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