For Yor Eyes Only: James Bond-age with Yor Strulie

Licence Expired: The Unau­tho­rized James Bond (ChiZine 2015)

In coop­er­a­tion with the strik­ing­ly beau­ti­ful and tal­ent­ed peo­ple behind ChiZine pub­lish­ing, I here­by present James Bond-age, a series of inter­views with the many bril­liant con­trib­u­tors who make up the new­ly-pub­lished Licence Expired: The Unau­tho­rized James Bond.

And yeah, I’m one of the contributors—my short fic­tion “Not an Hon­ourable Dis­ease” makes up the clos­ing story—so you needn’t point out the con­flict of inter­est here. I’m a writer/publicist, not a jour­nal­ist. My blog, my rules.

Click here for infor­ma­tion on how to pur­chase your very own, not-avail­able-in-the-Unit­ed-States copy of Licence Expired.

Today’s author: Spe­cial Agent 0019, Licence to Fic­tion­al­ize

Yor Strulie

Yor Strulie

Yor Strulie—gad­about, mis­an­thrope, and all-round Cana­di­an icon—has thus far had a career that dri­ves the envi­ous to bouts of soul-crip­pling depres­sion. His life sto­ry is so aston­ish­ing it would make James Bond him­self take a step back and say, “That’s sim­ply not real­is­tic.”

Tell us about your sto­ry, “Not an Hon­ourable Dis­ease.”

I don’t want to give too much away here, but as James Bond sto­ries go, I think this one is prob­a­bly an out­lier. Suf­fice to say, it con­cerns a night in the life of an atten­dant in the con­va­les­cence wing of a hos­pi­tal. Sor­ry, fans, but there’s no espi­onage, femme fatales, or hench­men to be found here. There is a fun­ny accent, though, if it’s any con­so­la­tion.

How did the idea for your sto­ry come about?

My orig­i­nal idea was to write an absurd tale from the POV of a minor hench­man, but it nev­er panned out. I then start­ed play­ing around with the idea that no ratio­nal per­son would ever believe any of Bond’s sto­ries. I meant the sto­ry to be rather fun­ny, but it became instead far more melan­choly than I could have con­ceived.

A line from From Rus­sia With Love inspired the title. Ker­im Bey, Head of Sta­tion T in Istan­bul, mus­es to Bond about his insa­tiable appetite for raw food, cof­fee, alco­hol, and women:

But I am greedy for life. I do too much of every­thing all the time. Sud­den­ly one day my heart will fail…At least I shall have died from an hon­ourable dis­ease.”

Sad­ly, as is the case with most peo­ple who work with Bond, Ker­im Bey is denied an ide­al death. In the con­text of my sto­ry, the mere idea of there ever being “an hon­ourable dis­ease” made the phrase a nat­ur­al title.

What was your first intro­duc­tion to Bond?

As a per­son, Bond’s a bit of a chore. Kind of humour­less, less charm­ing than he likes to think. As a secret agent the man is pure awe­some, because his pres­ence increas­es the like­li­hood of nin­ja attack by 75%.
I’m a child of the ‘70s and Star Wars, so Moon­rak­er was my first, and I was bowled over with love for it. Lasers! Space­ships! Hench­men with tin-foiled teeth! Only when I matured did I watch the Con­nery Bonds and real­ized the overt campi­ness of Moore’s incar­na­tion.

Where would you advise a Bond new­bie to start?

Start with A View to a Kill, the movie that matched an elder­ly Roger Moore with a twen­ty-some­thing Tanya Roberts (dis­card­ed sub­ti­tle: Grand­pa Gets Lucky). After that, every­thing that fol­lows will be a pleas­ant sur­prise.

If you were a secret agent, what would your ide­al mis­sion be? Your spy name?

Name: Jake Freeze (from the Men­non­ite Jakob Friesen). Mis­sion: infil­trate the GOP and relieve their bil­lion­aire donors of their cash. Ah, to dream.

Licence to Kill

Real­is­ti­cal­ly, if you worked for MI6, what would your posi­tion be?

Librar­i­an and pol­i­cy ana­lyst. That way I don’t have to change my busi­ness cards.

What’s your opin­ion of James Bond as a per­son? As a secret agent?

As a per­son, Bond’s a bit of a chore. Kind of humour­less, less charm­ing than he likes to think, inca­pable of mak­ing small talk. As a secret agent the man is pure awe­some, because his pres­ence increas­es the like­li­hood of nin­ja attack by 75%.

Favourite movie Bond?

Every­one says Craig or Con­nery, for good rea­son, but since I always root for the under­dog, I’ll give a nod to Tim­o­thy Dal­ton, for­ev­er get­ting a bad rap for dar­ing to be a Con­nery Bond in a Moore world. Licence to Kill is the true under­rat­ed clas­sic of the fran­chise (fol­lowed close­ly by Quan­tum of Solace).

Who should play James Bond after Daniel Craig?

Eve Mon­eypen­ny (Sky­fall)

Sheesh, remem­ber the fuss when Craig was cast? I’m not dip­ping a toe into those waters, nuh-uh.

Favourite/least favourite Bond char­ac­ter who isn’t Bond?

My favourites are a blend of char­ac­ter and actor. Until the Bros­nan-era movies intro­duced Dame Judi Dench’s game-chang­ing por­tray­al of M, I don’t think any sup­port­ing play­er ever man­aged any­thing resem­bling char­ac­ter devel­op­ment.

For me, it’s a tie between Jef­frey Wright’s Felix Leit­er and Naomie Har­ris’ Eve Mon­eypen­ny. Wright gives Felix a grav­i­tas and mys­tery that proved the man was indeed a spy, not a goofy side­kick for Bond to use and abuse when­ev­er he’s in a jam. His pres­ence was sore­ly missed in Sky­fall, and pre­sum­ably still missed in Spec­tre.

Har­ris’ Mon­eypen­ny? The best reboot of a Bond char­ac­ter since Craig took over. Long may Naomie Har­ris reign (and kick ass).

Sher­iff J.W. Pep­per (Live & Let DieMan with the Gold­en Gun)

Least favourite? Could it be any­one else but Sher­iff J.W. Pep­per? For some rea­son known only to pro­duc­ers (their gourds very like­ly addled by Scar­face-sized moun­tains of cocaine), a wacky red­neck racist police­man who wan­dered in from a sub­par Burt Reynolds/Dom DeLuise car com­e­dy was allowed to des­e­crate two (TWO!) oth­er­wise per­fect­ly ser­vice­able Moore-era films.

Pepper’s grat­ing shtick is on par with intro­duc­ing Adam Sandler’s Water­boy char­ac­ter into Bat­man, or forc­ing Super­man to deal with a man­ic Richard Pry­or. Wait, that one actu­al­ly hap­pened.

Will a vil­lain ever learn to not give Bond a sport­ing chance at escape?

Where’s the fun in that? If you’re not going to appre­ci­ate the game, why are you play­ing?

Licence Expired: The Unau­tho­rized James Bond (ChiZine 2015)

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