Seventy years ago this year a book, a phenomenon and a cultural icon first fired at the world. The book was called Casino Royale and its cynical, world-weary, but world wise protagonist was a spy called James Bond.

This bullet catcher could not imagine a world where Commander Bond did not have popular-culture’s back, attentions and successes. When coming from at least two post-war worlds, new technologies and a shifting societal, political and global map, Ian Fleming forged a genuine legend, presented a new jet-set era of confidences, sexuality and intrigue, and crafted a genre of his own.

He gifted women and men a hero, a fantasy, a template and an escape. Seventy years later and as the crosshairs of cinema look to the 007th 007, James Bond has never been more prescient a character.

Here is to spies and spy-makers at Christmas!

Art / Mark O’Connell

Christmas Number One, 1953 / ‘Answer Me’ by Frankie Laine

ON HIS SPYMAKER’S LITERARY SERVICE – Celebrating 70 YEARS OF 007 and Ian Fleming’s James Bond