Lady Day on Swing Street

There are few moments more perfect than walking into a dimly lit old bar late at night and hearing a Billie Holiday song. “These Foolish Things” is practically custom made for sliding onto a stool and ordering an Old Fashioned as you prop your elbows up on the bar and think about lost loves and life’s regrets.Few American artists seem to have captured the melancholy of 2am quite like the woman who would become known as Lady Day.

The Chairman, The Poet, and The Dancer

On 52nd Street, New York's one-time Swing Street, is a Russian restaurant that once served as a meeting place for political exiles and dissidents from the Soviet Union, one of whom was a famous poet, another the most famous ballet dancer in the world. But before that, the place was owned by a guy named Jilly Rizzo, and it was Frank Sinatra's home away from home.

Martini and Myth

The Martini has been around since the mid-to-late 1800s. Its life has spanned the Industrial Revolution, two world wars, Prohibition, the Great Depression, the Summer of Love, disco, punk, and Hammer Pants. It has been in style, out of fashion, and subject to the peculiar and not always trustworthy whims of the American drinker.

Moonraker

Moonraker opens with Bond dealing with the mundane daily tasks of his job. We find out that he’s really only on book-worthy assignments a few times a year, and the bulk of his time is occupied with reading through dossiers and doing paperwork. Naturally, these quaint moments of "just another day at the offices of MI6" don’t last long. Bond is soon called in to M’s office for, he discovers, a purely personal matter...or so it seems at first.

The Man Who Almost Composed Bond

Towering above all others in the realm of Bond cash-in albums was Roland Shaw, an accomplished musician who attended the Trinity College of Music and served in the Royal Air Force in World War II, where he lead the RAF No. 1 Band of the Middle East Forces . Shaw released a series of James Bond cash-in records that featured arrangements of Bond themes and background music that were often just as good as the originals, and in some cases, even better.

Live and Let Die

Ian Fleming's second Bond book, Live and Let Die, finds the franchise on ground more familiar to Bond movie fans, who may have found Casino Royale confronted them with a sort of proto-Bond, an emotional and sometimes petulant agent who was far less ruthless and efficient than one might expect — at least until the final sentence, when we witness the birth of James Bond as popular culture would come to know him. It is this James Bond that appears in Live and Let Die, and the story is all the better for it.

Spies at the Savoy

Nestled away on its own cul-de-sac off the storied Strand in the City of Westminster, with a tight turn-around that allegedly serves as the maximum turning radius for all London cabs, beneath a silver awning adorned with green neon, is the hotel that once played host to Winston Churchill’s wartime briefings, that even served as a triage center during the Blitz.