4 AUGUST 1984, Page 5

Through a glass darkly

Anew poster advertisement for Harp lager says: 'We are talking domestic sessions on the celestial banjo'. The picture is of these words and a can of Harp and nothing else. An instant survey of the finest minds among the Spectator staff found no one with the slighest idea of what it all meant. A call to Harp's advertisers, Allen, Brady and Marsh, found them reluctant to discuss their meaning, attribut- ing the inspiration to 'someone upstairs'. Perhaps advertisements are beginning to claim the status of poems and demand that their meaning be teased out by careful textual analysis. Soon they will be set A level texts. Whether they do anything as old-fashioned as help to sell the product is another matter.