A truly ge­nius way to get rid of that left­over av­o­cado

The Sunday Telegraph - - Sunday Comment - TANYA GOLD al, win­ners hn g, uty, ewis e o -re­tailtly-in­ence stead, n ? READ MORE

Prince Wil­liam has been given an av­o­cado by a child. It is usual to call the bear­ers of such gifts “well-wish­ers” and it has been sug­gested that the gift is in­tended to soothe the morn­ing sick­ness of his wife the Duchess. She may or may not be crav­ing an av­o­cado, which is quite a ran­dom food item.

I did won­der if the child thought the av­o­cado was too heavy, or was bored with hold­ing it; per­haps he bumped into the prince, thought he could get away with pass­ing it on to him and was, in this case, cor­rect. Per­haps he had never wanted the av­o­cado, and feared he would be made to eat it, or some of it. “I gave it to Prince Wil­liam” is a strong de­fence if re­buked about the loss of an av­o­cado by a par­ent.

If it was not ex­actly the sword Ex­cal­ibur, it was at least well meant. Peo­ple give the Royal fam­ily many gifts. They place them into gloved hands. They post them. These gifts seem odd at first but, when viewed over time, they ex­press the odd­ity of mod­ern roy­alty – the mys­ti­cal and the dull – very well. Last year, for in­stance, the Queen was given a pair of cro­cheted pop­pies and a Post-it note holder. Prince Wil­liam was given an ea­gle feather, bread mix, and shoes. The Duchess of Cam­bridge was given a totem pole, nine pack­ets of ce­real and two fridge mag­nets. The Duke of York was given a face mask, an eye com­pres­sor and a card­board crown.

It must be said: the av­o­cado was not an of­fi­cial gift to the prince. If it were, he would not have been al­lowed to eat it. It would have en­tered the Royal Col­lec­tion for pos­ter­ity and, for as long there is a United King­dom to host it, there it would stay.

John Lewis, the depart­ment store which fur­nishes the in­ter­nal dream­scape of mid­dle-class peo­ple, now of­fers a fully im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence: you can, for per­haps the first time ever, live in­side a depart­ment store. There is a flat above the Ox­ford Street branch, which has been dec­o­rated with John Lewis fur­nish­ings and filled with John Lewis goods. It is called The Res­i­dence and it will be lent to prize-win­ners in the weeks be­fore Christ­mas. But it is not an Airbnb. It can­not be rented out to all who de­sire it. No, like the bed­room in Cin­derella’s Cas­tle, Dis­ney­world – which, in­ci­den­tally, is hor­rid – The Res­i­dence, John Lewis­world, can­not be had for mere money, which con­fuses me, since it seems to be the most per­fect ex­pres­sion of con­sumerism I can imag­ine.

What is the slo­gan of John Lewis­world? The most mag­i­cal, mid­dle-class place on earth? And what will hap­pen then? The prize-win­ners will wear John Lewis clothes and John Lewis per­fumes, sleep on a John Lewis bed un­der John Lewis bed­ding, and then awake, like Sleep­ing Beauty, to a Waitrose muf­fin bas­ket.

I have used the real John Lewis like this for years. I would lie in the beds when I was preg­nant. I used to play a game called how-much-is-the-re­tail­value-of-all-the-stock-cur­rently-in­John-Lewis and so The Res­i­dence should be my dream home. In­stead, I am ter­ri­fied by too much John Lewis. What if they won’t let you out? Osama bin Laden’s col­lec­tion of porno­graphic hic ma­te­ri­als will not, it ap­pears,

at tele­graph.co.uk/ opin­ion be re­leased by the CIA, and this is up­set­ting for his­to­ri­ans. We learnt quite a lot about Sad­dam Hus­sein from the “artis­tic mu­rals” on his palace walls, af­ter all. We learnt that he liked blonde women with large breasts and cod­pie cod­pieces for men.

Eve Even so, the CIA are not usu­ally so prim. Who says yes to ren­di­tion, but no to a an­nounc­ing that mass mur­der­ers like w watch­ing Deb­bie Does Dal­las? Is there s some­thing dan­ger­ous about bin Laden Laden’s pornog­ra­phy, some­thing harmf harm­ful to Amer­ica? I think there is. Each m man kills the thing he loves, and so I su sus­pect the col­lec­tion, seized in the rai raid on his fi­nal refuge, in­cludes cheerl cheer­lead­ers, soc­cer moms and San Franci Fran­cisco gays.

All o of this makes Bin Laden seem the cli cliché of the age, an an­gry man sit­ting in his pants, which – global ter­ror net­work aside – was ex­actly what h he was. I am sorry the stash will not b be re­leased to become dis­gust­ing foot foot­notes in learned books, but I sin sin­cerely hope that it will be safe in aba box in that enor­mous mil­i­tary ware­house next to the Ark of the Covenant.

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