Friday, 18 November 2016
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
In his NBA lifetime the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan wore the number 23. The closest player to him and his greatness Kobe Bryant, 24. Kobe won five titles with his Los Angeles Lakers. Mike won six as a Chicago Bull. As a matter of fact there's little much else between the two retired, legendary 6'6, two hundred and something in the tens pound guards. Both have a legendary line of Nike sneakers that keep stepping out even after they've hung them up. Both men were coached by Phil Jackson and have played with legends like Dennis Rodman and Ron Harper. Both men have won Slam Dunk Contests but also knew how to step back and hit the iconic fadeaway. Both men have a magazine cover pin-up smile but a hero killing villain death stare when everything is flipped. Both men speak in tongues, shrugs and shooting for the heart. One-on-one you've never seen two players as competitive. And now Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have both got biography bestsellers on the bookshelves thanks to basketball writer Roland Lazenby. The legend who was once most famous for his book on the NBA logo Jerry West, rewrote what was considered his definitive and most iconic read when he gave us 'The Life' of Michael Jordan in 2014. And now he looks to go better once again with number 24 as his book on Kobe Bryant 'Showboat' is sailing through Kindles and coffee tables as we turn. We caught up with Lazenby once again inbetween reads and what seems like a life that will always write to talk about his latest muse Kobe Bryant and the book about him that has come just a year removed from his last one and some months after the player himself retired. Because after all the show must go on...
Q. Hey Roland! Great to catch up with you again. Congratulations on all your success with your last book 'The Life'. After writing about Michael Jordan was Kobe Bryant always the next logical progression for you?
No, I looked at an array of options, as I always do. Ultimately, the decision is made by what the publisher will buy.
Q. How did the reception and success of writing about Mike inspire and motivate you to write about Kobe?
Well, confidence is big in any endeavour. You would think at my age that confidence is never an issue. But I’ve discovered that being in my 60s is much like being an adolescent. I love doing biography, and if you’re going to do that much work, it sure helps to have success.
Q. What was the starting point for your account of the life of Kobe Bryant mere months after he retired?
I always try to go for what I consider the revelatory moments. Showboat, the book on Kobe, actually began in three different places. An overview beginning after his first basket. An emotional moment following his second championship. A pivotal moment in the career of his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant.
Q. Can you tell our readers more about the name of your Bryant book 'Showboat'? It was an old nickname that Shaq gave him right?
Yes, and it was a lineage he shared with his father, a great showboat player off the playgrounds of Philadelphia. The showboat elements of the game have always been at odds with the purists. But the dunk and other fancy elements have always thrilled fans, i.e. the Globetrotters. Sports stories are often a father/son romance, and this one is about that thing they shared, the love of showboating.
Q. You begin this book beautifully with looking at the career of Kobe's father Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant and his sons upbringing in Italy. How important are these themes in setting the tone of the text?
They define, in many ways, everything about how Kobe approached the game. Ultimately, he grew to become very much his own man. He defined that by making up a nickname and an identity for himself, Mamba, the killer snake.
Q. And with Kobe's purple and gold glory days with the Lakers how much did researching and writing about this take you back to your times sideline reporting with the Lakers?
So much of it did take me back. The Lakers are an amazing story as Hollywood’s franchise. I’ve spent much of my life exploring all of the elements of the Lakers story, and that began years before Kobe arrived there. Every book I do allows me to learn more and more about the Lakers. It’s not a simple story, as you might assume.
Q. How difficult but important was it to ask and talk about not only the accomplishments but the controversies of Kobe's life and career?
That’s always the difficult part of these books, the family and personal stories are always immensely complicated. And that raises questions about what should be reported. Some of it should be reported, because invariably I find that it raises my estimation and understanding of the person and his family. At the same time, I always look for limits. For example, as I rule I don’t write about a person’s sex life, unless it becomes a controversy and part of the public record. Even then, I don’t get into detail, because one’s love life is a private, private matter. I also think of my own family as I write biography. My parents were quiet, everyday people, but our ancestors were quite the rowdy bunch. Every family has its difficulties and conflicts and disagreements. I write about those to some degree because it often reveals the character or personality of the figure I’m writing about.
Q. Just like your book on M.J. this story is rooted in family how do the two books and players compare and contrast in this and how as a writer do you get to the core feeling of this?
Well, MJ is such a global iconic figure, the long story of his family is essential to understanding him. I don’t go into quite the depth of background with Kobe, because the big issue with him was his father as a pro player, the experiences for the family that created, etc.
Q. Which journalists and player peers were the most helpful and insightful in your look into the life of the Laker legend?
Gosh, quite an array of people offered different insights, journalists such as Shelley Smith of ESPN who covered him during the rape charges, or well-known basketball writer Howard Beck, who got to know Kobe as a young guy and had a great affinity for him. Rudy Garciduenas, the Lakers longtime equipment manager, was close to both Shaq and Kobe and offered tremendous understanding of both men, of the dynamic in the Lakers locker room over the years, and the personality of the franchise itself, from Jerry West to Jeanie Buss to Phil Jackson.
Q. You really draw us in to particular moments vividly. One being the preface standout of a championship cap wearing Kobe sitting in the Philadelphia visitors locker room alone and forlorn after winning his second NBA title. What can you tell us about this moment?
On the eve of the playoffs he had thrown his family out of his life in a dramatic move. Once he won the championship, the emotion of his actions and the conflict came flooding in all at once.
Q. Can you tell us how 'Showboat' differs to your other books on Kobe Bryant including 'Mad Game' now his career is said and done?
I wrote Mad Game in 1999. It was about Kobe’s adjustment to the NBA. Showboat is his full life and a full effort at understanding all the factors that have gone in to making Bryant the competitor and person that he is. Showboat reflects much greater understanding on my part because of how much I’ve learned in writing biography.
Q. In completing this story how has Kobe's farewell season and final game drawn a line under his basketball story and career arc?
His final game emphasized the title of the book. It was utterly a Showboat moment.
Q. Before Jordan you where known for writing the book on the logo Jerry West. A legend instrumental in bringing Kobe to L.A. How do the two books and players compare and which icon in your opinion is the greatest Laker?
Well, West teamed with the great Elgin Baylor to popularize the Lakers, a new team in LA in 1960, and over the next 14 years made them legendary. West then went on as GM to define the franchise in terms of his fanatical leadership and personality. He cared deeply, and the franchise benefited from his insane pursuit of perfection. Kobe’s story is about Kobe. He now has an opportunity to make it about more than himself. And he may just do that. West himself was quite self-focused as a player, too.
Q. After your biography 'The Life and Legend Of A Basketball Icon', Jerry West wrote his own autobiography. Are you hoping the same happens for number 23 and 24's memoirs?
Yes, that would be great. Biography has tremendous importance, I believe, as an independent look at sports/cultural figures. It’s important that it be independent because these wealthy figures long to control their own narratives. However, their own books are immensely important because they offer different levels of information and sometimes truth.
Q. Two classic books in the last couple of years you sure deserve a rest, but what's next? Maybe an appointment with the King?
I’m taking a long break. My wife just retired and we’re going to enjoy life a bit. Then I’ll start thinking about the next project.
Roland we thank you for your time. We really appreciate it. We wish you all the best for the future. Thanks again.
Sunday, 2 October 2016
Born To Read.
Birthed on the boardwalks of a New Jersey's American Dream. Wrapped like a bandana around the steering wheel of a classic muscle car until it was tighter than the rest, Bruce Springsteen took to the iconic road metaphor of his lifes work and ran with it. Forget "the new Dylan" or even being his own "Boss". There is only one Bruce Springsteen and the blue collar representation of his hard work has made him one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all-time when it comes to the great American songbook. That's quite a road travelled and a legacy traversed for the legend. Every Springsteen song tells a story. From the downtrodden to the uprisen. He's made classics both in the youth of his career ('Greetings From Asbury Park N.J.') and the latest latter days ('Wrecking Ball'). He's released acoustic stripped down albums that get to the bare bones of his narrators (like the dark desperation of the 'Nebraska', 'The Ghost Of Tom Joad' and 'Devils and Dust' trilogy) and even an uplifting album in memory of those lost after the terroist attacks of September 11th on New York's trade towers (the raw, redemptive resolve of 'The Rising').
Yet we've always wanted to hear more from the bosses mouth for the man who has spent his life speaking up for others and telling their story. Sure there's been a lot wrote about the Boss. From the inspired interview inserts of Clinton Heylin's 'E Street Shuffle' (not to mention the 'Dylan On Dylan' like 'Talk About A Dream'), to the brilliant 'Bruce' book by Peter Ames Carlin, at one recent point thought to be the closest biography we'd get of Bruce to something more like a memoir. But Springsteen who wrote a powerful foreword in late, great partner in live E Street serenade, Clarence Cleamons' 'Big Man' autobiography has finally published his own mesmerizing memoirs. As the autobiography 'Born To Run' (named after his breakthrough and biggest album and hit song of the same name) instantly becomes our new, most sought after Springsteen scribe. With all due respect to the Robert J. Wiserman's wonderful chapter mixtape 'Walk Like A Man' featuring the songs and stories that inspired the rivers of his life. 'Born To Run', accompanied by the musical composition 'Chapter and Verse' of the same black and white, thunderbird lent falls snow drive cover. An inspired and interesting greatest hits package that features bootleg aside, previously unreleased material from his early days with The Castiles, Steel Mill and Bruce Springsteen band, featuring stand outs like 'Baby I', 'The Ballad Of Jesse James' and the before its time aptly titled, 'You Can't Judge A Book By It'S Cover'.
Streaming through his consciousness and the fathers land of his U.S.A. country he was born in, Springsteen writes something as deep as the Man in Black, Johnny Cash's amazing autobiography and as entertainingly well wrote as Willie Nelson's 'My Life'. As a matter of fact the next time you say hello to your four walls and read this by lamplight each night you'll see this story and the writing before your eyes brings even more depth and distinction that the tales he spun before your ears on many a record you and your headphones fell asleep to. Springsteen's scribles even turn a phrase around more times than the conceptual rotations of one of his classics. As he details his life on the road and all the love and sometimes hate he picked up on the way, his never defeated spirit is even scrawled down in an off-beat poet style. Kerouac would be proud. Of course the candid Boss talks about the heart of matters. Where he was born. Where he was raised. His mother. His father. His lovers. His Patti. His band and of course the road he took from E Street to the rest of the world where he showed his soul with all his heart. There's stories you know and ones you don't. Something Jack Nicholson said to him about old blue eyes at Sinatra's funeral, or just how much one of his sons favourite punk bands are a fan of Springsteen senior are worthy of your spoiler free own discovery. There seems like a million little stories like that from a man that has moved more than that many people as he's sung about all their tales of trial and tribulation to. The darkness of his now brought to the light depression serve to soothe other souls however in its powerful poignancy. But here as he really writes about every album and everything for the record you finally get closer to the American icon you've only dreamt of seeing or emulating. At first it seems strange that this formidable figure with a spirit of some mystery is baring all in the book, but this is one case were you should meet your heroes. As Springsteen sings from a different type of hymn sheet and teaches us even more life lessons than he already has in stories and soliloquys that are all power and no preach. It's a gospel that we should read and heed, again and again, time after years down the line, chapter and verse. Run with it, like that runaway American dream...it's your birthright. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 23 September 2016
Weathered wrinkles warn you that this is a man that has seen some miles. But country legend Willie Nelson's 82 year old mind is still as fresh as the first time Georgia was on it.
And it always will be for the legend who has seen it all and sung the same. From the highways with legendary men like the one in black, Johnny Cash, or the one in dark shades, Ray Charles. To the interstates he's gone at alone. The 'On The Road Again' singer takes us, his friends down the music row road most travelled for his memoir 'My Life' and this autobiography is as he puts it; 'A Long Story'. But boy is it a good one. As well wrote as one of his greatest hits these compelling chapters wont put you to sleep. Instead they'll have you wracking your brain to just how you finished just under 400 pages just before bed.
A coffee shop table-top book this is not. More like one for the motel road stop night if you get a little lonely. You'll be lucky to pick this Willie up as he goes full Kerouac on the road, taking you from Nashville to California and all the Houston's and San Antonio's he's been between before. Through it all, the places he's been and the people he's seen this maverick has always kept it real and religious in the name of his fathers soul and the holy spirit of song. As a matter of fact you can take the way he talks about how he writes songs as gospel. Because it's more than a genius of a guide from a life well lived. It's an all freeing truth that falls like a whiskey stream that wouldn't flow if it didn't fit. All the way from the waterfall to the bottom of your glass.
And there's a beautiful spirited metaphor and message for life here that Nelson gives us with no half measures. Whether he's talking about cowboys like the Magnificent Seven or tipping his cap to four walls this man knows exactly what he's talking about when he pays tribute to all the wives he's loved before like Julio Iglesias, or laments a lesson we should all heed and not lose in how it's 'Funny How Time Slips Away'. How can you not take the word from a man that's lived even more lives than we've even heard?
The crazy hearted road warrior of true grit in his recent lifetime has taken more than one kind of hit with rapper Snoop Dogg and rolled around in 'Dukes Of Hazzards' cars with 'Jackass' Johnny Knoxville, but it's the individual life of this solo artist that has garnered real inspiration. And from selling encyclopedias to being in the country music one (in the section marked, 'Hall Of Fame'), it's a life that is still being well lived. So before you hop in a thunderbird down 'Thunder Road' for The Boss, Bruce Springsteen's long-awaited, highly anticipated road warrior memoir 'Born To Run' next week, find time for a quick spin around the block with the man who knows the real road, chapter and verse. A man who will be on it again like our minds...always. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 18 September 2016
Conducted by British author Paula Hawkins and set in the fog of the hazy residents of London town gone up in big social smoke, this book is the first-person narration heavy, Gillian Flynn like book and movie adaptation of the year. But instead of caustic 'Gone Girl' couple Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, it's great Brit of true grit Emily Blunt that leads a sharp cast featuring Luke Evans, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Lisa Kudrow and Allison Janney down the line in 'The Girl On A Train' movie that switches tracks to the playing it "safe" suburbias of middle America. At least Emily gets to keep her accent.
Race through this 400 page quick read that has paced over 10 million copies sold on the bestsellers lists so far and you can see why this story can get on board with blockbuster bait come the fall Oscar campaign season. It has it all, chapter and verse. Thrills, suspense, twists and spills. And although it goes to some lengths to demonize every male character in this book, it can almost be seen as a spiritual reply to the dark places that Flynn takes her Amazing Amy too.
It's a modern day glare through the cynical curtain, rear window look of suburbia, where nuclear families have gone toxic and murder is rife on this street. Whether literal or in the emotional mystery form where you can't see the evidence of the crime, but oh how you can feel it. Safe as houses and I don't think. These intertwining couples on the surface look borrow a cup of sugar sweet, but they are literally screwing each other and in turn themselves all over the place. If you're looking for some innocence here it might be time to move.
This todays look at derailing happiness is so simple life gone sour scary it even kept legendary 'Shining' and 'Carrie' writer Stephen King up all night like the Tommyknockers were rapping at his door. It's that intense...and somewhat inspired. Raw and real storytelling has never been this slick. We just hope Hollywood sticks to the script and the recurring notes so essential to the story like balled fists and blood in the ears. Otherwise 'what are we going to do with it'? Hawkins hallmark novel is not some idea hawked by coffee table enthusiasts and airport book stores as the latest must read. Its something you should run to catch...even if you think you can wait all day for two to come at once. Sure this books everywhere but it's time to get take a seat on the train and join the club.
The girls waiting...
Read 'The Girl On The Train'? Join the Book Club and let us know what you think...
Monday, 12 September 2016
Long time. All read. We've been M.I.A. for 9 months! You know us. But no nothing like that...although we have been nursing a lot of books this year. 27 to be exact. A little off the 52 for 52 goal at week 38, but let's take some off the shelf.
We started the year with some iconic pieces of literature. Including the mind-weaving plot strands of 'Cats Cradle' and 'In The Heart Of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad. Two absolute classics for any collection.
Then we moved into the arena of hoops after we found Bill Simmons epic, essential 'Book Of Basketball' in New York's Strand store for just two bucks. That's something that doesn't happen 'Any Given Wednesday'. You want some history on court? Than this textbook that references everything from 'The Godfather' to 'Rocky' is the law. This lead us to invest in more musts like the concrete classic 'Heaven Is A Playground' by SLAM columnist Rick Telander and the incredible 'Life' of Michael Jordan by our friend Roland Lazenby. You can look for our interview and review about it here if you like and watch this space for the forthcoming 'Showboat' on Kobe Bryant coming soon.
We kept it only a little off court for some inspirational reads while away. Reading late, great sports presenter Stuart Scott's moving memoir, 'Everyday I Fight'. Literally the most inspirational book we have ever read from a powerful personality who kicked cancers ass before he passed. And then whilst alone in Tokyo former NBA player turned panelist Jay Williams told us 'Life Was Not An Accident' as we found ourselves in the Far East.
Not to boast but being in Japan really meant something this year. Maybe even the next one too. So reading up was a requirement as we reached for the classic 'Memoirs Of A Geisha'. And after a good friend from work lent us a taste of 'In The Miso Soup' and the classic '69'. We learned that our boys down the train line The Beatles released four iconic albums 'Abbey Road', 'Yellow Submarine', 'The White Album' and 'Let it Be'. All in 1969.
A lot of flights meant a lot of airport reads and the only thing better than Californian crime writer Michael Connelly mixing classic characters Harry Bosch and The Lincoln Lawyer for 'The Reversal' is James Patterson moving into his inventive Book Shorts for those connections. 'Cross Kill' keeps us in the scope of our favourite detective Alex for the cross-hairs of under 150 pages. Whilst the 'Miracle At Augusta' swing was the perfect thing to get us ready for the Masters.
Speaking of memoirs you know we love movies based on books. And the start of the year had us practicing for the Oscars speeches with the revolutionary 'Revenant' as real as it is raw, 'Moneyball' writer Michael Lewis' statistical 'Big Short' and 'Concussion' probably the most important sports book and movie ever wrote. Reaching back to recent Academy classics we saw just how important 'Still Alice' is...especially when it comes to family. While 'The Drop' is definitly something you should pick up. As underrated as the Tom Hardy film it was adapted into, this is a gem from the acclaimed writer of top pages turned films 'Mystic River' and 'Shutter Island'. We even have to break our no screenplay rule here for the script of 'The Counsellor' and you should take to the sofa too. After all it is Cormac McCarthy.
Not really a movie adaptation or even a real memoir, 'The Autobiography Of James T. Kirk' is a fictitious but force of a book for any star fans who prefer treks to wars. Especially to commemorate Gene Roddenberry's creations 50th anniversary. And sorry Pine you know we're reading it in a Shatner stop-start tone, no matter how much we salute you captain. Also toeing the spine of memoirs our 'Rebel Heroes' by Fun Lovin' Criminals frontman Huey Morgan pays terrific testimony tribute to all the musicans that they just don't make like they used to and the Springsteen scribe 'Talk About A Dream'. A collection of interview transcripts from Bruce that is the closest thing we'll get to an autobiography from the Boss until the long-awaited, highly-anticipated 'Born To Run' book makes it in the post.
And then of course we had to add some greats from legendary authors to the coffee table starting with the dear departed Harper Lee's long awaited sequel to 'To Kill A Mockingbird' in 'Go Set A Watchmen' and a true chiller from the King. A shining science fiction from Stephen in the alien 'Tommyknockers'. The perfect thing to get us ready for the best show on T.V. this year, the 80's 'E.T.', 'Goonies' of Netflix's 'Stranger Things'. Not to mention an actual non sci-fi (apart from the scripted aside) from the forefather Phillip K. Dick in 'The Broken Bubble', bursting with nuclear family combustion.
But 2016 has been a sad year were we lost too many great people. And after the 'Soul Of A Butterfly' has remained our favourite book for years it was time we read more into the late, greatest Muhammed Ali, aside from the iconic cover tributes in 'Time', 'Sports Illustrated' and 'Rolling Stone'. 'King Of The World' from the editor of 'The New Yorker' David Remnick has aways been one of the greats, but to get the real picture from the page the best sportsmen of all-time himself had to have the last word with his own story. And King Ali's full autobiography really showed that the man who stung like a Bee really was, 'The Greatest'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 26 June 2016
Fun Lovin' Rebels.
Walking down the crossing of the 'Abbey Road' The Beatles made instantly iconic during their final victory lap of rock that saw them unbelievably roll out classics like this, 'The White Album', 'Yellow Submarine' and 'Let It Be' in their last years, Paul McCartney famously went barefeet across a zebra crossing, on what would just be another street if it wasnt for rock and roll musics four horseman trying to chicken themselves to the other side one by one. But did you know because of the fact that he forgot his shoes many people believed and feared that Macca was dead? Call it prophercy, the sixties or just a wonder of supersition but it's true...well the fact that fans thought the band on the runs leaders writing was on the wall that is.
Did you know that R&B and urban soul princess Aaliyah-who was a million times the likes of Beyonce and Rihanna and still would be if still around today-was set to star in 'The Matrix' trilogy before she took that tragic, fateful flight after filming her 'Rock The Boat' video? The ahead of her time singer to the sonic Timbaland and Missy Elliott superfriend sound really was the future. Just think of how big the 'Try Again' singer would have been if we chose the red pill and she got to rock in leather for this science fiction Keanu classic. The star songtress had already made movies like 'Romeo Must Die' and 'Queen Of The Damned' much more famous than they would have been if this iconic leading lady wasn't in them. But this 'Matrix' revolution-despite the great job done by Jada Pinkett-Smith in her place-reminds us of just how much magic in movies and music Queen Liy-Liy still had left to give us.
Turning the electric neon of Times Square purple with his reign, Prince played a set in New York so stunning everyone turned their heads from the bright Coca Cola lights to looking up to a four foot in heels singer that when it came to live shows stood above them all...even the three hour, still dancing at Sixty Springsteen. Everybody wanted to see the late, great play so much so that some where left outside of this club just wishing their name was on the list. Even rock great Lenny Kravitz, guitar in hand who would one day record a duet album that when they wrapped would never see the light of day (we still hope won't after legal vultures cruelly drilled their way into Mr. Rodgers vault to mine money out of the dearly departeds personal, unreleased (intention or not) collection after his death, just days after he was laid to rest. Which die-hard fan or collector wanting for more or not is just wrong) after Prince told Lenny, "this is just for us" as their session ended. Kravitz couldn't even get in until a young New York waiter hitting the alley for a cigarette (smoke em' if you got em') showed him the way and announced him backstage for an audience with the Prince. Who knows if that was the meeting that opened the door on their collaboration of legend?!
What we do know is that this young New Yorker bussing tables was none other than Huey Morgan. The legendary singer of the N.Y.C. to the Soprano don core Fun Lovin' Criminals and quite possibly the coolest mother###### alive! No...not quite possibly...definitly. A man who now takes residence on these British Isles and on a B.B.C. radio show! And these stories he shares with us read like one of his extended radio interludes of inspiration and influence. We'd love to reveal more, but we'll let this man tell it as you read his book in his trademark voice as iconic as a Morgan Freeman or Matthew McConaughey drawl. Besides we don't want to spoil all you're about to learn from this genius. Keep this book up on the shelf as Huey gives you more than Scooby Snacks here as he gets into his life from the marines to the criminals, but would selflessly rather give it up to the greats that paved the way.
The true 'Rebel Heroes'. From Billie Holliday to Buddy Holly. Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse. Nina Simone to Tupac and of course the man that saved his life...Barry White...or was it got him back with his ex-wife?! This book is more than alright however, like his band it's an underrated classic that you think true music fans would lap up like real New Yorkers would his Criminals. In celebration of all the geniune 'Rebel Heroes' that made music and all its grand genres what they are, no One Direction, this is a real read from a man that doesn't just know music...he is music. N.S.F.K. Not suitable for Kardashian's, this beautiful books compelling chapters act like small biographies to every rebel heart and piece of musics soul that is paid tribute to across these profound pages. Excerpts perhaps less than 10 pages each that can even overturn the 600 strong prose from the pros and so called "experts" that have made their money off musicians that have yet to, or even never got the chance to write their memoirs. This is not what Morgan is out to do. This is one of rock and rolls best telling us about the rest and just how they came about being the artists and people they were. No shock and awe, inside papped gossip to sell copies. Just the real and raw truth of what made music music, before so called 'Idols' took all the talent. But Huey Morgan's 'Rebels' isn't just a nod to nostalgias friend. It's a call to arms for the next Dylan or Marvin to change the game again before we all get played...and that's the underlining message before more greats like Bowie join the Lennon Gods. We could be heroes...if we want it! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 8 November 2015
24 Bonds later-from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig-and we have 'Spectre' but what do you know about the three books that are the spirit of arguably the biggest 007 feature yet?
George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan or even Idris Elba. Take your pick, but James Bond would be nothing without the M that sent him on his first mission and created him; Sir Ian Fleming. The original suave, suited and booted spy who played cards and Bond girls, from island to casino like it was all a game. Ever since his first classic book 'Casino Royale' that has inspired all the classic films from the man with the golden gun to this day, Ian Fleming was given a license to write that made him the Great British tux alternative to the tweed of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Sherlock Holmes' sleuth detective. Making these classic chapters and bookshelves stories that are still as popular as they've always been in today's world of superheroes, monsters and robots.
The 'Spectre' trilogy begins with 'Thunderball' that was a lottery ticket winning movie for the one and only true Bond, Sean Connery. To this day the film remains a classic from the classic underwater scenes as tense as 'Jaws' to the iconic Bond villain that would end up being put to parody hilariously by Mike Myers' legendary Dr. Evil character in the spy spoof 'Austin Powers'. The rolling book introduces us to the legendary adversary Ernst Stavro Blofeld for the first time. It is as classic as any formidable Fleming novel that has inspired a massive movie that James Bond has returned in, 'From Russia With Love' to 'Goldfinger'. Does he expect you to read? No Mr. Bond fans they expect you to thrive (off this).
And you really will when the worlds most famous agent is sent on an impossible mission 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. Slaloming between the snow-scaped slopes of the alps to the avalanche that is Blofeld and his 'Spectre' organisation coming down on a Bond who just wants to get the job done and even find love among all this hate and madness...with tragic consequences. When it comes to Bonded books 'Majesty' may just take the crown as the most thrilling roller-coaster of stakes and emotions that Fleming has ever penned on paper that would one day become a picture on the big-screen.
From tragedy with hate comes the conclusion to the classic chapters of the 'Spectre' trilogy with 'You Only Live Twice'. As Bond faces off with Blofeld for an epic conclusion that's streak of revenge is offset with the serenity of a Tokyo trip to the Far East which shows 007 the way and wisdom of the samurai as James bonds with Japan and finds rebirth and peace to all this 'Spectre' war in more ways than one. Looking for an eye for an eye with the original Scarface there's more than meets one here for a spirited and haunting finale to 'Spectre'. With the writing on the wall and the author of all of 007's pain and power, the late, great Sir Ian Fleming's word will always be Bond. TIM DAVID HARVEY.