A few years go I was showing my parents around the cathedral in St Albans. The nave happened to be closed to the public, but lots of private functions happen in there so it wasn’t unusual. What was a surprise was the fact that the massive organ started playing the James Bond theme tune. Considering we’re used to hearing it plucked out on the strings of a bass guitar or cello, to have it echo magisterially from the organ pipes was a surreal experience.
Well, it turns out Roger was there in person accepting an honorary doctorate of arts from the university of Hertfordshire. The Saint used to be filmed at Elstree studios a short drive away so it’s an area Roger knew well.
The week just gone has been one of devastating events so the news of Roger’s passing should only have dragged emotions even lower but it hasn’t. His death seems to have acted as the trigger for warm reflections and wistful grins. It’s certainly how I reacted. It speaks volumes about him.
So as a small commemoration to him I ask this: if Roger Moore were a pint, what would he be?
Obviously we remember him for Martini, shaken not stirred, but that’s also owned by the other actors who have played Bond. And yes he advertised Banks Bitter – he could shift units of anything – but it isn’t really him. He’s more evocative of a Scotch or a Bourbon on the rocks. Maybe even a dry red wine but there is a beer out there suave yet solid enough to be associated with him.
Moore was masculine essence packaged in a feminine elegance. The curves of his face were quite womanly, his blue eyes quite, dare I say, pretty. And yet this only enhanced his manliness. His laid back way of acting like he wasn’t trying only accentuated that macho swagger further, and to top this, there was the man that never took himself nor the characters he was playing too seriously. He somehow pulled off giving a performance that was straight yet tongue in cheek at the same time. How exactly can your performance be both rugged and kitsch simultaneously? Only he knew.
Even his name was evocative and naughty.
I recall a line from Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge (a creation who idolised Roger Moore): “Nobody else can wear a safari suit with such degree of casuality”
When Graham Norton interviewed him a shot was shown (pictured) to the camera. Graham stated, “Not many people can get away with peach” Roger could. He could actually wear a bobble hat and look sexy.
Fullers ESB is deep and fruity. It has a charm that suits slow drinking – this quality seems to be amplified when it’s served in its special goblet. And check the colour – it’s the same as the iconic shot of him in that shirt. ESB is the only beer in Britain that has got away with having a stalked glass that doesn’t immediately make the customer feel like a ponce. It endures on the credentials of the beer so when I order one and add “In a lovely glass, please”, the beetling curmudgeons at the bar can’t limpen the wrists. They know it’s too virile for mockery.
The glass the beer is in is graceful yet muscular. It could get away with wearing a pink silk cravat whilst overcoming henchmen with its bare fists on the roof of a speeding lorry.
A heavy fruity beer served without self-doubt in a British pub in a girly glass? It gets away with it. A pint of Roger Moore – I mean – ESB, please.
Here’s raising an eyebrow at you, Roger.