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Catching Disco Bullets


Gay 007 fan Mark O'Connell discovers that memorabilia has its tragic side

An extract from Chapter 6 from Mark O'Connell's:Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan

Our August 1986 Cub camp was jinxed from the start. After what was probably just an hour of dry weather whilst we pitched our 1940s army-issue tents, the heavens broke and rained down pretty much the rest of our stay under canvas. We persevered but my enthusiasm was waning dramatically. And it was about to vanish altogether when an impromptu game of Rounders - complete with a random piece of nail-covered wood acting as a bat saw a sartorial tragedy this Bond fan is still numbed by.

Jimmy had given me an A View To A Kill T-shirt from the Eon office. It was an all-black pride and joy featuring the gunbarrel logo and a tiny Roger Moore firing his gun from what was unfortunately dead centre of my [then] cleavage of puppy fat. Another plus point was how it was highly flattering to my [then!] puppy-fat physique -- and might well have been designed by the same costume department who hid Roger and Sean's surplus body mass index during their final Bond outings. As it was my turn to hit the ball, I took the Saw III-inspired Rounders bat from my fellow cubs and laboured to angle myself with all the athletic panache of Boris Becker in a 1980s Wimbledon semi.

Not only did I look less Boris Becker and more Boris Johnson, I had also inherited my mother's very thin legs. Whilst they were no doubt a triumph for her in the '60s and '70s, in the '80s I looked like a toffee apple on a stick. So as some topless older boys in the next field briefly stole my attentions, I ignored all advice to keep my eye on the ball, swung round like a blind Navratilova and somehow slammed the lethal nail-covered "bat" into my chest. I was fine (the so far useless tetanus jabs from our infancy suddenly had purpose) but my A View To A Kill T-shirt was less fine having been shredded by various nails. I was inwardly ruined. My Roger Moore day-wear could not be saved. This became 'Tragic Film Memorabilia Accident # 1' (and would later be joined by another heartbreakingly ruined piece of irreplaceable 007 merchandise).

As I ambled back to my tent ignoring the digs from the more competitive Cubs, the heavens broke. Again. They fortunately allowed me to finally cry unnoticed -- assuming I was going to cry without a break for five whole days. And not even I - the only Bond fan in the village -- would cry for five days solid over a ruined James Bond T-shirt. Four will be plenty.

Read an interview with Mark O'Connell here.

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