Saturday 4 July 1987

…Went to a second-hand bookshop and bought Moonraker,
then to WHSmiths where I bought the Living Daylights theme…

Hundred thousand changes, everything's the same

This is a fantastic Bond theme; it’s easily one of the top five of all time (pity about the film, though more on that anon).

Apocryphally it was a nightmare to record and produce, though it doesn’t show. It’s a smashing valediction for John Barry, for whom this was his last Bond score. I’ve always particularly loved the drum fills at 0:33, the way the bass creeps up the scale at 0:53, those casual da-da-da harmonies at 2:15, that unexpected chord at 2:42, and then the sudden and strangely poignant breakdown at 2:46. Like the greatest Bond theme of all, this just keeps on giving. Heavens, there are about half a dozen different melodies before we’re even halfway through.

It’s tantalising to wonder, however, what the Pet Shop Boys would’ve come up with, had the film’s producers stuck with their original plans.

As for Christopher Wood’s Moonraker, or rather James Bond and Moonraker, this follows the same template as his earlier novelisation, with precisely the same strengths and stumbles.

Wood’s prose during the love scenes is just as excruciating as before (“Her mouth came on to his, warm, moist and strong… Bond drove a tiger from his loins…”) but occasionally he catches you out with a deft turn of phrase (“England in winter matched the bleak asperity of Bond’s spirit.”)

I enjoyed it, though, as I did everything to do with 007 that summer.

A very regrettable incident has occurred

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