Tuesday, 2 January 2018

How to organise a James Bond party

The festive season meant one thing for many places of work: the annual office Christmas party. My place of work was no exception, and this year the party was extra special – it was Bond-themed. The idea wasn’t mine, but my reputation as a Bond fan preceded me, and I was soon invited to join the organising committee.

We brainstormed ideas at a meeting in a pub a month or so before the party. We quickly agreed that the party would be fancy dress, or at least, Bond-inspired attire would be encouraged. We were going to hire a DJ and I knew where to get hold of some essential Bond tunes that, if they didn’t exactly get people dancing, would be certain to get them posing as if performing in the film series’ title sequences.

Other ideas were soon generated. We would decorate the venue (a trendy craft beer establishment called Tap Social on the outskirts of Oxford) with hangings, giant cardboard dice, and table props that would give the allusion of a casino. We would set up a projector and play random clips from the films. We would have a cardboard standee of Bond with the face removed for people to poke their heads through in the manner of the amusing cut-out scenes you get at the seaside.

Some ideas were interesting, but not so practical. I said I could bring my roulette wheel and we could create fake chips for people to play with. Everyone could start with, say, ten pounds-worth of chips, and the person with the most money at the end of the night would win a prize. Understandably, though, no one wanted to be croupier all night. (There are specialist firms that do that sort of thing; best leave it to the professionals.) I also wondered about having a menu of Bondian drinks, but the venue, which brewed its own beer, wouldn’t be able to stock the necessary ingredients.
The cut-out, available from Amazon and other internet retailers
Still, we had plenty to make the party go with a Bondian bang. We toyed with the idea of creating our own cut-out, but in the end, I decided to buy one (a wise investment, I thought: never say never again). The DJ was booked, the venue informed of our plans, and the projector was secured. Two of our committee members burnt the midnight oil to make playing-card hangings, martini glass props, dice, and masks of all the Bonds and other well-loved characters from the films. The head of our graphics department created a poster inspired by some of the classic film posters, and everyone helped to set the venue up and generate a buzz among staff. 

Poster created by Magdalena Wachnik. (We're all archaeologists, hence the trowels.)

What can I say about the party on the night itself, other than it was the best office Christmas party I’ve ever been to? The turnout was great, the bar staff friendly and helpful, and spirits were high. I also noticed lots of people watching the projected film clips, which acted as a sort of mini chill-out zone.
Some of the masks and table decorations
What about the Bond-inspired dress code? I admit I was tempted to arrive in my Daniel Craig-style swimming trunks, but naturally I opted for the classic dinner suit. Other staff members wore suits, there were Bond girls galore, and we were also joined by Bond and Estrella from Spectre’s Day of the Dead festival, Blofeld and a toy white cat, and Q, or a Q Branch technician, in a white lab coat complete with trick pens. It felt very 1967 Casino Royale, but in a good way.

The party's just getting started

It all goes to show that, when it comes to James Bond, and my fellow party organisers, nobody does it better.


  1. This is actually a great idea! I’ll try to do this for my friend’s birthday party in one of the San Francisco venues and I think he’ll really like this. He is a really big Bond fan and I think this will be great surprise birthday party. Birthdays are for celebrating right?


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