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Home > Music

Bond. Lame Bond.

Alan Connor offers his branding consultancy to Raymond Weil. Gratis.

1 November 2002

When asked to name a watch manufacturer, most people would say Casio, or Seiko at a push. And when it comes to, like, classy timepieces, Rolex more or less have the brand sewn up. So if you were involved in promotions for Raymond Weil of Geneva, touting five-hundred-pound watches, who would you sponsor to make the world notice your refinement and class?

You got it in one: Steps and The Bond Girls.

Of these, the bigger mystery has to be "classical"-crumpet quartet The Bond Girls (now known simply and more genteelly as Bond). You want to impress the world, you get James Bond to wear your watch (Piers Brosnan, say, makes the Omega Seamaster look pretty cool in Tomorrow Never Dies). James Bond has the weight of the British Empire behind him. Bond the band are the brainchild of Mike Batt.

Indeed: the same Mike Batt that scored for the Wombles. I mean, look at them. What does that picture say to you? A musician will wonder what manner of effects-boxes will be needed to make their groovy skeleto-instruments sound like the cellos, violins they resemble. A priapic lad is going to squint at Tania, the viola player and murmur that she doesn't look genuinely slutty, just like she's trying to be. And anyone else is just going to wish they would put their legs together.

nb: Bond have tried to go for real trampiness by posing nude (like this is something new as opposed to what every punk rocker and Women's Institutee and Dimmock in the land seems to be doing) but messed it up by claiming in some press releases that the girls refused to have the image on their CD sleeve and in others that the girls insisted and the record company refused. Likewise, sometimes the band claim that their clothes were airbrushed out; othertimes that it wasn't meant to be sexy but to symbolise re-birth. Band and company alike take pains to wonder how on earth the image found its way to every tabloid in the country, and the internet.

Ladies, one of you take my jacket. No, no: I insist.

But enough of the image (it "isn't a conscious thing on our part," lies cellist Eos): what about the music? Well, the new CD has Cher's producer at the mixing desk, and includes, alongside the tangos and the Led Zep cover, their version of the James Bond Theme which they like to claim has been a longtime concert favourite. Of course, you might worry that these tunes will sound boring, because they're being played on, like, dull old classical instruments, and even if the tarts are tasty, you can only look at the sleevenotes for so long, right? Worry not, plebeian! There's just enough drum machines and desultory scratching underneath to make sure it falls exactly midway between a number of stinking stools. And enough to make the stuffed shirts at the Chart Information Network "ban" it from the classical chart -- i.e. include it in the pop chart -- just because there are fewer classical compositions than there are lite-trance and diet-house efforts.

And that "ban" and the nude photo are really all there is to the Bond story -- as you see from their press file, which stretches all the way from the Gloria Hunniford show to Scotland Today. They are, apparently, big in Korea. And so we return to the wisdom of Raymond Weil of Geneva dropping ten million dollars on the b(r)and.

Raymond, did you not do your market research? Do you know who the Bond fans even are? Use Google, man! Look at the Bond guestbook ("Sunday's going to be a wonderful morning with my musical 'menage a cinq' and newspaper puzzle") and customer comments ("i love the music n the body they rocks") and see them for yourself. See, Raymond. See their poems:

Gay-Yee Westerhoff, she is the one
she makes my life, just full of fun

Now Gay-Yee is cosmopolitan, half English & half Chinese
I wish like hell, she was my squeeze

Gay-Yee lives in England, I'll just have to wait
so I look at her pictures, and master..master my studies

These people can't afford your watches. They'll take them off to fiddle with themselves and then lose them. They can't even tell the time.

His work on the Kursaal Flyers' "Little does she know" is beyond reproach, though. When will Ace release a Mike Batt retrospective?

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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