HOW GOT GAY
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