The amount of wet towels used by Ian Fleming at his Jamaican retreat was nearly as puzzling a mystery for those who visited him as the strange title of the latest Bond movie. But both can easily be explained.
I briefly mentioned, a few days back, that James Bond writer Ian Fleming had a passion for spanking, and a book by Andrew Lycett has shed more light on his kinky relationship with his wife Ann.
We are told that Fleming’s London flat “was full of books about flagellation: men and women standing over each other with a whip.”
To a guest who showed any interest in them, Fleming would remark: ‘I say, are you getting a kick out of that?’
Ann Charteris’ first husband was killed in action in 1944, and she then married Viscount Rothermere, a newspaper magnate, who was able to give her a life of wealth and status Fleming could not possibly emulate.
But she could not resist the rakish womaniser. He would follow her when she went on business trips with her husband, and visit her in their hotel room. The love letters they wrote during this period resonate with passion, and kinky desire. She wrote in 1947 after a few days together:
“It was so short and so full of happiness, and I am afraid I loved cooking for you and sleeping beside you and being whipped by you… I don’t think I have ever loved like this before.”
“I long for you to whip me because I love being hurt by you and kissed afterwards. It’s very lonely not to be beaten and shouted at every five minutes.”
Later we learn that:
In 1948, Fleming began building the house in Jamaica he would christen Goldeneye, which would serve as his retreat from London society. Those who were lucky enough to visit Goldeneye, could never understand how the Flemings went through so many wet towels.
But those sodden towels were needed, literally, to cool their fiery partnership, used to relieve the stinging of the whips, slippers and hairbrushes the pair beat each other with – Ian inflicting pain more often than Ann – as well as to cover up the weals Ian made on Ann’s skin during their fiery bouts of love-making.
Despite the harmless titillation factor of the Bond movies, Fleming’s literary hero was actually quite dark, and the author was constantly criticised for the sadistic elements of his writing.
A scene in The Spy Who Loved Me was especially controversial. The female narrator asserts, “All women love semi-rape … It was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that had made his act of love so piercingly wonderful.”
This lead one reviewer to call him “the nastiest and most sadistic writer of our day”.
But Fleming remained unrepentant, insisting, “You cannot have thrilling heroes eating rice puddings.”
Perhaps Fleming would have approved of the choice of Olga Kurylenko as the latest Bond Girl. In 2006, she appeared in a full-frontal nude S&M bondage scene in the French movie Le Serpent (see above). The sure to come love scene with Daniel Craig should perhaps put her past experience to further use.
Why not? The last Bond film was darker and more violent, so maybe it’s time for the sex scenes to move with the times, and reflect Fleming’s tastes more accurately.
I suggest a steaming hotel bedroom scene based on one of the illicit encounters between Fleming and Ann Charteris in the immediate post-war period.
A riding crop would be a good implement – with Olga Kurylenko bent over the bed. Then they would have sex, and afterwards we would be treated to a shot of Bond in dressing gown sitting on the bed with a drink, whilst Olga lies on her tummy beside him with the stripes across her bottom fully on display.
There would be a knock on the door.
“Room service, Mr Bond.”
A maid enters the room bearing a pile of wet towels.
“Here are your towels Mr Bond, just as you ordered them, damp but not dripping.”
Craig then drapes one of the towels carefully across Kurylenko’s burning red-raw rump.
“There,” he says “that should provide you with a quantum of solace!”