Siggie Goes to Dusseldorf

Antismokers are a rum bunch of people. While investigating the smoking ban in Belgium (not as ferocious as the UK’s yet), I came across this post from Maltese antismoker Siggie:

Hi all, my wife and I were in Dusseldorf the weekend before xmas and had a brilliant time in the many Brauhaus and Knieppes (pubs) around the city, however since we got back and not for the first time we have both had chest problems which I am certain is due to the amount of smoking in the pubs, neither of us smoke and we find smoking a revolting habit in both Belgium and Germany but we really love both countries, however the smoking is so bad that it may put us off going back to Belgium as it is the same there as Germany until there is a full smoking ban in place, so please can somebody tell me when there is going to be a full smoking ban in place in Mons, Tournai, Ghent, Antwerp, Oostend, Brugge and Ieper in Belgium ? we need to know if there is a ban on the way that prohibits all smoking in public areas as we really don’t want to put up with that level of disgusting smoking anywhere ever again, many thanks in advance for all your help.

It doesn’t make sense. He and his wife had a “brilliant time” in Dusseldorf’s pubs despite the fact that they were full of “revolting” smoke. I like the smell of tobacco smoke, but I don’t like the smell of urine very much, and I can’t imagine having any sort of “brilliant time” in a pub that stank of urine. It would be quite impossible. I’d just want to leave. So Siggie and his wife can’t actually mind the smell of tobacco smoke that much, because if they did, they simply wouldn’t have stayed in any pub for more than a couple of minutes, at most.

Perhaps it was just the sight of people smoking that was “revolting”. But if so, why did Siggie and his wife manage to have such a “brilliant time” despite all those revolting smokers spoiling everything. Again, I don’t mind the sight of people smoking, but I don’t like the sight of people throwing up, and if I went into a pub and there were people throwing up all over the place in it, I can’t imagine having a brilliant time in it. So actually Siggie and his wife can’t actually have found the sight of people smoking “revolting”, because if they had they’d have left just as if they detested the smell of tobacco smoke.

Or maybe it was just the subsequent “chest problems” that they really didn’t like. I can imagine that some delicate non-smokers do find that they’ve got a bit of a cough when they leave a smoky pub. Or wake up the next morning with a bit of a cough. But hold on. The “chest problems” seem only to have developed after Siggie and wife had returned to Malta. So they didn’t have any chest problems while they were in Dusseldorf. Only after they’d got back. While they’d stayed a few days in Dusseldorf, they had no problem at all, it seems. So why was Siggie “certain” that the “chest problems” had been caused by the smoky Dusseldorf pubs? Well, of course, Siggie wasn’t certain at all. There’s no real certainties in such speculations. If Siggie and his wife had stumbled out of Dusseldorf pubs, hacking and coughing, he might have been rather more certain of the cause. But to blame them for a cough that develops several days later? No. The cause of the “chest problem” may have been more proximately found in the two or three hour flight back to Malta, on aircraft which are inadequately ventilated since, well… , since smoking has been banned on them. Or, if you visit Germany in December, and mix with people in pubs, smoky or otherwise, there’s quite a strong likelihood that you’ll pick up any cough or cold that’s going around, and end up with “chest problems” a few days later.

Anyway, Siggie declares that he really loves Germany. And then then in the next breath declares that he’s not going back until there’s a complete smoking ban. So Siggie doesn’t really love Germany at all.

No thought for the Dusseldorf locals who, presumably, quite like their smoky pubs, because otherwise they wouldn’t go them either. No, there has to be a complete smoking ban in Germany before Siggie and his wife ever return.

Anyway, it must be off to lovely, smokefree Dublin or Edinburgh next?

But a month after posting up his gripe about Dusseldorf’s revolting smoke-filled pubs, Siggie is back with a new post:

Hello all, in September my wife and I will have seven days in this part of Europe, we will be staying 3 nights in Koln as we know it very well, we will then travel to Venlo in The Netherlands for a few nights, but then would like to travel back to Germany for the last few days to be closer to Koln for our flight back to the UK, can you reccomend any nice places that we could consider maybe smaller towns or even cities, we were in Dusseldorf in December which was great but we want to go elsewhere, so far we are considering Oberhausen, Duisburg, Moers, Krefeld & Bruggen (not Brugge) so any other place names would be appreciated, we like old buildings, quaint towns, good beer houses, rivers and canals, local food, nice countryside, and not bothered about touristy places as my small amount of German seems to get us understood, many thank in advance.

Um, Koln is Germany, isn’t it? And Duisburg too? I thought Siggie wasn’t going to go back until smoking had been banned everywhere. It seems that New Year’s Resolution didn’t last very long. He seems to have forgotten all about Dusseldorf’s smoky pubs, and says it was “great”. Now he wants to go to some “good beer houses” elsewhere in Westphalia. Does he expect them to be any less smoky than pubs in Dusseldorf? Probably not.

Restaurants and bars in the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Bavaria have found a way to legally flout the country’s new smoking ban by converting their businesses to smoking clubs.

So, not two months after having returned to Malta from Dusseldorf, and suffered “chest problems”, Siggie and his wife are off back to Germany for another bout. A whole week this time. You can’t keep them away. This suggests that the “chest problems” must have been rather mild. Not enough to have laid him and his wife up in bed for a day or two, drinking Lemsip, or anything like that. If I’d gone somewhere, and had come back with a hacking cough and chest pains and shortness of breath, I’d have had second thoughts about going back in a hurry.

So what have we learned about Siggie? Well, he says he finds smoking “revolting”, but the sight and smell of it aren’t sufficient to deter him and his wife going to smoky pubs. So he can’t really mind it that much. And quite clearly the subsequent “chest problems” that may have come from his hours in smoky pubs weren’t sufficient to deter him from going back. Nor, it seems, is he really particularly bothered whether there is or isn’t a complete smoking ban in Germany.

Siggie is simply exaggerating. He doesn’t really find smoking revolting at all. Nor does it cause him any real discomfort afterwards. Nor does he really, really want smoking banned everywhere before he’ll visit. He would really just slightly prefer it people didn’t smoke quite so much. Siggie is simply someone who’ll kick up a fuss if things aren’t exactly as he’d like them to be. And maybe that’s all that most antismokers are: people who will complain about trivia. If Siggie and his wife jetted off to Barbados, he’d come back complaining about the heat and the sunshine and the brilliant white beaches.

SiggieAnd one more thing about the self-contradictory Siggie can be discovered in the photo that accompanies his posts. In it, the smiling Siggie holds a telephone to his ear with his left hand, presumably booking himself and his wife a trip to Vienna or Budapest or Berlin, where together they’ll have a brilliant time in their smoky pubs and bars. And in his right hand he is holding a long and elegant cigarette holder between the fore and middle fingers, from whose appended cigarette a plume of smoke is rising. Seems that Siggie doesn’t mind smoking ciggies himself – just as long as nobody else does.

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18 Responses to Siggie Goes to Dusseldorf

  1. Anonymous says:

    I reported him for harassment, as there was no option for hate speech.

  2. You do realize that that pic is of the late, great Terry Thomas

  3. Frank Davis says:

    I thought it was quite likely to be somebody like that. But I couldn’t put a name to the face. And now that you’ve put a name to it, I can see that you’re quite right.
    It makes little difference. Siggie has adopted for himself an image which likens him to a cigarette-smoking comedian. It’s what he’d like people to think of him as being.

  4. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Siggie
    I didn’t post anything. Siggie was a bit of revelation, in some ways. He was such a bundle of contradictions. He was such a hypocrite.
    I’m sure he had a wonderful time in Dusseldorf, talking for hours with Germans in their smoky pubs. But once he’d got home, he promptly fired up his computer and complained about them all. What perfect hypocrisy!
    In some ways I wish all anti-smokers were like Siggie – utterly empty. But they’re not. Some of them are totally obsessed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think this could well be a wind-up firstly, because of the way it’s written – almost as a parody of the “typical anti-smoker and his tight-lipped, anti-smoking wife” and of the kind of daft comments they come out with; secondly, because, as you’ve pointed out here, Frank, there are so many contradictions both in his first and second posts that he couldn’t possibly mean what he’s saying about hating smoking so much; but lastly, and most importantly, because he very deliberately gives a whole list of towns which don’t have smoking bans in place, i.e. “Mons, Tournai, Ghent, Antwerp, Oostend, Brugge and Leper in Belgium.” Why ask such specific questions all in one post on a forum? And why ask about them all at once – surely he’s not intending to do every one of those towns in one single trip? He could find out perfectly easily about each one when planning his next trip, through any number of sites before he actually goes.
    And, anybody as genuinely anti-smoking as he is pretending to be simply couldn’t have missed the fact that Timmy Thomas is holding a cigarette in his hand when choosing a photo. It’s the kind of thing which genuine antis spot like lightning, and generally then complain about the photo being made available on the internet – not choose it to accompany all of their posts. Not to mention his screen name …….. Siggiewi? Siggie? Ciggie?
    It’s a wind-up. Sure as eggs are eggs. Maybe he’s tried to post “no smoking bans in place in ………” type comments before and has had them knocked back, so thought that if he pretended to be an anti, it’d get shown, regardless of what it said or how “unintentionally” helpful it was to touring smokers. And he was right, wasn’t he?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes Frank, I think that anonymous above may be right and there is a bit of subterfuge going on – a smoker will read the article and realise he/she can visit this place and find somewhere warm & cozy to drink & smoke simultaneously!
    PS I live in Cyprus where a copy of the Irish/UK ban was introduced on January 1st 2010 – there are already proposals to amend it following strong representation from the hospitality industry claiming that it is decimating their businesses – given the Greek nature, I think they’ll win!
    Keep up the good work

  7. Anonymous says:

    Whoops! Meant Terry Thomas, above, not Timmy. Sorry, Terry!

  8. Frank Davis says:

    I guess it could be a wind-up.
    But then, some anti-smokers get a kick out of winding up smokers. I’ve seen it several times. An anti-smoker posts something offensive about smokers. Several smokers then jump on him. The anti-smoker makes a few more comments, and then finally says, “Ha ha. I really enjoyed winding you all up.”
    Most antismokers tend to be rather very nasty about smokers. What struck me most about Siggie’s post was its contradictory nature, rather than its offensive nature. Also, Siggie has posted about 180 times on that forum, and while I haven’t read everything by him by any means, most of what I read wasn’t about smoking. Before going to Dusseldorf, Siggie inquired in another post how to get hold of tram tickets there. Yes, Siggie could be ‘ciggie’, but it could also be short for Sigmund. Ziggie is another one. But used 180 times in mostly non-cigarette contexts?
    But, who knows? I read it by chance, and it stuck in my head, and I went back to it.

  9. Frank Davis says:

    I was reading about Cyprus before I came across Siggie. It said:
    IT APPEARS that the draconian law banning smoking in all public places will not remain in force in its current form for much longer. A group of deputies from across the political spectrum have undertaken the initiative of having the law amended because as it stands “it goes against our culture and our human rights.”
    This initiative might not have been undertaken had there not been so much pressure from restaurant, bar and nightclub owners who claim that they have suffered a 40 per cent drop in business since the introduction of the ban. Nobody could give an accurate figure for the drop, which could also be attributed to the recession, but it is unlikely the owners would have made such a big fuss if they were not certain that the ban had affected their financial interests

    I hope they succeed in amending the ban. At least somebody’s trying to do something about it there, which is 10 times better than in the UK. But then, our hospitality industry never complained at all, even though 10% of Britain’s pubs have closed since the ban, and some people think it could get as high as 25%.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Restaurants and bars in the German states …have found a way to legally flout the country’s new smoking ban by converting their businesses to smoking clubs.”
    Legally flout the country’s new smoking ban”? Interesting terminology. Apparently, complying with the law is now “flouting” the law. If you park legally, does that mean you’ve “found a way to “legally flout” parking restrictions?
    Of course, we all know what they’re really saying. And that’s the problem. The implication is that complying with the law is of secondary importance to conforming with intentions, despite whatever the law explicitly says.
    It’s troubling that people say things with such nonchalance, ignorant of the dangers inherent in what they’ve unwittingly acknowledged; that “well-intended” social engineering is of greater importance than the law.
    I suppose then that we don’t need the laws for protection, anymore. The good intentions of authorities will suffice.

  11. Anonymous says:

    From Junican.
    I think that Z’s post is a wind up, but a rather hapless wind up. Yes, possibly hoping for a response to make him (or her) feel better about his miserable,probably friendless existence. I amused myself with a wind up once on a newspaper comment section about people smoking in front of children. I said that smoking in the presence of children was the worst possible crime and that anyone, INCLUDING 80 YEAR OLD GRANDPARENTS, should be locked up for life. It amused me.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, WS above.

  13. Frank Davis says:

    Good point. I missed it. But I’m so used to this sort of reporting about more or less everything that it a lot of it goes under the radar.

  14. Frank Davis says:

    I’ve never done that. If smokers can do that to each other, then they become as culpable as antismokers. It makes me wonder whether quite a few of the antismokers who you only ever seem to encounter online might actually be smokers having a bit of a laugh at fellow smokers’ expense. In which case it’s all just smokers winding each other up inside a hall of mirrors, and getting hotter and hotter under the collar in the process.
    Is Siggie a smoker? Or is he an antismoker? I can’t see any way of definitely deciding. But what he wrote is difficult to construe as pro-smoking. He describes smoking as ‘revolting’ and ‘disgusting’. That’s what he wrote. And I’ve seen far worse written. In the end, the words are all that are left.

  15. Anonymous says:

    From Junican.
    I find it hard to believe that your comment refers to what I wrote. Have you been drinking?
    In some newspaper-type comment section, I noticed lots of non-sequiturs in the comments about smoking when children are present. In my comment (which I only outlined in my post), I took the comments which I had observed that other people had made to the logical extreme, ie, that anyone, parents, grandparents, etc, should be treated as though they are murderers and should be locked up for ever. Clearly, what I was saying was that such an idea is ridiculous.
    I think that you have been at the sauce.

  16. Frank Davis says:

    Clearly, what I was saying was that such an idea is ridiculous.
    Is it clear?
    Antismokers are always coming out with ridiculous stuff like that, and then putting it into practice. It’s ridiculous that smokers get fired from their jobs for just being smokers. Or refused medical care. The smoking ban itself is ridiculous. Sure, the idea of locking up 80 year olds forever is ridiculous too. But that won’t stop people calling for it to be done, and then doing it. What you think is ridiculous may not seem at all ridiculous to some antismoker. I mean, look at all the ridiculous things they’ve already done.
    If smokers themselves start calling for these ridiculous things themselves, then they will only be helping stoke the bonfire on which they’re standing.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Re: Cyprus
    Hi Frank,
    I thought you’d be pleased to hear that on Sunday, I and every other smoker present, were invited to smoke and drink under cover by the bar owner whilst we watched the “Old firm” followed by League Cup Final. As I intimated earlier, the “Greeks” are not ones to take a financial hit without putting up a damned good fight – more than can be said for UK PubCos!
    Martin (Cyprus)

  18. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Cyprus
    Glad to hear it. Any sign of the ban being amended?

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