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June 2020

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 ...

Bond Prosek tagged bird 20200215_152652
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

IMG_1122 2 (2)
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.
JB bird collector menace 1955DSCN9112 (2)

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" »

'Real James Bond' in BirdWatching Magazine

Bird Watching Homepage Screen Shot 2020-06-17 at 3.16.45 PM copy
The May/June issue of BirdWatching magazine has a blurb about The ReaL James Bond, and the magazine's website just posted an extensive interview with me about the book. Very cool.

You can view the writeup below, and read the interview here.

Or you can go to BirdWatching's homepage: It's currently in the article rotation at the top of the page.

Here's the beginning of the interview (interviewer Matt Mendenhall in bold):

Continue reading "'Real James Bond' in BirdWatching Magazine" »

Collecting Mary Wickham Bond's Writings

Since The Real James Bond came out, I've come across many collectors of Bond-related books, including a few who collect books written by Bond's wife, Mary Wickham Bond, also an author.

If it weren't for Mary Bond, many of Jim Bond's adventures in the Caribbean would not be as well-known as he is today, and my book would have been far more difficult to research. (Bond was not talkative about his travels.)

Collectors have tended to gravitate toward her memoirs about her husband -- most notably How 007 Got His Name (by Mr.s James Bond) and To James Bond with Love.

Continue reading "Collecting Mary Wickham Bond's Writings" »

How to Get a Copy of 'The Real James Bond'

RealJamesBond_CVR(1)Want your own copy of The Real James Bond?

You can order a hard-cover copy online here.  (This website helps raise money for independent bookshops.)

You can order a signed copy from me here.

You can order a Real James Bond eBook for Kindle here.  You can order a Real James Bond eBook on Apple here.

You can read my interview with BirdWatching magazine here.

You can subscribe to this blog by supplying your email address under "Subscribe" in the column at right.

Sure is a lot you can do!

Bond, Fleming and Kling-klings

Kling-Kling Bird at GoldenEye
One of my favorite birds in Jamaica is the  Kling-Kling, a.k.a the Greater Antillean Grackle or Jamaican Grackle. I saw these mischievous birds both times I visited GoldenEye, the resort created from Ian Fleming's winter residence in Oracabessa.

The first time, one was rearranging the napkins at the waterside bistro (above).

Continue reading "Bond, Fleming and Kling-klings" »