Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player


Saturday, 23 August 2008

I’m just watching Goldfinger on ITV. Obviously this is one of the greatest films of all time. I particularly love the fact that Goldfinger is so evil that not only does he spray-paint women to death, he also cheats at rummy.

  But I find the theme tune exasperating.

  “Such a COLD fing-ahhh…”

  Why should he have a cold finger? It’s made of gold, a particularly good conductor of heat. On a warm day, it would be much hotter than a normal finger. If he had a stone finger, now that would be a different story. But he has a finger made from a material which can actually be used as a heat insulator in car engines.

  Let’s say that you were on holiday with Goldfinger, lazing on a Spanish beach. Would you want his finger trailing affectionately over you? No, because it wouldn’t be at all cooling. You’d actually leap away from the searing heat of it.

  (It wouldn’t feel much like “a spider’s touch”, either. Spiders are light and feathery. They don’t feel anything like metal. Unless the song actually means a metal spider, but then it needs to be more specific, “A metal spider’s touch…”)

  It may be that Goldfinger has very bad circulation, and Shirley Bassey is actually singing about one of his other fingers. He could have a gold one and a cold one. A cold, spidery one. But I’m now slightly wishing that I wasn’t watching the film, as I’m not going to be able to stop singing “Such a hot finger…” for days.


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Ian Broadrick at 7:14 pm on August 23rd, 2008

To be fair Vicky, the lyrics also say that he has a cold heart. This would imply that his blood is cold too. I confess it’s a fairly slim argument but it does suggest that although gold is a good conductor of heat, he’s still likely to have a cold finger…. You’d be safe on your holidays…

Andy W at 9:41 pm on August 23rd, 2008

I think you’re right.  As they say, there are gold fingers and cold fingers, but never gold cold fingers.  Or something.

Andy W at 9:47 pm on August 24th, 2008

I don’t know about safe.  The reduced threat of searing affectionate fingers hardly compensates for the high probability of being fatally spray-painted.

David Young at 1:23 pm on August 25th, 2008

“Why should he have a cold finger? It’s made of gold, a particularly good conductor of heat.”

I must protest at this point that Goldfinger doesn’t actually have a finger made of gold. It’s just a name. The finger, we are reliably told, is warm enough to beckon you to enter his web of sin*, which suggests his circulation is adequate.


* Don’t go in!

Dave at 9:20 pm on August 25th, 2008

This is the most brilliant display of pure randomness that I’ve ever read. In fact, I’m actually a bit miffed that I didn’t think of it first, because I can think of at least half a dozen friends who would both love it and marvel at the randomness of it.

Maybe you should start a “quirky and random, but also very bloody interesting” section on here, where people who have potentially dull parties to go to can come to get ideas for things to say when the conversation starts to sag, along the lines of “But he wouldn’t really have a cold finger, would he???”
I know I’d sign up!

Victoria Coren at 10:18 pm on August 25th, 2008

Aha, D.Y., you say that he doesn’t actually have a gold finger - but presumably he doesn’t literally have “a spider’s touch” either, and yet he has managed to spin a “web of sin”. With, we have to assume, the spidery finger. Rather than the gold one. Just because some of this stuff is metaphorical doesn’t mean it shouldn’t also be LOGICAL.

David Young at 12:52 am on August 26th, 2008

Further problems:

1) If “his lies can’t disguise what you fear” then he was ill-suited for a career of megalomaniac villainy. The ability to lie convincingly is vital.

2) “A golden girl knows when he’s kissed her, it’s the kiss of death”. Frankly things were going downhill when he sprayed her golden. Ask Shirley Eaton.

3) “Golden words he will pour in your ear”. Hardly a fair criticism. The guy’s got no alternative if you ask him his name. Life’s tough if your first and last name are the same in meaning. Just one more reason why Victoria must not marry Michael Winner.


Martin at 12:40 am on August 27th, 2008

It’s a name. I suppose you lie awake at night wondering whether David “Goldenballs” Beckham is affected by his predicament. For such an educated and pretty woman you do come across mental sometimes. But then again we’re all a little bit crazy. By the way Roger Moore is the best Bond.

Dave at 6:52 pm on August 27th, 2008

“For such an educated and pretty woman you do come across mental sometimes”

You say that like it’s a bad thing….

charlie at 11:38 am on August 29th, 2008

I suspect every evil genius has some sort of cross to bear but coldfingers can be so easily rectified he doesn’t really have much to worry about.

David Young at 10:17 pm on August 29th, 2008

He doesn’t even love gold, contrary to Ms. Bassey’s insistence. In the film he tries to irradiate a fort full of the stuff.


Andy the dealer. at 10:33 pm on August 29th, 2008

Another film, another song with a strange reference to gold.  McCabe and Mrs Miller.  The opening scene has Warren Beatty muttering away to himself as he rides into a frontier town and Leonard Cohen sings, The Stranger Song.  In the song some of the lyrics are, .....O you’ve seen that man before
his golden arm dispatching cards
but now it’s rusted from the elbows to the finger…..I must say I feel like that some times, but gold, rusting? I think you’ve been had Leonard.  Or could it be that the meaning of the lyrics are deeper than that and they refer to Iron Pyrite, Fools Gold?  Help, Vicky!  I’m lost in the lyrics of a Leonard Cohen song.

andrew at 12:35 am on August 31st, 2008

I defer to the experts here on coldness of gold fingers etc, suffice to say the most illogical thing about goldfinger is why, after he kills some bloke after giving him some gold, he then puts car and gold in a crusher leaving him to separate out the gold later.  Could he not transfer the gold to another vehicle prior to commencement of crushing?

lolrly at 9:06 am on June 23rd, 2009

Oh god bless the internet. Nowhere else would your viewpoint be given anywhere near this amount of credence. This whole post is just another mundane step into tho the inevitable grey abyss of pedantic and abstruse sea of sententiousness perpetuated by the “blog” culture. I can only hope that people realise your opinions are as valid as anybody they could meet in the street and regard them as trivially as the passing conversation you would hold with any drunk individual at a bar. Maybe someday people will realise what a disconnection this type of unremarkable discussion creates from real social interaction and go outside.

Jimmy at 11:41 pm on May 24th, 2011

Perhaps his finger is made of fool’s gold, which I think would be quite apt.  It doesn’t really work considering he actually turns people into gold statues, but it’s a metaphor.  Or something.

At lolrly, I’m pretty sure the pedantry is quite wry and self-knowing in this post.  I thought it was funny.  It’s the kind of bullshit people actually do discuss out in the real world - or at least, my people, the slackers and the idlers.  Like that bit in Clerks where they start talking about the Death Star.  And just as in the real world, no-one was actually taking it seriously except for that one guy in the corner nursing an ironically bitter lager and bitterly ironic haircut.

Victoria Coren

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