The Real James Bond

I was watching The Italian Job (Michael Caine original, naturally) the other day and it struck me there are similarities between Daniel Craig‘s new gritty Bond and Caine’s wise-cracking Charlie Croker.

Let me explain what I mean. Take it from the top, you’ve got a man who’s a definite character: from Bond’s urgent banter with his team to Croker’s cheeky shout of “Cheerio lads!” as he leaves prison.

On top of that they’re part of an organisation, but have a certain disregard for the rules, for both of them one of their greatest strengths, and to top it off have a shaky relationship with their superiors – Dame Judi Dench‘s M and Noel Coward‘s Mr. Bridger respectively.

One area where you’d think they differ is the law. There’s no escaping Croker’s ‘bad streak’ as he finds himself in a stolen car almost as soon as he’s out of prison, but despite Bond working for Queen and Country, he’s had scrapes with the wrong side of the law for decades, none more so that in his latest iteration, which has seen him being arrested by airport police, almost arrested by the Nambutu Embassy and hunted down by members of MI6 after going rogue.

The pair are also alike in their ruthlessness, though Bond is far more suited to brutality, killing left, right and centre, Croker puts on a stern face as he tells the leader of the Italian mafia that retribution for killing him and his crew will be swift and catastrophic for the Italians of Britain.

There’s one major difference, which is women. A product of the 21st century, Bond’s women are strong and ruthless and not treated like sex objects, in complete contrast to his first regeneration through Sean Connery, but also, notably, one Charlie Croker.

Though any activity with women is only implied in the Italian Job, there’s plenty of them around in the films opening act, painting a picture of a man who uses charisma, unlike Bond, whose use of his now limits to sporadic one-liners in Quantum of Solace.

Of course, I’m not suggesting the two should team up to take on the world in a bizarre mix of espionage and criminality, but the similarities of the two are notable.

So next time you see a Bond film, just think of the kind of man he could have been if he’d gone the other way. What if he’d joined Spectre (or Quantum in the new world order of Bond) and been dispatched as an agent on the other side. All he’d need was a trusty crew of dependable cockneys/toffs on his side and he’d be unstoppable, nothing short of a criminal genius.

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It’s the end of the world as we know it?

Times are changing, theres no doubt about it, and when the world turns to bring in 2009, things definitely will change, but will it be for the better or worse.

For me, 2009 is key. It sees the end of my spell at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the beginning of my life in the world of work.

The certainty that journalism is changing is absolute, the number of times I’ve heard the word ‘convergence’ in the past three years begs belief, but despite this I remain optimistic.

The truth of the matter is, getting into an industry as diverse and enthralling as journalism was never easy. Even back in the ‘good old days’ there was just as much stress and competition for the top jobs. Maybe it was easier to get a job in any old regional newspaper, but that’s not what I’m aiming for in any case.

Truth be told, I don’t mind where I start, so long as I get to where I want in the end. Right now, that place is behind the Editor’s desk of my very own magazine. Of course this idealist vision may change as all of my young naivities wash away, but the importance of having something to aim for is always strong.

The financial crisis is a talking point, and I don’t wish to dwell on it now, but one thing it does represent is the power of confidence. These volatile times call for a strong stand, and I’m going to make sure I’m ready.