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The name's Ronson, Jon Ronson.
May 12, 2008 5:34 PM   Subscribe

"I want to recreate a great Bond journey," I say. "I want to take a passage from one of the novels and assiduously match Bond car for car, road for road, meal for meal, drink for drink, hotel for hotel."

"What a wonderful idea," she says. "But which journey do you want to recreate?"

"I dunno," I shrug. "One in Moonraker?"

"Moonraker is basically a drive from London to Margate," Zoe says. "Fleming's fans were disappointed by the absence of exotic locations." [Via.]
posted by beaucoupkevin (39 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
No underwater hotels?
posted by tkchrist at 5:38 PM on May 12, 2008


OK, I'll bite. I want to jump into the sack with every woman that Bond ever did it with (the ones who are still alive that is -- I don't do necro).

If someone else is willing to foot the bill (I'm not thinking anything so insulting as prostitution here; I'm sure most of them will go along with the idea in exchange for a generous donation to their favourite charity), as soon as I am able to walk again, I'll get to my keyboard and sling together six internet pages to tell the story.
posted by Mike D at 5:45 PM on May 12, 2008


Ok. And while you're doing that, I'll be over here, going through your stuff.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:47 PM on May 12, 2008


Good Luck with all that.
posted by Senator at 5:54 PM on May 12, 2008


Oh stop kvetching, you weenies. That was hilarious. His reactions to Bond's diet were great.
posted by lumpenprole at 5:55 PM on May 12, 2008


zzzzzzzzzz

I second that. I went into this article ready for thrills and excitement while this guy tries to keep up with Bond! But ended up leaving really disappointed no one gets tortured (unless you count the reader! zing!). I mean really, who gets an Aston Martin and keeps it below 70.

was that mph or kph? my point still stands
posted by sir_rubixalot at 6:00 PM on May 12, 2008


What is it about British journalism that gives it so much more voice than American journalism? I'll read the Grauniad just for the sheer pleasure of the writer, much more rarely does that occur in the states.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:10 PM on May 12, 2008


The part where he finally turned off the iPhone - RIVETING!
posted by MasonDixon at 6:11 PM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I went into this article ready for thrills and excitement while this guy tries to keep up with Bond!

If real people acted like a fictional secret agent did, they would be in a real jail. So, I can see the hesitation to exactingly recreate a Bondian journey, complete with backhanded women, sadistic torture, and 180km/h downhill races with a multi-hundred-thousand pound car.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 6:12 PM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I really like this author's voice, but even though I laughed, literally, in the non-internet-sense out loud a few times the article ended the only way it could: anticlimactically.

I would have loved a little more depth - interviews with people along the way about their Bond impressions. Did they realize they were on his route in Goldfinger? What about the rich guy? It seems the author was slightly too precious with his attention.
posted by abulafa at 6:13 PM on May 12, 2008


When I read the premise, I thought that sounded like fun. Instead, that really was painful to read. There are many people that would pay a fair amount to do that trip, and here he is on an expense account, being given an Aston Martin by the company, and all he can do is complain. He's a poor writer on top of all that.
posted by Xoc at 6:20 PM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I heard Ron Jonson on an episode of This American Life, and frankly he's a bit of a wanker.
posted by ben242 at 6:27 PM on May 12, 2008


the article ended the only way it could: anticlimactically.

Um, hello-- the article ended with him taking a massive shit. It doesn't get anymore climactic than that!
posted by dersins at 6:34 PM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


In moonraker, dosn't bond, you know, go to the moon? Or at least outerspace?

If this guy doesn't didn't make it to the ISS, then he's full of fail, if you ask me.
posted by delmoi at 6:34 PM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


My "wow" is a hollow one. I'm like a sociopath when it comes to expensive cars. I feel no emotion.
posted by grobstein at 6:34 PM on May 12, 2008


Do Brits really take Bond seriously? Meaning Americans take Batman pretty seriously, so do Brits feel that way about Bond?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:50 PM on May 12, 2008


In Moonraker the book, Bond does not go to Outer Space, he has to, as I vaguely recall, stop someone from launching a rocket or something. In Moonraker the movie, Bond does go to outer space, mostly, again, as I vaguely recall, people were all in love with this newfangled 'Star Wars' movie, and the people thought it would be a good idea to cash in with some hot Space Action.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:02 PM on May 12, 2008


What better way to celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth me in a super expensive Aston Martin than getting the Guardian's very own 007 twat to recreate a great James Bond adventure drive around looking very very spiffy? It would be a journey of fast motoring and fast love approaching midlife crisis and vainly attempting to identify with a stuffy, sexists, witless smarmy git, who thankfully, never actually existed.
posted by mattoxic at 8:06 PM on May 12, 2008


True, this article was a bit of a dud. But Ronson's "Them" and "The Men Who Stare at Goats" are both great books. His weekly column in the Guardian is often quite funny.

But this is a country that finds David Sedaris funny and charming, so I give up.
posted by words1 at 8:45 PM on May 12, 2008


In a whine-off between Ronson and Sedaris I think it'd be Sedaris by a "Who is James Bond anyway?"

Then again, I've only read Sedaris describe peeing in a stadium full of people so Ronson may take it by a #2.
posted by abulafa at 10:04 PM on May 12, 2008


Seconding the recommendation for his book "The Men Who Stare At Goats".
posted by mrbill at 10:08 PM on May 12, 2008


This reminded me, oddly, of By Rolls to Russia, by Simon Winchester^ -- also a Guardian columnist. The year was 1984, and he took a Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit^ over the Iron Curtain all the way to Russia, with many surreal encounters along the way (including a girl who cried after her short ride in the car, as it was an era in which there were decade-long waiting lists to buy crappy automobiles).

Still with me after 20-odd years. I don't think this one will, be though ...
posted by dhartung at 10:11 PM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought it was funny.

Your favorite parodic centenary homage sucks.
posted by flotson at 12:15 AM on May 13, 2008


How sad for an Englishman that his experience of having a nice car in England is hate, while in France it's admiration.
posted by rodgerd at 12:40 AM on May 13, 2008


If you want someone creating the 'thrills and spills' of Bond (ie the films and not the books) then sod off to Clarkson on Top Gear... Ronson is genius.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:59 AM on May 13, 2008


I enjoyed reading this because it allowed me to vicariously experience something I could never do in real life. I actually AM James Bond, you see, so doing what the author did here would be a copyright violation. Bewildering stuff, British copyright law. Sad really.

Pussy!
posted by Naberius at 1:05 AM on May 13, 2008


This guy gets paid to write? That's even more unlikely than half the stuff in the Bond books.
posted by Poagao at 3:04 AM on May 13, 2008


I want to recreate the great band Journey.
posted by clearly at 3:33 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


One long, lame piss-take.

How about using your outsider's perspective as a non-fan to, I dunno, make some analysis of Bond as man or superman? Or as a well-pampered pit bull terrier in (or is that "on"?) her Majesty's service? How about Bond's rigorous self-medication and how that reflects on contemporary society (drugs are ok when James Bond does it)? Look, I know it sounds boring and you're not really into the assignment, but you're a writer. You'll find a way to dress it up and make it fun and interesting.

Or maybe you feel that's been done. Ok, so your only alternative is to muddle through something so milquetoast as to make Reader's Digest look like Tom Clancy? Yeah, wow. That's some voice. Only my "wow" is a hollow one. I'm like a sociopath when it comes to bad writers. I feel no emotion.
posted by Eideteker at 3:41 AM on May 13, 2008


Metafilter: As everything Bond ate comes flooding out, the piped choral music turns into a choir of heavenly voices, filling the cubicle with their magnificence.
posted by farishta at 4:21 AM on May 13, 2008


"James Bond did not take the car ferry to France. This is the one part of the journey where my plans must diverge from his. He headed instead for Lydd Ferryfield airport, in Kent, where he drove up a ramp and straight into a Bristol plane bound for Le Touquet. This used to be a regular practice for the rich until the hovercraft killed off the business in 1970."

My favourite detail. Here is a picture of the that service.
posted by rongorongo at 7:04 AM on May 13, 2008


What is it about British journalism that gives it so much more voice than American journalism? I'll read the Grauniad just for the sheer pleasure of the writer, much more rarely does that occur in the states.


leotrotsky,
I agree - it's absolutely infuriating.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with quality American hacks - except they all seem over-edited, the product of one beige school of journalism, the most radical "trick" you see is the dropped intro (or "lede", I think, it drives me mad) and they go on for far too long...there's no risk!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:07 AM on May 13, 2008


So, not only did the Guardian foot the bill for Ronson, but also Duncan the photographer. And we get the same 1 photo for all 6 pages of this tripe?
posted by adamms222 at 9:36 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would love to drive an Aston Martin someday, even if I had to keep it under 70.

That is all.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:45 AM on May 13, 2008


What a whiner. Great premise, whiny mcwhiny article.
posted by zeoslap at 10:01 AM on May 13, 2008


except they all seem over-edited, the product of one beige school of journalism
It could be under-editing that's the problem. I've heard the argument made a few times that wartime paper shortages here in the UK led to a culture of editing everything to within an inch of its life -- every word had to count.

Consequently, sub-editors have a lot more rewrite power than their US counterparts, while US writers are allowed to pretty much write and write and write and turn to page B14 and write and write. That doesn't lead to good copy. Whereas here, writers are not only being well-edited, they're growing up in a culture of good editing and writing accordingly.

It's not the whole story -- a big part is doubtless this suffocating cult of stultifying "professionalism" that US papers seem mired in, but I think it plays a part.
posted by bonaldi at 11:46 AM on May 13, 2008


Maybe, but only if you can find this car. Even an alternative will likely bust your budget.
posted by bz at 12:26 PM on May 13, 2008


When I worked at American magazines in the 1990s, a typical piece would pass through:

- the writer
- the senior editor
- the factchecker
- the copyeditor
- the senior editor again
- the editor in chief
- the factchecker again
- the copyeditor again
- the senior editor again
- the proofreader

...and sometimes there'd be an assistant editor or a top editor or the legal department or whoever, as well. You have to have a very strong voice as a writer if you're going to keep a distinctive tone through all that.

My understanding is that magazines in the UK have fewer levels of editing.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:37 PM on May 13, 2008


I wish he would write a follow-up to THEM.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:07 PM on May 13, 2008


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