A 1964 Ian Fleming Interview of Note

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In researching my book, I came across an interview that Ian Fleming did with
John Cruesemann of The London Express just before the author left for Jamaica in 1964.Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 11.12.08 AM

The real James Bond and his wife would drop in unexpectedly at Goldeneye less than three weeks later.

There are lots of great quotes in the interview, but my favorites include calling Mary Bond "the real Mrs. James Bond" and calling the real Bond himself as "a distinguished American ornithologist, a splendid chap, I believe."

You can download the complete interview, which ran in The Pittsburgh Press, here:

Download Fleming_interview_1964

The Newest 'Birds of the West Indies'

A new iteration of Birds of the West Indies came out last year.Screen Shot 2020-07-06 at 1.29.03 PM

It arrived after I submitted my manuscript, so it's not mentioned in The Real James Bond.

But that doesn't preclude my posting about it.

I recently ordered a copy of the book, and it's pretty awesome. (It even includes QR codes that provide access to more resources online.)

You can read a thorough review of the book in the  Journal of Caribbean Ornithology here.

James Bond's London Dental Bill

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When I was going through the Free Library of Philadelphia's Mary Wickham Bond archives, I came across some bizarre stuff.

Exhibit A is this 1972 bill from a London dentist -- for 6.3 pounds. 

The language is wonderfully old-fashioned. They "beg to state their fee for professional services."

There still is a dentist's office at that London address (Harley Street Dental & Implant Clinic), but they have not responded to my emails. (Not sure they ever got them).

Mary Bond seemed to have all sorts of ephemera (thank goodness!).  The real James Bond not so much, although he was a bit of an Anglophile.

My Book Interview with James Bond Australia

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James Bond Australia and its sister site Bond on the Box just posted an extensive interview they did with me about my book, Bond, Fleming and 007.

Lots of unusual questions, like..Screen Shot 2020-07-01 at 3.46.35 PM

Fleming describes James Bonds name as "the dullest name in the world", and as being "brief, unromantic and yet very masculine." Do you think the Bond novels would have been as successful, had Fleming chosen a different, equally, "dull" and "unromantic" name?

My answer:

Would Sherlock Holmes have been as popular if Arthur Conan Doyle had chosen another name for his consulting detective? Probably.

007's name is just one small aspect of the books' and movies' success.

You start with a highly skilled writer and add a dashing hero, incredible archvillains, beautiful women and international intrigue, and you have a terrific recipe for success.

You can read the whole interview here.


When James Bond Went to Russia

1912 passport 32295_620305173_0002-00077 (1)During my research, I came across one of James Bond's passport applications. He wanted to travel from England to Russia for six months.

When he applied for the passport, he was staying at Flemings Hotel.

Before anyone thinks this was a top-secret mission, consider that the year was 1912, that Bond was age 12 at the time, and that he was traveling with his father and brother.

(James Bond's mother had died tragically two months earlier, at the age of 41.)

The address of Flemings Hotel:  Half Moon Street. The hotel is now known as Flemings Mayfair, billed as "a truly luxurious experience in the heart of London" and "one of the most iconic boutique hotels in Mayfair."

It was likely swank back in the day as well.

More about Flemings Mayfair here.


About that Bond Bird in the Yale Art Gallery ...

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Last spring, Gary Markowski of the Caribbean Conservation Trust was viewing James Prosek's exhibit "Art, Artifact, Artifice" at the Yale Art Gallery.

As he studied one of the works closely (it's also on the cover of Prosek's new book, photo right), he noticed Screen Shot 2020-06-22 at 1.31.08 PM
that one of the parrots -- from Yale's own Peabody Museum of Natural History -- had been collected by the real James Bond on an island off Venezuela more than 60 years ago (photo above).

How did Bond's bird skin of a Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot (Amazona barbadensis) end up in the Peabody, and then the Yale Art Gallery?  

It's a fascinating story.

Here goes.

Continue reading "About that Bond Bird in the Yale Art Gallery ..." »

What the Real James Bond Looked Like

Handsome James Bond bond00010 One of my goals in writing "The Real James Bond" was to correct many of the common misperceptions about the real James Bond (like the factoid that Bond gave Fleming to use his name), and to improve upon the usual images used for him in the media.

Then there's the shot that ran with Bond's discovery of the last Eskimo Curlew (below left), which ran in newspapers nationwide.

It shows Bond, in his mid-sixties, as a tweedy, bespectacled, eyeglass-wearing professorial type.

The Wikipedia photo for Bond (lower right)  -- taken when he was in his seventies and having health problems  -- made him look an old-style undertaker. 

The Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia has a terrific photo of the handsome Bond that I used for my book.  I share it here as well. (Thank you, Free Library!)

The two photos below were used for postage-stamp likenesses of Bond, which I included in my book.

Photo at right below: Jerry Freilich/ CC

An Art Talk Not to Be Missed

Bond Prosek artwork
I had hoped to visit the Yale Art Gallery this spring to see an incredible exhibit by the artist James Prosek, but then  Covid-19 hit and the museum had to close.

The good news is that the exhibition has been extended for when the museum reopens, Screen Shot 2020-06-22 at 1.31.08 PMand Prosek is giving a free Zoom talk on his latest book this week.

Here's the write-up from the museum:

Join us on Thursday, June 25, at 5:30 pm (EST), for the virtual launch of James Prosek: Art, Artifact, Artifice, a publication by award-winning artist, writer, and naturalist James Prosek, B.A. 1997. Prosek will read an excerpt from the book and discuss his deep connection with the natural world. Followed by an audience Q&A moderated by Tiffany Sprague, Director of Publications and Editorial Services.

You can register here.

What does this have to with this the real James Bond? One of the birds Bond collected is part of the artwork above.

I will explain in a post next week. (Every bird tells a story...)

(Top photo by Gary Markowski of the Caribbean Conservation Trust, who noticed Bond's bird in the artwork. Thanks, Gary!)

Helping Nature in the Caribbean

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The real James Bond loved birds and the West Indies, and he was an advocate for protecting them both -- especially preaching the need to end the slaughter of rare species in the Caribbean.
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The headline above was from an article in The New York Times in the mid-1930s. Bond was a noted ornithologist with a brand-new book, "Birds of the West Indies," by then. (But contrary to the sub-headline) he had no doctoral degree ... )

The introduction to the book went into great detail about the dangers facing the birds of the West Indies -- from humankind to hurricanes.

 One of the goals of this book is to raise awareness -- and money -- to help the environment in the Caribbean. To that end, all proceeds from talks and appearances generated by this book will go to The Nature Conservancy's Caribbean initiative.

Continue reading "Helping Nature in the Caribbean" »

Listen to the Podcast; Watch on Facebook

If you missed my appearance on Denver's "Bird Talk" broadcast on Saturday, fret no more.BirdTalk Logo Color clean med

You can listen to the podcast here. My segment starts around 11 minutes. (Is that my friend Stephanie Seymour singing in the background?)

Or watch the Facebook Live broadcast here. My segment starts around 11 or 12 minutes in. (Is that Stephanie singing in the background there, too?)

Continue reading "Listen to the Podcast; Watch on Facebook" »