THE name’s Bond, James knit one, purl one Bond. Or at least you’d think that’s what had been announced when Daniel Craig pitched up to a press launch for the 24th Bond movie last week, wearing a jumper.
Let me explain. Such is the Bond Behemoth, each time they are about to begin filming a new movie they hold an event at Pinewood Studios to announce the film’s name (imagine the uncomfortable silence when they said “Quantum of Solace”), to show off the car Bond will spectacularly crash – an Aston Martin DB10 this time – and to parade the cast, proving that talented actors and actresses such as Ben Whishaw (back as Q) and Monica Belucci struggle to stand in a line at marked spots without staring at their feet and wobbling. It’s all a bit silly, but I guess that’s what happens when a bunch of movies – 23 so far – have grossed $6 billion.
And maybe that’s why so many people lost the plot about Craig’s jumper. And just in case you saw that picture some wag mocked up pasting a reindeer head on to his chest, it was not a Christmas jumper, that was Photoshop, it was a blue, merino wool crew neck, on top of a white shirt and tie, along with grey wool trousers and black shoes. Low key, decidedly so, but so what?
It seems, for some, Craig made the cardinal sin of wearing an outfit that pretty much anyone could. It was unpretentious. He looked, they squealed on Twitter, too average, too sensible or, as one outraged onlooker put it, like “a drunk supply teacher” or even worse, like “a dad”. To be fair, he probably did look like a dad to all seven of Brad Pitt’s children, but I don’t remember my pa rocking merino wool that all too clearly hid a torso rippling with muscles. A Pringle sweater that hid a beer belly on the other hand…
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Oh come on kids, get with it. Craig was doing normcore (tr. a portmanteau word made up by fashiony people combining normal and hardcore referring to ordinary, unfussy, wearable clothes). Perhaps sick of being reduced to his tight, blue swimming trunks, he decided not to rise to it and instead asserted his right not to have to be James Bond unless a camera is rolling nearby. Good on him, I say. He’s not my worry, but those who seem unable to discern the difference between reality and fantasy are. And why anyone would sniff at the opportunity to say Merino Royale an unlimited number of times, I just cannot comprehend.
I do want to make one thing clear, though: normcore for Craig is fine, but when it comes to Bond, ordinary will not do. There was a time when 007 thought nothing of appearing in a baby blue terrycloth playsuit (including a fitted belt, patch pockets and extremely short shorts – Goldfinger, 1964, Sean Connery’s third appearance) and that was, in my opinion, a good time. As well as those Savile Row style statements, Bond’s wardrobe included capri pants and bermuda shirts, safari suits and shorty dressing gowns. This is worth getting hot under the spread collar about. An actor wearing a jumper, not so much.
Provocative and rude. That’s how campaigners who want the Elgin Marbles returned to Greece have described the British Museum’s decision to move the river god, Ilissos, to the Hermitage in St Petersburg last week. The Greek president agreed, saying it was an affront to his people. Oh dear. Might museum director Neil MacGregor, who lent the sculpture to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the St Petersburg museum, be receiving a rather terse letter from one Amal Clooney (above), the lawyer and erstwhile better half of the Hollywood A-lister, who has recently been approached to advise the Greek government on how they might reclaim the ancient sculptures? For MacGregor it seems that the headless figure, draped in fabric is a “stone ambassador” embodying European ideals and therefore highly symbolic in these tense times for Russia’s relationship with Europe. I can’t help but think that his diplomatic clout would be very much greater if he was being loaned out from the country whence he originally came.
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Since the only full-time dentist serving the 3,500 residents of Islay and Jura retired a year ago, the islanders have to wait up to a year for an appointment with the part-time dentist who remains. Resources are stretched and so children and those in extreme pain are being prioritised, leaving others to wait. And wait. So, I’m doing my bit as a recruitment specialist. If you are, or you know, a dentist who enjoys spectacular scenery, and some of the best peaty, smoky malts in existence, then there’s a full-time job going that you should investigate. Surely there’s someone?
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