Julia Horeftari for Art-Sheep
Greetings, my brave reader.
Bond. James Bond. Perhaps the most popular reply to the question “who are you?”, the man behind the name who takes his vodka martini shaken, not stirred, the man who drives the most beautiful cars in the world and beds also the most beautiful women in the world has another identity he is known by: 007. This legendary code number is supposed to mean that the agent holding it is “licensed to kill”.
Or does it?
James Bond is the main character of the series of spy novels written by Ian Fleming, the English author, journalist and Naval Intelligence officer [b. 28 May 1908.-d. 12 August 1964]. Fleming’s dream was to become a secret services agent for Great Britain and attempted several times to make it come true by giving the exams required. He failed every time. Still, he longed for a spy’s life so much that he eventually created a literary character who would help him live his dream, even if not in real life. Needless to point to the success of this character, one of the most famous by far in all the history of literature worldwide. Bond, who his creator wanted him to have been born in Germany, raised in Scotland and England only to consider himself Scottish, needed a code name to operate under. The writer, who was born in London and later moved to the county of Kent [Dover and later Canterbury] drew his rich material from his long experience in the shadowy world of espionage as a Naval Intelligence officer [that’s as close as he got to being a spy] and the contacts he made during that time.
There are many theories about Fleming’s inspiration regarding his agent’s name and code number. Truth is, “James Bond” and “007” are anything but mysterious or fascinating in real life. The author revealed the truth about his character’s name, saying in an interview of his: “When I wrote the first one in 1953, I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument … when I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought by God, (James Bond) is the dullest name I ever heard”. He was at his estate in Jamaica at the time he found the name in a bird watching guide he happened to own. It belonged to the American ornithologist Dr. James Bond.
With a name at the ready, Fleming now had to find a code number, too. When he moved to Kent in the mid fifties, he kept visiting London quite often. He commuted there and back by coach, which he took from Dover and then when he moved to Canterbury he took the same bus from the Cathedral town’s bus station. The number of the bus route? 007.
So, there you have it, my brave reader. Bond, James Bond, agent 007, uncovered. Little did Fleming predict that this “dull” name would become one of the most charming and powerful names in the world of fiction and that route 007 would acquire the grace it has for so many years.
Oh, and by the way, the 007 bus route still runs from Dover to London and back via Canterbury.