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Birmingham: From a missing flight to a thrill

By: Anders Frejdh
November 28th 2003 marked a spot in my life as it was a day of unluckiness, or a matter of a time optimist as my friends called it.

I and my friend Mona arrived at Gothenburg City Airport at 14.15; our flight was going to depart at 14.55. After arriving 40 minutes earlier, I thought plenty of time was in the can for us to park and check-in (small airport…) but someone judged us on the contrary. After finding no vacancies at the car park, which itself led into creating our own parking space (forgive me Ryan air but it wasn’t my fault as I see it) we arrived at the check in desk 2 minutes “late’. It was closed and a policeman explained the situation that Ryan air always do like this, not a service-minded air company or what? Optimistic as we were before, we thought of visiting London before going to our hotel in Birmingham but soon we had to forget those plans.

We were about to arrive at the Heath Lodge Hotel (a small private hotel which I highly can recommend just 1,5 miles from NEC) in Birmingham at 2.30am as we had to take the evening flight instead of going in the afternoon. But, Bond fan as I am (Mona wasn’t to difficult to convince to join me though) I was delighted and happy to wake up on Saturday 29th with the hope of meeting some new people from the Bond films at the 2003 Sport & Memorabilia Show.

The venue at NEC in Birmingham was larger than I had imagined. After visiting some Bond conventions previously I had some thoughts about it but it showed out to be even better as I’d expected.

Over 1000 dealer stands and approximately 100 stars from various areas attended with 18 Bond stars in the front seat including lovely faces like;

The always friendly and nice and reportedly an Indian food lover, Caroline Munro, the dashing and still extremely good-looking Valerie Leon, the super sweet and incredibly friendly Lynn Holly Johnson, which I hadn’t met before but really will have a place in my heart forever. She told me John Moreno took grate deal of care of her and her sister during the filming and also that she stayed in his house when the premiere at Odeon, Leicester Square took place.

The most surprising guest and a person which I neither had met before was Tanya Roberts, she really was a superwoman! (Although Margot Kidder alias “Lois Lane’ from the ‘Superman’ films was there) I will never forget this extra ordinary woman and the most beautiful 48-year old woman I’ve met as well as one of the most gorgeous women I’ve ever met. She seemed popular among the other fans as well and I can easily understand it as it was overwhelming to chat a little with her. Among things she said was that one of her best friends is originally from Iran (where Mona comes from) and that she lived in a castle near Brighton while filming A VIEW TO A KILL.

Another great person to see again was, John Moreno, a true gentleman with an extremely friendly personality showing respect to everybody. An anecdote from John’s life was that in 1958 he went, only 18 years old, to the Far East for two and a half years travelling. As an example he told us he spent 6 months in Iran dating Khan’s (the leader of Iran at the time) nurse.

Thanks John, both me and Mona think it was a pleasure speaking to you and to learn a little about the film industry and how things work there as it isn’t always what it looks like from the outside.

Other great Bond personalities I meet for the first time was John Wyman, a great guy and very different compared to Erich Kriegler, Helene Hunt, a very sweet woman, Albert Moses, a professional and very friendly man who said he once worked with Kirk Douglas, Blanche Ravalec, a genuine French lady with a lovely smile and nice attitude towards fans, David Hedison, also a genuine gentleman and a great person to talk with, Zena Marshall, who told us she used to socialize with both Princess Lilian and the late Prince Bertil of Sweden, Jeremy Bulloch, a nice man and very respectable in many ways as he also told me a little about the film industry in England (he also said he’d worked freely without pay in an upcoming independent film).

Other familiar faces were Shane Rimmer, Eunice Gayson, Madeline Smith, Richard Kiel, seemingly tired on the Sunday as he has attended many shows the last year, the for ever lovely woman from the Caribbean island of Jamaica, Martine Beswicke.

Last, but not the least, I met other Bond aficionades like the president of James Bond Collectors Club, Dave Worrall, a good mate with a great sense of humour who made me jealous after telling me he had dinner Saturday night with Tanya Roberts (lucky bastard!) among others. Gareth Owen, Roger Moore’s PA and the force behing the strong Bond line-up at this year’s show. Brian Smith, from the James Bond memorabilia specialist Bond and Beyond and Ajay Chowdhury, "London’s Perry Mason".

Besides chatting with the Bond people we tried to find time to go through the dealers stands which wasn’t an easy task as it were so many of them.

Dealers came from different fields of the market specialising in books, autographs, toys, art works, posters, collector’s cards, records etc. A as a result of this we left the event tired but happy even if our wallets, well, at least mine, were much thinner after “investing’ (a term I like as an economist) in various items.

Anders Frejdh © 2004 From Sweden With Love



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