HOW GOT GAY

GT (UK) - - FEATURE - WORDS THEO MERZ

Bond, James Bond, is of­ten thought of as the typ­i­cal man’s man – all fast cars, beau­ti­ful women and the sharpest suits. A reader of GQ rather than GT, if you will.

But there’s been a sense of camp about him ever since author Ian Flem­ing first in­tro­duced us to 007 and – whis­per it – in the last few years, with the last few films, Bond has gone even fur­ther. He’s be­come rather gay.

It was partly that sense of camp that en­deared us to the suc­ces­sive on-screen Bonds: from Sean Con­nery’s tight, pas­tel swim­ming trunks and de­li­ciously hairy chest, to Roger Moore’s perma-arched eye­brow, and the spy’s weak­ness for a Martini in ev­ery in­car­na­tion.

We don’t know any straight men who’d head straight to the ho­tel bar af­ter check-in, gasp­ing for a bone-dry Martini. But given his of­ten demon­strated het­ero­sex­u­al­ity – 53 women over the course of 23 films – we can give him the ben­e­fit of the doubt, for now.

The world around Bond has al­ways been camp, too. The theme tune is camp. The vil­lains are fab­u­lous, stroking white pussies in life and sink­ing to to the bot­tom of pools of caviar in death. To Con­nery’s ques­tion in Goldfin­ger (1964), “Do you ex­pect me to talk?” Auric Goldfin­ger’s an­swer, “No, I ex­pect you to die,” is one shady put down. There’s also the strong sug­ges­tion Mr Wint and Mr Kidd, the vil­lain’s hench­men in Di­a­monds Are For­ever (1971), are lovers.

The jokes are hammy and the puns are Carry On level, or at least they were un­til things got all se­ri­ous with the last few films. Pierce Brosnan, writhing around on a bed with his Scan­di­na­vian lan­guage tu­tor at the start of To­mor­row Never Dies (1997), tells Moneypenny down the phone: “I al­ways en­joyed learn­ing a new tongue.” She replies: “You al­ways were a cun­ning lin­guist, James.”

But why has camp al­ways been such a part of the Bond fran­chise? Camp is dif­fi­cult to de­fine as a con­cept, but Barney’s win­dow dresser Si­mon Doo­nan had a go at it in an ar­ti­cle for the Amer­i­can mag­a­zine Slate a few years ago. And when a Barney’s win­dow dresser talks about camp, it’s prob­a­bly best for the rest of us to sit down and pay at­ten­tion.

“Camp is sim­ply a mat­ter of do­ing things AS IF you are do­ing them,” Doo­nan wrote. “Div­ing into a

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