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He may have a licence to kill, but how does Bond always get such great parking spots?

Culture

Forget the women, the exotic locations and the beautiful cars – what men really want to know about James Bond is why he never has to reverse park. Michael Blucher resumes his man-crush to investigate

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How good is it to finally have Bond, James Bond, back on the big screen?

Our favourite chiselled and clenched secret agent has been kitted up, ready to resume world saviour duties since April last year, but because of Covid, he’s been forced, not just once but three times to cool his heels – and his cars, and his guns, and his gizmos.

Until now. Talk about a welcome return. After all the crap the world has endured over the past 22 months, he’s just what we need, a reminder that good always triumphs over evil, even if in the meantime, quite a few Aston Martins and Range Rovers are served up as collateral damage.

Perhaps it’s just my age and stage of life but I don’t know a single bloke who doesn’t secretly harbour the urge to be Bond, just for one day. Just for an hour.

No qualms about being bombed or bent out of shape, or wrestling with some hook-armed villain while dangling from the wing of an aeroplane at 30,000 feet – they’re just yearning to experience life at its fullest, and nobody gets to do more of that than Bond..

We’ve been familiar with his extraordinary talents since 1962, when Sean Connery first brought to life Ian Fleming’s mythical super sleuth in the movie “Dr No”.

In the early days, Bond returned to the big screen almost annually, but in recent times, we’ve had to wait four, even five years for our 007 fix. Probably something to do with production of expensive cars, particularly recently. Covid has slowed a lot of stuff down.

Last week, after my first trip to a movie theatre in six years – since the launch of Spectre in 2015 – a few of us got chatting over coffee at the completion of our weekly GMAMC (Grumpy Middle Aged Men’s Cycle)

The conversation quickly turned to the aspects of Jimmy B’s life we most admired – beyond of course the glamorous company he keeps. In GMAMC land, that’s a given, but any more talk of that in 2021 and we run the risk of “objectification”. And that’s purely offensive – or it will be to somebody.

We also know Bond is hellishly good behind the wheel of anything that goes fast. Boats, bikes, trains, planes and automobiles. Some of the stunts he pulls off in No Time To Die haven’t been seen or tried since the early 80s in Brisbane, when drink driving was almost compulsory. And the drivers can’t remember doing them.

One of the deeper thinkers in the GMAMC group, The Pencil, pondered what sort of driver’s licence Bond might hold. And where he got it – surely not Main Roads? The Pencil predicted Bond could even back a trailer down the boat ramp at Bribie on Saturday morning, with a queue of 20 bogan boaties giving him the evil eye, like Ernst Blofeld has been doing in recent Bond instalments.

But beyond those cliched man-skills, what do we most admire in the man? About his life?

The home husband admitted he was envious of Bond’s parking karma. “Have you noticed,” he said, swamping down the last of his macchiato, “Bond always gets a good park. Right out the front, no matter where he is in the world, or what natty tricked up vehicle he’s driving.“

There was a lot of nodding.

“Yeah, you never see him wandering up and down the footpath, looking for one of those ticket machine things, then meticulously punching in his number plate, and sticking the receipt on the window,” the youthful soon-to-be-grandfather chimed in.

The oversized vet suggested Bond’s apparent good fortune might be linked to the cities in which he’s doing his killing and culling. “Clearly a lot of councils in those exotic European outposts aren’t so small-minded to be charging people to park in the street,” he said.

“Particularly when they’re in a hurry to save the world. There’s a point where common sense needs to prevail,” the home-husband added, while gratefully accepting the arrival of his second Machciato.

What else?

“I like that he never talks too much. He only says what’s necessary,” the mild mannered beer baron said, introducing a topic clearly close to his heart. “You could never for instance picture Bond prolonging a meeting at MI6, by prattling on about the unnecessary. He’s all action, no words.”

More nodding.

“Yeah it’s not like you’d ever find Bond on LinkedIn, telling his connections how humbled and proud he was to have saved the world twice in the four days,” the Pencil blustered. He hates LinkedIn, all social media for that matter. I think it stems from the fact nobody follows him on Twitter.

The Ad guy volunteered that he was impressed with how fast Bond could run in a suit, adding that he saw a video of himself running while formally dressed once, and he conceded he looked like an octopus in a blender. Limbs going everywhere, and not a fast twitch muscle in sight.

“On the subject of suits,” the home husband continued, “you’ve got to be impressed with how organised he is. No matter where he is in the world, he seems to have freshly laundered clothes stashed away in hotel closets.”

Correct. And every stash includes a tuxedo.

“That’s simply for the benefit of all his female friends,” the XXL vet chipped in. “Women love men in dinner suits, if for no other reason they add credence to their theory that all men are the same, so they might as well dress the same.”

There was muffled protest, but not for long. We all knew XXLV had a point.

The plaudits for Bond kept on coming, into a third coffee – no embarrassing body hair, never wakes up with “bed head”, punctual – always turns up just at the right time, tech savvy, calm under pressure, would never ask to have a selfie taken with famous people … the list seemed endless.

Yes it’s great to have “had” James Bond back in our lives. What a wonderful aspirational force he has been.

You probably never realised this ladies, but there’s a little hint of Bond in all of us.

Spoiler alert. Let’s just hope the new James/Jamie/Jaime is as relevant and relatable to the male imagination.

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