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» Sunday, April 01, 2018I'd Tell You What We Did, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
James' dialysis kind of put a crimp on our weekend at Spycon. He got an earlier seat on Friday, but by the time we had dinner, it was too late to drive to Alpharetta, and he was too tired to do so anyway. Sorry to have missed the spy toys panel and Man from U.N.C.L.E. panel. Saturday morning we slept in and ate breakfast before arriving at the hotel, the beautiful and modern Marriott off Windward Parkway. It was quite swank, all in greys and beiges with minimalist modern furnishings that made me feel underdressed for the con!
We walked about getting a "lay of the land" and strolled through the dealer's room (I won't tell you how much someone wanted for a 1960s Man from U.N.C.L.E. lunchbox!) and peeked into the video room where they were just starting Search (which reminded me that I had never bought the series). We did see Lana Wood (sister of the late Natalie Wood who played Plenty O'Toole in a James Bond film) getting ready for her panel, but decided to go for lunch before seeing some panels. We ended up having lunch in the hotel restaurant—they had specials for Spycon attendees—with Louis Robinson, ending up talking about crazy politics/politicians and freedom of speech.
Next we went to a panel about forgotten James Bonds, especially Barry Nelson and David Niven...at least Bond fanatics remember George Lazenby. Following was the panel that Louis was doing: comparing the spy novels of Ian Fleming to those of John LeCarre. Certainly James Bond and George Smiley are poles apart!
Sadly we had to leave before Louis' other panel about the ENIGMA machine and Bletchley Park as well as a panel about other spies in media, since we really wanted to go to Ken Spivey's birthday party. Alice and Ken came to visit James in the hospital and stayed most of the afternoon, so we wanted to return the kindness.
The next panel "Ian Fleming's Mad, Mad World" had two men talking about the media references we see to James Bond all the time without thinking about it (in advertising, for instance). The one man hadn't heard about the bail bondsman on County Services Parkway, "Bond James Bond," and I was able to find it on Google Maps to show it to him. The other gentleman was talking about his collection of different editions of Bond novels, and I think we kind of highjacked whatever presentation he had because first I wondered if the novels had been changed for American audiences like they did with Harry Potter, substituting American English for British English (like "elevator" for "lift," etc.—and yes, in the early editions they did, which I'm sure ruined the flavor of the books) and then we started talking about how they had changed the titles of some of the books: Casino Royale, for instance, was originally entitled You Asked for It (what the hell does that even mean? how generic can you get, and Casino Royale sounds so much exotic) and Bond was called "Jimmy." How revolting!
Following this panel, we went back to the hotel restaurant for lunch, and then sat chatting with Clair and Daniel Kiernan, Bill Ritch, and the other ARTC folks until it was time for their performance. It was Easter Sunday, and some nice person had "hidden" (in a hotel with minimalist modern furniture like this, it was pretty hard to "hide" anything and I bagged about eight of them in a minute) Easter eggs in the space outside the meeting rooms, so we had some peanut butter eggs and hard candies as a treat.
ARTC did an entire "Crimson Hawk" adventure (our hero is, in real life, a multimillionaire nebbish), complete with funny "commercials," and then it was the end of the convention and the closing panel. We had a hard time getting here, but on the whole we enjoyed what we saw. We hope the next one will be a little less Bond-centric, and we hope Victoria Price can come back. She is truly [excuse the pun] priceless!
On the way out we had one last look at the two James Bond Lotus cars that were outside all weekend. One, a regular Lotus car, was the same model but not the exact car that Sean Connery drove; however, the aquatic version was the real deal. Someone else attending the convention had a vintage Jaguar that was parked outside, and we saw Lana Wood getting a ride in it on Saturday.