Thursday, April 24, 2014

Casino Royale Bentley Limited Edition Still Available

Random House Books Australia recently contacted me regarding the Bentley Edition of "Casino Royale".  For those not aware the Bentley Edition is a luxury limited edition hardback which was released late last year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel.  There were only 500 of these books printed and it turns out a number are still available for sale.

Now for the sake of honesty I don't own one of these books myself, but I would love to.  It looks great and the fact it's a reprint of the book that introduced James Bond 007 makes it even more desirable.

There is one negative though... the price.  However it is a limited edition and certainly looks as though for the money you'll be getting an ultra-quality Bond collectable.

So if you are interested here's some more details provided in a Press Release from Random House.  And after reading the Press Release you wish to purchase the book here's a link to the book on the Australian website for Random House.  The ISBN is 9780099589549.

Vintage Classics and Bentley Motors create luxury special edition to mark 60 years of Casino Royale
Featuring new introduction from Sir Stirling Moss
 ‘Bond’s car was his only personal hobby. One of the last of the 4 ½ litre Bentleys with the supercharger by Amherst Villiers, he had bought it almost new in 1933 and had kept it in careful storage throughout the war… Bond drove it hard and well and with an almost sensual pleasure.’ Ian Fleming, Casino Royale, 1953

As part of the James Bond celebrations this week to continue the 60th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, it is today announced that Vintage Classics has partnered with Bentley Motors to create a luxury limited edition of the book that introduced Special Agent 007 to the world.

The special edition features an exclusive introduction from racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss, making it a true collector’s item. Just 500 editions will be produced, each costing £750.

The Bentley is James Bond’s car of choice in the original Fleming novels and Ian Fleming was a huge admirer of the Bentley Boys, seduced by their adventures on the racing track. In his introduction, Sir Stirling Moss comments: ‘When it came to cars Fleming really knew his stuff… he must have known that the fabulous pre-war Bentleys won at Le Mans four years in a row from 1927-30.’  This iconic edition aims to capture that spirit of adventure and the glamour associated with these leading British brands.

The book has been created by designers Kris Potter and Stephen Parker at Random House, who were inspired following a trip to the Bentley Motors HQ in Crewe. They comment: ‘We knew that any design we came up with would have to reflect the incredible craftsmanship and heritage we had seen in the Bentley cars at Crewe, the challenge for us was how we could combine this with the coolness and nostalgia of Bond... The inspiration was endless.’

From the hand-bound beluga leather casing to distinctive Bentley features such as hand-stitched embroidery and silver foil page edges, this special edition of Casino Royale is produced with only the very finest materials. Its striking red, white and black colouring is a nod to the gambling theme of Fleming’s first novel, where Bond famously takes on his adversary, Le Chiffre, over a game of baccarat. A special feature of this edition is the bespoke set of playing cards, hidden within a secret compartment.
Key features of the design:
* Presented in an elegant leather clamshell case, this edition of Fleming’s best-loved Bond book is an object of automotive craftsmanship.

* The case and special edition are bound in beluga coloured leather, sourced from the tannery in Italy which provides hides for Bentley’s interiors.

* Using Bentley’s craftsmanship, this edition features the iconic double stitching and signature winged Bentley logo – all hand stitched on the leather casing.

* Bentley’s trademark knurling adorns the metal spine. This feature is inspired by the Bentley steel tread plate.

* Each book has a limitation marque with Ian Fleming’s signature, reflecting the plate you would find on a Bentley engine.

* Throughout each book are evocative brush illustrations by the Award winning illustrator Damian Gascoigne.

* Removing the book from the clamshell reveals a hidden compartment. Within this secret compartment lies a leather-bound case of Bentley Bond playing cards.

Published on 13 April 1953 by Jonathan Cape, Casino Royale introduced James Bond to the world. The first print run of 4,728 copies sold out within a month. Following this initial success, Fleming went on to publish a Bond title every year until his death in 1964. It is in Casino Royale where 007 first utters the immortal line ‘Bond - James Bond’ and where Bond first reveals his recipe for the famous Martini cocktail, christened the ‘Vesper’ after the first Bond girl, Vesper Lynd. The artwork for the original cover was designed by Fleming himself, decorated with a heart motif to reflect a playing card.

2013 is an exciting year for Bond publishing. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Casino Royale, Random House –which houses Fleming’s original publisher, Jonathan Cape - released new editions of Fleming’s non-fiction books Thrilling Cities and The Diamond Smugglers. Also today, Jonathan Cape published the next authorised James Bond continuation novel, Solo by William Boyd.

Quotes on the design of the special edition
Tom Drake-Lee, Vintage Sales Director and Bond Brand Manager:
‘Bentley’s focus on hand-craftsmanship and their use of high-end materials made them an irresistible partner for the anniversary special edition of Casino Royale. It’s a spectacular combination of three of Britain’s iconic brands – Bond, Bentley and Vintage.’

Statement from Kris Potter and Stephen Parker, Designers, Random House
‘We knew that any design we came up with would have to reflect the incredible craftsmanship and heritage we had seen in the Bentley cars at Crewe, the challenge for us was how we could combine this with the coolness and nostalgia of Bond. We were inspired by all the details we saw at Crewe from the iconic double stitching of the leather interior, the power-lines of the body work, the machine turned panels, embroidered head rests, to the bright works of the engraved tread-plates and the engine limitation plates. The inspiration was endless. 

For visual references from the book the casino setting seemed an obvious place to start and we felt there should be a strong visual link to the imagery associated with casinos and playing baccarat. The colours of the playing cards, the textures and the excitement of the casino itself informed our choice of colour palette of black, white and red of the nine of hearts. As Bond’s fate hangs on the turn of the nine of hearts card, the idea came to us that if we could hide some playing cards within the book it would both increase the feeling of interaction as well as reinforcing the sense of espionage. We wanted the book to have unexpected elements and a playfulness. 

We wanted to enhance the enjoyment of the book for our readers by embellishing the pages with evocative brush illustrations. Award-winning illustrator Damian Gascoigne was commissioned to highlight key points from the text with simple line, giving the pages an energy that embodies both the thrill and excitement of the book. They give glimpses of the plot whilst providing a decorative balance to the text design.

The black leather box is a clam shell design of impressive scale when opened. We wanted this to have real impact and to echo the desire for the unexpected we had seen at Bentley we chose to line the box with a shock of red, only visible in a small flash from the outside. The book itself sits proud from the box and is bound in the same leather highlighting the craftsmanship of Bentley with the use of embroidery on the title and logo and the double stitching. Lastly we incorporated the tread plate design we had seen at Bentley for the spine, which has its own metal plate set into the leather, this has been echoed on the page edges with the use of silver foil. 

For the hidden playing cards we wanted to reflect the interior of the cars and looked to the beautiful machine turned panels that would have been in the Bentley Blower driven by Bond in the book. We utilised the dark and light variants to differentiate between the two packs. We wanted the box containing the cards to have the same red lining as the main box and again to have that flash of red around the opening.’

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Reflective Day In Sydney

In January 2013 my wife and I visited two friends in Sydney.  We stayed with them in their house for the Australia Day long weekend, shared a few drinks and had a great time.  Not only did we see the sights of Sydney and do some Bond book hunting in Newtown and Glebe, but we also visited the Sydney Fish Market and were treated to a delicious seafood dinner later that night prepared by Craig, one half of our hosts.  Unfortunately a few days ago Craig passed away, and yesterday my wife and I returned to Sydney for his funeral.  He was a really great bloke, passing way before his time and will be missed by many.

We flew to Sydney early morning, and with time to spare drove to Newtown which we had become familiar with after our last visit.  Following some lunch and with plenty of time to spare we decided to visit some of the same second-hand book stores we had visited the year before with Craig and his partner.

The first store we visited at the top of King Street was Gould's Book Arcade.  This store is massive.  I'd go as far as to say it's the largest second-hand book store in Australia.  Surprisingly it's also really well organised.  They had plenty of Gardners, some Faulks, a Markham but alas no Flemings (that I could find anyway).  The store also has a website.

The next store we visited was Elizabeth's Bookshop.  They had plenty of books however no Bonds.  A staff member mentioned they might have some Bond novels in their other City store but we had no time to go there. Hopefully we'll be able to visit that store next time in happier times.  There are actually a number of stores in the Elizabeth's Bookshop "chain".  Here's their website which also includes an online store.

The last store we visited, at the other end of King Street, was the aptly named Last Books.  Unfortunately no Bonds here either however there were plenty of other fine books for sale in this great store.  I spoke to the owner, Helen, about a number of different topics...  the current lack of old Bond novels available for sale, how she believed the popularity of crime novels was lower at present, and her enthusiasm about the number of book stores in the area.  She said that a few book stores had gone however she remained hopeful that younger people would start opening up new ones to replace them in Newtown.  If you visit Sydney you have to visit this store.  It's a great store run by a passionate and knowledgeable owner who remains very optimistic about the future of second-hand book stores.  Here's the store's Facebook page too.

And finally, as we were about to return back to Melbourne after our busy day we managed to catch up with some other friends who were coincidentally in Sydney celebrating their anniversary.  I snapped this photo of the harbour showing the bridge and Opera House from their flash hotel bar.

Sydney is a lovely city, and home to some great second-hand stores.  A shame Craig wasn't there to spend it with us too.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Frankston Sand Sculpting And Bond (A Very Grainy Link)

Last Sunday my wife, our friend Brownie, and I travelled down to Frankston to see the annual sand sculpting display near the beach foreshore.  Frankston is approximately an hours drive from the City and also the beginning of the beautiful Mornington Peninsula.

I'd never been to the sand sculpting before and was pleasantly surprised.  Obviously it's aimed at kids but there's no simple sand castles, sand walls or Dads buried up to their necks here.  The theme was "Story Land" and children's books featured included:
Postman Pat...
Harry Potter...
some dragons...
Angelina Ballerina...
Mr Men...
Chronicles Of Narnia...
Where The Wild Things Are...
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory...
and the link to James Bond and this blog, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
(Technically Roald Dahl is also a link too as he wrote the screenplay for "You Only Live Twice" !).

Here's an indication of the size of the temporary sculptures.

Finally, after our visit we decided to take a stroll along the beach boardwalk to Oliver's Hill.

And as an added bonus, the white pointers were out too !

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Hobart Holiday - Part 1

Just over a fortnight ago my wife and I spent a few days in Hobart, sharing a holiday with some friends, Jean-Claude and Brownie who got married last year in Paris.

We landed on a Friday afternoon and after briefly checking into our hotel we took a stroll around the Hobart shops before they closed.  The first book store we visited was Fullers Bookshop.  This independant book store is located on Collins Street.  It's really well laid out, with plenty of interesting and diverse new books as well as a cafe at the back.
We then walked further down Collins Street where I snapped this photo of the Imperial Arcade featuring Cracked & Spineless Books.  As it was open we quickly made a visit, but I decided to return when there was more time available for my next blog entry.

After returning to our hotel we then went for a fantastic dinner which included plenty of fresh seafood.  Here's a snap I took from our hotel.  The red roof building centre-right is Mures Restaurant.  If you visit Hobart you have to eat here.  Whether you eat in the lower or upper decks the food is just as delicious.

The next morning we made our way to Salamanca Market.  We arrived just after 8:30am to avoid the crowds.  Salamanca Market is considered the best street market in Australia and a major tourist attraction for Tasmania.  From our own experience it also gets very crowded from 10am onwards.

While walking along the stalls looking at the tourist gifts, hand-made clothes and multi-cultural food outlets we also found several book stalls.

The first had no Bonds...

Nor the second...

But the third had two Pan paperbacks from the 60's including a first edition "You Only Live Twice".

The final book stall had plenty of crime and thriller novels but alas no Bonds.

After about two hours, and as we were leaving the market, I snapped this photo of the growing crowd.

Also in Salamanca Place are a number of other book stores.  The Hobart Book Shop is located in Salamanca Square.  It stocks both new and second hand books.  I did manage to find a Higson Young Bond but I already had it.

Deja Vu Books sells only second hand books.  On my first visit to the store it was closed, however I did manage to visit the store in my next blog entry.

Astrolabe Booksellers are also located in the same proximity.  They have many fine condition books although they typically don't stock Bond books.

The rest of the day we spent at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art).  While my wife and I visited this excellent gallery just a few years ago, Jean-Claude and Brownie had never been there before and said they enjoyed it.  A visit to this gallery will certainly challenge your thoughts about art.  Here's a couple of snaps I took while we were there.

And the parking spots of the gallery owner and his partner.
MONA is definitely worth a visit when you take your next trip to Tasmania.

I did manage to visit some other book stores while in Hobart which I'll discuss in Part 2 of this blog entry.