GLOCCOVNAA is an abbreviation for 'Great Life of Conflict, Climax or Virtually Nothing At All'. That was the long and ridiculous name I came out for my blog when I was 18 years old. Do click on the colourful icons on the right to check out different types of posts in this blog.

29 June, 2013

Bond Trivia #2 Battle of The Bonds

Have you heard of the term

Battle of the Bonds?
If not, here is the story. Imagine a time when Roger Moore was set to retire as James Bond after filming For Your Eyes Only. It was 1981 and the Bond series producers were looking all over the world for a suitable replacement who could live up to the legacy. Then came a man named Kevin McClory, an Irish screenwriter who was no stranger to James Bond since his involvement with Thunderball, both the book and the movie.
McClory (right) and Albert Broccoli (left) at premiere of Thunderball.
There were disputes between him and Ian Fleming that were long and complicated, I won't discuss it here. In essence, McClory and Broccoli-Saltzman settled out of court, leaving McClory with the rights to Thunderball and getting credited as the producer of the 1965 film while Broccoli-Saltzman could continue making tonnes of Bond films. Another important clause was that he was not allowed to use the rights to the movie between 1963 and 1973. Is this boring? I'll get to the good part now...
In 1983, McClory planned to release a movie based on his Thunderball story, named Never Say Never Again, to go against Eon production's long running Bond series when Roger Moore was rumoured to retire the role. Sean Connery was cast as James Bond 12 years after he last played Bond in Diamonds Are Forever and it got many speculating who would be Eon's contender in the battle of Bonds. Many actors auditioned for the role of the new James Bond then including James Brolin and future Bond Timothy Dalton. However Eon decided to give the role back to Moore as a safe bet.
Sean Connery (52) and Roger Moore (55) in 1983.
At that point, both actors were in their 50s and it was quite a stretch to have suave secret agents at that age still able to pick up young beautiful women and hop around dodging bullets like they used to in early Bond movies. In Never Say Never Again, Connery's Bond included several hints of his age and some struggles when going against opponents much younger than he. In Octopussy, Moore's Bond gets affiliated with a middle aged Bond "woman" instead of the usual young Bond girls, exhibiting maturity and growth to the character. But as usual both films follow the standard Bond blueprint: the hero defeats the villain's evil plans and gets the beautiful girl/woman through elaborate actions scenes.
In the end, Octopussy performed slightly better than Never Say Never Again in the box office, though critics preferred the latter due to great casting of the villain Maximillian Largo played by Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer. Speaking of casting, there was even a very familiar comedian who had a minor role in Never Say Never Again before he became an icon... I wonder if you would recognize him with the long wavy hair!
It was definitely facinating to see 2 films about the same character played by 2 established actors released months aparts, more so for an iconic film series like James Bond.

**Another trivia: Never Say Never Again was directed by Irvin Kershner, mentor of George Lucas and director of Empire Strikes Back.


22 June, 2013

Bond Trivia #1 The First Bond

For the last few days, I have been busy with my research work at home. My enthusiasm with work is plunging as I review countless sheets of paper filled with numbers and gibberish. The only thing that got me going was my Bond soundtrack playlist playing from my computer. Now I am taking a short rest from my paper work to express my love for my favourite franchise of all time, 007 James Bond legacy.

Let's start with a trivia that will win you drinks in a bar, or at least that was what I heard.
Who was the first actor to play James Bond?
As most of you may know, there were a total of 25 James Bond movies, 23 produced by Eon Productions and 2 non-Eon. The most famous "first" James Bond is obviously Sir Sean Connery who starred in 7 Bond films between 1962-1983. But was he the first actor to play James Bond? Apparently not... In 1954, there was a CBS television series called Climax! that acquired the rights to Ian Fleming's first book Casino Royale. They made it into a one hour episode titled "Card Sense" and starred Barry Nelson as Jimmy Bond.
The episode followed the book very loosely and reversed the role of James Bond and Felix Leiter, Bond being the American "Combined Intelligence" agent and Felix "Clarence" Leiter being the British agent. So he is one of the two non-British actors to play James Bond, the other being George Lazenby.
The actor playing Jimmy Bond, Barry Nelson is no stranger to American television. However he was better known for his works on broadway. Another thing to note about this episode was that at the point of airing, Casino Royale was the only Bond novel in existence. Ian Fleming went on to write 13 more novels and expended the character and world of James Bond until his demise in 1964. Who could have predicted that a television adaptation of a mere British spy novel in 1954 would become an artifact of a legacy that is still going strong.
There will be another Bond trivia coming soon...


01 June, 2013


I miss those days when I can just take a stroll around the city to enjoy the scenery whenever I want regardless of the time or weather.

I miss those days when I could just run to the nearby supermarket to grab groceries without starting the car engine.

I miss those days when I walk to the dinning hall at some random time and always be greeted by my buddies who share our happy and unhappy moments together.

I miss those days when my housemates and I march to and from our lecture theaters to face those dreadful hours together.

I miss Glasgow so much!

It hasn't been long since I last been to Glasgow, yet it feels like I haven't been there for a long long time. I think I miss the place not for its beauty but for the memories I have had for the year I was studying there. It is definitely a stretch to say that Glasgow is even close to beautiful.
The first impression of my room, Rubbish Dump!
I remember not liking anything about Glasgow during the first week there. It was at that time when my mentor told me about how much he loved the city and how I would appreciate my life there but obviously my mind was preoccupied by the thought of getting rid of the stench in my tiny room. Hey bro, I get it now! You were totally right! My first time of merely walking around the city was an entirely new experience to me because I have never walked around the city center without breaking a sweat... damn KL is hot!
We only have each other!
The experience of being foreigner for a long period was also a fond one. I remember one day I went out to get groceries with a group of housemates at the supermarket and we saw a lady wearing tudung with her child. Our first instinct as Malaysians was that she was Malay and we had the crazy idea to test whether she was Malaysian. So we stood in a row and started singing Negaraku when the lady walked past. That was just one of the many ridiculous things we do in Glasgow.
I put all all my effort in making my own chicken soup for dinner.
And obviously I won't forget how much I miss cooking. Getting ready in the kitchen was like an adventure everyday. I had a bunch of culinary experiments throughout the year, mostly recreating Malaysian dishes I felt like eating. During festive seasons like CNY, we had our own "reunion dinner". We filled the table with all the amazing dishes we could make with whatever resources we had and eat till our stomachs gave up.
Not forgetting the game that brought us together almost every night when we had nothing to do, Mahjong! Before going to Glasgow, I had no idea how to play with those labelled tiles whatsoever. But all the guys in our house learned how to play it by the time we left Glasgow. It was the muhibbah moment when Malay, Chinese and Indian play 3 player Mahjong on the same table. Awesome!
Before travelling to Glasgow, I have always wanted to experience snow since I have only scene them in movies. During my stay there, there was a period of heatwave during summer when I doubt that I would ever have the chance to see snow. After multiple predictions for snow by BBC, it finally happened in 5th December 2011 just before midnight. It was glorious to run out in shorts and slippers to throw snowballs at each other, to slide down slopes of snow with our makeshift sledge. I never knew snow was so fun at the start and yet dreaded for the next couple of days. Just the thought of walking on slippery "black ice" reminds me of how much I disliked walking during winter.
Of course the main reason for being in Glasgow was to get a degree. Those months were the toughest we have ever experienced in the whole university life. We had to settle into that new environment and jump across hurdles after hurdles that felt like they were never going to end. I believe the worst period was between February and May 2012. That was the time when assignments, assessments and the research project were like bombs waiting to explode one at a time. Then even after all that, there was the finals. I have no idea how I got through all that without catching a break.
After all that hard work and sleepless night, I have finally got what I went to pursue. Looking back at those times now overwhelms me with the sense of adventure in a way that I survived months of punishment and  managed to find refuge in the company of extraordinary friends. We made it!
Before I end this, I just want to emphasize the title
I am not going to forget those times I spent there. I really hope that I have a chance to return to this city once more... maybe in a distant future!