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The "Saga" of Ian Fleming’s supposedly last interview

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#1 Revelator



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Posted 05 November 2015 - 08:06 PM

Here is one of the most obscure mysteries in the world of James Bond. In July 1965 a “magazine for men” named Saga published what it offensively titled “Ian Fleming’s Last Interview: How to Take Any Woman…James Bond Style!”
The mystery starts with the fact that isn't really an interview. Take a look:



 Ian Fleming’s Last Interview: How to Take Any Woman…James Bond Style!


You don't have to be a spy—or look like Sean Connery—to make love to the woman you want. Here, the creator of James Bond bares 007 seduction secrets.


Editors' Note: In the summer of 1964, French journalist Alain Ayache interviewed Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. Fleming agreed to sit for another interview at a later date in Switzerland. But Fleming died in September, 1964. Ayache went over his notes carefully and decided to release them unedited, in Ian Fleming's own words. Here in a SAGA exclusive, is Ian Fleming on the subject closest to James Bond's heart.


Seduction is an art that must be practiced casually in order to obtain the best results. No sentimentalism. A seducer such as James Bond takes very careful aim each time he spots a quarry to be certain of success. A setback would be as fatal to him as if he had shot at and missed an adversary, Beretta in hand.


Thus he must follow a rigorous training program. Statistics prove that 81.6 percent of all females considered beautiful, elegant or simply attractive, notice, first of all, a man's glance. They read it like an open book. Everything is in the glance. Harden it until it is metallic. The look that you use must be fiery, rapid and searching—but it must never rest on the object of your desire more than several fractions of a second.


The first quality that strikes a woman, according to men like James Bond, is an impression of virility. A woman doesn't have to feel that you have noticed her; it is she who must notice you. A man must undress a woman with his gaze, but for a woman, a simple, rapid glance suffices to decide whether or not you are “her type.”


James Bond, a man who loves a fast seduction, does not behave with women the way most men would. Women, being the way they are, love to be intrigued. This is no great secret, but there are different ways of taking advantage of this weakness.


The most effective method, on meeting a woman for the first time, is to affect an air of preoccupation. Pay only the slightest attention to the hand she offers you; just enough so that you will not appear impolite, and just little enough so that for an instant she will think you are a cad!


Avoid compliments—leave such banalities to those men devoid of sex appeal.


Use your metallic gaze; your power to stir emotion is gone if you allow a sentimental stare to take its place. Women sensitive to the virile charm of a James Bond (and believe me, there is some of this charm in all of us!) love to meet men who are hard, implacable and solid—men who are direct.


It is also important not to leap at the first word pronounced by the woman as soon as she has been introduced to you. On the contrary, let several seconds pass, as if you were very occupied in making some private plans, or plotting the details of how you were going to meet her the next day!


Don't waste your effectiveness by recounting in great detail your trips abroad, even if they are true. Just pass over them by saying things like, “Jamaica to me meant a broken arm!” And if she insists on having more details, pretend that you didn't hear her and pass on to another subject.


At a party, never stay with the same group; don't hesitate to move away, to stay by yourself in a corner—but in a corner where everyone can see you. Don't appear to enjoy yourself too much. Where others break out laughing, be satisfied just to smile to your right and your left—it's more esthetic.


Never readjust your tie; women definitely consider this gesture as indicative of indecision and timidity! Instead, in order to impress them favorably, put your hand in your pants pocket, or rub your chin with it. These details may seem insignificant to many of you, but you'll find that you are wrong.


It is not advisable to lacquer your hair; I would recommend this only for those men who ordinarily comb their hair straight back. For the others, it's better to cultivate a rebellious lock, one that’s never quite in place, but hangs slightly over the forehead.


In nightclubs, restaurants, and other public places, it's always useful if certain waiters, bartenders or members of the staff know “who you are,” without, of course, knowing too much about you.


Don't waste time in trying to “make yourself interesting.” Don't feel that you must show your little social talents by doing card tricks, or by telling “the latest funny story.” In order to seduce, you must observe a certain silence. Women of the world often equate a quiet man with a “man who knows more than he wants to say.”


While someone else is giving what he believes to be a brilliant demonstration of his talents, you must bring your smile into play, to the right and the left, with your most ironic air.


When she asks your opinion on some question with which you would be expected to be familiar, don't grasp at the opportunity like a drowning man reaching for a life preserver. Tug at your ear a bit, and then reply, without making too much of your knowledge. Nothing bores a pretty woman more than a man who wants to tell her everything he knows.


Don't hesitate to show your boredom if people around you are discussing an uninteresting subject. There will be at least one person of the opposite sex who will share your feeling.


Don't ever be the one who leaves a party last. I think it useful to mention that there is a means of departure you can use that will leave behind an “odd impression.” All you have to do is buy a watch with a bell alarm, which you can set to ring at the chosen moment. This will not fail to intrigue those around you!


It will happen, probably, that you will feel like dancing. I recommend strongly to all those who think that they have James Bond blood in their veins, never to dance just for the sake of dancing! You must choose useful dances, dances that will permit you to improve your advantage, and to know where you stand in relation to your partner.


Slow dances are recommended, of course. I suggest that you not make excessive use of them, however; a slow dance is like alcohol, capable of playing bad tricks on you if you are not accustomed to it. Avoid the childish cheek-to-cheek stuff. Squeezing your partner against you is okay, but it won't get you anywhere—even if you sense that she has a strong attraction to you. The most important thing is to make sure of the complicity of the woman you're dancing with, but not to abuse the circumstances.


Avoid talking about her; act as if you weren't familiar with refined manners. But don't be completely silent, and don't stare her straight in the eyes. Dances, slow ones especially, have nothing in common with the moment of truth at a bullfight! You might, if need be, permit yourself to catch a lock of her hair in your hand, if it happens to be long enough.


If she responds to your appeals, cut her off abruptly. Don't ask her for the following dance. Find some pretext for disappearing. Return half an hour later, and without saying a word to her, take her by the hand, lead her onto the floor, and dance with her.

Then simply say: “Do you plan to stay here all evening?”
It is probable that she will reply,

Then, “My car is in front of the door, let's go have a drink somewhere else. Go on out, I'll rejoin you in three minutes.”


It is necessary that in all these things your behavior conveys a certain disdain for other people—without exaggeration, however. Women like strong men, but not brutes.

As soon as you are in the car, turn on the radio. You will inevitably hit on some popular record. Feign an irritated expression and change the station until you find some classical music, a Beethoven symphony, for example. Your companion will regard you again with more attention and curiosity!


When she shows signs of tenderness, don't press her hands in yours. It may be very disagreeable to hold back, but don't, under any circumstances, allow yourself to hold her hand!


If you order a second drink, don't ask for just anything. Give the bartender the recipe for your special cocktail. Make sure it's one that will take even him by surprise—even if it makes you gag to drink it.

You will once more have scored a point.


If you go into a nightclub or a discotheque, don't commit the fatal error of all beginners—don't take a table. Strategically, choose the bar; you're then sure of seeing everything, and nothing will hamper you in moving about quickly.


If, on entering, you see a woman of remarkable beauty, don't rush; you will get ahead of her desires, because to convince her of them, you will first have to catch her glance. Patience.

Others will rush out to ask her to dance.
She will refuse.
And then, probably after several refusals, she will by chance dance with someone.
Don't get panicky. You haven't lost the game yet.


You should take the wise precaution, even though you're chomping at the bit, not to ask any other woman to dance. Inevitably, the beautiful female you lust after will pass in front of you while dancing with her escort. The floors of nightclubs, it is well known, are very small.


With a simple gesture of your index finger, you ask her for the next dance.
With a nod of the head, she will tell you, “yes.”


Take care to choose a moment when her escort has his back to you. This “yes” that she gives you with a nod of her head is worth more than hours of chatter. When you dance with her the following dance, she will be already three-quarters conquered.


You will stick in her mind as the man who had the courage to ask her in spite of her escort. She will remember that you were not the first to approach her. As you know, women hate to submit to just any man—above all, to the first one who comes along.


You must avoid the common pitches habitually used in nightclubs; be content to improve your advantage by declaring with a detached air, “I know at least five different men around me who would be delighted to dance with you.” She will reply that these types do not interest her.


“What is your type of man, then?” you ask.

She will probably twist her lip a bit, and then, word by word, she will automatically paint a picture that down to the color of the hair will resemble you.


At that point you squeeze her a little harder in your arms, embracing her but saying nothing. All this you can achieve without the slightest difficulty and with considerable pleasure.


I definitely advise, to the James Bond that sleeps in the hearts of all of you, to remain silent for periods of at least 30 seconds. A silence so prolonged will make your partner think about you.


If you want to avoid disappointing her, don't propose a walk through the park, hand-in-hand. This type of woman expects action from you. Don't forget that in her mind you are “a man apart.” You must practice feigning indifference. This approach will often get surprising results, particularly if the woman you are dancing or talking with is convinced that you “have a weakness for her.”


It is never necessary to give to women the impression that they have chosen you, but rather that you have conquered them.


Never forget that all women are available, or more exactly, all are ready to be swept off their feet. Some love to speak of it as their “one fault,” in which case it is only necessary to give them the impression that they are conquered. It's that simple! If she thinks that you are an exceptional type, she will also think that she is an exceptional woman!


It is necessary, if you are one of those men who like a quick seduction, that you get into the habit of discerning at first glance the woman who will not refuse to dance with you, or who wants to talk with you. This might appear difficult at first. Actually, there's nothing to it.


Men, in general, lack audacity—or often confuse audacity with haste.


Everything about you must breathe CLASS!

As I see it, a man of class in women's eyes is, above all, a man who one realizes will not be easy to handle, a man who must live at the burning pace of a sports car in a 24-hour endurance race.


It won't get you anywhere to brag of your money, your qualities, or your connections. Women have a horror of being “put on.”

Some of my recommendations will not be effective for some men.


It is absolutely necessary that the reader of this article measure at least 5-9. He must be thin. Age is not so important, but he shouldn't be past 60. He must have a nonchalant, blasé appearance. His presence should inspire respect from other men. He must appear elegant, but at the same time a little careless of his appearance—and, above all, he must make of the conquest of women in general as noble a sport as golf! He must avoid wearing showy cuff-links, and especially rounded shirt collars. He must pay attention to the way he knots his tie, and his shoes by preference should be square-toed.


I know that these details will appear silly to those whose goal in life is not necessarily seduction. But my advice is directed to those who do not want to waste time approaching a woman when they have no chance of success!


It is necessary to avoid swaggering, rubbing your hands together in satisfaction, talking in a loud voice, leering lecherously and telling coarse jokes. And also knowing how to dance too well.


There is no perfect man on this earth, and a woman will want you to have a few faults, a few gaps that she can try to fill.


You would do well to try, one evening, sending an old, trusted friend on ahead of you—one whom you know thinks a lot of you. You plan to arrive a half-hour after him. He will have had time to spread, by way of' flattering remarks about you, such an interest in your eventual presence, that you, and no one else, will be able to satisfy it.


All successes, like all delicate operations, must be prepared for conscientiously. It won't be love at first sight if you don't plan it beforehand.


What about the importance of a man’s profession in the eyes of a woman?

It is obvious that an unattached man doesn't place much importance on the profession of his female companion, as long as she is beautiful. It's not the same for a woman.

If you meet a woman who asks you, “What do you do for a living?”, don't reply immediately; take time for reflection. Then say, “Is it so important?”
She will probably insist. You have by your hesitation excited her curiosity.


Don't tell her you're a spy—she won't believe you. On the contrary, say to her, “I'd prefer that we talk about other things. My profession is nothing very noble, and fortunately it keeps me out of the limelight.”


You will then see a smile appear on her face. If she is intelligent, she will read between the lines that you are someone “special,” and as she will have probably just read some mystery thriller, she will imagine that you are one of these shadowy heroes whom it will be useless to pester with questions!


If pressed further, remember that women will not want, in most cases, to go out with a floorwalker, a clerk or a hairdresser even if he appeals to her. She will prefer a popular novelist, a mystery writer, a journalist, an explorer, a deep-sea diver, an airline pilot, a photographer, a stunt flyer, a croupier, or even a man who somehow or other is “mixed up” in counterespionage!

Don't disappoint her!


Don't commit the gross mistake of telling her your real profession! What is she looking for, after all?

A dream? Escape?

Then be generous. Give it to her!


What on earth should one make of this? As I wrote above, this interview doesn’t read anything like an interview. It reads like a lengthy article on how to pick up women. It sticks resolutely to the subject, with none of the tangents typical to a normal interview, unless Ayache had asked Fleming only one question and received a very long response.

Was the magazine playing an elaborate prank? Probably not--it lacked the imagination. Saga was published from 1950 to 1983, and initially focused on “men’s adventure” stories before deteriorating into Maxim-style pin-ups in the late 70s. The issue with Fleming’s “interview” also boasted extracts from The Quiller Memorandum, lurid non-fiction stories (“The Air Force Academy Made Us Steal”) and helpful pieces like “How to get a top $$$ job overseas” and “I can lead you to millions in sunken treasure.”

And what about the interviewer? Was he for real? Indeed: Alain Ayache (1936-2008) was a French journalist who eventually became a newspaper publisher. In the early 1960s he wrote for newspapers such as Paris-Presse and Aux Écoutes. Could it be that he approached the ailing Fleming for an interview and was fobbed off with an article Fleming had been unable to flog elsewhere? Or perhaps, in stereotypically French fashion, he’d asked Fleming to write a Bondean guide to seduction, which he published in France and then offered to Saga.

Perhaps Ayache wrote the article himself and duped the Americans. If so, he must have been a careful student of Fleming, since the text references Jamaica, Bond’s beretta, special cocktails that don't taste that great (in a letter to the Guardian Fleming admitted to finding the Vesper "unpalatable"), and Bond’s comma of hair. Above all, the style of the article matches Fleming’s and carries his tone, style, and personality. Anyone familiar with Pearson and Lycett’s biographies will recognize Fleming’s voice in this “interview.”

Furthermore, its pick-up artist advice corresponds to the techniques that Fleming emplpyed to become a successful lady-killer in his younger days. Play hard-to-get, he advises. Have an air of pre-occupation that creates intrigue. Keep your distance and be a man of mystery: reticent, offering only cryptic information about yourself. Don’t be afraid to occasionally seem aloof, silent, indifferent, or even rude. All of this describes Fleming’s style of self-presentation: Leave ‘em wanting more, as they say in show business.

Nowadays, pick-up artistry is in rightful disrepute, and there’s something repulsively cynical in reading such articles. But one should also note that Fleming’s advice, which stops far short of the bedroom, is tempered by an old-fashioned sense of fair play: “Women like strong men, but not brutes.” Or, as he writes earlier, “The most important thing is to make sure of the complicity of the woman you’re dancing with, but not to abuse the circumstances.” As for whether Fleming’s advice still works today, that’s best left for readers to try out, to their benefit—or peril.

#2 AMC Hornet

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 09:07 PM

Perhaps if I'd ever learned not to care, I might have been more successful with the fairer sex. As it is, I failed to exercise almost all the above points, lost out time and again, and since sticking to being just me, I have now been with the love of my life for going on 13 years.


It all depends on what you want, lads.

#3 Revelator



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Posted 05 November 2015 - 09:30 PM

Perhaps if I'd ever learned not to care, I might have been more successful with the fairer sex. As it is, I failed to exercise almost all the above points, lost out time and again, and since sticking to being just me, I have now been with the love of my life for going on 13 years.


It all depends on what you want, lads.


Congratulations Hornet! It's worth pointing out that you're a happier man than the unhappily married Fleming. He might have had relations with lots of ladies, but few of them led to anything lasting or beneficial, with the possible exception of his affair with Blanche Blackwell.

Edited by Revelator, 05 November 2015 - 09:30 PM.

#4 Dustin



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Posted 05 November 2015 - 10:08 PM

Frankly...It reads like advice given after the fourth double bourbon - in dog drinks. Fleming made a number of similar remarks during interviews and articles not solely concerned with the topic.

But the gist of it was that his own success with women was largely due to a straightforward approach, not to any juju stuff he declared here half-mockingly: Fleming simply asked a girl he was interested in if she cared for a drink at his pad. If she declined he saved himself any further trouble and set his sights on another. Since he used to look halfway presentable in his younger years he often did have success, true. But the simple trick was that he aimed to ask those he felt were already inclined to move closer, not the ones who found him horrible.

As for this 'interview' - it's perfectly possible Ayache talked to Fleming and perhaps got some notes Fleming already had handy for future use. I does feel somewhat tongue-in-cheek, strongly influenced by the beginning Bond-hype and its male fantasy of 'getting them all'. I don't think this is a made-up text; but it may well have not been intended to be published in this version.