My long-term friend Mark Batchelor kindly let me know about this evening’s special event at the London Film Museum ‘Bond in Motion‘ collection, where Edith Bowman was to conduct a landmark interview with the legendary duo of soundtrack composer David Arnold and inspirational lyricist Don Black.
Mark and I arranged to meet at half past five in the historic Marquess of Anglesey pub in Wellington Street, Covent Garden, before walking the few yards over the road to the Museum. We were greeted with a glass of champagne and invited to tour the impressive array of over 100 individual original items on display from the James Bond films including concept drawings, storyboards, scripts, model miniatures and full-size cars, boats, and motorbikes. Highlights include the Aston Martin DB10 from Spectre, the Aston Martin DB5 from GoldenEye; the Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me; the Rolls-Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger; and the Wallis WA-116 Agile Autogyro from You Only Live Twice.
We took our seats amongst the invited guests and ticket holders, as Edith introduced the hugely-respected pair and they spoke of their work on famous moments from the Bond series. Don related light-hearted stories of working with John Barry and Shirley Bassey, while David talked of working on the Pierce Brosnan era productions and ensuring the orchestral music dovetailed with the sound effects in chase scenes. The interview was supported by video segments from the respective films and highlighted the key role played by the title songs, music and lyrics in the success of the genre.
David continued to underline the quality of British musicians in the studio describing them as ‘the best in the world’ and stated his concern about the lack of music being taught in UK schools and how this will impact upon the supply-line of such valued musicians in the future. He then performed and sung one number at the keyboard, which drew appreciative and lengthy applause.
The interview ended with a series of questions from the audience, before the two stars retired from the stage and signed autographs for those who waited behind. I obtained a quick word and a picture with Don and was also delighted to meet the widow and family of Derek Watkins, the amazing trumpeter who played on every Bond soundtrack from Dr No to Skyfall.
Mark and I took one more quick tour of the museum and then walked down to the Strand and took the lift to the Radio Rooftop Bar, where we ordered a suitable cocktail and enjoyed the stunning view over the nighttime city.