Collecting 007: Mark O’Connell

Mark O’Connell, author of Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan, talks about Octopussy, Roger Moore clocks and other items in his Bond collection.

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When and how did you first get bitten by the Bond bug?

June 1983. My father dragged me (not joking) almost kicking and screaming to see Octopussy at the local Odeon cinema. I desperately wanted to see Return of the Jedi again and had a major meltdown in the cinema foyer. Because my grandfather had a long association with Bond and EON Productions it made every sense we see the new 007 movie when it came out.

As the Octopussy women’s assault on Khan’s stronghold played out, I was hooked for life. I was instantly obsessed by the Coolidge song, the poster, the soundtrack album (of which I was given an EON copy of) and anything Octopussy I could get my hands on. I very quickly bought a great (and 80s tacky) plastic Roger Moore as Bond wall clock which I still have.

What’s your favourite item in your collection and why?

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Impossible. That’s like asking “which one is your favourite child?” (!). For my tenth birthday my grandfather secured me a lovely black and white still of Roger Moore as Bond which was signed. I took it to school and it was the best birthday gift ever! I am also fortunate to have various correspondences, photos and dedications from EON and the Broccoli family so maybe the most treasured piece I have is a lovely signed message to my grandfather from Cubby Broccoli. The photo is of Cubby flanking the [then] construction of the first 007 Stage at Pinewood circa 1976.

In terms of wider 007 collecting I am also rather partial to my first edition Octopussy and The Living Daylights which I check regularly to ensure it is still safe and well. I bought at a bespoke book fair twenty or so years ago and it has steadily risen in value – mostly in that which I place in it. I am also ticking off my Bond soundtrack vinyl items (but only when I visit Amoeba Records in San Francisco which stocks amazing movie soundtracks and their various variants over the years).

I was fortunate to be given great and rare 12 inch albums from EON so never thought to look for the original, early films too. Finding a pristine copy of A View To A Kill in San Francisco made perfect sense recently. It is rarely about monetary worth, but the personal value we attach to Bond.

What item would you most like to add?

Because the Bond movie canon is so expansive I think with Bond you sometimes have to pick one film or actor or era and make that your collecting project. Or one part of it – the music, the posters, the lobby cards, the toys or the So anything from Octopussy or A View To A Kill (my own personal entry point 007 bullets) is always. Maybe a UK quad poster from A View To A Kill would be nice.

What’s your biggest obstacle to collecting, or is there a tip you’d like to share?

House space and marriage. Have enough of one and none of the other if you wish to continue collecting Bond collectibles! Or hone your negotiation skills quickly! I have been pushing for that Roger Moore wall clock to enhance our kitchen for over a decade to no avail. Yet.

Anything else?

Don’t throw anything away. Those first wave Bond VHS tapes are now great curiosities. As will SPECTRE Blu-Rays be one day!

Where can people find you?

markoconnell.co.uk is my main site for my writing, Bond (and other) skewed insights, reviews and news, facebook.com/catchingbullets is ever growing and a great destination for my 007 galleries and reports and @Mark0Connell on Twitter.

Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan is available from Amazon UK and Amazon.com.

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