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Casino Royale

Bond at the Barbican

Itself a striking example of postwar British design, not to mention the home of MI6 in Quantum of Solace, the Barbican was the ideal venue for Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style.

I've been to many a James Bond exhibition - at the Science Museum, the Imperial War Museum and anywhere else that's managed to dream up a Bond connection in the last decade or so - and this was by far the classiest. (None of the others have seen fit to inform me that the panels in Hugo Drax's control room were inspired by Mondrian, for instance.) Gold-on-black labels throughout the exhibition, with matching signage in the foyer pointing the way to the 007 Shop, Martini Bar and Ice Palace. A £5 guidebook designed to look like a passport (yes, I bought it).

The exhibition was divided into three areas, with attendants to stamp your ticket so you couldn't return to a zone already completed. When ink circles arrived on my ticket at the first and second sections, I thought they might have made more effort with a special stamp or something. Then I reached the third area, where the two 0s were joined by a 7. Classy.

The themed rooms were beautifully done, with packing crates in 'Q's Workshop' and an opulent feel to the 'Casino'. Other themes included 'Gold', 'Ice Palace' (all the snow scenes) and 'Heroes and Enigmas'. The Barbican obviously felt a 'Bond Girls' section was beneath their dignity, and I loved them for it.

Inevitably I got overexcited and embarrassed myself by shouting "YES! I am inveencible!!" in time to a clip from Goldeneye. I also naughtily touched the cello case from The Living Daylights. Well, Timothy Dalton's bottom had been on it - how was I supposed to resist?

Between the exhibition areas, Moonraker shuttles and Zorin Industries airships dangled from the ceiling while a glass case held a selection of Bond swimwear from Ursula Andress's Dr No bikini to Daniel Craig's Casino Royale trunks.

The final stop was, of course, the 007 Shop. I got a teatowel printed with the recipe for the Vesper cocktail, then went home and made some. They're strong.

007 directionsFlying models Aston Martin

Comments

SO JEALOUS.
Maybe it will travel?