In the latest issue:

Botanic Macaroni

Steven Shapin

What made the Vikings tick?

Tom Shippey

In the Lab

Rupert Beale

Will there be a Brexit deal?

Anand Menon

Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne

Out-Tissoted

Bridget Alsdorf

Sarah Moss

Blake Morrison

Poem: ‘Country Music’

Ange Mlinko

On the Trail of Garibaldi

Tim Parks

Art Lessons

Peter Campbell

You’ll like it when you get there

Tom Crewe

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini

‘The Vanishing Half’

Joanna Biggs

At the Movies: ‘The Truth’

Michael Wood

The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders

Poem: ‘Siri U’

Jorie Graham

Diary: Getting into Esports

John Lanchester

Close
Close

Back in my extra days, someone once swore
she’d seen me in the latest James Bond film.

I tried to tell her that they only hired
the really glamorous leggy types for that.
(My usual casting was ‘a passer-by’.)

I’ve passed the lot in Pinewood Studios.
It’s factory-like, grey aluminium, vast
and always closed. Presumably that’s where
they smash up all the speedboats, cars and bikes
we jealous viewers never could afford.

I quite enjoyed the books. Ian Fleming wrote well.
I could identify a touch with Bond,
liking to have adventure in my life.
The girls were something else. All that they earned
for being perfect samples of their kind –
Black, Asian, White – blonde, redhead or brunette,
groomed, beauty-parlourised, pleasing in bed,
mixing Martinis that were shaken not stirred,
using pearl varnish on their nails not red –
was death. A night (or 2) with 007,
then they were gilded till they could not breathe,
chucked to the sharks, shot, tortured, carried off
or found, floating face downward in a pool.

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