Like Trekkies or Beatles fanatics, James Bond buffs are proud of the factoid retention that comes with their obsessive fandom. Thus, when the Fleming Collection – an art museum originally endowed by Robert Fleming, financier grandfather of Bond creator Ian Fleming – announced the launch of an exhibit celebrating the cover art of James Bond novels, the calls started pouring in.
“We’ve had to deal with the fans every step of the way,” says Selina Skipwith, curator of Bond Bound. “The responses to the literature on our website were like” — and here she affects a drippy tone to mimic a Bond fan — “‘You say Fleming was 43 when he wrote Casino Royale, but in fact he turned 44 before he handed the manuscript to the publisher, Jonathan Cape.’”
Luckily, as keeper of the Fleming Collection, Skipwith is armed with more Bond minutiae than most aficionados. In preparation for the exhibit, which opened April 22, she returned to the Fleming oeuvre, rereading dozens of novels and comparing cover artwork from dozens of countries. Skipwith is the ultimate Bond girl – at least until late June, when the exhibit closes and, in all probability, London will be Bonded out.
Only in the U.K. would the curator of a major exhibit openly mock that exhibit’s target audience.