Never Knowingly….

There has been much controversy in the British press regarding the new [now very old!] John Lewis ad, which features the actress/glamour model/author/Olympic gold medallist/circus performer/after dinner speaker/one time MP for Wigglesworth and Bendover, Fanny Mountjoy, who died earlier this year. Critics have accused John Lewis of focussing on the lesser aspects of Fanny’s achievements and in the brief summation of her life they have failed to acknowledge Fanny’s greater accomplishments, such as her much loved symphony in D minor – composed on the glockenspiel, and fondly known to all as ‘Lovelace and St Grace’.
Fanny’s family and friends have hit back arguing that this is how Fanny would like to have been remembered; for them Fanny will always be, first and foremost, a wife; mother; mistress and home-maker; as well as a sister; an aunt; a niece; a cousin; a god-daughter; a god-mother; a grandmother; and when occasion demanded, an uncle.
Critics have countered that John Lewis has undermined Fanny’s memory in the public psyche and have been grossly irresponsible to broadcast such a reduced and sentimental account of Fanny’s life.
Fanny’s family and friends have replied claiming that her family life was more significant than her groundbreaking thesis on high wire acrobatics and aerial fire eating, which led to her being shortlisted for a Nobel prize in chemistry.
Critics have gone on to suggest that family and friends wish to downplay some of Fanny’s more dubious activities, such as the night she is reported to have spent with naked activists at the Mini-Mart on Uppersnatch Common demonstrating over the demolition of an ice cream parlour some 200 miles away in Wigglesworth.
Family and friends [namely Richard Wood – third cousin, twice removed] have scoffed at this suggestion saying that her involvement was greatly overplayed and she was merely a bystander, albeit a naked bystander, photographed with an ice cream cone on her head and a sticky flake in her mitts; Richard claims that it was a very warm evening.
Critics are now meeting to decide their next riposte whilst friends and family have adjourned to their comfortable living rooms to await further developments, and to catch up with Britain’s Got Talent.
And so, dear reader, have John Lewis knowingly undersold Fanny Mountjoy? I’ll leave it to you to decide.

Originally published on The Scarlet Blue Archive 2nd June 2011

47 thoughts on “Never Knowingly….

    1. Scarlet Post author

      Mr Batarde – I have no idea what I was having in 2011, possibly a lot more alcohol than I am having in 2021.
      I am waiting for a sofa from JL, so I thought I’d give them a mention by updating this old post 🙂
      Sx

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    1. Scarlet Post author

      Savvy – It is a sweet little classic sofa, rather elegant with a robust covering of Harris tweed – a bit like me on a visit to Scotland on a stormy day. I have been looking forward to its arrival since the beginning of August to finish off my living room. Hopefully it will be here before Christmas.
      I did enjoy writing those old advert posts – nearly as much fun giving them an edit. I wish I was still having whatever I had in 2011!
      Sx

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  1. Inexplicable DeVice

    I see the critics haven’t yet cottoned on to Fanny Mountjoy’s most significant and spectacular achievement, an achievement captured and celebrated on film by John Lewis, that of her ability to TIME TRAVEL throughout her own lifetime!
    I’m not sure what Fanny’s family and friends have to say about this? They’re probably keeping shtum lest they get found out for exploiting her ability for being in several places at the same time for their various babysitting, caring responsibilities, cleaning, baking, gardening, entertaining, and interior decorating demands. Is it any wonder that she aged so quickly?

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    1. Scarlet Post author

      Mr Devine – So many adverts use time travel! There was an advert several years ago that went from birth to death in 30 seconds [maybe 60], which proved controversial and received many complaints. I have no memory of what it was advertising, but I will try to find out.
      And there is a current time travel advert by Aviva, whereby a woman sets out to visit her relatives in some far off Island [perhaps it is Lundy?] – she starts her journey at the age of 25 and ends up as 80 – or perhaps on her journey she buys a grey wig? It really isn’t very clear; I’m sure you know the advert I mean?
      Anyhow, I will seek out some more time travelling ads for your delectation.
      Sx

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      1. Scarlet Post author

        I think it’s Aviva, Mr Devine – anyhow, I mean to give it a makeover so you might get to see it here in 2026.
        I know, I watched the X Box advert this morning – kind of funny, kind of scary!
        Sx

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      2. melaniereynolds

        I’ve just come back and saw your comment to IDV about the Xbox commercial. It’s strange that you never know what someone will get offended about. I find the advert kind of lacking in creativity actually. I had a miscarriage and it was terrible, but it seems like a stretch (to me) to make a connection between this commercial and a personal loss like that. Ironically, I don’t think that commercial aired in the US because we get all weird about naked bodies. (Go figure!)

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  2. melaniereynolds

    I love this! Of course no woman lets all her secrets go into a commercial. Where would the mystery be otherwise? I would have never guessed that was an advert for furniture. I hope we’ll get a picture of the sofa when it arrives.

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    1. Scarlet Post author

      Mels – Well, John Lewis is a department store, so it sells everything that you might need – from knickers to garden sheds with a bit of cutlery in between. Some people say it’s a bland middle class store – but the quality is there, and I don’t intend to buy any more sofas in my lifetime – two is enough in one lifetime isn’t it?
      Pictures??? Maybe!!
      Sx

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  3. Kylie

    I’m just a little stuck on the name Fanny Mountjoy. Does the joy come when she is mounted or when she mounts? Maybe it’s a vaulting horse, in which case it must be when she mounts but I didn’t know vaulting horses felt anything………….
    Oh Scarlet, I’m not sure I’m making sense.

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  4. Scarlet Post author

    Kylie – Do not worry! This is the place to come when you no longer want to make sense! And in any case, I know what you mean, so all is well. I kind of wish I’d called her Peggy Mountjoy.
    Sx

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  5. Mitzi

    John Lewis and their ilk are responsible for those dreary, slowed down, acoustic versions of classic songs often sung by people with monotonous, tinny voices used for their adverts. I used to wince at the Praise You advert for Lancome.

    When I was young and had to work for a living I bought an ex-display sofa from Homebase in mustard yellow, for a small deposit they’d let me use a manual pallet cart things to take it home, I felt so proud of my £100 bargain and yet so cheap at having to slug the thing through the streets.

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    1. Scarlet Post author

      Mitzi – I know! Sometimes my jaw drops when I hear one of those Classic tunes that’s been tinkered with – it hurts to hear them – I describe the song as having been ‘ditsied’, meaning they’ve tried to turn a good solid sound into something cute, fluffy and ditsy simply to sell hand cream, or whatever. It’s a crime. It should be STOPPED. They even did it to The Buzzcocks.
      I had my nan’s old sofa from 1992 until 2021. It arrived in an old white van and departed in a skip.
      Sx

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  6. Nick Rogers

    It’s not generally know that Fanny had the world’s largest collection of corkscrews, including a gold-plated corkscrew used by Henry VIII. Unfortunately the entire collection was consumed in a huge fire due to a faulty electrical connection in a B&Q table lamp.

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  7. Scarlet Post author

    Nick – Never trust electrical goods! They are all out to get you. Especially those from B&Q.
    Jeez – now I want to look up the history of corkscrews – my blog is so distracting.
    Sx

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      1. Scarlet Post author

        Stop it, Jon!!! I need to be away doing something with a crevice attachment…..though I do like the look of those vintage iron elaborate corkscrews!
        Sx

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  8. lisleman

    You have an amazing group of followers. I doubt I could pull a 10 year old post out and get this many comments. Ok I’ll stop being jealous. I really enjoyed your post and read the well written article that you linked. Also that is one of my favorite Billy Joel songs. The best line is:
    “Oh, and she never gives out and she never gives in
    She just changes her mind”
    However I just noticed the advert cut that great line out of the song. I guess the length of the ad was important.
    Best line of your post – “her groundbreaking thesis on high wire acrobatics and aerial fire eating, which led to her being shortlisted for a Nobel prize in chemistry.”
    Back before I knew better, I mixed a few cleaning products which produced a gas. I tossed a match at it and survived a good explosion. Too bad they didn’t have a Know Nothing in chemistry prize.

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    1. Scarlet Post author

      Bill – I do have an amazing group of blogging friends, and you are one of them! Yes, it’s a lovely song and better when not attached to an advert, and it’s also better with all the lines included.
      I know nothing about chemistry, and once nearly had a mishap when I overdid the Milton whilst cleaning the bathroom – I always keep the window open now if I’m using a cleaner with fumes. We could share the prize!
      Sx

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  9. llcooljoe

    I remember the advert well, but had no idea it was about Fanny Mountjoy. Who I have to admit I’ve never heard of.

    I don’t think I’m very posh as I’ve never bought any furniture from John Lewis. I did buy some Cath Kidston china though, that we’ve never used. I think I’m a bit more of a down market Dunelm shopper.

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    1. Scarlet Post author

      Joey – Poor Fanny, at least I have told her story.
      Ack, I’ve never bought a sofa before, in my whole life, so I decided to splash out on not one, but two, fancy sofas! That’s it though, no more – they’ll last me.
      Sx

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  10. Eryl Gasper-Dick

    I’m sure I read recently that the Nobel committee are reconsidering Fanny in light of undeniable evidence they’ve been serving the patriarchy to the detriment of their mission statement. (Apologies for my scant punctuation)

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