit ensemble
  • Octopussy character poster concept

Then onto Area 3 – downstairs in the Pit Theatre

The focus here is on sub-zero action.

Big Screens, Big Action and an abundance of depictions and storyboards illustrating the activity.

Ahhh….Ahhh…Ahhhh…and there’s, Elektra King’s ski suit, from the World is not Enough. A sensational burgundy and fur ensemble.

Note – this room is a lot smaller than the other exhibition spaces, though clearly delivers its business. For you are even furnished with a replica of the Ice Palace (Die Another Day), which is not too dissimilar to the Sydney Opera House, only a lot colder and translucent in construction.

I loved it. I really and honestly loved it.

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