I scuttled into the large department store John Lewis after work last night. Well, when I say ‘scuttle’, I was bounced along the Metropolitan line, ejected at Baker Street, squooshed down towards the Bakerloo line, trundled on the tube, and then splashed out as part of a giant wave of people at Oxford Street, straight into another giant wave of people trying to rush back down into the station.
After a bit of confused ebbing and flowing I finally escaped into the shop. There is something about department stores that picks me up and cuddles me in rich soft duvets. I waft around pretending I can afford this and that, and look at things like fabric for my imaginary house. Within the store’s well-lit walls anything can be possible, and I’ve decided I want to live there.
I didn’t make this decision lightly. There are four department stores worthy of consideration within a walk of Oxford Circus. These are Debenhams, Selfridges, John Lewis and Liberty’s.
If Lived in Debenhams
I wouldn’t be able to resist the makeup and beauty department. I’d sparkle with glitter gloss and super shine. I’d have huge false eyelashes and would swan around in tons of reasonably priced bling. In fact, I’d bling and shine so much that I’d cause the national grid to do a Matrix like surge of power and cut all the lights in the west end. It’s probably not a wise move to let me live in Debenhams.
If I lived in Selfridges
I’d be no good at living in Selfridges. I’d be too tempted to clear all the stock out and just sell fridges. I’d employ traders with plenty of chat to sell them as if they’re flogging a job lot down Hackney Market, and every buyer would get a yellow Selfridges bag with spare fridge parts and egg racks. And then when all the fridges had gone I'd rename the store 'Sodfridges' and sell flowers instead.
If I lived in John Lewis
I would write novels about the hunt for the perfect kitchen utensil in the style of Moby Dick - 'Chief among these motives was the overwhelming idea of the great whisk itself.' You can picture its majesty I'm sure. It would be a publishing sensation, and while I was writing, I'd be an elegant addition (perhaps) to the sofas. I’d even be willing to point people in the right direction if they were lost and needing new moleskine notebooks. I’d create fabulous artwork out of the contents of the haberdashery department, and cry tears of joy to be John Lewis’ new Barbara Hepworth with buttons.
If I lived in Liberty’s
If I lived in Liberty’s I’m afraid it would go straight to my head. I’d hole up in the Grand Scarf Hall and the next time you see me I will be doing the dance of the seven sheer silk and bloody expensive veils. I might bolt the doors to shoppers and stalk the store in various velvet cloaks, gloating at my incredible fortune. People will look up at the candle-lit windows to watch me waltz past, occasionally reappearing on a different floor in a new hat. I’d throw petals down into the street, yell ‘ahoy’ in honour of Liberty’s sea-faring connection, and cause debate in the House of Commons about whether I’m a wonderfully eccentric tourist attraction or just a ruddy nuisance. I feel my residence may be rather short-lived.
So there you have it. John Lewis it is. Me and my button-sculpturing and Moby Dick parodying skills are poised to move in immediately!