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Chris Blackwell introduces the new GoldenEye Jamaica.
Chris Blackwell introduces the new GoldenEye! Starting this October
before? Reacquaint yourself with one of the original villas,
ever-so-gently refit. Plus, experience tons of fun new activities! Try
tasty local dishes at two new restaurants!
|Author: Ian Fleming
Published: 1953 to 1966
The Life of Ian Fleming (1908-1964)Ian Lancaster Fleming, born 28 maj 1908 i Mayfair, London, died 12 augusti 1964 Canterbury,
Our Story: The House that Fleming Built
GoldenEye History, Part One: Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming first came to Jamaica during WWII, sent by Naval Intelligence to investigate U-Boat activities in the Caribbean. It was difficult for him to keep his mind on the war, such was the beauty of the place and its people. It was love at first glance. Paradise on earth. He knew that when the war ended, it was there that he would live out his life, in the sun, by the sea. He had visited a property on the sea in the little village of Oracabessa Bay, which means “golden head.” By chance he had been working on a naval operation called GoldenEye. He bought the property, and when the war ended, built his dream house–a perfect place to heal the psychic wounds of war and escape the civility of civilization. Above all it was a place to dream. And it was at GoldenEye that he dreamed up James Bond, 007, who turned out to be an escape for millions of readers.
GoldenEye History, Part Two: Chris Blackwell
If any man is an island it’s Chris Blackwell, who founded Island Records in 1959. A brilliantly independent label just off the coast of the music industry, Island did more to change the cultural landscape than any record label in history. Island Records brought reggae music to the world outside Jamaica, with Blackwell himself producing Bob Marley and the Wailers. Island broke British acts like Traffic, Bad Company, ELP, Free, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, and the greatest of world music from the Irish traditionalists The Chieftains to Africans like King Sunny Ade. It brought us such independent spirits as Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Sparks, Grace Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits and that Irish band, U2. Blackwell purchased GoldenEye from the Fleming estate in 1976. Since then, he has grown the original 19 acre property, with just Fleming’s Villa, into a 52-acre world class property that is the flagship of Blackwell’s Island Outpost properties.
Our Founder: Chris Blackwell
GoldeneyeGoldeneye forms part of an exclusive 18-room beachfront hotel with a loyal, starry clientele including Johnny Depp and the Clintons. The site has a lagoon, tree-packed gardens and 1.5 miles of seafront.
Now owner Chris Blackwell has unveiled ambitious plans for a
90-property, £60-million expansion on this glorious 100-acre site.
Fleming gave Blackwell his first job, recommending him as a location scout on
Jamaica for the Bond film Dr No in 1961. From there, Blackwell went on to found
Island Records, signing reggae star Bob Marley and U2.
* Owners at The Colony have 60 days use of their house annually but then must place it into the hotel rental pool. They have free access throughout the year if it is not rented (within 21 days) and receive 70 per cent of rental income.
* Owners at Goldeneye can choose to put their property into an on-site rental programme.
* Annual maintenance at The Colony is steep, starting at about £36,000, covering three full-time staff, insurances, green fees and electricity.
* Annual maintenance at Goldeneye is estimated at £6,000 per bedroom.
|Blanche Blackwell: The muse who inspired Bond and Noel
THE PARTIES were legendary, with guests including Laurence Olivier, Sean Connery and Elizabeth Taylor.
Their hosts, Noel Coward and James Bond creator Ian Fleming, would entertain at their beautiful Jamaican retreats. There was, however, another stunning host, who was more than a match for them intellectually and socially. Her name: Blanche Blackwell.
A neighbour of both Coward and Fleming, she was a society beauty who beguiled the guests who came to her home, Bolt House, in St Mary, Jamaica.
Errol Flynn referred to her laugh as “like the sounds of water tinkling over a waterfall” and was madly in love with her. He even considered proposing to her (even though he was still married). At first she had not wanted to meet him, telling him she was suffering from boils on her bottom.
“He was the most handsome man I had ever seen,” she says swooning still at the thought. “We became great friends.”
She would later become the lover of the married Fleming, who is thought to have based the character of Pussy Galore from Goldfinger on her (although Blanche shakes her head, unaware of this, and laughs at the mention that men found her intoxicatingly beautiful).
Indeed, it was this romance which was to inspire one of Coward’s most controversial and darkest plays, Volcano, which was completed in 1957. The play, never performed in Coward’s lifetime and not published, offers a peek into the simmering passion and tensions of this exclusive community.
But what of Blanche Blackwell?
Born in 1912 in Costa Rica, she was descended from Sephardic Jews who had fled Portugal during the Inquisition. The family set up home in Jamaica in the 1700s and became wealthy merchants. Their business included rum and sugar, and they owned vast tracts of land. (Her brother Roy sold Coward the land for his Jamaican houses).
Blanche married Middleton Joseph Blackwell and they had a son Chris Blackwell (the founder of Island Records who, as a young man, was appointed to work on the set of the film Dr No by Fleming).They divorced when Chris was 12.
Firmly ensconced in society circles it was not long before Blanche would meet the philandering, but very much married, Fleming.
Indeed, she was 44 and he was 48 when they encountered each other.
“I remember I sat next to him at dinner and he said: ‘Why haven’t I seen you before?’” she says sitting elegantly in her Knightsbridge apartment, beautifully dressed and wearing a slash of vibrant coral lipstick. “I told him I was just over from England and he said: ‘Oh good God, you’re not a lesbian, are you?’ And I laughed.”
Blanche, Fleming and Coward made a trio everyone wanted to be seen with.
While Blanche and Fleming were close, she was aware of his failings.
“Don’t forget I met him when he was 48,” she says. “In his early life I believe he did not behave terribly well. I knew an Ian Fleming that I don’t think a lot of people had the good fortune to know. I didn’t fawn over him and I think he liked that. I just happened to be happy in both Ian and Noel’s company.”
As Fleming and Blanche became friends so gossip spread that they were having an affair, although Blanche insists that it was only after a year that they became close.
“One morning I got on my horse and rode over to Noel’s house,” she recalls. “I said: ‘Noel, I know what you think and it isn’t true.’”
That episode, says Blanche, is perhaps what inspired Volcano.
The free-spirited Blanche became Fleming’s muse and her presence seriously worried the author’s wife Ann, who was often in the UK. She was aware of her husband’s philandering (Ann, too, was unfaithful) but she realised his relationship with Blanche was different. On one occasion when Ann returned to their Jamaica home Goldeneye she ripped up the garden Blanche had lovingly planted.
“She disliked me but I can’t blame her,” Blanche says. “When I got to know Ian better I found a man in serious depression. I was able to give him a certain amount of happiness. I felt terribly sorry for him.” Their relationship would last until shortly before his death.
Coward, who had been a witness at the Flemings’ wedding in Jamaica, recalled in his diaries Ian and Ann’s constant bickering.
This hotbed of lust, disappointment and infidelity, plus the oppressive nature of expat community life, would all prove rich material for Coward.
The play, Volcano, deals with themes of jealousy, envy, passion. Set on the fictional island of Samola, the threatening rumble of the volcano is always in the background. The plot follows Adela, a widow (thought to be based on Blanche), and Guy who have yet to consummate their love. Guy’s wife Melissa is thought to have been based on Ann, Fleming’s wife. There is also the suggestion of a homosexual relationship in the play.
When Coward wrote the play he was, suggests his biographer Philip Hoare, somewhat critical of chaotic and destructive affairs.
As for Blanche, she knew about the play but never saw a script and Coward and Blanche never discussed her relationship with Ian. Despite its compelling plot, when theatre producer and manager Binkie Beaumont read the play he turned it down, suggesting it would not work.
It is thought the overtly sexual themes and the homosexual undercurrent would not get past the censors. But Coward, himself a homosexual, was convinced it was a fine play and insisted a script be sent to Katharine Hepburn in New York. It was a wasted effort.
Ian died in 1964, aged 56.
“For a long time after his death I could feel that he was around,” Blanche says. “I sensed his presence.”
She moved back to London and will celebrate her 100th birthday in December. She will finally see Volcano, which stars Jenny Seagrove as Adela, at a performance in Richmond.
“I am hoping for Noel’s sake that this play is a success,” she says smiling. “I adored him and he was a very loving man. He loved to give me hugs. He was just the most extraordinary man and a genius, and, with Ian, we had the most enormous fun.”
Blanche Blackwell and Ian Fleming
Noël Coward, a mutual friend, wrote a play Volcano, about the relationship. However, according to Matthew Cain: "Not only does Volcano offer up a more overt exploration of sexuality and sexual activity than Coward’s earlier work, it deals with the theme of adultery. His producer Binkie Beaumont reportedly turned down the play on the grounds that it wouldn’t make it past the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. But perhaps the most significant factor in the play’s non-performance was the identity of the adulterers themselves. The play is a thinly veiled fictionalisation of the extra-marital affair between two of Coward’s neighbours in Jamaica – the James Bond creator Ian Fleming, and Blanche Blackwell."
Fleming's difficulties with Ann brought him closer to Blanche. Andrew Lycett, who carried out indepth interviews with Blanche argued: "So instead Blanche herself rallied to his side emotionally, and a tropical dalliance developed into a deep love affair. The circumstances were just right for it. Work on her new house had started, and she was on the north coast much more frequently. From Bolt it was just four miles along the coast to Goldeneye and what she considered the best beach in the neighbourhood. But she never pushed herself on Ian, part of her attraction for him being her respect for his routine. She realized from the start that he was a man who kept to a strict timetable. It was no use her turning up at any time in the morning. But around twelve o'clock, he liked to stop working and to swim. She would join him and often stay for lunch. Afterwards she would leave him to rest, returning after he had done another hour's work in the late afternoon."
Ann Fleming continued to live with Ian Fleming. In 1962 he wrote to her: "The point lies only in one area. Do we want to go on living together or do we not? In the present twilight we are hurting each other to an extent that makes life hardly bearable." In an attempt to make the relationship work they purchased a house in Sevenhampton. Blanche moved to England to continue the relationship. Every Thursday morning Blanche would drive him down to Henley where they would have lunch at the Angel Hotel.
Ian died of a heart attack the following year. According to Christopher Hudson: "Ann never recovered from grief that she had not made Fleming happy... took to the bottle".
Volcano was first performed on 22nd May, 2012. Blanche Blackwell, aged 99, saw the play two days later.
|Fifty-six-year-old Ian Fleming died of a heart
attack on the morning of August
England, and was later buried in the churchyard of Sevenhampton
village, near Swindon.
Upon their own deaths, Fleming's widow, Ann Geraldine Mary Fleming
(1913–1981), and son Caspar Robert Fleming (1952–1975), were buried
next to him. Caspar committed suicide with a drug overdose.
James Bond (January 4, 1900 – February 14, 1989) was a leading American ornithologist whose name was appropriated by writer Ian Fleming for his fictional spy James Bond.
Ian Flemings Goldplatetypewriter Royal Quiet de
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