The first James Bond film I ever saw at the pictures was “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” which my mum took me to see when it came out in 1969 — or rather, she went to see it and took me along. Though I was thrilled by the car chases and fights and the bloke who got killed by a snow plough — the snow turned red! brilliant! — as I was only seven years old at the time I was completely oblivious to the appeal of lovely Diana Rigg (Diana Rigg!) in the part of Bond’s love interest Tracy Di Vincenzo. In fact, the only thing I remembered about her in the film was that she got shot at the end (sorry — spoiler alert!)

Two years later my dad took me to see the next Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever” and by then I was older and more able to appreciate every element of the genre, not just the cars and action but, most importantly, the gorgeous women too which in this instance was well represented by Jill St. John who played Tiffany Case (it took me years to get that joke) and almost made me drop my Kia-Ora when she first appeared in that skimpy outfit Bond said she was “almost wearing.” I know “Diamonds Are Forever” isn’t rated very highly by aficionados but I regard it as my first “proper” Bond movie experience so it had a big impact on me and I still love it today. Yes, Tiffany Case is a very poorly-written character who changes from being a tough, capable cookie into an incompetent bimbo over the course of the movie but, as they say, you never forget your first and Jill St. John is still the Bond girl I would most like to have sitting next to me in my Aston Martin. If I had one, that is.

Download: Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey (mp3)

James Bond was a big part of my early cinema-going experience, my dad also took me to a double bill of “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball” (I still remember sitting in a cafe with him and my sister one rainy afternoon while he was scouring the newspaper for somewhere to take us that day, then he saw that was showing locally and breathed a sigh of relief) and we saw the first three Roger Moore Bonds on the day they came out at the Odeon Leicester Square where the queue would be going around the block. At that time I was too young to have in-depth conversations about the movies with my dad so I don’t really know what he thought of the Roger Moore films. I just loved the gadgets and action — especially the Kung Fu fights in “The Man with the Golden Gun” — and then there was Jane Seymour in “Live and Let Die” but that’s another story…

Lucky Dip

Download: Sweet Jane (live) – The Velvet Underground (mp3)

So how does one follow Barry Manilow? With The Velvet Underground of course, and a nice pic of the only famous Jane I could think of doesn’t hurt either. I think this is my favourite version of “Sweet Jane”, recorded the first time they ever played it live and very different from the eventual studio version. From the album “1969”.

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com





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