A CHRISTMAS TALE (2 of 2!)
It is approaching 5pm on Friday 22 December 1995 and I'm sitting in a tiny office just north of Oxford Street waiting for the telephone to ring. It hasn't rung since 11 in the morning when Caitlin Moran called to ask for a VHS copy of the U.S. police sitcom, Bakersfield.
And yet I know it will ring soon and when it does - as it has done in this particular office on the last work day before Christmas since 1992 - it will signal that the festive season can truly begin because the caller possesses, for many, the voice of Christmas itself.
Outside it is dark and wet and cold with London doing its best to sparkle in the winter gloom. Inside the excitement is palpable. The phone rings. I answer it.
"Hello there. This is Jimmy calling from California just to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Is everybody doing OK there?"
"Jimmy" is the Hollywood actor James Stewart, World War 2 USAF hero and star of some of the greatest movies of the twentieth century including, arguably, the greatest Christmas film of all time. A client whom we charged a pittance just to open his fan mail and check in once in a while, Jimmy would call us every year regardless of his failing health, and his voice was always one of the highlights of my year and something I'll always remember.
So merry Christmas, Movie House; Merry Christmas, Emporium; Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building & Loan.....and Merry Christmas to all of you for being so lovely to us in 2016. Have a fantastic break and we'll see you on the other side. X.