COLM O'REGAN: Opening Lines: I find it very hard to watch children being cute now without tearing up

I finally saw the John Lewis ad. This will come as a relief to the John Lewis people as they may have been wondering if all the right “influencers” have seen it. It’s OK, John Lewis People. You can close the door because I’m safely in anyway.

People who know the advertising business have written articles wondering whether the format is tired. Well, I’m too tired to know about those finer details but I do like it. Then again my critical faculties are impaired these days.

Because it has a small child being adorable and a big cuddly monster. I find it very hard to watch children being cute now without tearing up (as in getting tearful, not wrecking the gaff).

My brain, which might one minute be all clinical and cynical and say things like “Brexit will be a mess due to a lack of appreciation of the complexity of bilateral trade agreements”, melts into a “AHWUDJAWUDJA-LOOOKK THE LITTLE BOY HAS A MONSTER UNDER HIS BED WUDJA WUDJA”.

Seriously if you’re producing culture and you even just hint at a storyline involving a child realising we can’t play with our teddies forever but we retain them in our memory, I will be hurling my money at you.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the ad: “An adorable little boy befriends the monster under his bed, now buy stuff in John Lewis.” The message is a trifle irresponsible as it doesn’t contain any caveats about approaching monsters but I’ll let that slide.

There’s a lot of pressure on the John Lewis ad every year. It’s apparently a standard milestone of Christmas.

There are other milestones — the ESB ad where the fella from TV3 gets off a train where the doors open outwards, the Toy Show, and someone saying it’s getting earlier every year.

So John Lewis had has an important place in the pantheon and there is a lot of criticism regardless of whether it’s good or not.

And I have to add my beef. It’s the song. Now, there’s nothing wrong with it the song. Quite the opposite, in fact.

‘Golden Slumbers’ is part of the medley on Side 2 of Abbey Road. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. It’s the one I sing in my daydreams as I get through to the final of X factor. (Now in the over-35s section).

But I didn’t authorise its release. It was probably just me and a few hundred million other Beatles fans who loved it before me. But now it’s been released unto the masses. It’ll be on X Factor after 100 versions of ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Fields of Barley’, and ‘Summertime’.

What an odd reaction. The need to hoard culture from others. I have to come to the inevitable conclusion — I must be a bit of a knob. I want to be the one to play it for you and then watch your reaction and then hear you say, “Thank you for introducing me to this Colm. You are a great human being.”

It’s not even as if I can even keep up with what’s cool and new. With the recent doubling of our house workforce and the hiring of two new trainees in the last two years who will require on-the-job training for decades, my cool days are over.

I’m not out in tiny clubs listening to music that’s so new it hasn’t been written yet, just me standing watching the band think it at me. All I know is that Dora the Explorer’s friend Boots likes bananas.

And yet, still I felt a pang as another song escapes out of my clutches. I’ll just watch it on YouTube now and read comments of the people who heard it for the first time from the John lewis ad. Disgusted.

I can’t be the only one who feels this way. If you hear other people saying something similar, please do remember where you heard it first.


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