Bored of James Bond yet? Yeah, me too. It’s not just that it’s everywhere, or that it’s basically two hours of money being printed (I’d rather watch footage of a cashpoint with some sound effects dubbed over the top). It’s the endless speculation about who will be the next Bond. So here’s an idea: Mark E Smith. Yes, that one, the one in The Fall. Why not? He'd be perfect – here’s why:
He’s in his prime
Well, ish. Smith is a trim 58. That’s just ten years older than D Craig, and the same age as Roger Moore was in his last Bond film. Unlike Sean Connery in ‘Never Say Never Again’, Smith has all his own hair (though he did once leave his false teeth in Badly Drawn Boy’s car). He’s as suave now as he’s ever been.
Or dapp-uh. When asked what his favourite thing was, MES once replied ‘Italian leather-soled shoes.’ This might not play that well with the Savile Row heritage Bond of recent films, but it’s a big improvement on Roger Moore’s daft safari suits. Never mind running about in a campy tuxedo, Smith knows that whether you’re fronting down the forces of global disorder, or trying to get paid by a promoter in Preston, you have to look ‘professional’, which means: suit trousers, ironed white shirt and a leather blouson.
He appreciates the ladies
‘I’ve had more women than you’ve ever seen,’ Mark E Smith boasted to Caitlin Moran in a bizarre-even-by-his-standards interview in 1994 (he ended up asking her to hit him). Bond may be a lothario when he’s not shooting people, but Smith mixes business and pleasure. He married and divorced his guitarist; he married and divorced his fanclub manager; he married his keyboardist. Moneypenny would have to watch her back.
James Bond has offed a lot of people, but when it comes to cold-bloodedness, he’s a novice compared to the Fall frontman. His band has had nearly 70 members over the years, and so notorious is Smith as a hirer and firer that there’s even a book, ‘The Fallen’, about the casualties. Like Bond, Smith is a psychopath who people still seem to think is alright.
He’s apparently unkillable
Forget Daniel Craig’s weedy little bottles of Heineken, Bond is supposed to be hard drinking and hard smoking (‘Bond lit his seventieth cigarette of the day’ is a line from one of the early books). MES would show his class here: famously scornful of fruit and veg and famously unscornful of beer, whisky and tabs, there’d be no new-man crap-uh with him. He’d never cook a fucking omelette (as Roger Moore does in ‘A View to a Kill’). Smith is tough: a hard man to put down. And that’s without the speed.
He writes his own music
The Bond theme is almost as big a deal as the film itself, and Smith is on to a winner here. If pressed for time, he could repurpose old Fall numbers: ‘Hotel Blofeld’, ‘Fiery Drax’, or, in the ultimate prescient sign that we should pit the hard-loving, hard-living Mark E Smith against the forces of mayhem: ‘Spectre vs Erector’. That’s a Number One, right there.
Not sure about Mr Smith? Here are 11 actors who could be the next James Bond.