Best in London right now

Well, not everything and not always, of course, but quite. At least in the past month. October 5th was the 50th anniversary of the first 007 movie installment, Dr. No, and the James Bond Day. The last cinematic adventure of the iconic secret agent, Skyfall, is being released in these very days, featuring the title song from top English singer of the moment, Adele. Daniel Craig is back as agent 007, facing the Spanish Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem as the villain. His weird blond hairstyle is currently stunning underground passengers, together with the dangerous glamour of the current Bond girls, Bérénice Marlohe and Naomie Harris from the moving advertising panels, while Craig/Bond is looking at you from the double-deckers all around the city. There’s really no escape from him, and I bet a lot of women are pretty happy with this- and they’re not the only ones.

Christie’s London held a charity auction with Bond movie memorabilia that scored an amazing over1 million pounds as a total. Former agent 007 Roger Moore and current M, Dame Judy Dench, presented a couple of lots in the invitation-only actual auction, while most of the auction was held online. Among the most interesting pieces were the Casino Royale Aston Martin and Craig/Bond’s swim trousers, which Judy Dench wittily noticed that hadn’t even been washed since.

Then there’s the cosmetic field, showing a male perfume and a line of nail varnishes inspired by the series and, quite obviously, the cocktails. Shaken, not stirred, that is, reminding us of the 60’s glamour ignoring alcoholism, something Mad Men has done quite well itself in the past few years.

After all, the American tv series last-season ending presented the You Only Live Twice title song following Don Draper in a bar- nothing more fitting, one must admit. And in London the cocktail hour is apparently taken quite seriously, considering how much attention it draws from the media. But don’t you mind too much, dear Italians, since the most acclaimed cocktail man of the city, the mixologist Tony Conigliaro,  is half-Italian himself! Anyway, apart from the Martinis and the Vesper cocktails, everybody is commenting about the not customary apparition of a popular beer as James Bond’s new drink, for the sake of movie financing, and the debate is still open. How will the bottle of beer fit in the hands of the man with a licence to kill? Will it look cool enough near the 007 suit?

In case you’re wondering, together with millions of fans worldwide, maybe you can go take a look at the suit itself, displayed in the most interesting event of the season at the Victoria & Albert museum, the “Hollywood Costumes” exhibition. Showing the most famous movie looks in the history of cinema, it puts together dresses from The Birds to Indiana Jones, from Gone with the Wind to Superman, or Elizabeth, describing the process behind the building of iconic movie character appearances such as Charlie Chaplin’s funny look or Holly Golightly’s chic Givenchy dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Movie and fashion lovers sure can’t miss it, as well as all James Bond fans surely didn’t miss their favourite agent’s appearance together with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the opening ceremony for this summer’s London Olympic Games.

A brief, ironic segment of the ceremony, putting literally side by side these two British icons in order to link their anniversaries, Bond’s anniversary and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. If everything in London is now speaking of James Bond, it is also still remembering that this year has been the 60th of Elizabeth II’s reign, and as you may have noticed before, the United Kingdom is actually still a kingdom, meaning that everything concerning the royal family is a serious and very important issue. It is nevertheless true that Scotland will soon decide if it’ll still be United, with the 2014 referendum about its independence…

With all of this going on, 2012 is sure enough a great year to stay in London, whether you like secret agents or monarchy or independence movements or at least something truly British. And whatever it is, this is just the start, since London is still polishing itself for even more: The Shard, Renzo Piano’s new skyscraper -also the highest one in Europe, being 310 m high-, is just finished and the benefits of the refurbishing of the area around the Olympic village are still ongoing, while both the Tates are working on new aisles and new displays for their permanent collections. Yes, 2012 is definitively a great year for James Bond and for London- and just wait to see what follows!

To be continued…

Marzia Flamini

Marzia Flamini

Prima di approdare alla Finarte, sono stata assistente in una galleria d'arte a Via Margutta, guida turistica e stageur fra musei, case d’asta e la rivista ArteeCritica. Vivo circondata dai libri, vado al cinema più spesso di quanto sia consigliabile e viaggio appena posso.

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