Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day
But enough of that. A day to celebrate this particular combination of flavours: bittersweet chocolate with crunchy toasted almonds? I don’t bloody think so. Just what is the point of celebrating such a specific item of confectionary? Instead I’m going to write about the new John Lewis Christmas ad because, like the chocolate, it’s dark, bittersweet and you’d be nuts to like it in any shape or form.
Yes, it’s time for the annual John Lewis rant and this year their nine million pound (including advert slots) Christmas TV ad tells the story of a young girl who is being spied on by an old man who lives in a wooden shed on the moon. Don’t we all just love a weird peeping tom paedophile who lives on the moon and dresses like an eighties pop video. Very Christmassy. But shouldn’t we really be calling the police?
Of course in this age of government surveillance he could well work for MI6 as I’m sure there must be an agency or two spying on children; and I do wonder why this agent has been exiled to the moon in the first place. Maybe he isn’t an old man at all, perhaps he’s an alien and all John Lewis stores are alien bases. They might as well be as this ad has nothing to do with reality. Still, he does look pretty lonely and bored; but then the moon doesn’t have much atmosphere does it?
Meanwhile, back on earth another John Lewis fake Christmas is taking place with fake smiles, fake parents (who should be investigated by social services for allowing their young daughter to climb on the roof - seriously dangerous to suggest this John Lewis), and all sorts of other fake festive jollities. Everyone is wonderfully happy in a fake John Lewis kind of way. There's even a fake single tear of something or other from the poor old man's poor old eye at the end.
I have to admit to being a little confused by this year’s ad. It's not very Christmas, and it is a little bit odd to its very core and uses some quite dangerous imagery. It's okay to befriend strange old men, it's okay to climb builder's ladders, It's okay to fire arrows into the dark and ride your scooter on the pavement at speed. Of course I understand that the underlying message is that there an awful lot of lonely old people at Christmas and that the moon is symbolic of their isolation, but why does it need to be so creepy? Because it is as creepy as it is sad.
Even the fact that John Lewis have teamed up with Age UK to drive us to donate as a result of the ad doesn't do it for me. They are going to make millions out of one old man's misery; except of course he isn't miserable at all, he's an actor, another john Lewis fake. How about they donate 10% of the December profit to Age UK? That might help. No, I thought not.
Still if it makes a few people knock on the door of that lonely old man or woman across the road and invite them to Christmas dinner then the advert is admirable. But I don’t believe that it will and the cynic in me is left with this question. What are John Lewis selling off the back of old age loneliness with this year’s sentimental sob campaign? Will it be moons or telescopes, pyjamas, bedding and sweaters, or will it be our souls yet again?