Nearing ninety and facing the final fade out, Roger Moore embarked on a memoir affectionately and playfully called À bientôt.
It’s a memento mori told with charm, child-like wit and a touch of grumpy old man annoyance.
For Moore, nostalgia is what it used to be, and a lot less painful than neuralgia. Indeed, pain is something largely ignored in this selective memory package, with the focus instead on celebrating a life lived with zest and optimism, good fortune, debonair eye brow raising, all in a tongue in cheek tone.
Regrets, as the songs goes, too few to mention, and it’s the upbeat tenure of the tome that endears readers to the man, no matter what opinion one may have of him as an actor.
In a chapter headed What Might Have Been, Moore muses that it would be terribly ungrateful to make lists of regrets as he has had such a wonderful and fun life.
And he is forthrightly philosophical that any judgement made or opportunity seized does not exist in a vacuum. What if Korda had not made films, what if he had not gone to Italy after his severance from Warner Brothers, what if Ian Fleming had not written the James Bond thrillers?
What If…? is a series of side notes that pepper the pages of A bientot…brief anecdotes that describe projects that never eventuated or scuttlebut news reports that linked him to all manner of fake news.
Readers of a certain age will no doubt agree with the sage scribblings of the chapter, Things That Annoy Me. It’s Roger the codger at his most negative, citing that, in his opinion, standards have dropped in society.
In his own life as with most of the iconic characters he has played, James Bond, Simon Templar, Brett Sinclair, Roger Moore has been the epitome of sartorial splendour (and at times fashion victim) and he bemoans the fact that casual attire is as relaxed as a curry assisted sphincter. Manners, eating habits, and the decline and “digitisation” of language is another bugbear.
“Something else that never fails to raise my hackles is when you watch a great television show and the end credits are squeezed.” Roger Moore, shop steward!
Roger Moore never made the milestone of his 90th birthday but the legacy of the event and the events leading up to it, is here to cherish and chuckle. A nice bloke who entertained generations, and a tireless ambassador for UNICEF for over a quarter of a century.
À bientôt by Roger Moore is published by Michael O’Mara Books.