31 July 2007

Cyril Connolly. Bond Strikes Camp.1963

Cyril Connolly. BOND STRIKES CAMP. Privately Printed at the Shenval Press, London 1963.

Current Selling Prices
$1800-$3000 /£900-£1500

With a new original James Bond adventure being planned for release in 2008 to coincide with the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth it is worth noting this early Bond parody/ tribute. Connolly was a friend of Fleming and was commissioned to write this for the London Magazine run by another pal of Fleming--poet, sportsman and man of letters Alan Ross. As I recall Ross would occasionally sign the issue that contained the story as 'Cyril Connolly' - mainly because he had almost the same handwriting. We sold a copy of the signed limited edition - a 16 page booklet, in 1998 described thus:
"Royal 8vo., green paper wraps, title label, frontis. Fifty copies only were issued for sale. Signed presentation copy to the publisher, Alan Ross, this being one of two copies out of series,so designated in the author's hand and signed on the colophon:" one of two- other for Dennis Craig sold at Christies-1973, May." Inscribed on title-page:"Alan with love from Cyril the onlie begetter from the misbegotten." Additionally inscribed beneath the lascivious frontispiece:"A torpedo-shaped Larranaga," Originally published by Alan Ross in the London Magazine, Connolly's scurrilous pastiche in book-form is one of the greatest rarities of Bondiana, here found in unsurpassable association. Trivial faint mark lower wrap else fine copy."
The humour of ‘Bond Strikes Camp’ (1962) depends on the contrast between its use of Ian Fleming’s butch style and the events it describes—James Bond’s undercover entrapment of a Soviet agent at a drag club:
‘One more question, sir. I have no wish to weary you with details of my private life but I can assure you I’ve never dressed up in “drag” as you call it since I played Katisha in “The Mikado” at my prep. school. I shan’t look right, I shan’t move right, I shan’t talk right; I shall feel about as convincing arsing about as a night-club hostess as Randolph Churchill.’

VALUE? With 50 copies only being issued it is necessarily scarce. We sold our copy in 1998 for £850, there is one on the web now at £1950 (not fine)--the kind of price it takes to stop it selling. A copy of the magazine with the contribution signed by Fleming to Hugo Pitman made £1350 in 1992 at Sotheby's. Obviously he took the squib in good humour. Serious Bond completists have to have the book - but unless they are rich or ridiculously keen, they make do with the contribution (The London Magazine, Vol 3, No. 1, April 1963) which can be picked up for less than 20 quid. Pics above from the 1967 movie 'Casino Royale' with David Niven as Bond - said to be a sort of surreal parody and slightly camp. [ W/Q * ]

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