LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
21 December 2014
All I Want For Christmas Is Myself

Surely you had a 'selfie-stick' on the top of your Christmas wish list. Darling. It's
the must-have present this year. You've see them on the news, on the streets, on
your friends.

Those vanity sticks for the self-obsessed among us are flying off the shelves.
They allow camera phones to be extended up to a metre away for those
compulsory personal shots. Smartphone photos: so 2013.

The selfie-stick you are sure will be in your hands Christmas morning first
became a must-have item in Asia. It was originally used in extreme sports to
capture devotees in action. Now they are annoying everybody within their metre
reach who is selfie-stick free. Say "meeeee".

The word is that shameless narcissism will be so 2014. Oh I so doubt that.
Nevertheless, 'those who know' say selfies will lose their popularity. Best to
selfie-stick now then.

It's All About Me, Not You

While the ultimate selfie is the celebrity autobiography, stacks are left sitting on
the shelves...regardless of how many each celeb has 'written' about their
incredibly fascinating lives...three or more. No. Really.

The anticipated sales are on average 200,000; Kelly Brook: 8,000, Graham
Norton: 43,000, Stephen Fry: 60,000, poor Paul Merton: 17,000. Please. Not in
my Christmas stocking.

Shop...No Need to Drop

Spend a mere £350 and Selfridge's will supply a chauffeur-driven BMW Mini -
yellow naturally. Now this is a personal shopping service.

Your very own personal shopping is assisted by 16 'Elfridges' to encourage you
to buy, buy, buy. If you have forgotten their annual sale window directive: I Shop
Therefore I Am.

There is more perks. Free gift-wrapping, even if you just might be buying those
specially chosen presents for yourself and champagne naturally.

No, you cannot be driven to the Yorkshire Moors. Four people and their
purchases can be driven anywhere within the M25. "Our partnership with Mini is
allowing us to go the extra mile (literally then) by offering 'Elfridges' customers
the opportunity to make the transition between our store and home smooth and
swift." All in the spirit of consumer Christmas surely.

A shame Selfridges decided to move their rather lovely Christmas shop from the
lower-ground to the top floor last year. For a few years the shop was in a
charming grotto. Very Christmassy. Now, no magic, no atmosphere,
unimaginative decorations and so bright, surgery could be performed. Off my list.

I'll Be Home for Christmas

As reported by homeless charity, Shelter, 93,000 children will face
homelessness this Christmas, 60,000 families in emergency accommodation. A
thoughtful present from kind-hearted Chancellor, Georgie Boy.

The number of homeless families living in bed-and-breakfast accommodation in
England has nearly doubled in three years. The accommodation offered is
usually sub-standard in an often unsafe environment. The usual: filth, mould
inside, drugs and gangs outside. One room per family, shared bathrooms and
kitchens. Oh joy.

I am surprised the Tory toffs haven't suggested that a few sprigs of holly, a lovely
natural wreath and some beeswax candles should put the families in the
Christmas mood...and not to forget charades after a big Christmas dinner
naturally. One million people are using food banks to feed their families.

More than £4.74bn will be spent the five days before Christmas Day...£1.3bn on
last minute preparations on 23 December.... Shop until you drop, if you are
conscience-free.

Happy Christmas to all.
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