Friday, December 15, 2006

Being Honey Ryder..( Or Not)

On Wednesday, I saw Daniel Craig as James Bond in the 2006 version of Ian Fleming's " Casino Royal" .
In 1968, Craig was born yards away from where I write now, in a house on Liverpool Road, Chester.
In 1962 ( ouch! ), six whole years before Craig's birth, I watched ( with friends at the Odeon ) Sean Connery play Bond in "Dr No"; I saw Honey Ryder ( the 60's icon created by Ursula Andress) glide from the ocean at Crab Key in THAT bikini. And like every girl I knew, I Wanted To Be Honey Ryder.

**My friend Jen wanted to be Honey Ryder. And so probably did Kath. And Lesley too. And so did The Other Jan, although The Other Jan was glamorously dark and Honey was definitely BLONDE.
The boys at Kings School wanted their own Honey Rider. They often told us so. They wanted girls with long limbs and stunning looks; you'd no chance if you wore a navy blazer bearing a crest on its pocket that pompously said :" Honour Wisdom" or if you carried a satchel containing " Approach To Latin" and your lippie from Wooly's or if you wore a cream Panama hat that your cat slept in and your brother used as an ashtray. The boys wanted nothing less than a Honey Ryder Look Alike..
A pretty girl called Linda in the year above us ( Clairol blonde, Capstan habit ) almost succeeded; she customised her own bikini ( bought on a campsite in Abersoch) but in the City Baths, its colours ran, leaving Linda mortified and terrified and transparently revealed ( it seemed) to every teenage boy in Chester.
But it didn't put us off. We needed a bikini each, with a belt that would accomodate a knife, then that would be that. The knife was easy as my mother had drawers full, glittering and lethal in our kitchen; just bikinis were needed. But Dorothy Perkins couldn't oblige (unless one was partial to nauseous citrus or lime flowers or orange spots or purple dots AND also, most belts provided wouldn't secrete nail scissors, let alone weapons.)
So we tried Browns Of Chester ( a famous clothes shop my mother called "The Harrods of the North" ) but Browns of Chester turned up its Patrician nose and looked the other way.Or at least at women in fur coats rather than schoolgirls in seersucker dresses.
Today Brown's is Debenhams and is, unfortunately, much changed.
However, a prim shop assistant in black, eventually showed us two -piece swim suits ( Please don't put your fingers on them ) in "sensible navy" and then several " costumes" in black crimplene ( You'll look snug in these. Your mothers will approve. Tasteful. )
We were devastated by these choices. We didn't want "sensible", we didn't want "tasteful" and we certainly didn't fancy " snug"; " snugness" ( we were sure) was the last thing on Honey Ryder's mind..

BUT us being Honey Ryder was a fading dream, along with the after school light, along with Honey's knife, her BondGirl beauty ...
AND on the bus home, the bubble burst. Jen scanned an evening paper:
" Would you believe it?" she shrieked " You won't believe this in a million years.."
" What wouldn't we believe?" I grunted irritably, as did Jan and Kath and probably Lesley.
" It's Honey! She's really...." her voice petered out almost to nothing: " Honey's really old.."
" HOW old?" demanded Kath. There was silence. The bus rattled on. The bus conductor pushed back his cap and whirred his ticket machine and stopped in the aisle of the bus .
" Honey" said Jen, and she gasped: "Honey Ryder is TWENTYSIX..."

And that, you know, was The End Of It.

The 2006 version of the film starring Daniel Craig ( aged not even 26, but nearer 38! ) is excellent. It's a long exciting film in classic Bond tradition with a stunning new star as 007.
I could almost say I think he's actually the best Bond yet...
** Names have been changed to protect the Innocent!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this! It's kind of my era - a little later - more like my little sister's era. Such good writing - thank you!
(ABM and I have promised ourselves to go see the Bond movie ... it's a tradition for us to go see the new Bond - by all accounts; yours included; it's a goody, so I am looking forward to it.)

12:29 am  
Anonymous Kate Long said...

Hi, Jan! Nice to see your blog, and well done on the Fish shortlisting!

6:37 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Thanks Chief Biscuit! And a Merry Christmas to you!
And thankyou too Kate. It was lovely hearing from you. We're looking forward to seeing Catherine Tate in BadMothers Handbook on TV. Is it due Feb? Merry Christmas!

12:04 pm  

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