Exploring David Bowie’s awkward friendship with Roger Moore
If I’ve learned anything from Larry David, it’s that the infamous ‘stop and chat’ can be one of the most painful exchanges in public society. Those short, meaningless, awkward and mostly unwanted conversations can seem to last for an eternity with no end in sight until it rigidly creeps up.
Given the excruciating everyday experience, it may come as a great pleasure to hear that these ‘stop and chats’ aren’t restricted to just you and your old schoolmate. David Bowie, it would seem, endured a relentless ear-bending from 007 himself in what appeared to play out like a scene from Groundhog Day rather than a British Secret Service agent on a mission to save the planet.
Dylan Jones, the journalist and author behind the award-winning biography of David Bowie, traced his life ‘from the English suburbs to London to New York to Los Angeles, Berlin, and beyond’. Jones, who interviewed more than 150 people for his book, caught up with screenwriter and novelist Hanif Kureishi who, in turn, detailed the quite bizarre meeting between Bowie and Roger Moore in the late 1970s.
Explaining the book, David Bowie: A Life, in an interview with the Telegraph, Dylan explained: “Kureishi told me this story, that when David Bowie moved to Switzerland at the end of the Seventies to escape tax and drug dealers, he didn’t know anybody there. He was in this huge house on the outskirts of Geneva – he knew nobody.
“One day, about half-past five in the afternoon, there’s a knock on the door, and there he was: ‘Hello, David.’ Roger Moore comes in, and they had a cup of tea. He stays for drinks, and then dinner, and tells lots of stories about the James Bond films. They had a fantastic time – a brilliant night.”
He continues: “But then, the next day, at 5.30… Knock, knock, it’s Roger Moore. He invites himself in again, and sits down: ‘Yeah, I’ll have a gin and tonic, David.’ He tells the same stories – but they’re slightly less entertaining the second time around.
“After two weeks [of Moore turning up] at 5.25pm – literally every day – David Bowie could be found underneath the kitchen table pretending not to be in.”
Hilariously, that wouldn’t spell the end of Bowie’s mission to dodge Moore. A few years later, in 1985, Moore returned to Bond for the final time for the film A View to Kill. At the time, the director John Glen approached Bowie with a view to offering him the part of the film’s main villain, Max Zorin.
Bowie, likely with some of Moore’s stories still ringing in his ears, turned down the role.