Marks and What?
A woman called Laura Barton, writing in yesterday's Guardian, refers to the British public's tendency to refer to Marks and Spencer as "Marks and Sparkles".
Never in all my life , or "never in all my puff" as my father sometimes says (and I've been puffing, and huffing, for many years), have I ever heard anyone refer to said store as "Marks and Sparkles".
Most people use the nickname or shorthand "Marks and Sparks".
I think the company once used "Marks and Sparkles" in their Christmas commercials a few years ago but I've never heard someone say "I'm just popping into Marks and Sparkles for a 3-pack of boxer shorts and a prawn and mayo sarnie."
Maybe it's something that posh people say. Then again, if you were really posh you'd probably regard Marks as irredeemably middle class, somewhere your nanny might go for her lingerie, but only if you were paying her too much.
Admittedly, we now know that Jeremy Paxman shops there (and he's pretty posh and rich) because of his campaign about the deterioration in the quality of their men's underwear and what he's described as "gusset anxiety".
Not a good move really, for someone of Paxo's granite-faced gravitas. Imagine the next time he's asking one of Newsnight's female correspondents about a current political crisis:
"How much fall-out are we expecting from this?"
"You tell me, big boy."