Smiths fans unhappy

It’s already tough enough being a Smiths fan at Christmas. The supermarkets, oblivious to the Morrissey mantra that meat is murder, are stuffed full of plump turkeys, and people are so cheerful. Now, heaven knows fans have something else to be miserable about now.

John Lewis, go-to department store of middle England, has chosen a cover version of the plaintive Smiths classic Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want as the soundtrack of their Christmas ad.

They have done so with the blessing of the song’s composers Morrissey and Johnny Marr, to the chagrin of many diehard Smiths fans. The ad features the song, in a version by Slow Moving Millie, reflecting a young boy’s impatience waiting for Christmas. Turns out the little tyke just can’t wait to give Mum and Dad their prezzie.

"Morrissey has seen the finished result before it went out," said Craig Inglis, the store’s marketing head. "He has come back and said he is very happy with it."

Smiths forums engaged in heated debate on the issue, with some fans defending the right of the writers to cash in on a song that dates back 26 years. Others decried the John Lewis tie-in for putting a commercial spin on to a song that had meant a lot to listeners. In the wider world, the ad has been very popular, and the cover version looks set to be a hit.

Now what was it the late comedian Bill Hicks said? Oh yes: "Do a commercial, and you are off the artistic roll-call forever." The last couple of Morrissey solo albums suggest that fate might have already befallen the former Smiths frontman.

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