Every day, I’d like to think I try something or do something that I’ve never done before. Yesterday, I went even further than that, and did two, or maybe even three things, for the first time ever. I drove to Gatwick, to pick up my cousin (which is a LONG way from the mean streets of West London), and I also took her to see the Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre. The third, tenuous item on my list is driving on the M25, during rush hour, on a Friday, at the end of term. I didn’t have fun, and I certainly don’t advise anyone to try it.
My cousin is visiting England for the first time from Los Angeles, and despite this only being a passing visit of a few days, she insisted on seeing the ins and outs of London town. So, this morning, my cousin, myself, and my sister hopped on a bus to Marble Arch, where we procured a horrible open-top sightseeing bus. We amused ourselves with this for a while, and when we were bored of the taped commentary that was forced on us (the guide we were given when we bought our tickets insisted it was ‘digitally’ recorded, whatever that means in terms of credibility ), we hopped off, and then hopped on again, a dynamic that continued ad infinitum.
The hours went on, and evening sneaked up on us. My cousin said that she wanted to see a film, to end the night, so we journeyed to Leicester Square, where the five cinemas could only offer two films at that hour: Public Enemies, or Ice Age 3. My sister wasn’t too keen on the idea of Public Enemies, so we opted for Ice Age 3, in the end.
We were given special 3D glasses before we went into the theatre proper, and sat down wearing them, and watching the trailers, like the cool people we are. After a short while, we were instructed to put on our 3D glasses, before an interactive game (I know!) financed by the good people at O2 began. We were told we were on a spaceship in an asteroid field, and had to help the captain navigate the ship left and right, by putting our hands up, respectively, when instructed. We were seated in the middle of the theatre, but I was more right-ways, I thought, with my cousin and sister more to the left. The ‘game’ began, and the captain of our vessel soon started hollering directions at us. My side were rather rubbish. I don’t think we ‘turned’ the ship right at all, but we still made it through in the end. I’m sure they must have used some kind of nifty motion-sensing cameras to engineer this game, and while rather simple, it has an awful lot of potential. You must not forget that this experience was in 3D as well.
My only experience of 3D films, minus a few visits to the London IMAX, trigger memories of red and white 3D glasses, along with some nausea. Gone are the coloured lenses, replaced with a completely transluscent set of specs. The 3D seems to work in much the same way. There are actually two images projected on-screen, which are then spliced together through the magic of the 3D glasses, and you’re left with a fantastically colourful, full 3D image.
The actual film itself was delightful. Without spoiling it for any hardcore Disney fans out there, everything ties up nicely in the end, and I was left grinning like a loon. I’m sorry to say that I’m a sucker for Disney films, and Ice Age 3 didn’t disappoint. The 3D was also implemented wonderfully, whether there was a T-Rex lunging out of the screen, or snowflakes fluttering into the theatre, it really felt like the 3D added something special to the experience.
This brings me on to my main point. I feel the 3D was really something that you couldn’t replicate at home. The film had generic, ‘DO NOT FILM THIS FILM OR WE’LL BANG YOU UP, PROPER, LIKE’, but who would even want to? I mean, you could record it, but all you’d get is a dodgy multi-layered image. Even if the pirates were able to engineer it in such a way (which I’m sure they already have done), I just wouldn’t feel the same, sitting at home, crouched in front of a 20″ screen with 3D glasses on. Indeed, I’d feel quite the fool. Call me naive, but is this how to beat piracy? I’m not pledging allegiance to either side of this debate, but I’m sure that film buffs know all about the power of the ‘world’ of the cinema. I genuinely enjoy going to the cinema, sitting in a dark room, and forgetting about the world, and all my problems for a couple of hours. I’m sure the 3D format wouldn’t lend itself to all types of film, but it’s certainly something to ponder.
The next thing I want to consider, is the little 3D ‘game’ we all collectively took part in, as an audience, before the film began. Could this be the future of cinema? Could we turn animated films, such as this, into our own 3D ‘choose your own path’ adventure, using grouped audience reactions as stimuli? We’ve already got the technology, and from the looks of things, animation studios are really starting to embrace the format warmly. Perhaps the O2 ‘game’ was a sort of trial. A pilot, if you will, to see how many people actually participated. I may be getting far ahead of myself, but I think animated cinema might be just about to take a turn for the better. A fully 3D, interactive film? Oh, be still, my childish heart…
I’m quite happy this morning. I’m sitting in front of my laptop, eating a peanut butter and jelly (jam sounds wrong) sandwich, wearing a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt. My right ear is still ringing, slightly, and one of my toes hurts, probably from when someone jumped on it last night. I saw Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction, and Mew, then. It was fantastic.
Being lucky enough to have secured a nin.com presale ticket, I was allowed into the auditorium easly, so was able to get quite (read: very) near the front. As I entered, Mew were just beginning their set. “Hi, we’re Mew,” the lead singer said sheepishly. I couldn’t help feeling like they were all little starstruck, despite them nearing the end of this gargantuan tour. “We’re from Copenhagen,” the singer revealed, quite innocently. Nonetheless, their set was great; an eclectic mix of rock, and possible hints of trip-hop. It was very much rock, with standard, hard hitting riffs, and solid bass licks, but it was haunting at times, also, in a Sigur Rós kind of way, probably because of the falsetto vocals which were delivered wonderfully.
They scuttled off, after a quick, “Thanks.” Bless them. Jane’s Addiction soon took to the stage. What struck me most about their performance, was the enormity of their stage presence. Perry Farrell, while having aged somewhat, sporting a new haircut, was perfectly at home running around the stage, hopping between monitors, and generally having what looked like a good time. Dave Navarro was also on top form. He looked like he was having as good a time as Farrell, while providing an impeccable, shred-tastic performance.
Their set played like any Jane’s Addiction ‘Greatest Hits’ record. Been Caught Stealing, Ocean Size, and Mountain Song were all there, but they were all played with energy, enthusiasm and sheer joy. You could tell they were all having a brilliant time on stage, and as a result, we, the audience, had a brilliant time watching them.
The lights came up once again, and strangely enough, the entire lighting rig dropped a few feet, and the stage was suddenly filled with keyboards. Soon, NIN took to the stage. By this point, the inevitable ‘crush’ one experiences at gigs, as soon as the main act appears, had started. The drums started pounding, Trent Reznor appeared, and the crowd went absolutely wild.
I can’t, for the life of me, remember what song they opened with. I only remember Mr Reznor throwing his guitar over his head, to the back of the stage, when it was over. I’ve never envisioned him as a violent man, but during his set, he continually knocked over keyboards and microphone stands. Not that this matters at all. Their set was wonderful, and these incidents only added to the chaotic dischord that was their set. They went from heavy songs, that got the crowd jumping up and down (also causing many squashed toes, I’d imagine), to much, much quieter songs, that had the crowd swaying, and waving their hands in the air. I didn’t know where they were going to go next, which was brilliant.
Trent had said prior to the tour that NIN’s performance would be something more organic, and less scripted than past tours, and he was right. In addition to the mind-bending chaos I’ve described above, the band had no hesitation about adding long, sweeping, maybe even improved break-downs to their songs. The Downward Spiral was a particular highlight, which spread a calm, blissful aura over the crowd, before starting the chaos again. As a band, and Reznor, as a producer and songwriter, is certainly a wizard of some kind. Their musical range is astounding, and they showcased this brilliantly with their set.
Reznor also had a couple of surprises in store. The first, was a David Bowie cover of ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’, which is no big surprise, as Reznor has actually remixed the song numerous times, citing that he listened to Bowie’s ‘Low’ album daily when recording ‘The Downward Spiral’. What really surprised me, though, was when he introduced Gary Numan (of ‘Cars‘ fame) and Reznor took a back seat, as the band rocked out to ‘Cars’ and other Numan favourites.
Their set ended with a small encore of ‘Hurt’, which was performed with the help of Robin Finck on acoustic guitar. It was a sombre and heartfelt performance. Indeed, Reznor has admitted he wrote his best material at a very low point at his life, and he was clearly affected when singing it.
The set, overall, was nothing short of eclectic. The band themselves, this time round, consisting of mainstay Robin Finck on guitar and keyboard, Justin Meldal-Johnsen on bass and keyboard, and Ilan Rubin, formerly of Lostprophets fame, on drums (and possibly also keyboard). They’re certainly a multi-talented bunch, and this came across in their performance, being able to cope with multiple instruments and musical styles. It was a breath of fresh air from ordinary gigs, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to experience anything like it again.
Reznor has expressed already that he thought the current tour wasn’t a fitting way to say goodbye to NIN, so for now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for another European farewell tour, and I urge any of you with any sort of interest in rock music at all to go and see it.
Yeah, some people might say I’m stupid. It’s just gone half-past one in the morning, and I’ve pretty much just returned from a trip to Hove, as part of my work for Acer. There was a ‘Comet Roadshow’ going on; essentially, it was a training day for Comet staff, where various promo reps would set up shop around a store, and groups of employees would mill around and listen to whatever we had to say. Despite leaving late, thanks to a late-running squash game with my sister, I managed to get there and set up in the nick of time. Work have even loaned me a snazzy Timeline 5810 for the next week, as I’m meant to be at another of these ‘roadshows’ in Portsmouth next Sunday. Huzzah for responsibility!
Hove is a really nice place. I’d never been there before, and I’d never really given the place much thought, to be honest. On my way to the Comet store, I got lost, and found myself at a beach. It was wonderful. It has the lovely beach-town feel of Brighton, while being a lot smaller. I’d love to return there.
I just so happened to run into a friend of mine at the Roadshow, who was representing Samsung, although he works for the same agency I do. The agency had agreed to put him up for the night, and also to pay for his dinner. As we finished the Roadshow quite late, we resolved to go for a meal. My friend convinced me that work would pay for my dinner, too, since I’d travelled outside of London. We drove to his hotel, dropped off our cars, checked in, and then went for a walk on the beach, before finding a nice looking Indian half-bar, half-restaurant. What surprised me, in a good way, was that they had a karaoke night going on in the bar. We hung around and watched this for a bit, before trying to summon a waiter. Instead, my friend got talking to a stocky Middle Eastern man by the name of Amir, who turned out to be a drunk man who was wasting time. We invited him over, and he began telling us about his life. I joke not. He told us everything about his life. About his partner, and his son, Zachariah, about his friends, about his work, about his birthplace, Morocco, about his religion. He was some kind of contractor, a foreman or something. He was there waiting for his employee, Ray, to sing karaoke. Apparently he sings to himself while he works, and Amir would always hear complaints about it. We spent hours listening to this barely comprehensible man. I don’t know what compelled us to stay, but we did, despite his somewhat brash demeanour at times; his constant high-fives and handshakes, the need for a continual slapping of meat to confirm his manliness, or something like that. He sounded like he led quite an interesting life, and invited us both to a barbecue, if we ever were in Hove again. Time passed, and Ray had come and gone. He was quite good, actually. My friend then insisted that we had to leave. We had made the waiter go to the trouble of sorting out individual bills, so we could send our receipts to work and claim the price of our meals back individually. Amir, instead, grabbed the bill, and threw his credit card at the waiter. The meal was on him, he insisted, and he eventually paid, despite our nagging and our refusals. Suffice to say, the waiter got a very generous tip that night.
When we got up to leave, he looked heartbroken, until my friend said we’d look him up if we ever returned to Hove. He wouldn’t let us leave before giving us both a (literally) crushing embrace. Myself and my collegue walked out, clueless as to what had just happened. We weren’t sure whether Amir was completely legitimate, but we both agreed that he was very lonely. I felt sad for him, as he clearly had a good heart.
Today’s events are still spinning around my head. I’m not entirely sure what my encounter with Amir meant, if anything, or what it was meant to show me. I’m not yet sure what the moral of the story is, but I hope that things are clearer in the morning.
Today was an odd day for me, certainly. Not because I just think I’ve seen a ghost, or experienced the presence of some kind of spiritual body, but because funerals are still rather ‘new’ to me.
Today, I attended my second funeral, and gave my second eulogy. This funeral was unlike the first, which was in February. No. That was a far more lavish affair, if I can call it that, taking place at the prestigious ‘Forest Lawn’ funeral home, in the Los Angeles hills, where apparently Michael Jackson now rests, at least temporarily.
It was a funeral for Manuel Castro Jesue, my father’s lifelong friend, and father of my father’s Godson. Some of you may remember a blog that I posted, a while back, about this poor gentleman who was dying at home of throat cancer. We knew it was coming, and he sadly passed away last week. Since Castro became ill, and made the decision to die at home, a year ago, my family and I have become increasingly close to his son, and today was an unbelievably hard day for him, but he coped very well, and read his own, beautiful eulogy.
I had never taken part, or even seen a funeral procession before. We met at Castro’s house, early on in the afternoon, where the funeral hearse, and a limousine were waiting. We greeted the other attendees, before climbing into the limousine, which sat behind the hearse, carrying Castro’s coffin, which was covered with many different collections of flowers.
Slowly, the procession began. The hearse rolled forward, and we soon followed, in the limousine. At the end of the road, the passenger of the hearse, a man in a black top hat and overcoat got out of the hearse, closing the door, and bowing to the coffin as the hearse rolled past him, before getting back in. The procession slowly proceeded to our destination; a crematorium not too far away. We couldn’t have been breaking 20 MPH, but we were in no rush, despite being late for our ‘slot’ at the crematorium. People drove alongside us, eager to get ahead. When we were stationary, at traffic lights, people would gaze, and stare at the hearse, and the coffin contained within it. My half-brother, Andrew, who came especially from Sweden for the funeral, tried to joke about the buttons on the limousine doors that operated the windows. I nodded once, keeping my eyes fixed on the hearse, and the coffin.
The driver assured us that we’d be on time, and I believe we were. As we exited the limousine, we greeted the other attendees, again. I met a woman whose son, a deacon, knew Castro well, and was participating in the funeral, as well as giving his own eulogy.
We were ushered inside to Eva Cassidy’s ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’, which I had burned to a CD the night before. Before entering, we each took a rose out of a box of roses that Castro’s relatives had sent, or ordered, from Portugal. I chose a white one. We then took our seats. I sat with my family, and with Richard, Castro’s son, at the first row of pews. The music faded, and the service began. The priest opened with a prayer, and the deacon, Tito, read some Bible passages and gave his eulogy. It was very fitting, and he even likened Castro to Jesus. He talked of how Castro dedicated his life to the hotel and catering business, which in a way, was a dedication to helping people, like Jesus. He talked about how he was an amateur carpenter, like Jesus was. Deacon Tito finished what he had to say, and Richard was then called up to read what he had written to his father. Richard had asked me to step in, if he couldn’t finish reading his eulogy himself. He held himself together, although his last few sentences were very tearful, both for him, and those watching. It was a beautiful eulogy. He told me later on that he wished to say more about his father’s life, but I said that the way he said what he did showed better than any words how much he loved his father.
My own father then tapped me on the knee, and told me to go up and read my eulogy. My father was very close to Castro, working with Castro, a cocktail barman, for many years, when he was still a hotel manager. I had asked him if he wanted to say something instead of me. I didn’t feel that qualified to say anything, really. My dad shrugged this off, saying that he was no good at talking in front of people. I knew how much it meant to my dad, so I had prepared a short speech. Right then, however, I told my dad that I would read my eulogy later, at the wake, as when I had mentioned that I had something to read, earlier on, Richard had told me there might not be time. Prayers were made, and Bible verses were read. Just as the priest conducting the funeral was going to draw an end to it, Richard stopped him, and leant over and asked me if I wanted to read what I had prepared.
I climbed up, and introduced myself to the onlookers. This was my second time, standing on the pulpit, and I don’t think I shall ever get used to it, if I am ever called there again, under such circumstances. The best fitting description of it would be to imagine being punched, hard, in the stomach, by the combined grief of everyone in the room. I am glad I had written the eulogy down, as I fear I wouldn’t have been able to recall it from memory. I did my very best to read the printed words in front of me accurately, although I tripped on my words a couple of times. When I was done, I returned to my seat from the dizzying heights of the pulpit. More prayers were said, and we were called to say our last goodbyes to the coffin, before it was delivered into the oven behind it. I placed my white rose on the coffin, and passed a kiss to the large golden crucifix nailed to the top of it.
We exited, and said our condolences to Richard. My dad said he was very proud of me.
After collecting flowers, including the box of roses sent from Portugal, we returned to the limousine, where we were taken to Castro’s house; all the while, I cradled the box of roses in the empty seat next to me.
When we returned to Castro’s house, we went inside and Richard placed a wreath he had taken, decorated with Portuguese colours, behind a picture of his father, in a table in the corner. He asked me to put the box of roses in the bedroom, next to the bed where Castro had lay for a year. It was very strange, returning to this bedroom where I had seen him slowly debilitate, and mutate, over time, into a skeletal figure. A shadow. The windows were wide open, and the usual musty smell was gone. The bedclothes were made, but the pillows were creased, with an indent. Were these made by Castro? I didn’t know, and didn’t ask, but I couldn’t shake the strange feeling of seeing the room without him in it. It didn’t seem like the same room, almost.
I returned to the lounge. Richard was showing some tables that Castro had crafted, by hand, and varnished himself. He showed us a collection of boxes, one which Castro had varnished shut, and had then cut his hand open, trying to open it with a knife. My mum had to drive him to the hospital. It was nice to admire his craftsmanship. The tables were extremely well made. It’s amazing how someone can create something – anything, from nothing.
After this, we left the house, returning to our respective cars, and driving to a nearby bar/restaurant, owned by a good friend of my dad’s, who had closed the premises for a wake. The general mood seemed happier, as we started to celebrate Castro’s life, and recall fond memories of him. We sat outside, on their patio, and had a collection of barbecued foods. They made me a vegan bean burger especially. They made me two, but Andrew ate my second. I wasn’t that hungry, anyway.
After we had eaten, and drank, we left, but not before my dad insisted on taking care of the bill. Richard tried, but my dad’s pride prevailed, like it has many, many times in the past. That’s one of the many good things I think I’ve inherited from him. We then took some pictures outside the restaurant, and we returned to my house, along with Richard. There, we talked, made plans for the following day, today, drank Armenian brandy, as well as tea and coffee, and ate fruit. After the sun had set, Andrew, Richard and myself decided to go for a walk along the Thames. I didn’t talk a great deal. I mostly listened, until the very end of the walk, when the subject of Michael Jackson, another recently deceased ‘M.J.’, who I talked about quite passionately. When we got back, everyone else had gone to sleep. My sister was in a mood with me, as I had promised her we could go for a drive when we got back from the wake. I hope she’ll be ok, and forgive me, when she wakes up.
Andrew went to bed, and I gave Richard a lift home. We sat outside his house, in my car, for many hours, chatting about the day’s events, about Andrew, about my family, about his family. We talked about many things, and we both got emotional. When he clock struck three, he said he should probably go, but the conversation just kept flowing. All of a sudden, the door to his block of flats swung open a little. We debated whether it was the wind, a spirit, or a ghost, or Castro, calling Richard inside, to go to sleep. He went and checked the door, which he suspected might be on the latch. He returned, and confirmed that it wasn’t. We both sat in the car, a little unnerved, peering inside the building, looking for any signs of any thing that could have opened the door. Why, if it was wind, had the wind waited over an hour to open the door? If it was the wind, how could it then open a locked door? My father is a very religious man, and believes, without doubt, that spirits walk the earth for forty days, after their mortal bodies die, before ascending to heaven. He still recounts, vividly, his experiences and dreams after his own father, my grandfather, died. I’m not certain where my beliefs lie, with regards to supernatural phenomena, but I believe, at that point, that Castro was watching us.
Richard and I embraced, he stepped out of my car, shutting the door, lightly, and then waved me off as I backed out of his estate, and drove off.
I watched the Michael Jackson memorial on TV a few hours ago, and was surprised at how emotional, and how intimate an event it was, despite the thousands of people present. Truly, Michael Jackson was greater than an entertainer, and I think that showed today. He was a real humanitarian; he really cared, and more than that, I think he has touched all of our lives, directly or indirectly in some way. Whether you were a fan or not, no one can deny that Michael Jackson has been a part of their lives in some way.
I think, as a sort of tribute to Michael, it’d be nice if everyone posts, on their blog, or on their Twitter, one memory of how Michael Jackson has touched their life.
Here’s mine. It’s not much, but it’s what sticks in my mind most prominently: I remember, many years ago, I visited my family in Los Angeles. I couldn’t have been older than six or seven, but I still remember a family gathering at my aunt’s house. While I was there, my cousin Vacheh gave me an audio cassette: a collection of Michael Jackson hits, recorded off the radio. It was my first ever audio cassette.
So, again, whoever you are, if you read this, please post your Michael memory, as a tribute to this legend. I’m trying to get the hashtag #MichaelMemory into circulation on Twitter, but whatever medium you use, or however you blog, take a minute out of your day to pay tribute to this legend.
Peace, and love to all of you.
This Saturday just gone was my final day of work in John Lewis, for the Acer Timeline campaign, another field marketing job. I’d enjoyed my time in John Lewis. I’m usually used to being placed in DSGi stores, such as PC World and Currys.digital, which are rather hectic to say the least. My job is meant to promote positive brand awareness, but unfortunately, my experience in DSG stores has been more akin to direct sales. The stores themselves are quite often packed, and you’ve got, if anything, around three minutes with each customer, to get them out of the door with your product in hand. It’s rather dog-eat-dog, if I do say so, myself.
John Lewis, on the other hand, is worlds apart. I’m sure that everybody is aware of their prestigious reputation in terms of selling, well, everything. It couldn’t be different from anything I’ve dealt with in a DSG store. Footfall is greatly reduced. Even what they consider as ‘busy’ is far quieter than what I’m used to. Customers demand your expertise, and instead of two or three minutes interaction with a customer, you’re sometimes required to spend up to an hour, or even more, with an individual customer. Truly, John Lewis provides a gourmet shopping experience.
Sadly, when I started the Timeline campaign, I was in the wrong mindset for the job. I’d worked in John Lewis stores before, but over a year ago. I approached customers with the intention of closing a sale as quickly as possible. The customers didn’t like this, and they soon reacted by complaining about me to the management. On my second day on the campaign, four individual complaints were made about me. I was utterly heartbroken, having never received any complaints about my methods. I put it down to stuffy John Lewis customers, and a bad day. Customers complained that I acted like I didn’t know the products I was selling, and that it was almost as if I “didn’t care”.
Now that I’ve finished the campaign, I can reflect properly, and say that they were right. I like to pride myself in my knowledge of technology, and receiving complaints about this was a great shock to me. However, I learnt a lot on my final day in John Lewis. Better late than never, I suppose.
I was talking to a customer early on in the day, who asked me directly if I knew “anything about laptops”. I asked him if it seemed that way, and he told me that I didn’t seem too confident on laptops. I thought this was quite rude, at the time, but then the truth soon dawned on me: I’d been patronising him, and my customers, all along. John Lewis tends to attract an older class of customer than DSG. I realise now, however, that their age doesn’t make them any less happy to comprehend technical jargon. On the contrary, it simply means that they need to be educated on the finer points of new technologies. Indeed, the customers I spoke to seemed to enjoy the technical jargon, and hearing about the ins and outs of what they were buying. It was almost as if they preferred a sales assistant who exuded a profound knowledge of technology.
In the past, I have thought of consumers in two seperate camps. You can either be a ‘techie’, or you’re not a techie. Here was my problem. I ended up ‘tailoring’ my sales pitch to non-techies, as I thought of them as unwilling to learn, when this couldn’t be further from the truth. I would approach, perhaps, an older customer, who I’d assume wouldn’t have the greatest tech knowledge, and start talking to him, in watered-down style, about whatever it was he was thinking of buying. I would patronise him.
On Saturday, I spent an hour or so talking to a man, a ‘non-techie’, and helping him find a laptop. With the comments from the gentleman I’d served earlier on in the day still fresh in my mind, I decided to go all-in. I would tell him everything I knew about these machines. I talked to him about the different models of Intel processor; the difference between Centrino, Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad. I spoke to him about Blu-Ray, about HDMI out, about the difference between 720p ‘HD Ready’ displays, and 1080p ‘Full HD’ displays. I even educated him about fluctuating capacities and ‘dead-points’ of older laptop batteries. I assume he didn’t already know most of what I already told him, but was struck me then as odd, was that he was more than happy to listen. He looked like he enjoyed listening to me talking, and after he had finished, he purchased an Acer laptop, shook my hand, and walked out of them shop a happier and better educated man. It was honestly a great feeling, and I went home smiling.
I think back now to my ‘debriefing’ from the floor manager at John Lewis a few weeks ago, and I understand fully what she said to me about not ‘being’ John Lewis. Sure, their customers might know as much about technology, than us, the sales staff, but that’s exactly why we’re paid. That’s also why John Lewis charge higher prices than most high street retailers. While being less knowledgable than some, John Lewis customers aren’t idiots. Indeed, the fact that they’re willing to fork out some extra cash to shop there, shows that they’re smarter than most.