Monday, December 31, 2012

Final Book Hunt For 2012

On the eve of 2013 I've spent the past few days while on holiday occasionally hunting for Bond books.

The first place I visited was Robinson's Bookshop in Frankston while on a trip back from the Mornington Peninsula.  As can be seen above they had a few new Bond movie tie-in / 50th Anniversary coffee books.  I purchased a copy of "Bond On Set: Filming Skyfall" by Greg Williams.

Next I visited Secondhand Books in Moorabbin.  They had about 5 Fleming paperbacks, which is the most I've seen in a store recently.

And then yesterday I went with my wife, Mum, Dad and Aunt (visiting from the UK) to the City to see Geoffrey Rush in the play "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum".  It was very entertaining in the style of the "Carry On" film series.  It's also great to see such a fine actor in the flesh, and he was very funny.

While in the City I (we) visited Dymocks and Kill City.  Unusually Kill City still doesn't have any Fleming or Gardner paperbacks.  They must be popular at the moment.

Finally, have a happy new year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Just a quick one to say I hope you have Merry Christmas.  I trust you get a few Bond items for presents or in the Boxing Day sales, and next year is an even more successful year for your collecting.  Cheers from me, Bazeer, and my wife !

ps. Ignore the fact it says this blog entry was written on December 24.  We're a few hours ahead here in Oz

Monday, December 24, 2012

Almost Christmas

I had my work Christmas party last Friday night.  I returned home just after 1:00 AM slightly under the weather but still able to stand up. When I turned on the TV, Bond was on a "mercy flight" in a helicopter about to attack Piz Gloria with the help of Draco's men. I managed to watch the rest of the film before crashing.

The film was part of a "Bond-a-thon" being shown on free-to-air TV to coincide with the release of "Skyfall".  Previously the films were being shown as a double-bill every Saturday night, the first starting at 6:30 PM and the second around 10:00 PM.  But with Christmas coming up they changed the night and time of the films.  So the schedule change resulted in "You Only Live Twice"starting at 8:30 PM and "OHMSS" starting at 11:00 PM.  I'm really not sure how many other people were still  watching when the film finished just before 2:00 AM ! 

Over the weekend I managed to drop into Benn's Books in Bentleigh.  There are no new Bond paperbacks I need at present but I still like looking at what's in stock.  Benn's Books had some "Young Bonds".
I also dropped in on a Salvation Army store close by that had hundreds of books starting at $1.  I found a couple of Charlie Higson "Young Bonds", a Sebastian Falks and also this hardback.  I didn't end up buying it, but I did consider it.  This book is in the same series as "Ian Fleming Introduces Jamaica".
Also finally, I went to the City with my wife to see a comedy show last night.  It was too late to visit any book stores, but here's some photos I took while I was there:

Light show on the side of the Melbourne Town Hall
Bourke Street Mall at night (this matches a previous day time photo in an earlier blog)
Old GPO (General Post Office) Building

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Hurricane Gold"... Finally

I visited a couple of book stores in Brighton tonight after work.  First I went to Thesaurus Books where they had a set of Young Bond's, but none were the Kev Walker covers.
Then I went over the road to Top Titles Books.  And there it was on the shelf, my copy of "Hurricane Gold".  One corner of the cover has been slightly bumped, but only slightly.  It's easily the best copy I've found of this book, and I couldn't let it pass me by !
So here it is, the great copy of "Hurricane Gold" I've been searching for everywhere.  I'll be adding it to the Kev Walker Young Bond series on the Piz Gloria website ASAP.  Ahh the joys of collecting !

A Stay In Melbourne + Book Hunting

My wife had her Christmas party in the City on Friday night.  It was a "booze cruise" on the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay.  So we decided to stay in the City for the night instead of trying to catch a taxi home.  Here's some photos I took while we were there:
 View of the Yarra from our hotel room
Flinders Street Station at the corner of  Elizabeth Street
 Bourke Street Mall
Inside the historic Rialto building

As well as getting in some shopping we also visited the usual second hand book stores:
- City Basement Books - no Flemings but a couple of Gardners
- City Basement Books again, this time inside the store

- Kill City Books - no Bonds paperbacks but there were the same couple of ex-library Bond hardbacks

We also visited Reader's Feast, Embiggen Books and Dymocks searching for a new copy of "Hurricane Gold" in the Kev Walker Young Bond series. No luck, however I did notice that Reader's Feast and Dymocks are now both stocking the Vintage 007 series (see image below which was taken in Reader's Feast)

Also, on our way home we drove past Andrew's Bookshop in Ivanhoe.  I rarely visit this store, and I thought this visit was going to be fortuitus when I found a set of Kev Walker Young Bonds on the shelf.  Except on closer inspection of the copy of "Hurricane Gold" I noticed several pages had been slightly folded.  Unfortunately I had to let this copy go.  For some reason it is proving hard to find a great copy of this book !

Andrew's Bookshop also stocked the Vintage 007 series, here shown on a table of books outside the store.  It appears all stores here in Melbourne are finally stocking this series.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Omega Watch Display - Part 2

My wife and I went to the City the other day with some friends for dinner.  As we walked past the Omega store at Crown Casino I noticed they've changed the James Bond Omega Watch display again.  I'd love a copy of the Daniel Craig poster on the right...  and a watch too if it's free !

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Decisions... Decisions

There are two decisions that have been hanging over my head for a while now regarding PizGloria:

1) While apparently very rare the site does occasionally go down or is unavailable.  I didn't know much about web hosters prior to creating the site so I was using a free web hoster named FreeHostia.  This is the web host we used as students a few years ago while doing night classes for the 10 week web course I undertook.  After speaking to one of the techies at FreeHostia I have decided to stick with them and pay a small fee per month to improve the website's reliability.  I really can't complain though as they were previously hosting my site for nothing !

2) "To ad or not to ad".  Many friends have suggested I should add adverts to the website because of the number of visitors I've been getting.  My boss at work constantly tells me how many AdSense dollars I'm missing out on.  But even now I'm paying for the site to be hosted I still want the site to be ad free.  I'm not rich or anything and I understand why others may want to have ads on their own sites.  It would certainly be cool for the site to pay for itself.  I just want to try and resist for as long as possible, hopefully forever.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The (Still) Polarising Effect Of "OHMSS"

As I start writing this blog entry it's 4:37AM in the morning and I can't get back to sleep.  I was woken by the buzz of a mosquito somewhere in our bedroom.  In turning on the bedroom light I woke my wife, who wasn't very happy, but alas I can't find the flying insect I fear the most.

I have spent the best part of an hour trying to return to sleep without luck, and for some reason I started thinking about Bond which has ultimately led me to this moment.

I watched "50 Years Of Bond Cars - A Top Gear Special" the other night when it premiered on free-to-air TV here on Oz.  I thought it was great.  Richard Hammond obviously enjoys Bond and the show was both insightful and humerous.  I especially thought the ending with the underwater Lotus was brilliant, as was the invisible van.  There was one thing that disappointed me though, the omission of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and I'm sure others have already commented on this elsewhere on the web.  While I love the Aston Martin DBS, surely the stock-car race in the Mustang with Tracy driving was worthy of "Top Gear".  And if this film was omitted because there's not really much of Bond driving in this film, he never actually drove the Toyota 2000 GT in "You Only Live Twice" either but there was plenty of screen time attributed to that car.

(Intermission while my computer suddenly reboots to load another Windows update.  Fortunately nothing appears to have been lost)

And then on Thursday some of my parents friends sent me an article written by Charlie Higson, a great Bond continuation author, that discussed 50 years of Bond as a cultural icon.  Yes, a very interesting article, but this time instead of omitting "OHMSS" Mr Higson wrote that "George Lazenby spoke for no one".  Now I know we've heard similar opinions about Mr Lazenby before, but in my mind in the context of the article this phrase also indicates that the film itself has no relevance to the decade in which it was made.  Yet Diana Rigg's character is surely one of the strongest in the series*, which strangely is also a decade in which women's rights were at the forefront.  And the fight scenes in the film are much more realistic than some of the previous films, the gadgets less present, perhaps because of the more gritty, less over the top films also being released or being made toward the end of the 60's at a time when the Vietnam War was in full swing ("Diamonds Are Forever" although made in 1971 perhaps a relic of an earlier 1960s).

And so again, tiredness hopefully returning to myself, I think about the polarising effect of "OHMSS" even today, some 43 years after it's release.  Surely I (and Christopher Nolan to think of it) can't be wrong when we say it's our favourite Bond film.  Yet "OHMSS" is still treated by many as an abnomally, and ignored or derided as it was in the EON Bond series until "For Your Eyes Only".

But then again, perhaps that's the attraction of the film.

* Even Daniel Craig's Bond momentarily took control of the steering wheel in "Skyfall" while Eve, Naomi Harris, was driving in the pre-credit sequence of "Skyfall".

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Skyfall" For A Third Time

Tonight I went with the guys for our regular Tuesday cinema night and surprise, surprise, we saw "Skyfall".  One friend jumped high out his chair when an explosion occurred on the screen near the start of the film!  The other amazingly stayed to the end of the film after recounting that he had walked out of the last Bond film he had seen at the cinema, "Goldeneye", straight after the pre-credit sequence.  Fortunately both liked the film.

As a side note I didn't pick up on it before but the scotch whiskey Javier Bardem poured was 1962 vintage.  Probably obvious to everyone else (he even said it) but somehow I've missed that previously.

I also took some more snaps:

So far in Australia "Skyfall" has grossed AU$12.3 million across 580 screens.  Here's more info if you're interested.

I also managed to visit a Dymocks book store before the film.  Still on the hunt for a Kev Walker "Hurricane Gold" they did have one but it had a really obvious 1cm scratch on the cover.  Spewing.  I almost bought it just because it was so close to perfect.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Traffic Source To

I was checking out Google Analytics tonight and found a new traffic source for my website - Bond And Beyond.  It's great to see being referred to in this way.  The forum looks pretty cool too.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Skyfall" Again + New Book Store Open At Chaddie

I went with my Dad and brother to see "Skyfall" on Friday night.  Fortunately the film was still very good upon second viewing and there were other things that took my attention.  I also took a couple more photos.  Not really sure why though, there are better images of the same scenes on the web (sans peoples heads in the way!)

Also, on Thursday I went with my wife to Chaddie (Chadstone Shopping Centre - the largest in the southern hemisphere I believe).  Both Borders and Angus & Robertson had shops there until a few years ago when they closed.  Then for the last few years new books were only sold in the department stores and the newsagent.  But to my surprise I discovered that Robinson's Bookshop, an independant book store I used to visit in Frankston and from where I used to purchase many new books, have opened a second store in Chaddie.  Great to see this book store expanding their business and I hope they go well in this new location.

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Skyfall" Posters Arrive

I received these three "Skyfall" one sheet posters in the mail today.

The first is the teaser poster...

The second and third are the versions used for the film's release here in Australia.

They all look so good it's hard to pick a favourite, although the one with Daniel Craig in action pose on the ground is pretty cool.

Having already seen the film once and about to see it again it's amazing to see so much Bond hype around at the moment.  And these are definitely great posters for a great film !

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Skyfall" Melbourne Preview Screening

Tonight my wife and I attended a preview screening of "Skyfall" in Melbourne with some friends.  It wasn't a big event or anything, a heap of cinemas were holding preview screenings.  But it was great to see a new Bond on the big screen and as expected the film didn't let down.  Javier Bardem almost stole the show from a really strong Daniel Craig, while the supporting cast were excellent too.  The film was definitely a strong entry to the series, and despite the fact the Bond films have veered away from their roots (and chronology) to remain current and successful, this film still had a few old touches to link it to its predecessors (especially the DB5) !

I may have snuck the photo above during the course of the film.

The Australian premiere of "Skyfall" was in Sydney last Friday, while the film's official release date here is this Thursday, November 22.   Barbara Broccoli, Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe all attended the premiere in Sydney last Friday.

Also as a side note, I visited the City with my wife for some shopping on the weekend.  I made the obligatory visits to a couple of book stores, my wife waiting patiently every time.  No luck though.  But I did manage to take another photo of the huge "Skyfall" billboard near Flinders Street Station.  This is a better photo.

Photo of  Flinders Street Station opposite

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Last Orion Gardners Arrive (+ ESL Book)

Today I received four more books in the Orion Dan Mogford series - "Never Send Flowers", "Cold", "Goldeneye" and "Seafire".  These are the last four titles in this series, all written by John Gardner.  It will be great once I can scan them and add them to the website.

I also received a Longman English Second Language copy of "For Your Eyes Only" with a cover similar to a copy of "Thunderball" from Longman.  I believe there are only two titles with covers like this, but I'll keep looking anyway.

Finally on the topic of English Second Language James Bond novels, Macmillan Readers had a discount coupon offer in October to coincide with the release of "Skyfall" at the cinemas.  They offered 15% off all their Bond Readers novels.  Unfortunately the discount code has now expired, but it's great to see them promoting their Bond novels like this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Last Archie Ferguson Arrives

The last book in the Archie Ferguson Black & White series, "Diamonds Are Forever" arrived today.  I'm not sure why this book was delayed by the publishers as I received the 13 others last Month, however it's great to finally have the entire series.  I'll scan it and add it to the website ASAP.

I also went to the cinema tonight with some mates.  We saw "Seven Psychopaths" (a black comedy that took a much different path than expected and ultimately wasn't bad).  Plus as an added bonus the film was preceeded by a new "SkyFall" preview.  It looks really good.  This is the display they'd set up outside the theatre.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Returns - Ep 2

A couple of weeks ago when I received the almost complete set of Archie Ferguson Black & White series there were two that had been damaged in the post.  I've never had any other issues using this web book retailer so was very surprised.  "Octopussy" had been slightly bent in the middle, probably because it was so thin, and "From Russia With Love" had been damaged on the back.  Today I received the replacement copies without any problems at all.  That's why I think this book retailer is the best on the web.

Quick Book Store Visits

While in the City the other night for a theatre show I quickly visited a couple of book stores stocking new books. They were just around the corner from the theatre.  No luck though
Hill Of Content
The Paperback

"Skyfall" Billboards Appearing Around The City

My wife and I visited the City on Friday night to see a theatre show ("South Pacific" - my wife managed to find some cheap tickets).  We drove in and as we approached Flinders Street Station, a famous landmark in Melbourne, we could see a massive billboard advertising "Skyfall".  So I quickly grabbed my phone and took some photos while waiting at the traffic lights.  Ok, the billboard looked bigger when I took the photos, but you get the idea.

Then on Saturday I noticed this smaller billboard near some shops.  Same Daniel Craig image as above, just a bit smaller.  Great to see the promotion of the film stepping up here in Oz.  Not long to go now.