Last December 7th the press opening of Bond in Motion Brussels took place, followed by a fitting gala evening. We were present at both parts of the program with James Bond Netherlands. In this article I look back at both events.
The press opening
The official part started quickly after we arrived. Stéphane Pisane welcomed us. He’s a big James Bond fan and always had the ambition to bring Bond in Motion to Brussels. Brussels as European capital is the ultimate base for a Bond exhibition on the European continent. The link between Belgium and the United Kingdom was symbolised by the two flags placed next to Pisane and the presence of the British ambassador, Martin Shearman. The ambassador was welcomed and was happy to give a piece of British cultural heritage a home in Brussels.
Short speeches from co-conservator Pierre Lalmand, general manager of the Brussels motor show, and the mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close, followed. Close had already been daydreaming about car chases through the center of Brussels. Next up was Chris Corbould. The special effects coordinator of all the Craig films had been waiting next to my co-editor Corneel, but he hadn’t noticed Corbould. Chris Corbould was asked about his favorite car from the movies, but he had a hard time choosing. I can’t blame him.
There were more people present from the Bond world. Stunt coordinator Lee Morrison briefly talked about the challenges involved in recording James Bond films. EON archivist Meg Simmonds was especially proud on a number of never-before-seen pieces that had left the archive for the first time and were now in Brussels. Subsequently, the ribbon with the colors of the Belgian flag was cut by the ambassador and the mayor, to loud applause. Bond in Motion Brussels was officially declared open.
Few things in the world are as closely linked as James Bond and the tuxedo. Everyone recognises the image of Sean Connery sitting at the poker table in Dr. No (1962), but the moments when Brosnan and Craig walk into the casino in GoldenEye (1995) and Casino Royale (2006) respectively also show how well this outfit suits 007. Every opportunity I get to put on this suit, I grab with both hands. That Wednesday evening it was time again, and believe me that the organisation did everything they could to create a memorable evening!
Before the evening program started, there was enough time to walk around all the vehicles again. Although my colleagues and I had already done that a few hours earlier, we were mainly busy recording for a video during the press event. Now there was more time to really look at the details and talk about it with other guests. From youngsters like me to seniors in the workfield. These are the moments when I realize how big the world of James Bond is. As with any 007 related event there are many new faces, and as always that’s what makes it so special. Everyone experiences the franchise differently, which always leads to new insights for me.
Jorrit, Johan and I talked with EON archivist Meg Simmonds, who spoke with love and pleasure about her work and setting up Bond in Motion. Like all the other guests, she walked around the exhibition rooms, which made her very accessible. During the world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall I already felt connected to the front end of James Bond, but now I also felt connected to EON Productions, the back end of the whole thing.
That accessibility made me realize again how human EON really is. Here in the Netherlands the world of Bond can feel very foreign, but by seeing and speaking to everyone who’s involved I noticed how special the circus around the Bond films actually is. The whole Bond world is not only special for us enthusiasts, the people involved also put their heart and soul into this series.
A pleasant table
After we had eaten some snacks at the 007 bar and chatted with other guests, it was time to eat. We were assigned to table 11, the Moonraker table (Moonraker is the eleventh James Bond film). Each seat had its own nameplate. On my left were Johan and his wife Sandra and on my right was Jorrit. Next to Jorrit were two incredibly hilarious Brits – with whom we laughed a lot all evening – and next to them were our friends from Club James Bond France. Between them was Bond girl Beatrice Libert from, how could it be otherwise, Moonraker.
The food was prepared by Belgian two-star chef Yves Mattagne and would prefectly fit in a Bond film. Each course was a party in itself. The starter was served in a large block of ice. Johan pointedly noted that the water was warm when it was frozen, otherwise the ice couldn’t be so clear. However, after a while I forgot that ice melts. So a few minutes later, without thinking, I put my bread with butter on my plate. Right in the now melted ice… All soggy.
The second dish, unfortunately I had to break my promise to Roger Moore. I ate the foie gras with some guilt and I must admit that it was very tasty. The langoustine was very, it was flambeed at the table with whiskey. Not only did it look nice, but it also tasted really good.
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The whole evening we laughed with our British friends. With this delicious food in front of us, we quickly came to the subject ‘Dutch cuisine’, after which we informed them about the existence of the Febo and the associated ‘snack-from-the-wall’ culture. Our neighbours recognised themselves somewhat in this snacking behaviour and told us that the British and the Dutch are not really that different from each other. “Tourists misbehave during holidays in another country, our history is debatable, we cheer for our favorite footballers and Formula 1 racers, and at the end of the evening we go home drunk”, that was our joint conclusion. In short, enough topics besides James Bond to have a good laugh about.
The anticipation of an event like this is always great, if the event equals my expectations it’s great fun, but I get the most pleasure from the unexpected extras. In this case that was a dance party at the 007 bar. Everyone was swinging up and down on stage and if you had finished dancing for a while there was enough space to relax at the bar. This was a great ending to a memorable evening.
For me, this evening contained many elements of what a good Bond film also has: fast cars, but above all a good story with nice characters, full glasses and you look back on it with a generous smile.
Vote now: The James Bond Top 2022
It’s back: the James Bond Nederland end of the year top! This year we not only want to know what your favourite films are and who your favourite James Bond is, but also who your favourite actor from the Benelux is. The polls close on Tuesday 20th of December. Click here to vote!