10 Dec 2018

James Bond is an alcoholic - medical study

From Morning Report, 8:55 am on 10 December 2018

James Bond was an alcoholic who needed treatment and workplace support, University of Otago researchers say.

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Photo: James Bond

Their research, published today in the Medical Journal of Australia's Christmas issue, analysed 007's drinking in 24 Bond movies between 1962 and 2015.

They found that Bond not only drank to excess but he also participated in dangerous activities while drunk including but not limited to, combat in helicopter gunships and deactivating nuclear weapons.

In one Bond book, the super spy imbibes 50 units of alcohol, lead author of the research Professor Nick Wilson of the University of Otago, says.

"Which would nearly kill every single person who drank that amount."

"He's been a consistently heavy drinker over those six decades and sometimes he really does go to a very high level of blood alcohol, in the fatal range actually for many people.

"After drinking he often does very dangerous things such as fast driving; gun fights; flying helicopters and even fighting dangerous animals.

Roger Moore (c) as James Bond and his partners Maud Adams (l) and Britt Eklund (r) in "The Man with the Golden Gun" in 1974.

Photo: AFP

"These are probably things he's better be doing if he wasn't intoxicated."

Bond's favourite tipple is a vodka martini cocktail but Bond will knock back whatever is a round.

Despite his preference for martinis (shaken, not stirred), the researchers found Bond was ready to drink any alcoholic beverage that was available, from neat vodka to champagne - even, occasionally, beer.

"He basically drinks whatever he can get his hands on, but still with an ongoing preference for cocktails, but we've been seeing more beer in the last decade or so."

Bond also invents his own cocktail, the vesper, in Casino Royale and drinks more of them than is good for him.

"When you drink six *vespers, a type of cocktail, in succession you would have got up to a blood alcohol level of that was definitely fatal for some people."

While ideally Bond should seek professional help for his drinking, the authors suggest a few strategies which may minimise his risks in the short term.

These include avoiding drinking on the job - especially when tackling complex tasks such as aerial combat or fighting komodo dragons - and saying no to social drinks with sexual partners who may want to disable, capture or kill him (nine out of 60 of them, or 15 percent).

Bond also needs workplace support.

"He's under a lot of stress and there's drinking on the job at MI6, these are problematic things for any workplace."

The researchers advise Bond to cultivate alternative interests beyond alcohol, perhaps developing his nascent interest in lepidopterology (the study of moths and butterflies) revealed when he discussed M's butterfly collection in one film.

Roger Moore as James Bond in a scene of Moonraker in 1979.

Best not attempted after too many vodka martinis. Photo: AFP

*A vesper cocktail differs from Bond's usual 'shaken, not stirred' vodka martini, in that it has a base of both gin and vodka, and substitutes Kina Lillet for vermouth and lemon peel for an olive. The recipe was given by Bond to a barman in the 2006 movie Casino Royale.