Friday, October 05, 2012

Bond books

With the Bond franchise celebrating its 50th anniversary today, the imminent arrival of the new dull Bond film, Skyfall, and Adele's new Bond theme being declared a classic before anyone's heard it, 007 seems to be everywhere.

I've never been a big Bond fan but I'd obviously buy a first edition hardback Bond book with dust jacket from Oxfam for couple of quid, which I actually did do a few years ago. It was this one, above, which I sold immediately. I like the covers, but not the books or the films.

Firebox, a website which sells completely pointless tat, has released Bond Kindle Cases, reproducing a bunch of early Bond covers so you can keep "your delicate reading matter top secret". Presumably meaning 50 Shades of Grey. It's funny, I was just thinking on the tube the other day how private the Kindle is, you can't see what people are reading. I used to like seeing what book people were reading and judging them. Perhaps every book bought on a Kindle should come with a printed cover to wrap around it.

The early Bond covers were all illustrated by Richard Chopping, a writer and illustrator whose paintings were seen by chance by Ian Fleming's wife, Ann, at a London art exhibition in the 1950s also featuring Francis Bacon. Later, Ann took her husband to see Chopping's paintings, and said he should commission Chopping to do the next Bond jacket. He went on to illustrate nine Bond covers.

In 1965, Topping wrote as well as illustrated his first novel, The Fly.

A recent rewatching of Patrick Keiller's excellent (but flawed) 1994 film London reminded me of the Ernö Goldfinger-designed Alexander Fleming House (now called Metro Central Heights) at Elephant and Castle, quite near where I currently work in London Bridge. I've managed to do the four charity shops in Walworth Road in a lunch hour, so I'll check out the Goldfinger building sometime.

Ian Fleming famously named his Bond villain Goldfinger after the humourless Hungarian architect. Fleming, a near neighbour of Goldfinger's, had apparently objected to the pre-war cottages in Hampstead being knocked down to make way for Goldfinger's modernist house at 2 Willow Road.

1 comment :

Jude said...

Never judge a person by a book's cover, Barnaby.