The admiral standing erect near the double entrance doors of the Connaught Hotel in Carlos Place is dressed as a doorman. No-one dares think of him as a doorman, for his majestic presence. Even his unbeatable calm is disturbed when a taxi stops outside the old-fashioned hotel and out step two gentlemen in their eighties. The admiral stares. One old man has bushy beard, moustache and white whiskers. The other, paying the taxi, has no facial hair but a massive double chin. He makes an affable “Good morning!” to the admiral and passes into the hotel followed by the six-footer who says, “Fine day my dear mun,” to him. It is an Edinburgh accent.
The admiral consults the shiny buttons on his greatcoat. The faces he knows, because both great men have breakfasted, lunched, dined, stayed with wives at the Connaught many times. What’s the connection? Ah, he has it! They were Bonds, James Bonds. The beard is Sean Connery; has to be eighty-two or so, and Roger Moore older, perhaps eighty-five. Well! Here’s a howdoyoudo, thinks the admiral. He looks at his watch. It is exactly 0848 hours. They’ll be here for breakfast.
Just now an ancient and beautiful Bristol motorcar parks illegally on the other side of Carlos Place. The driver is another tall, elderly gentleman, in dark jacket and grey trousers; an OE tie with a light blue shirt He salutes the admiral as he strolls over and heads for the doors.
Obviously the admiral does not recognise him. “Timothy Dalton,” murmurs the new arrival, “there’s a Bond’s Breakfast, did no-one tell you?” and vanishes through the famous portal. The doorman ponders. ‘Bond’s Breakfast’ he said. Ah yes, wait a moment. He’d seen all the Bond films with his wife and children; they were all grown up now of course; except the wife. She has never grown up thank God. Regular Petula Pan she is. . . now: Timothy Dalton. Yes, I remember – only two Bonds – Living Daylights and Licence to kill. These memories are disturbed by a chap marching down from Grosvenor Square with a strong jaw and an umbrella. This fellow’s younger. Yes, thought the doorman, the chap coming was the one who only did one: One Bond film that is. With a friendly but distant grin this man turns in through the double doors. The doorman takes his mobile out of a deep pocket and calls his wife. She is excited by the news. “His name’s Lazenby,” she shouts into the machine, “George Lazenby! Australian!” It is nearly nine o’clock.
A stocky fellow who looks as if he spends a couple of hours in a gym every day is walking fast from Brook Street. The doorman thinks, there’s a face that’s been lived in. The chap comes straight up, stops and examines the admiral. He’s got with alarming, blue eyes. He says, “Daniel Craig. I have an appointment here for breakfast.” The doorman salutes, announces, “They’re almost all here sir, please come in!” And the stocky gentleman nods his head and goes into the hotel. Just now another taxi swishes up and it is Pierce Brosnan, dressed for the country in highnecked pullover and corduroys. This time the admiral recognises the actor instantly, partly because he never changes, never ages at all. “Bloody cold, London!” he mutters to the admiral as he runs inside the hotel.
The management has given them a special table in a corner of the Restaurant, not the Grill. Moore has organised everything. The meal is to be kedgeree or scrambled eggs, orange juice, fillet or gammon steaks for those who want such a thing, kippers likewise, pots of boiling coffee with jugs of fresh cream, a multitude of well-filled toast racks. The six men encircle a round table laden with flowers. Mr Connery and Mr Craig look at these with some amusement. Brosnan approves, and so does Moore, who asked for them. Dalton does not notice them. Lazenby is enchanted by the young waitress.
Moore to everyone: “Well sit down then, and I’ll order the champagne.”
Connery to Craig: “Trust Roger not to forget the champagne, Bollinger I presume.”
Craig to Connery: “Not shaken at all.”
Moore to Lazenby: You’re looking fine George. What age would you be now?”
Lazenby: “I’m not telling you, but seventy three. And you?”
Moore: “Not a state secret, I’m eighty-five.”
Connery: “Fresh as a daisy, mun! Still rich, then?”
Moore: “Oh very rich. I had a percentage on my seven.”
Connery: Clever bogger!”
Lazenby: I got a lousy salary and Diana Rigg to knock me about.”
Connery: “I’m as poor as only a Scotsman can be. Had to do another Bond when I was an auld man. (to Daniel) How old are you boy?”
Craig: “State secret but I won’t see forty again.”
Brosnan: “And there won’t be any more Bonds, so you’ll stay young.”
Moore to Brosnan: “Talking about age . . .?”
Brosnan: “No secrets: I’m sixty-three.”
Lazenby: “Better not work out our combined age.”
(The champagne, Krug not Bollinger arrives, is opened and the glasses are filled)
Moore: “Thanks for coming. A toast gentlemen! Here’s to Bond, James Bond, and to Ian Fleming without whom we would not be meeting like this today.”
Connery: “And Cubby B. and his daughter!”
Moore: “And that shade over there in the corner only we can see! It’s Harry S.!
Craig: “We’ve forgotten David Niven. He played Bond too. My little excursion had the same title. The first of two I mean. Don’t think there’ll be any more . . .”
All: “To Niven, who shall not be forgotten.”
Connery: “Another fine wee Scot, I’ll have you know.”
(The waitress wants to know . . .) “Which of you gennelmen wants kedgeree and who scrambled?”
Craig: “No fish and eggs for me thanks!”
Moore: “Peasant! A lot more for me then. Goody!”
Connery: “And here’s to Roger, who got us together todee! May God not piss on his boots!”
Dalton: “I’ll drink to that.”
Lazenby to Craig: “Why are you so obstinate about not having kedgeree?”
Craig: “Why are you so insistent I should?”
Moore: “And our directors! We’ve forgotten about our directors!”
Connery: “Can´t remember any of their names.”
Brosnan: “Most of them were film editors who became directors.”
Moore: “True enough; anyway, a toast to our directors, God bless ‘em!”
The Bonds enjoy their Connaught breakfast, the hours pass, the older men leave. Lazenby looks sadly at the waitress, who doesn’t have a clue who he is. Craig goes to the gym. Outside, the admiral dressed as a doorman sighs, texts his wife – they were all here! I saw them all. Tell you about it later.All of ‘em I tell you: Six James Bonds. It’s a miracle.