The Christmas fury

CALL me Ebenezer Scrooge if you like, but if I go into one more shop this week to be told by some cheery assistant how many weeks it is until Christmas, I swear to God I will lynch someone.

Tesco has yule logs and mince pies aplenty on their shelves. The weird thing is the sell-by dates don’t even run into November. Are we seriously supposed to start munching on all that crap now? To top it all John Lewis stores have already got their Christmas decorations up and it’s not even Hallowe’en. Even the fanatical fund-raisers who festoon the outside of their homes with garish displays of lights have the good grace to wait until after Bonfire Night before they start to torture their neighbours with strobe lighting for weeks on end.

The store is famous for its television advertising campaign which many feel signals the start of the festive season, but the retail giant is well known for pulling out all the stops when it comes to decorating its stores. The Bristol John Lewis store opened its ‘shop within a shop’ selling Christmas trees, lights and decorations before the end of September. Andy Burman, section manager of visual merchandising said: “When people ask why we put them out so early it’s really because we want to heighten the anticipation of the festive season around the shop and to add to the excitement”. Kerrching more like!

DO YOU know what an emoji is? I do now. Nobody these days seems to be able to send you an email or a text message without signing it off with a picture of a pint of foaming ale, a football or some such addition. Now we’re going to get even more of them to choose from. Unicode Consortium in California has released the latest list of new emoji. The list was compiled based on popular requests and suggestions. Whisky drinkers, jugglers and paella fans are the latest to be catered for in the new line up.
The 2016 emojis will include a gorilla, a baguette, a shopping trolley, a plate of salad and medals. The addition of a rifle, however, has caused a stir and has been branded ‘offensive’ by gun control group Infer Trust. In an interview with the BBC, Chrissie Hall from the trust said the rifle emoji ‘would be offensive to many people who have been injured or affected by gun incidents’ and claimed it would popularise the image of weapons which is ‘not a good idea’.
What is a good idea is to get the Americans to get their gun laws in order once and for all. There have been over 200 mass shootings in the USA since 2006 and still nothing has been done to to clamp down on who can legally own a firearm. Banning rifle emojis isn’t going to make one blind bit of difference.
TWO of my least favourite people will be back on the telly this week so I’ll have to plan my viewing schedule very carefully to avoid them. First off is a new series of The Apprentice with the loathsome ‘Lord’ Alan Sugar. If you were a kid watching that programme what sort of impression do you think they would get from the ‘world of work’? It’s absolutely ridiculous. I’m told the first programme has the contestants selling fish fingers door to door. Whenever it’s on you’ll be extremely likely to find me down the local boozer.
Worse still is the announcement that Piers Morgan will be joining the Good Morning Britain presenting team. The journalist and former US television presenter is to co-host the show alongside Susanna Reid three days a week from November. He said: “I am very excited at the prospect of waking up at 3am every morning, and even more excited by the thought of how annoying Susanna is going to find me after a few months”.
I think he is being wildly optimistic. It would take me a few minutes.


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Kevan Blackadder

Written by Kevan Blackadder

Kevan Blackadder is a media consultant who runs Blackadder Media Limited. Kevan was previously editor of the Gloucestershire Echo and assistant editor of the Bristol Post. A Cumbrian who moved to the South West “for a couple of years” in the 1980s, he can’t quite believe he’s been there ever since.

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