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Paper Monitor

12:53 UK time, Tuesday, 19 December 2006

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's cold, damp and misty. But it's not the weather that is sending shivers down the spine of the Daily Telegraph.

The paper is making a characteristic stand as it sucks its teeth at the appointment of, of all things, "an alarmingly youthful" new boss at John Lewis. Crikey.

Charlie Mayfield, 39, has the paper gunning for the store, its equivalent in shopping terms, where "the charm of this middle-class Mecca is its unashamed conservatism".

"You know where you are with John Lewis" bleats the writer, as she makes a don't-move-anything appeal for her "corner shop".

And she's on the money with probing questions, asking: Where else would you find "a device for debobbing your cashmere, a set of mother-of-pearl buttons or some bra-extenders"? Where indeed.

This, the paper informs Mr Mayfield in a matronly tone, "is not the place to start a retail revolution" seen in other stores on the great British high street.

Woe betide the new chief who replaces John Lewis' helpful staff with "sulky teenagers and unhelpful checkout vixens". Or ruins the "comfort" to be found in the kitchen section should you be experiencing a "fat day".

Passionate stuff, but ironic really, when the shop is not a thrusting city type favoured by the paper's business section, more a cosy co-operative.

And it's worth a read. But be warned, to get to the features section on page 18, you must take your strong stomach in hand and skip over another Telegraph staple on page three: Sir Cliff and his Christmas single, in inglorious technicolor.

Now there's something that, for worse or better, never changes.

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