I remember my first Bond film: 1965. Thunderball. Totally Completely Awesome. For me Sean Connery IS James Bond. No one has ever played Bond as well as Connery.
When Daniel Craig appeared on the screen as the new James Bond, I was pleased. None of the interloper Bonds were able to pull off the occasional need to be a mean cold-hearted assassin like Connery could.
At the conclusion of Skyfall I really had high hopes. The Secret Service was returning to the old wood-panelled offices. The Aston Martin DB5 was back. I thought we were being set up for the return of Classic Bond. Alas no.
There were lots of references to Classic Bond, for sure, the main villain being named Ernst Stravo Bloefeld (complete with cat) being the most prominent. But it’s as if the producers simply threw those references in. Imagine GM building a care with the right front fender reminiscent of a 63 corvette, the left rear fender resembling that of a 57 Chevy, the left front fender of a 68 Camaro, etc. It wouldn’t look right. That’s what Spectre felt like: gratuitous use of old iconic images.
I read that the legal rights to the name ‘Spectre’ and ‘Erst Stravo Bloefeld’ had been tied up in legal wrangling for 25 years, and that those terms could now finally be used in a Bond film again. If that’s true then the producers had the opportunity to create a masterpiece but chose not to.
And I have to admit I miss the double entendres. (“Just a slight stiffness coming on.” – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; “Do you mind if my friend sits this one out? She’s just dead” – Thunderball). The producers have taken the serious grittiness too far.
Conclusion: Spectre is an opportunity not lost, but wasted.
This is a very special banjo. Three things make it special:
First it is an SS Stewart Special Thoroughbred made in the 1896-1898 time frame. I’ve always wanted one of these
Second this banjo belonged to my former banjo teacher and mentor, Joe Bethancourt. Joe passed away a little over a year ago, and his wife has begun selling a few of his instruments. I’ve actually played this very banjo. Joe brought it to one of our lessons and let me play it as much as I wanted. Whenever Joe gave a performance this SS Stewart was one of the banjos he played.
Third, when I told my sweet lady wife that I must have this banjo she thought for a minute and then offered to buy it for me as an early 40th wedding anniversary present.
Sometimes I miss a week, but I’m trying to present my Sweet Lady Wife with a fresh red rose and accompanying love note every week.
I was reminiscing about the years between graduating from high school and when I got married (and had to settle down and become a responsible adult). I suddenly realized that some of the people I was close to are no longer alive.
I decided to try to track down as many of my closest friends (male and female) as I could, and reach out to them. It’s been fun reconnected with those who’ve responded.
It was surprising though that two of the people I was closest to gave me the cold shoulder. It’s been 40 years and people change, I guess.