What’s this we find on the BBC Bristol website, with its own special link given pride of place on their homepage?
Why, it’s only the completely independent, uncommercial and objective blog of Sue Stones, the manager of the new Harvey Nichols store opening on Thursday in Quakers Friers (sic).
Yes, that’s right. Our local public service broadcaster who, according to their own portentous editorial principles, must not endorse or appear to endorse any other organisation, its products, activities or services and should not give undue prominence to commercial products or services, appears to be brazenly promoting Harvey Nichols and a load of corporate brands on their website.
Fascinating stuff the blog is too. The first entry on Thursday 17 July 2008 finds Sue elegantly setting the scene for us:
I am hoping to be writing this blog on a regular basis to share some of the triumphs (sic) and tribulations which both I and the Harvey Nichols team experience over the coming weeks before the official opening of the store on the 25 September.
The tension is palpable isn’t it? Will Sue and the team get their little shop open on time? What could go wrong? And how many more well worn cliches will she mangle beyond meaning telling us?
Wednesday August 6 finds Sue back at work after a well-deserved holiday and the reality that the store is opening in only 7 weeks has hit home we learn. And just marvel at what’s happened in her absence:
Yesterday I was joined by the new Head Chef, Louise McCrimmon and the Executive Chef from Leeds who arrived to check the kitchen installation. This is at one of the most advanced stages of completion and features a state of the art range for the chefs to use, made in St Etienne in France it is electric which allows for a much more even cooking temperature resulting in a higher quality of food, Bristol is the first store to have this bespoke made, cutting edge technology installed.
Yes, they’ve installed an oven in the kitchen! But wait … There’s more. Sue also takes the opportunity to discuss the fascinating details of the delivery schedule for accepting stock into the store:
“This is akin to a military operation with the task of co-ordinating deliveries of everything from pencils to Petrus, rhubarb to Reidel glasses, Dolce and Gabbana and Louboutin.”
It’s also rather akin to promoting commercial products on the BBC isn’t it?
And so to Thursday 28 August and the realisation that in less than five weeks time they will be open for business has apparently set in for Sue. (didn’t the reality set in on August 6? Ed.)
She tells us:
As a company we are now increasingly known for our restaurants, due to the huge success of The Oxo Tower.
Really? That’d be hugely successful Oxo Tower that gets awards for ‘most disappointing’ and ‘most overpriced restaurant’ in London would it? The Sunday Times’ A A Gill, meanwhile, described the food there as “Dull and worthy though not send-backable, but not worthy enough to go up eight floors if the lift broke down.”
But presumably any suggestion that it’s all a load of overpriced crap is a minor quibble that isn’t worthy of mention on the BBC?
Fast forward to Thursday 18 September and we find busy old Sue’s working in her office and looking out of the window! Perhaps she’s reflecting on how she can promote some more products on the BBC?
The sight of a python skin Zagliani tote bag in the palest of grey and a soft as silk caused enough excitement to finish the delivery.
Or how about:
Today we had a mini flood of sorts in our beauty room … The water was soon turned off and the offending tap fixed but suffice to say my Chloe jacket won’t ever be the same again
Shucks. I wonder if Bristol’s Harvey Nicks sells Chloe jackets by any chance?
Now, if you’re a real glutton for punishment, there’s yet another bloody blog by Emma Carlisle, manager of Cruise, a ’boutique store’ at Cabot Circus.
Nothing seems real to her either, except, it seems, a variety of brand names she liberally drops throughout the blog – it’s Giuseppe Zanotti shoes and Vivienne Westwood cardigans in her first post.
Then, with her second post, why not try and spot the difference between it and an outright promotional PR puff?
On the ground floor we have a premium casual wear offer from Stone Island, C.P Company, Belstaff, Evisu, Billionaire Boys Club, Adidas Heritage and Y-3. As in our new Belfast and Leicester stores, we have a dedicated denim area which will offer a breadth of choice from PRPS, Nudie, Diesel Black Gold and Armani Jeans while Marc by Marc Jacobs, D&G and Toy Watch add a contemporary kick. The store will also house a Stone Island shop in shop offering the widest selection of Stone Island and Stone Island Denims outside of London which is very exciting for us.
For womenswear, we’re proud to present amazing new a/w collections from brands including Mulberry, Diane Von Furstenberg (you only have to watch the Sex in the City the Movie to know how hot she is at the moment), Vivienne Westwood Red Label and Anglomania (unusual and unique like the lady herself!), Partizia Pepe and Arrogant Cat. Premium casualwear brands include Belstaff, Diesel Black Gold and Juicy Couture. The store will also have a dedicated footwear, bag and accessory area showcasing Jimmy Choo, Mulberry, Fendi and Gina to name but a few.
Hurrah for the BBC scourge of commercialism!