Differences divide us. They unite us. They define us.
My first James Bond film was Diamonds Are Forever. I was taken to see it by my father. Sean Connery was doing his last outing in the role and Plenty O’Toole first appeared as a rather blunt double entendre.
“Named after your father, I suppose?”
I was perhaps a little too young to understand the joke, but knew that it was funny in that grown-up way which was waiting for me in the future.
For both me and my dad, Sean Connery was the quintessential Bond; sophisticated and savage. He was what I thought I dreamt of becoming. Then came Roger Moore, aptly named for the pun-based plots that were to follow.
Slowly but surely, Bond slipped into a long-running joke. I was loyal to it, but it was playing with with my expectations. The world was moving on, but Bond was moving backwards into a parody of what it once was. Thank goodness that my father saw the revived genre with Daniel Craig before he died. We both agreed that he edged Connery for the title of Best Bond.
Being in full agreement with my dad was never an easy thing to do. We were both a little full of our impeachable opinions and actively sought out issues to disagree about, even when we agreed, we found finely-tuned differences. It was a type of alpha male thing for argumentative bragging rights.
At Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary, we both made speeches and he claimed that his was better than mine. At his funeral, I made a speech that did the ‘laughter and the tears’ thing. It would have brought the house down ifthe house had not been a church that had stood for over a thousand years. When I finished, I was fighting back my own tears but looked over to where his coffin was to get his confirmation that I had, at last, done well.
I wish he had been around to see Skyfall. We would have definitely agreed upon that being undoubtedly the best Bond.
Still, I also wish that I was back there in 1971, at the Dewsbury ABC Cinema.