M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose has displayed unsuspected comic talents in replying to a spoof letter suggesting that the local nudist club was planning a visit to their local store. Rose responded in kind, telling his correspondent that he was chairman of the South Ealing Naturist Club between 1957 and 1959 and loved to amble down the High Street ‘as naked as the day I was born’.
The letter came from wagster Duncan McNair, who has written to various celebs in the guise of mad Italian housewife Mrs Morello. ‘She’ told Sir Stuart that that her local nudist club was planning to visit their local M&S, asking if the heating could be turned up and all guide dogs muzzled (does this mean guide dogs have particular animosity towards nudists? We deserve to be told).
Spotting the gag a mile away, Sir Stuart decided to reply in similar vein, boasting of his naturist credentials. ‘I may be King of the M&S Castle, Master of the Bra Universe, the Obi Wan Kenobi of Fresh Fruit, but I look back on those days in Ealing, when I could walk down the High Street, naked as the day I was born, feeling free and natural. Heady times indeed,’ he proclaimed.
An M&S spokesperson later admitted Sir Stuart’s letter was ‘entirely tongue in cheek’. An unfortunate choice of words when you’re talking about nudists, perhaps, but it occasioned a big sigh of relief on our part. After all, Sir Stuart was apparently born in 1949 (caveat: according to Wikipedia) – so he would otherwise have become chairman of a nudist club aged eight. Now we’re a broad-minded lot here at MT, but we can’t help feeling that it’s a little inappropriate for eight-year-olds to be wandering naked down their local high street. Even if you’re as ‘tanned and toned’ as Sir Stuart apparently was.
Still, M&S has suffered some bad publicity in the underwear stakes recently, after the rather strange episode of Jeremy Paxman complaining about the cuppage in his underpants (an issue that really should have remained between him and his gusset - so to speak). Converting to naturism would certainly solve that problem, and we hope that Sir Stuart recommended it to Jeremy. Actually no, we don’t.