James Bond with sagging Robert Redford-type skin under his chin? The spectacle of watching 007 carrying a phial of viagra in a special compartment of his Omega ‘Senior Series’ watch? Or in the words of author Sebastian Faulks, who has been commissioned by the estate of Bond creator Ian Fleming, James as a “damaged, ageing” Bond? Hmm. Dr No must be in denial.
Fleming, whose centenary comes up next year, may or may not have approved of a Bond who is getting on in years. But we certainly are growing increasingly nervous about a geriatric 007. We’re biting our lower lips in consternation not so much because our favourite martini-drinker will be less adept at ju-jitsu in Faulks’ Devil May Care than he was while despatching Mr Big and his baddies in the second Bond book, Live or Let Die, but because he may be in the wrong hands when it comes to his brushes with the ladies. And it’s not post-40 performance anxiety that we’re talking about. You have to understand that Faulks won the Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award in 1998. Sample passage from his novel, Charlotte Gray: “Meanwhile her ears were filled with the sound of a soft but frantic gasping and it was some time before she identified it as her own.”
Characters, like people, are supposed to age and it is our job to get used to it. But Bond widowed, a Sugar Daddy with a Beretta cavorting with Pussy Galore’s granddaughter? Oh, it’s all too much for us. What next? Nancy Drew taking a crack at life after menopause? Gnaah!