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The Bond Identity: Quantum of Solace Review

Eyewear has seen the new Bond film (#22) at the Tricycle Theatre cinema, where a plaque notes, cinematography was nearby invented, around 118 years ago. My immediate reaction is, Quantum of Solace is one of the half-dozen best of the whole series, if not quite as good as Casino Royale.

It's easily the most stylish and nuanced, with more film references than many (including to Vertigo in the bell tower). Clearly, the Bourne trilogy has made a deep impact on the choreography of the action (rooftops, and brutal fights) - and the use of mobile telephony. However, the rooftops from Bourne are, of course, really the rooftops from Vertigo.

There are several elements never-before-seen in a Bond film, which artsy director Forster adds, including reaction shots from wounded, or shocked, or dehydrated extras in crowds and peasants (in Bolivia), humanising, almost de-Orientalising, Bond's previously imperialist trappings.

Further, the dialogue about espionage, power, oil, the environment - between spies - seems both intelligent and suspiciously liberal. Most notably, in a proto-feminist aspect, the main Bond Girl (pictured), played by Olga Kurylenko, does not become Bond's lover, but more action equal, and, at most, Platonic buddy.

The villain seems to be a sort of Roman Polanski Euro-squirt - a grinning louche Frenchman half the height of anyone else in the room. Too bad he gets dispatched so easily in the confusing ending, in some bizarrely unstable eco-hotel.


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Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.