This week marks the centenary of Ian Fleming, the man who gave us the world’s most famous secret agent. The first stop for 007 fans should be London’s Imperial War Museum, which is hosting a major exhibition, illuminating both Fleming’s life and that of his famed spy, whose worlds were more intertwined than one might imagine. Admittedly, my husband had to drag me to the exhibit (payback, perhaps, for last year’s trip to Brontë Country) but I came away glad that I went, despite having only ever seen one Bond movie.
Much of the material on display is on view for the first time ever, including Fleming’s writing desk, a military jacket he wore while serving as a Commander in the British Naval Intelligence Unit, and the manuscript for his children’s book, Chitty Chitty Bang (who knew this multi-faceted military man, journalist and adventurer was also the imaginative force behind this children’s classic?!)
Film buffs like my husband will appreciate all of the exhibit’s movie memorabilia, like Daniel Craig’s bloodstained shirt from Casino Royale, Halle Berry’s bikini from Die Another Day and Goldfinger’s golf shoes. After leaving the museum, head across the river to swanky Dukes Bar in Mayfair, a one-time haunt of Fleming and home to the best martinis in London, which are served tableside and interestingly enough, are neither shaken nor stirred.
Hardcore fans should also make the 90-minute trip south of London to the National Motor Museum, which is home to many of the vehicles used on-set in the Bond films, like the Lotus Submarine Car from The Spy Who Loved Me and the Jaguar roadster from Die Another Day.
Having been so taken in by our Bond adventures over the past weekend, this Saturday I’ve agreed to accompany my husband to Borders on Oxford Street, which is holding a James Bond Day to celebrate the publication of Devil May Care, the new Bond adventure commissioned by the Fleming Estate and written by bestselling author Sebastian Faulks. In addition to in-store roulette wheels and quizzes testing our 007 knowledge, James Bond abseilers dressed in tuxedos are reportedly going to be scaling the store’s facade. Should be interesting! — Joni Rendon
[Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum]