Year 2007 - The Year of the Bond
Moving here to Hong Kong has exposed me to a lot of ancient philosophy and mythology of the Orient. When searching for my apartment I learned a lot about Feng Shui and its search for harmony in living and working conditions. I also learned about the relevance of colours - red is luck and success - which is by happy "coincidence" also my new colour for the New Year, now that the red devil (Michael Schumacher) is finally gone and wonderful Ferrari has a new prince to deliver its success this year (Kimi Raikkonen). I also learned about the power of the dragon and (when in Rome..) of course I too have an image of the dragon now in my new Hong Kong home. But most of all, at this time of end-of-year, I've heard a lot about the Chinese Zodiac.
12 year cycle
Rather than 12 signs in one year of the western horoscope, the Chinese Zodiac is also based on 12, but these are 12 separate years (all animals). This is a really cool set. The Chinese zodiac starts with the rat. How cool is that? Nothing warm and cuddly, but right off the bat, they start with the rat. You gotta love that (says this HatRat). And it gets better. They have the bull, the rabbit, the tiger - yes remember the biggest cat is not the "king of the jungle?" lion (Leo as in the Western horoscope) - which incidentially does not live in the jungle. The true king of the jungle is of course the tiger the animal with the biggest license to kill, and they live here in Asia. (Tomi wasn't this supposed to be about Bond, not Animal Kingdom?)
But let me continue, then there is the dragon. Then we have a snake, yes! I told you this list was cool. Imagine if someone called you a snake? Most Westerners would take that as a huge insult. But apparently snakes are the sign of beauty. (I knew a snake woman once; I was engaged to her... [sigh] And she was stunningly fabulous, still is. Bond would approve. But sorry, I digress. It must be the allergies, or else too much whisky)
Then the Chinese have the horse, the goat, the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig. And that is also how the weird "Year of the Tiger" -type of year listings come from. This year, 2006, for the Chinese started on January 29 (when I happened to be in Beijing, and if you possibly can, do this on your big wedding anniversary, book yourself into a luxury hotel in Beijing and admire the fireworks of Chinese New Year literally all night long. There is nothing, nothing like it. For fireworks, nobody does it better.)(Tomi will you get to the Bond?) and this year 2006 is the Year of the Dog
Well, I'm not here to convert you to this "philosophy" and am by no means proficient in it, only to point out that unlike the Western horoscope which repeats every year, the Chinese Zodiac runs a 12 year cycle. But I need to point out there is a further time dimension to get us to the Year of the Bond.
The clever Chinese also add five elements to the years - wood, fire, earth, metal and water. These rotate in sequence as well. The element modifies the sign of the animal. So there is actually a Year of the Metal Dog, and a year of the Water Dog, etc (Don't ask, they really get into this). This ending year 2006 is actually then a Fire Dog. So we have 12 years times five elements, it gives us a 60 year cycle.
In other words, ancient Chinese philosophers figured it out that the world revolves on a 60 year cycle, and with this, also Chinese philosophy suggests that only after reaching 60 years, can an elderly Chinese man or woman be truly "wise", as he or she will have seen it all. (Bond would approve, we all know he'd say that is why you only live twice)
Here is where the penny dropped for your faithful chronicler of matters blogospheric, your humble HatRat.
A 60 YEAR cycle?
Wait just one moment. A one long, very long. very very long, 60 year long, Kondratiev-wave long moment! (a WHAT-wave?)
Yes, my absolute fave economist of all time, the unheralded brilliant Russian economist, Nikolai Kondratiev of the late 1800s, and his long-wave theory of economics (published in his book Major Economic Cycles of 1925) ! Don't worry, this is not Soviet Union era communism or socialism. Kondratiev was a legitimate economist from well before that and his theories explained the long wave effects that originate with the industrial age. My absolute fave part of my MBA studies in New York was discovering Kondratiev (not to mention that my economics professor that semester was the hottest professor on campus, but she's another story; Bond would approve)
Don't get me started on Kondratiev. I could go on with him like I could with stories about Isambard Kingdom Brunell. Just a bit on this very rarely discussed but very sound economic theory. (and yes yes yes, this is all relevant to the Year of the Bond, bear with me)
The Kondratiev Wave
Kondratiev's long-wave theory suggests that total world economic activity (and all related social, political, military and artistic activity) is based on a 60 year cycle which started with the first cycle by the steam engine and the industrial revolution. Oh this is soooo cool stuff. 1 Steam, 2 Trains, 3 Electicity, 4 Petroleum (ie cars) and now the fifth wave - information tech. There are real economic reasons why one new engine of growth will surpass the previous dominant one, as well as there are reasons why one cannot sustain its lead past the 60 year cycle.
Many others have built upon the theory, such as Wallerstein adding the political power dimension of global hegemony. The same 60 year cycle applies to global foreign politics and superpower relations. There can only be one superpower ruling any one 60-year period, and conventional wisdom of its time has its people thinking it will dominate forever into the future. That is what for example the English thought in the 1920s and 1930s, that theirs was the superpower and empire to last forever. It didn't. Americans harbour those kinds of fantasies today. It won't last. The 60 year wave rules.
I'm not making this up. There is a legitimate economic school of thought around the 60 year wave which is mostly attributed to Kondratiev. 60 years is too long for any human to experience more than two cycles and thus very difficult to "notice" the pattern. Yet its all there. You think you've seen it all, and that you never say never again, yet time and again, it is proven wrong. History repeats. Every time. Trust Kondratiev. (Tomi you've now moved from Animal Kingdom to the History Channel? what is next, the best jokes for accountants?)(No, wait, this is relevant, and we're almost into Bond now, just hold on)
Back then in the early 1900s, England was also stuck in a long series of misadventures and miscellaneous wars and "police actions" from India to Africa to Asia and the Middle East which were getting progressively more expensive to wage and left ever worse mess-ups afterwars, like say Iraq and Afghanistan for Britain in the 1920s just to name two.
Not unlike America which in its age of hegemony now finds itself in war after war from Korea to Vietnam to Nicaragua to Grenada to Kosovo to Iraq to Afghanistan to Iraq part 2. Where some of the early wars were easily acceptable, the rulers of continuing hegemonies make ever bigger mistakes in assuming they have total power and they overcommit, to costly wars in lives and money (like say Iraq and Afghanistan now for America just to name two).
The pattern holds perfectly, in economic production, world politics and so forth. Kondratiev. The 60 year cycle. Very very fascinating and oh so illuminating. I hadn't thought about Kondratiev for some time until I bumped in the 60 year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac.
I could go on and on, but let me leave it here. Kondratiev is real economic stuff, but somewhat obscure, because the effects take so long, that for us to catch up the next wave, we're already retired ha-ha.. That is why you don't hear that much about his 60 year wave.
So for all there still reading (and this is a story about the Year of he Bond) - those Chinese did hit upon something quite clever with this 60 year cycle. Ok, so last year 2005 was the Year of the Rooster, and this ending year 2006 is the Year of the Dog. Next would normally come the Year of the Pig? Except that this year, 2007, is obviously the Year of the Bond.
2007 is the Year of the Bond
Yes, apparently only once before, in 1007, have we seen a Year of the Bond. It is not part of the 60 year cycle. The Year of the Bond is so rare, that only one in 50 generations gets to experience it. So the next Year of the Bond will not occur until 3007. But we are the lucky ones, 2007 is the second Year of the Bond. The Year of the Bond is not very well known because it is so rare.
Upon my searches of what remains, I found for example that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that in the year 1007 Edric was appointed Alderman for the kingdom of Mercians. And Bishop Elfeah went to Rome after his Pall. A great year, obviously for those who witnessed the Bond in its first year in its native land of Anglo-Saxony, no doubt. Clearly even then this year was a major year for travel - before trains, planes and automobiles mind you, going to Rome was no trivial matter.
But some things we do know for certain. The Year of the Bond is a year of a lot of furious action and activity. Probably those in 1007 wrote about a lot of wine, women and song. Or more likely sang about wine and women. Our generations sing of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, or to put wine women and song into a more fitting form for the Year of the Bond, its Vodka Martinis (we all know, shaken, not stirred), fabulous Bond-Babes, and Bond theme songs as ringing tones. This is the year for the most enigmatic yet haunting of all of our memories to come, for some it will literally be the year of the spy who loved me. The ultimate year of intrigue and passion, change and excitement. The year to be alive, the year to experience it all.
The year starts with a grand opening. Not unlike the birth of Christ which is celebrated on Christmas Eve a week before the new year by the western calendar, so too, the Year of the Bond starts to see important events already just before it starts, like a good trailer to a great movie. During the Year of the Bond, we will see good triumph over many evils and the whole world will be saved more than once. The Year of the Bond will prevail over many villains. In the lead-up to 2007, we've already seen some of the long-running global villains exit the stage (Saddam Hussein, Donald Rumsfeld) or rendered impotent (George W Bush, Michael Shumacher). During the Spring of the Year of the Bond we will see at least one more villain exit (Tony Blair).
But be not mistaken, nor stirred. The Year of the Bond will not bring an end to evil and violence, alas. We will see a lot of new threats emerge, with new dangerous villains (Kim Jong Ill, Ahmadinajad) as well as some of the classic villains making returns (Michael Jackson). Some will go, others will emerge. Live and let die would be appropriate to say.
You and the Year of the Bond
How is your personal life in the Year of the Bond? Obviously there will be exotic travel. Where will it take you this year? Visiting the beaches of Rio, or Lankawi or Hawaii. The bustle of Tokyo or New York. The romance of Paris, charm of Amsterdam or passion of Buenos Aires, or maybe your kids visit Santaland in Rovaniemi Finland - they say its better than visiting Disneyland. Some will be moving, say to Perth? Running an ultramarathon in Johannesburg?
Many will visit Bond regular hangouts like Hong Kong (visiting your HatRat perhaps in the Year of the Bond?). Definitely 2007 will bring to you more travel, to more exotic places than ever before. So much travel that it will seem like the world is not enough, keep your frequent flier cards and passports always at hand. Many of the uber-rich more will aspire to the stars in some moonraker or another, to fulfill their impulse to travel.
Yet the travel will not be all smooth sailing. Some of those trips will be bumpy rides. Remember it is the Year of the Bond as you watch news of air crashes, colliding trains and sinking ships. Expect the unexpected, you may even experience moments that will scare the living daylights out of you. Don't watch Snakes on the Plane while on the plane with your snake(s).
And what of Love
And how about romance in the Year of the Bond? A great year for passion, not so great year for forming lasting relationships. Even if diamonds are forever, the new romances discovered this year are not. From ring finger to gold finger back to ring finger, dear Miss Moneypenny, is what will happen a lot.
But while not necessarily long-lasting, there will be lots of love and passion in the Year of the Bond. In ordinarly places and exotic places; with blondes and brunettes and redheads; with flames old and new. Some are so special they can only be for your eyes only, others are so unusual as you'd escape from Russia with love (just to be safe, carry your geiger counter for any traces of Polonium). So its more impulsive broken engagements than marriages I am afraid, for 2007 (Britney Spears?)
Gadgets in the Year of the Bond
Its a good year to be an electronics retailer. Did you notice the news that this year for the first time ever, women replaced diamond jewelry from top choice of Christmas gift? By what? Plasma screen TVs. Yes, even women are getting gadgetitis going into the Year of the Bond. It will be fabulous toys galore.
The Nokia N-93, the current must-have superphone is only the preview to the Year of the Bond (Now watch closely Double-Oh Seven, I will only show you once. You flip it open this way, and its a regular phone. Twist the screen like so, and it becomes a digital camera with 3x optical zoom and TV quality video recording. And if you twist the screen further like so, it becomes an internet browsing, image viewing and video editing pocket computer. And don't point that built-it flashgun/spotlight at me like that! Do grow up, Double-oh Seven!)
Yes, the Year of the Bond is the ultimate year for gadgets. More will be surprises than can in any way be guessed at. A few are rather obvious. Apple will finally release its Apple iPhone, combining the iPod functionality, the Apple design and an excellent phone, in a very tight cool white package. Masses of executives at Nokia and Motorola will jump off tall buildings (in America) or dive into the frozen sea (in Finland where there are no tall buildings), while their counterparts at Samsung and LG will work even faster to re-engineer and copy the instant icon. The year of the Bond is definitely good news for any of us professing to be gadget freaks (your HatRat raises his hand in shame).
The sub 100 dollar laptop will be a reality, the digital TV tuners will become commonplace in phones, GPS will pop up everywhere. The gear to project real time online images from the web to our sunglasses will appear, no doubt some clever dick calls one the goldeneye.
Your new car will have bluetooth and you'll be amazed when it attempts to connect with various items in your pocket. The first Japanese move into houses operated by their phones, while the first South Korean townships offer intelligent parking - telling drivers where the nearest available parking places are as they drive into town.
And the South Korean home robot population will approach 10% of all households (can you say Isaac Asimov and I Robot. No, but I can say Will Smith in I Robot. The book was better). Many people from technology luddite to the man with the golden gun will flock to Communities Dominate blogsite to learn more about the weird and wonderful of the world of technological marvel.
The car for 2007? Some things never change. The car of the year of the Bond is of course an Aston Martin. The new soft-top Vanguish I is my bet.
Talking about betting. The Year of the Bond will be great for gambling and betting of course. In gambling towns from Monaco to Macao to Las Vegas people will be flocking to the casino royale of their choice. Horse racing (whether real or virtual as in Superstable), dog racing, camel racing, reindeer racing, whatever it is, betting will be hot. Lotteries will make record profits in the Year of the Bond. Betting online and off, all kinds of gamling and betting will happen. Also on Wall Street, gamblers will go for it, from stocks to bonds, likely a long bull run.
But remember this is the Year of the Bond, not the Year of the Sure Win. More than anything, it will be a volatile year with plenty of surprises and twists and turns. There will be as many losers as winners in gambling; even the real Bond loses sometimes. So this HatRat suggests, that while the opportunities will be plentiful, do be cautious in your gambling in this year.
And the Year of the Bond will make very good business for all in the healing and healthcare industries. As drinking will increase so will alcohol and drunkedness related injuries. Lots of love and passion means also lots of lovers quarrels. More trips to the emergency care. Fast cars and racing? Some will not handle the car like Bond, and will end up in the tree, with airbags saving lives but ambulances and tow truck services making good business out of it. So is this a bad year for the doctor, no. In the Year of the Bond we will have volatility, in both good and bad. But a dull year it will not be.
I've already mentioned that we can expect the Year of the Bond to be ruthless to villains. Tony Blair is set to go in the first half of the year, no matter how much he will try to prevent it, to postpone it, to extend his career; to die another day. But his attempts to prolong will be forlorn. The days of the Blair are numbered. But a few other occasions are worthy of note.
Like any good Bond movie which starts with the opening sequence before the main opening credits, the Year of the Bond starts with breathtaking action. I cannot in any way guess what that will be, whether terrorism or war (I really hope not, there's too much of it already), or a major hollywood scandal (think OJ Simpson's trial) or political crisis (those old enough will remember Watergate), but something totally unexpected and unplanned, yet gripping, that the whole world will follow, nightly, for weeks on end.
A truly global event. It will be exceptional, exciting, and action-packed. It will last into early Spring and will leave most of us breathless. More in a matter of weeks than we experience in a typical decade. And a great time to be a newscaster, journalist, blogger ...or podcaster.
A very special date is of course the Bond Moment. If in any way possible, use the power of this moment to do something very important in your life. It occurs at seven minutes past eight PM, on July 7th (GMT, Bond is always on London time). That may be difficult to remember, but when you see the time, it makes perfect sense. The Bond Moment of our lives occurs at 20:07, on 7-7-2007.
This is the pinnacle moment of the Year of the Bond, or to use a hunting metaphor, it is the view to a kill. The Bond Moment happens just a bit past the half-point of the year, when all Bond forces are at their most potent. Many wonderful inventions happen at this time, brilliant future artists and inventors are born - or conceived - at the Bond Moment, and if you do have to marry or propose during this turbulent year for lasting love, this is that time to do it. For 25 generations this will be known as an all time high.
During the month of October we will all witness a paranormal feline experience, which Bondists call the Octopussy. It is a cat-like phenomenon, unique to each of us, but we will all experience it in October of the Year of the Bond. It may be a real cat, suddenly behaving in a mischevous way. It may be a tiger or lion in the zoo that escapes. It may be a sudden urge by a mild-mannered wife or girlfriend to put on a cat suit, etc. Or maybe its something kinky you do with a garfield doll, I don't know.
But October and pussycats. Look out for the felines, the tigers, the cats, and then follow the nightly news in October, it really will be pussy galore on TV almost nightly, in October.
The Year of the Bond ends of course in a party like few that have every been, which is called the the Thunderball, magnificent party in all time zones all through the night into the morning with time standing still so tomorrow never dies. We will party like nobody has partied in this century. In fact we will party like its 1999.
Then the clear sign of the true coming of the Year of the Bond is of course the New Bond. He is the beacon for the new age. The old Bond, Sean Connery, can no longer be Bond. His old movies are quaint, with his smoking, his hat and all (hats! says your loyal HatRat, [sigh]) in permanent reruns on late night.
There were many who followed, who tried to be the "new Connery" Bond, like Roger Moore (no relation to the famous blogger Alan Moore or famous Bond fan and dinosaur expert Joseph Moore) and George Lazenby (both Roger and George who did a fair representation of Connery's Bond) to Timothy Dalton (poor copy) to Pierce Brosnan (a superior replication, almost too good as a copy). But the time of imitating the original is over.
The Year of the Bond does mean a wholly new era in Bond. Literally a new Bond. New as in different. Not a copy. Daniel Craig is as different to Sean Connery as a vintage wine is to an aged single malt whisky. As different as Kimi Raikkonen is to Michael Shumacher. As different as ice hockey is to rugby. As different as Hong Kong is to London. Both can be excellent, but in their own ways. In the Year of the Bond we have the New Bond.
He is not at all like the old Bond. Daniel Craig is totally not like Sean Connery. Not at all. But he is the new Bond. No matter that he has none of the class or style or charm or breeding of the Connery Bond. No, this is not a copy of a gentleman spy image for the 1960s who lived in the age of the cold war, during times of tedious, cumbersome rules of diplomacy and long-trained "good manners." That age is gone.
This is the new superspy of more intense action and realism, for the reality TV generation in an era of short attention spans, instant gratification and the grammr of txt messgng. No matter how much we old fogies may have fallen for Brosnan's copy of the Connery Bond.
The Year of the Bond does necessitate a new Bond. If he was not delivered to us by the movies bearing his name, The Bond would have emerged somewhere else, as an AntiBond from the Jason Bournes and Mission Impossibles and Die Hards and XXX's of the world. No, the Year of the Bond was destined to deliver to the world a New Bond, and luckily we have him on Her Majesty's secret service, as 007, where he belongs.
And we shall love the New Bond like we loved the old Bond (he says gritting his teeth). Even us old fogies will have to eat up our pride and go see the movie a second time to try to understand why the young people find him so appealing. (The third most watched movie of the year 2006, obviously a blockbuster success. The wisdom of the crowds, they must be right, I must be wrong, I will go and figure it out too).
But yes, the Year of the Bond heralds the reign of the New Bond, and Daniel Craig is it. This is the 007 license renewed. If the first in the series is a blockbuster, the Bond actor is in for the ride. We have a new Bond. There is no going back.
Oh, and if you haven't yet read about the Year of the Bond in any other legitimate news sources? Perhaps they are not quite up with the 1000 year cycle, obviously known as the Bond cycle (may be referred by its inventor, a certain economist by the name of Ahonen, writes good books by the way). Just like the Kondratiev wave of 60 years (or Chinese 60 year full cycle of their zodiac) is a very long wave to understand, the Bond wave is a much harder concept to grasp. And since none of us were around last time, and none of us will be for the next time, you just have to trust what remnants we have of the previous Bond year and make your judgements by these writings by your humble servant and HatRat.
And for those checking, yes your HatRat's latest Hong Kong phone number? Of course like all others before it, that too ends in 007.
Submitted for your consideration, on this, the night before the first day of the Year of the Bond
Your HatRat :-)