Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Plaque of the Week No.96

You've seen them all over the city: discs, tablets, cameos and plaques commemorating the great and the good of London Town. Every Tuesday we track down a London plaque (Blue or otherwise) and put it centre stage on the London Walks Blog. This week…



The jet set nature of James Bond’s remit means that those looking for London settings in the novels of Ian Fleming must make do with fleeting glimpses of St James’s (his club), Regent’s Park (his “office”) and King’s Road (his apartment) before he sets off for adventures in climes exotic. The exception is Moonraker (1955) the third Bond novel, set entirely in England.

In pursuit of Hugo Drax, a megalomaniac would-be dictator, arms manufacturer and (worst of all in M’s book) card cheat, Bond gambles, drinks and drops Benzedrine in St James’s, meets with Assistant Commissioner Vallance at Scotland Yard and prangs his vintage Bentley in the prosaic surroundings of the capital's South Circular ring road. He later road tests his new motor, a four-and-a-half litre 1953 Bentley Mark VI on Birdcage Walk SW1. The behind-the-scenes tour of Pall Mall’s club holds an enduring fascination. There’s even a scene in Ebury Street – where Ian Fleming’s Blue Plaque can be found.

Drax remains one of Fleming’s best villains; Bond is at his most bullet-proof, bouncing back from the events of the previous assignment (Live and Let Die); and the glimpses behind the mask of M bring one of popular fiction’s most enigmatic supporting characters leaping from the page.



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