Friday, January 26, 2018

Reflecting on Two Decades of Bondmania

On January 31, 1998, at exactly 2.40 pm, I was watching GoldenEye for the first time with my parents on cable TV. It was the first step of a long-lasting with James Bond association that will celebrate two decades very soon.

It would seem trivial for many people to celebrate what “the mass” out there would see as unimportant, yet a fictional hero like Bond has been an incredible companion over these two decades: every one of the movies –particularly the ones I could watch on the big screen– and most of the collectables I own are strictly related to a memory or a person in my life, which makes this trivial mania more meaningful.

Following the steps of Mark O’Connell and his Catching Bullets book or Benjamin Lind’s A Bond For Life documentary, my book/blog From A View To A Zeal aims to explain how 007 was an important part of my life since the late days of my childhood.

The title might sound as if I’m paraphrasing the well-known Ian Fleming short story, yet it bears something more significant: that day when I was walking through the streets of Buenos Aires with my father on the street and I spotted a huge advertisement of Pierce Brosnan in Bond character holding his Walther PPK. It made me wonder “what is this about?” and remember I played a videogame with the same title that was huge popular some time before. Flash forward a couple of days later, the view of that advertisement became the zeal of a young James Bond fan.

In From A View To A Zeal, much of my Bond related memories are told, without mentioning some people involved to preserve their privacy: the Christmas day where dad and I went to see The World Is Not Enough and the theatre was closed, the Casino Royale screening when my friends and I went all dressed up in dinner jackets to welcome the new Bond, waiting for the Duran Duran band members to get my A View To A Kill LP soundtrack signed for hours, and how the release of SPECTRE marked a first and a last time in my life. There is also some light on the creation of The GoldenEye Dossier and Bond En Argentina, my two 007 related blogs.

While some might see collectables related to monetary value, I see them in terms of affective value: there are the autographs sent for me by a much loved person in my life, the VHS tapes bought by my dad, and a number of unobtainable things in Argentina l than some online friends –without even knowing me in person or asking me for a penny– had the gesture of sending me.

I make it clear in the prologue that these blog entries are far from being essays of the James Bond films and books and are closer to a Bond-driven autobiography. Further entries will feature my experiences with TV and radio interviews and accounts on the places where I obtained some of these collectables as well as some stories on getting promo material from stores (sometimes with success, sometimes not).

To give an artistic edge and some spice to these memories, composers Yannick Zenhausern and Rich Douglas (well known in the worldwide Bond community) have composed a series of suites inspired in the music of films like GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough, Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me, to name a few.

In this journey of 20 years into the world of James Bond, I have learned a second language, made good friends abroad, been published in magazines in France and London, developed a good sense in tailoring and whetted my curiosity on historical facts I’ve never been taught about at school, like the betrayal of the Lienz Cossacks mentioned in GoldenEye. A sad smile also draws on my face as I watch Live And Let Die or Moonraker in a sharp BluRay quality as I remember the days when I watched the old tapes with my dad in that sloppy VCR he owned.

As incredible as the ways of life are, last year a friend of mine gave me the street advertisement that caught my eye as a kid and it now belongs to my collection. More than just a piece of collectable, it’s a piece of history!

Nicolás Suszczyk

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