Fleming, Bond and Belly-Lick

The Man With The Golden Gun finds James Bond in Beirut on the trail of Scaramanga after MI6 is unable to pin the murder of 002 on the highly paid hitman; as Miss Moneypenny tells 007, “they never found the bullet”.


There Bond learns from Saida, a belly dancer, that after his colleague was shot in the neck she removed the bullet from the wall before the police arrived and now wears it as a lucky charm in her navel.

Bond’s first attempts at getting his hands on the the bullet though seduction fail until he starts kissing Saida’s belly but, when a number of heavies attack Bond from behind, he swallows the bullet.

Making his escape in a taxi, he asks the driver to take him to a pharmacy, rather than direct to his hotel.

Bond gets one step closer to Scaramanga when Q-Branch is able to identify the manufacturer of the bullet, sending him to Macau and eventually to Scaramanga himself.

Ian Fleming and Belly-Lick

While the scene doesn’t appear in Ian Fleming’s book, it seems likely to be inspired by the title of chapter 10, Belly-Lick, etc. In the book, James Bond is at Scaramanga’s Jamaican hotel while a hood’s convention takes place and there he is tasked with livening up the entertainment, which is provided by a calypso band, which plays Linstead Market and Belly-Lick with “the printable words”.

First, Bond borrows Scaramanga’s gun and shoots a pineapple off the head of the female singer, a scene that almost certainly inspired the glass of whisky on top of Severine’s head in Skyfall. Then he tells the band to play Belly Lick, “very clearly with the blue words” and that the singer and “the other girls have got to end up stripped”.

Although there is a 1968 reggae song of the same name by Dennis Walks, the song Fleming was referring to is possibly the one listed here.

The song was one Fleming was familiar with and as, reported by Matthew Parker in Goldeneye: Where Bond was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica, Noel Coward’s secretary Cole Lesley (the two acted as witnesses) wrote “a smiling though toothless black crone… entertained us with some extremely improper calypsos, including one called ‘Belly Lick'”.

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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