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Bond, villain

I hope you don’t mind my husband butting in on our conversation (that is not my husband above, that of course is Daniel Craig).

My husband, Giles Coren, will only be with us for a moment. He’s just got a few words to say. It’s a piece that was supposed to go in The Times on Saturday, you see – only they wouldn’t run it. It was about James Bond and there’s been too much Bond, they said, someone else is doing something on something or other. So write something else, yeah Giles? Well my husband is an accommodating sort of chap so he said okay then – but it’s such a good piece it deserves to be read and Tweeted and to bust out from behind the paywall will make him so very chipper.

I promise this won’t be a regular thing.

Coming soon: a recipe!!!


BOND, VILLAIN
(The piece they tried to ban. Warning! This contains plot spoilers…)

by Giles Coren

 
There is a moment in the new James Bond film so vile, sexist and sad that it made me feel physically sick. If you have not seen the film and fear a spoiler, then look away now. Or cancel your tickets and do something less horrible instead. Like pull all your fingernails out.


In short, there is a young woman in this film whom Bond correctly identifies (in his smug, smart-arse way) as a sex-worker who was kidnapped and enslaved as a child by human traffickers. She is now a brutalised and unwilling gangster’s moll. She gives no sign of being sexually interested in Bond, merely of being incredibly scared and unhappy. So he creeps uninvited into her hotel shower cubicle later that night, like Jimmy Savile, and silently screws her because he is bored.

That is vile enough. And totally out of keeping, I’d have thought, with Daniel Craig’s Bond. But it gets much worse when she is later tied up with a glass of whisky on her head in a hilarious William Tell spoof, and shot dead in a game devised by the baddie. We knew already knew the baddie was bad, so there was no plot developing element here. It was merely disgusting, exploitative, 1970s-style death-porn (like when Roger Moore torpedoed the beautiful girl in the helicopter in The Spy Who Loved Me and then joked about it – a scene from which it has taken me 35 years to recover).

The ‘new’ Bond’s immediate response to the killing of a tragic, abused, indentured slave woman is to say, “waste of good scotch” (this must be the ‘humour’ Daniel Craig said he was keen to put back into the role) and then kill everyone. He could have done it three minutes before and saved her. But that wouldn’t have been as funny, I guess.

That Macallan (the whisky brand on her head) presumably paid to be involved in the scene, as part of the film’s much-touted product placement programme, is utterly baffling to me.

Personally, I am ashamed, as a journalist, of the five star ratings this film garnered across the board from sheep-like critics afraid or unable to look through the hype, to its rotten soul.


I am ashamed, as a man, that women are still compelled in the 21st century to watch movies in which the three female outcomes are:

1) Judi Dench’s ‘M’ dies, and is replaced by a man;

2) The young abuse victim is shagged by Bond and then killed for a joke; and

3) The pretty girl who manages to remain chaste despite Bond’s ‘charms’ is rewarded at the end with a job as his secretary.


And I am ashamed, as a British person, that this film will be mistaken abroad for an example of prevailing values here. It is a sick, reactionary, depressing film and its director, Sam Mendes, should be ashamed of himself, all the way to the bank.

Your winter warmers

goodtoknow has teamed up with Russell Hobbs to bring you the goodtoknow Cooking Club. Every month we give you the chance to win a full Russell Hobbs Creations range including a Kitchen Machine, Mini Chopper, 3 in 1 Hand Blender and Food Processor. All you have to do to enter is send in your themed foodie pics. November’s theme was winter warmer food pictures.

There’s nothing better than a warming, hearty meal in these cold winter months. Winter warmers are a great way to get the family together around the dinner table, to shake off those winter blues and get everyone talking.

From cheesy cottage pie to comforting chicken stew, roast dinner to apple crumble, we received some amazing pictures from you – thank you for all of your brilliant entries. Every single one of them looks delicious and we wish we could have a taste of them all.

It was very hard deciding on our winner but we’ve managed to choose our fave. Come and have a browse through all of our tasty entries and see who was crowned this month’s star cook.

Make sure you keep an eye out for next month’s competition and you could be in with the chance of winning your very own Russell Hobbs Creations range. Next month’s theme is Christmas baking!

goodtoknow’s new baking blog

Mum Anneliese Giggins learnt how to bake by baking her way through Mary Berry’s Baking Bible on the wonderful blog Rising to the Berry. Keen to continue her love of baking, Anneliese will be sharing a delicious new baking recipe with us each month – bake along and share all your tips, advice and of course pics!

After spending 18 months baking my way through the wonderful recipes from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, I have opened my mind to other possibilities and ideas. Nothing too crazy, you understand! I wanted to begin this blog with a nice, simple, but most importantly, tasty cake. I think most of us start baking with a classic sandwich cake, so I hope this is a good place to take a first step. I’m not sure I know of anyone who doesn’t enjoy a slice of lemon drizzle, so why not make it even more tempting by filling it with a luscious lemon curd and mascarpone filling?!

 

Get Anneliese’s lemon drizzle cake recipe

For me, a sandwich cake summons up an array of childhood memories. I must have made such a cake for almost every family occasion. It was either a vanilla sponge filled with strawberry jam or a chocolate version filled with a generous helping of rich chocolate butter cream. I never imagined I could venture into different flavour combinations; I stayed well within my comfort zone! 

I really hope you enjoy this recipe and that you feel the urge to give it a try. Good luck! 

Anneliese’s top baking tip

My top tip this month is to read through the whole recipe before making a start. It is so frustrating to get halfway through a recipe only to find that you don’t have all the ingredients in stock or that the dried fruit needs to soak in a brandy bath overnight. I know this from experience!! 

 

Where to next?