Bond and the death of romance

There was an interesting discussion yesterday between my colleague and I as to the lack of romance in James Bond films these days and the lack of romance in general.   Some customers joined in and so did the boss, so it was, shall we say, “far-ranging”.   I was the only male.

Their point of view was that I should see their husbands first and then speak of romance.   I didn’t want to get into the whole thing of feminazism souring relations between the sexes but when I did see some of their husbands – and the women weren’t all that bad themselves to be honest -then perhaps they had a point.   I saw no obese women yesterday – not one.   Very few had tatts or nose-bones.

So this was middle-England, really, the bourgeoisie in full Saturday morning cry.

Which made me think the soured relations we see reported all over the place might be more a case of this:

We keep walking away for no reason at all
And no one says a word
We were always so busy protecting ourselves
We never would have heard
And the rate of attrition for lovers like us
Is steadily on the rise
Nobody's in love this year
Not even you and I

Due to lack of commitment on both of our parts We’re going our separate ways This show of indifference is breaking our hearts It’s making us crazy, yeah You sit back and wait for your love to accrue You’ll be waiting a long, long time Nobody’s in love this year Not even you and I

… than of this:

That song at least shows it’s been around for donkeys’ years, this antagonism between the sexes but it was tolerable enough for people to fall in love and marry, it was tolerable enough for the great screen lovers to strut their stuff.   There’s a world of difference between two people at one but who have certain differences … and what we have today, as reflected in that Zevon song.

I saw plenty of the former yesterday – ‘broken-in’ husbands waiting while wives shopped, that sort of thing and essentially, they seemed like they were all going to stay together.

One woman described herself as “the other half” when I said there was someone already in the changing room, another saw herself as the other half too – maybe it was Saturday but most people were pretty laid back about things, which gives the lie to all these feminist harpies I blog about so much and whom you’ve seen come in and abuse me here.   Could it be that, demographically, these really are a small percentage of the whole, like gays?

I asked why there could not be screen romance these days – not sex but romance, as in older films – why did the woman have to always be competing in a kick-butt way?   If I’d expected to be torn down on that, actually they were very quiet on the point.   Perhaps it’s a different era now, someone opined.

Yes but why is it – in that Warren Zevon way above?

I can answer my own question, you know.   One reason for men’s attitude is that women are using the State to beat them down.   And women, having had a very good run since the war, compared to women in non-western countries, are not satisfied – they want more and more.   A woman in one of the undeveloped countries would be happy with anything – one in a western country will never be happy with anything and the surveys bear this out.

So the men simply don’t care any more.   If you’ve been to France, Italy and Spain, you see a different scene – ditto in Russia.   There the game is still very much alive and romance can break out at any time.   Why does Bond casting always employ French, Italian or Russian women if they want some romance in the film?   Why was Gemma Arterton not given  a major romance?   Or this Harris person?

The answer is that they’re so far into themselves that they couldn’t give to a man for a minute, to show any love to a male partner is seen as some sort of personal loss in the battle for equality – therefore it would be pointless looking for any romance.   Yet it’s not that they’re Anglo-Saxon – Harris admittedly isn’t – because the great screen stars were Anglo-Saxon and they were capable of romance back then.

The boss said yesterday to my colleague about me: “Oh he’s a wooer, he is.”   Wooer?   She certainly likes my attentions, the boss, she even says so and encourages it but she still can’t get the concept to stick in her mind.   Because romance means, in the eyes of so many women today, an unequal relationship, with the man on top.

Why?   Why does it have to be like that?

There was a moment when a long-time friend of mine, a Hungarian lady, came in and she was dressed to the nines because she knew I’d be looking, she made sure she caught my attention first and then disappeared to the other side of the shop so that I’d have to go over there if I was interested.   That’s the game, that’s the thrill of the chase and she knew the game well and knew I knew it.

The second boss came downstairs, saw me over there and said: “I don’t know, chatting up the women again.”  My Hungarian friend, a very experienced operator, smiled and slipped away, waving form outside at the corner of the window and wondering about these Anglo-Saxon female hangups.   From my time in Russia, I understood the smile on her lips very, very well.

OK, the boss was tongue in cheek and even the “oh, your body language is so alpha male” was tongue in cheek.   I asked if that was a bad thing.   “Not necessarily.”

Back to the general discussion, it got onto women today being frightened that to even let a man court her must mean that she’s losing the ground she’s made up in society, that she would lose her pre-eminent position.    If that’s so, it’s very sad.

As we were talking James Bond, I pointed out Ursula Andress and Honor Blackman, even Diana Rigg – hardly shrinking violets wouldn’t you say?   I added that it was nothing to do with us wanting to oppress them or not give them their rights, it was just letting chemistry free play without hangups.

This comment on a Bond review stood out for me:

Sam Mendes I feel doesn’t understand who or what Bond is about and the script in parts was poor. He needs to realise that Bourne Identity etc is exactly that – a different franchise.

The one redeeming characteristic of this was the acting of Javier Bardem, it was excellent, so much so it out classed that of Daniel Craig and that is a mistake. I therefore say it is a mixed bag.

The film fails in its ability to build strong legitimate connections with feminine sexy ladies, which is a very important ingredient of Bond that reached its peak in Casino Royale (for me), while parts of the film are good (Bardem etc).

The film lacks the essence of what the franchise is really about. For me Casino Royale was an excellent movie, cocky hard Englishman, exotic settings, strong connection with a female hottie, but with an edge of realism due to the spirit or emotive element of the film.

I’d lay odds that not all that many women like Bond but of those who do, most would have liked this last instalment because it is romance-free and the women are kickbutt in it and stronger than any man and so on ad nauseam. Why don’t they step back and look at Casablanca or Casino Royale or even the first Bourne. The formula always has strong women, strong men but they each have this fatal weakness – the weakness for each other.

It’s a weakness I’m more than happy to own up to.

Hell, am I the only one round here who wants romance back in film?

9 Responses to “Bond and the death of romance”

  1. Catherine in Athens November 25, 2012 at 16:56 Permalink

    No, you’re not alone, James. Romance is decried as fantasy by those joyless souls who believe that it disempowers women. In reality, it is cheering, harmless, and life-enhancing. And the game you play is alive and well in Greece as well, thank goodness!

  2. Twilight November 25, 2012 at 17:11 Permalink

    For romantics there are always “chick flicks”, James, even in the 21st century. Off top of head, a few I’ve seen: The Notebook, Time Traveller’s Wife, Larry Crowne, It’s Complicated, The Lake House, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel…..dozens more.

  3. CherryPie November 25, 2012 at 17:42 Permalink

    most would have liked this last instalment because it is romance-free and the women are kickbutt in it and stronger than any man and so on ad nauseam.

    There are no kickbutt women in the latest installment. I won’t go on about the plot and storyline because it will spoil it for people who haven’t seen it. It is best watched without knowing what happens.

  4. Nixon Scraypes November 25, 2012 at 17:56 Permalink

    You know exactly why,the Frankfurt School and a million other vicious acronym agencies waging the war on humanity.

  5. James Higham November 25, 2012 at 20:31 Permalink

    Thanks all, particularly Catherine.

    My friend saw the film last evening and I asked about the specific point of romance. Was there any romance between the leading ladies and Bond?


    As I suspected. Don’t think I’ll bother.

  6. CherryPie November 25, 2012 at 22:14 Permalink

    Ah! so the main point of a Bond film to you is Romance?

    Or is it the interplay between the Male and Female characters, the subtle balance between the Male and Female, each bringing out the best of each others qualities?

    If it was the latter, the latest film is all about that.

    But somehow I suspect that even if you liked that aspect of the film that you would find something else to dislike about it…

    And I know what that would be ;-)

  7. Amfortas November 26, 2012 at 05:26 Permalink

    Anything he can do, she can do better…. Men fart in bed. The modern, empowered Women shat in it.

  8. Sackerson November 26, 2012 at 16:56 Permalink

    Saw Skyfall Saturday. Bond (analysed as drunk and drug-taker on his prof assessment) briefly ravishing Indian girl who isn’t named and doesn’t even get a line to say; later joining naked semiheroine in shower for snog fest. If that’s a 12A cert…

    The films are for kids who dream of substance abuse, f***ing and killing, but don’t know how to talk. Weren’t there some African countries that descended into that hell?

  9. James Higham November 26, 2012 at 16:59 Permalink

    Good points there.

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