Spectre by Radiohead

James Bond movies have enlisted a diverse set of artists across the years for its theme songs, but I wouldn't have put Radiohead on that list. But I listened to their rejected theme song offering for Spectre, and it's not bad. I can almost picture a retired James Bond, making some spiked, artisanal hot chocolate in a log cabin, snapping a selfie with his hot young wife to post to Instagram.

Expense reports I'd want to audit

It might be incongruous to think of spies having to account for expenses, like any old suit on a business trip, but in reality, people working for intelligence services do have to keep track of the money they're spending, file expense reports, and even hound their company (the Company, in this case) to reimburse them. "They're the same as the reports any businessman would submit after meeting a client," says Chris Lynch, former FBI and CIA counterintelligence officer and author of The C.I Desk. "Meals, miles, parking, small gifts, other expenses, receipts if they had them, some kind of 'certification' if they didn’t."
Information about expense reports for intelligence operations is somewhat hard to come by, both because it's mundane and potentially revealing. Spy memoirs don't spend a lot of time recalling the hours spent on filling out paperwork, but, on the other hand, boring paperwork, if it included line-by-line accountings of expenses, could show how an officer operates—and how lavishly he or she spends. The expenses for setting up an operation might include sourcing equipment, creating supply caches, arranging safe houses, and training people; one court case in Italy revealed records of U.S. intelligence officers staying at luxury hotels and spending as much as $500 a day eating out.
But some of the most intriguing expenses that intelligence operations rack up come from the requests of agents—the well-placed people that intelligence officers recruit to secretly pass along valuable information. Some agents simply want to be paid for their efforts. But some have much more unusual requests. 

Spies have to submit expense reports, too.

Tumblr idea: imagined renderings of James Bond's expense reports from each of the movies.

Why Idris Elba can't play James Bond?

[Ian] Fleming described Bond as looking like musician Hoagy Carmichael. As such, we’ve never gotten a screen incarnation of 007 who matches Fleming’s description perfectly, and across 50+ years there has been quite a bit of variation. Black hair, brown hair, blonde hair. Blue eyes, brown eyes. Scottish, Welsh, Irish, even an Australian. The persona, too, tends to shift with each portrayal: Sean Connery’s earthy, predatory swagger; Roger Moore’s upper crust dandyism; Daniel Craig’s “blunt instrument” interpretation. But whatever the variations thus far, there’s a glaring commonality among these actors which - let’s just say it - clearly leaves Idris Elba out of the running. And I get it; it’s trendy to shake up formula, and change things just for the sake of change, but someone needs to be unafraid to point out the obvious here.

With apologies to Mr. Elba, James Bond simply cannot have a mustache.

Now that I’ve baited you in with a facetious headline, can we talk for a minute about how the idea of Idris Elba as James Bond is a way bigger deal than simply being an exciting, outside the box casting choice? On that criteria alone, I do think Elba would be a great and interesting pick. 

Apologies for borrowing the click-baity headline from here, but the whole piece is a worthwhile quick read.

Having never read the James Bond books by Ian Fleming, I had no idea they contained so much extreme racism. I'm glad most of that never made it into the movies.

Inasmuch as 007 was a drinking, fighting, screwing avatar through which aging white male readers could live vicariously, Bond was also a reassuring fiction that England was still a crucial player, secretly saving the world from non-British (and often mixed raced) villains and madmen who would plunge it into chaos and darkness. In the course of these missions, the literary James Bond looks down his nose at women, at homosexuals, and very much so at the “Orientals” and “Coloureds” with whom he’s thrust into conflict. In all of Fleming’s 007 stories, only one villain was an actual Brit; many had complex ethnic backgrounds described in exacting detail by the author. Quite often, underneath Fleming's fascination with foreign cultures lied a xenophobic streak that betrayed an ugly superiority complex.

While it’s true that the cinematic Bond has never been QUITE as racist as his printed counterpart, the residue is there: Connery snapping “Fetch my shoes!” at Quarrel in Doctor No is a rather gross moment, and Moore using Indian street beggars as obstacles during a tuk-tuk chase in Octopussy is a bit troublesome. But the films carved their own path away from the novels, doing their best approximation of “changing with the times.” 1962’s Doctor No, for example, has no mention of the “Chigroes” (you can figure that portmanteau out) described in its source novel. By 1973, the cinematic Bond was bedding African-American agents in Live And Let Die, a far cry from what passes for race relations in Fleming’s novel of the same name: “One used to go to the Savoy Ballroom (in Harlem) and watch the dancing. Perhaps pick up a high-yaller and risk the doctor's bills afterwards.”

That happens in chapter four. Chapter five is called “Nigger Heaven.”

If they named Elba as Bond, and I'd love to see it, can you imagine the number of articles to be written consisting entirely of a collection of outrageous racist posts from Twitter and Facebook? Someone has probably already pre-written the Buzzfeed listicle or Onion article.

James Bond's most advanced gadget: his suit

Vulture interviewed a tailor to see how James Bond can fight in those suits.

As one of those trademark moments of levity that we love in the Bond franchise, I wish they'd had Ben Whishaw's Q explaining some of this sartorial technology to Daniel Craig's James Bond instead of all that discussion of the Walter PPK. Craig's signature piece of gear, his most important and symbolically potent totem, is his tuxedo.

In Casino Royale they had Le Schiffre strapping a naked Bond to a bottomless chair and assaulting his family jewels with a sling, like David trying to fell Goliath, to which Bond replied with cackles (through his tears). In Skyfall, we saw Javier Bardem's sexually ambiguous Silva running his hands slowly up Bond's thighs, to which Bond replied with a quip and a sly grin. So we know this Bond doesn't mind a bit of humor centered around his groin.

So the tailor's explanation, in that interview, of why Bond's pants would have to have such a high and tight crotch seems like a match made in heaven for this Bond incarnation.


BOND: Easy there, love. Some of us need to leave room there to hold a...substantial firearm.

Q: Oh believe me double O seven, I've heard enough stories about your weapon of choice. But if you plan to do any running and kicking this evening, and you want a slim-fitting trouser, we'll have to raise the London Bridge as high as it will go, if you catch my fancy. And you do want a slim cut, do you not? We wouldn't want you representing Her Majesty in baggy trousers, now would we?


Q: Now then, ready for action. And if you're planning on any action tonight, I suggest you keep those trousers where they are.

BOND: The only action I'm planning will require just the opposite.


Barbara Broccoli I am WAITING FOR YOUR CALL.