The Non-Spenders

When I started writing The Unhappy Shopper yesterday, I toyed with the idea of suggesting that if women smokers didn’t get to go out and meet people, they’d stop buying clothes, shoes, lipstick, hairspray, and so on. But then I thought: Not being a woman, I don’t know this for sure, and it would be speculative to suggest it, so best not. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so reticent. Because several of the comments said exactly this:

A woman friend told me she hasn’t bought an actual dress since the ban. Why bother? she said.  (Walt)

Same here. (Rose – in response to Walt)

No new clothes, no hair do’s,, no make up, no pubs/clubs/restaurnts/cafes etc., no holidays, no taxis. No shopping as I just go out for food essentials and shop online for household necessities. (Brenda)

Given that, in the UK with its 13 million smokers, there must be hundreds of thousands of women (maybe even millions) who are not buying clothes, shoes, makeup, etc, that must be quite a hole in the profits of garment and shoe and pharma industries.

Furthermore, since women smokers are no longer going out to meet up with non-smoking friends, that’ll almost certainly mean that non-smoking women are buying less stuff too.

And maybe I’m wrong, but an awful lot of high street shops are selling stuff to women. This was rammed home to me once when I was in Fukuoka about 5 years ago, and wandering round a huge shopping mall looking for men’s clothes. In the end, I stopped in one of the numerous ladies’ clothes shops and asked where to go. They got out a huge map showing the whole complex with its 200 or so shops, and they marked on it the locations of men’s shops. There were just four of them. Sure that was Japan, and it was a bit extreme, but Britain doesn’t seem to be all that different. Women spend much more on clothes and stuff than men do.

And everyone will be travelling less (except to go to Greece or Spain or as far away as possible and spend their money there), driving less, and catching trains and buses and taxis less.

even the mass-transit system suffered since I wasn’t buying tokens to ferry me back and forth so often. (Michael McFadden)

And in my case (which is a bit unusual maybe) I don’t watch TV, or listen to the radio, or buy newspapers. I may as well be living in a foreign country for the attention I pay the mass media.

I was intrigued by what Jax had to say of her non-smoking partner.

My OH – previously (and unusually for a bloke) very much the shopaholic of the two of us – now can’t be bothered to go shop-mooching any more, not even on his own, and says that it just isn’t the fun it used to be. And he’s never smoked a day in his life.

The same applies to social events and going out in the evening. Neither I nor he can be bothered any more – things have just lost their sparkle since the smoking ban. And again, my non-smoking OH has said (unprompted by me, I hasten to add) exactly the same thing. So, like Brenda, I have saved an enormous amount of money since the ban (far more, incidentally, than I actually spend on cigarettes, even though I’m now smoking more of them). And I’m just one person. Imagine if you multiply that by around 10-12 million people!

Imagine indeed. But I think that for non-smokers it must be a different experience. I feel that I’ve been expelled from society, but non-smokers can’t feel like that, because they haven’t been. Maybe it’s that, with many of the smokers staying home, their lives have been getting a bit emptier too. They walk into a pub, and they no longer see half the people in there that they used to know. There must be a slight chill to it all.

And you also have to bear in mind that it’s not just smokers who are Unwelcome in our Brave New World. So are drinkers. And so are fat people (which is more or less everybody, since the definition of obesity changes every year). I bet there are quite a few of them who’re just staying home too.

All in all, it must add up to a huge amount of money that’s not being spent. And, as far as I can see, it’s not as if the money gets spent elsewhere. It’s not as if I buy thousands of books and CDs and computer games instead of all the things I would’ve bought. Nor is it that I buy take-away pizzas or chinese meals, or watch videos. Nor do I drink that much whisky. Instead I seem to spend much of my time online reading free content (or writing it). And even though I spend hours online I hardly ever buy anything online.

In fact, I’m getting to be a veritable tightwad. I mostly buy food and won’t buy any more until it’s all eaten. Even if I don’t really like it. I won’t buy any more bread until the last loaf has been completely consumed, even if it’s rock hard. I shop for bargains. Yet it’s not because I need too. I’ve begun to hate throwing anything away. I’d rather invent a new dish that contains sour cream and quarter courgettes and stale breadcrumbs than throw them away. I never used to be like that.

Who knows, perhaps when the economy is really deep in depression, and all the pubs and restaurants and theatres have closed, and nobody goes anywhere, all Britain will need really will be a few windmills to supply the trickle of electricity needed to make another cup of tea every few hours (that is, if tea hasn’t been banned too) before going back to bed.

Late addition from the comments:

I thought that it was only me that no longer took pleasure in going out anywhere except friends’ homes. I hardly buy new clothes anymore, or go to the hairdresser’s (I do my own hair now), or spend any significant amount of money at restaurants. I do everything out of necessity in an in and out kind of way. (Iro Cyr)


About Frank Davis

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31 Responses to The Non-Spenders

  1. Leg-iron says:

    I hadn’t thought about it before, but I used to go down the town for a large chunk of the day, have lunch in a pub or cafe, idle around the books and magazines and buy a few, browse in the shops. Even at work, much of the lunch hour was spent wandering the shops.

    Now I go to the bank, the post office, the supermarket, do what I have to and go home. No point calling in at a pub or cafe where I can’t have a smoke with my beer or coffee so I don’t go there at all. No sense in idling around the shops, I have to go home to eat or even to have a cup of tea now.

    At work I take in a microwave snack. Waste of time heading down to one of the cafes.

    Now you mention it, I can’t actually tell you if those cafes I frequented are even still open.

    Can’t say I care any more.

  2. WinstonSmith says:

    There’s quite a few related things I could go into, but I’ll stick with this for the moment.

    If smokers can smoke, they’ll stay longer and pay more.

    I used to enjoy a meal at a bar and grill, then stick around for a few, mostly because I could smoke. Now, I might have a second beer, and then I’ll leave.

    I’ve heard that restaurants were badly hurt by the bans because it was largely smokers who would stick around to enjoy the conviviality and order a desert, and deserts are a high profit maker for restaurants. After all, if you feel like you’re getting the opportunity to luxuriate, you might feel inclined to order a slice of pie for $7.00. But if you want to smoke, and you can’t, you’re not really luxuriating. And since you’re not luxuriating, you’ll feel less inclined to pay a luxuriant price for a desert. People enjoy having the occasional opportunity to feel like they’re throwing caution to the wind. It’s more difficult to feel that way if you’ve got to go stand outside to smoke. Which is the whole point of anti-smoking, of course–to rob smokers of the feeling of enjoying themselves while being themselves.

    In general, I think you’re right. I don’t know if it easily translates into a direct example of, let’s say, a smoker spending less on their way to and from a smoking venue. But the knowledge that smoking is going to be a constant issue for someone who wants to smoke is likely to make them feel less inclined to spend a day in town.

    Overall, it’s my impression that a society that feels free and optimistic will tend to have a thriving economy. The idea that an economy will get better by making everyone a fearful, guilt-ridden cautionary is incomprehensible to me. It just makes you feel like you want to stay home and crawl under your bed. This is supposed to save expenditures but, (even if those expenditures actually exist) how easily is this negated by the massive government expenditures that occur in myriad forms to rescue people from the effects of lack of business, lack of jobs, and (perhaps most importantly) lack of optimism.

  3. plonker says:

    Add me to the list. I no longer visit the High Street, rarely drive and seldom buy anything other than food.
    My shopping days are over. I used to happily sit in the pub whilst my other half would shop shop and shop, then we would meet up and visit a few more pubs and go home.
    Now its gone.. The pubs emptied, I wasn’t prepared to sit outside in minus 4 with slashing rain (nor was she) so we stopped.
    No restaurants, or cafes or browsing the shops. No parking fees, no petrol.

  4. Brigitte says:

    I have never been someone who enjoys clothes/food shopping. The only thing (the cups of coffee + a couple of cigarettes in some cafe) which alleviated this torture have gone. In any case, I do not go out much so I do not feel the urge to buy new clothing.
    The only shops I recently have visited are various DIY and book shops, the latter of which are disappearing fast.
    With another Winter approaching – I have been watching the flocks of geese migrating, they seem to be a little earlier than last year – I guess I better stack up on beer, buy a couple of new decks of cards and do what I did last Winter: invite everyone to my house.

  5. Rose says:

    Look at it this way, anti-tobacco say we are all still welcome to go anywhere we like as long as we smoke outside.

    But look at the psychological warfare we have been subjected to
    The traditional playground insult – you smell
    You are ugly and wrinkled.
    You are stupid
    I saw “grey faced smoker” used in America, but when they tried it over here in 2007 it didn’t seem to take off.
    Encouraged by the media, however confident you may be it begins to tire.

    Dressed up for the evening and having to standing on the pavement like some lady of the night, the intent of the law was clear.
    Shame and humiliate you until you take the drugs, as you are repeatedly told that you are an addict and can’t give up on your own.

    All in all, not an inducement to go out for the evening.
    When it’s absolutely necessary to go out somewhere, I will keep the smokers company but not smoke myself, in case anyone thinks that I’m meekly complying with a law I deeply resent.

    It’s a pride thing.

  6. Patrick Harris says:

    Funny you should say that, my wife told me yesterday that the Avon Lady, of many years service, is packing it in because of lack of orders.

  7. Woodsy42 says:

    I agree. Never a great shopper, I hate towns, and I’m definitely not a spender on makeup or handbags (the wife would find it very odd if I were!) and going out stuff, but evenings out were always part of life’s pleasures, whether meeting friends or going to some music or theatre. I simply don’t bother now, you can’t relax the same way. It’s not just smoking, the entire atmosphere in many ‘public’ places nowadays feels sterile, controlled and authoritarian with signs everywhere for all the things you can’t do that destroy any relaxed feelings. These are not the helpful informative signs of yesteryear but increasingly have become controlling ones while staff brought up on those rules also end up treating you as though they were bestowing a great favour allowing me to attend. Maybe that’s part of the lost sparkle?
    So sod it. I take my ciggies and coffee out to the shed and get on with renovating the car or fixing broken stuff.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    I still have places like a restaraunt,bars and bingo halls to smoke in plus many stores here in kentucky. But it came at a price, I know the local city councilman and he smokes. Ive kept him well up to date on anti-tobacco tactics and supplied him with all relevant shs debunk material!

    The price was we sold the farm and nearly everything we had in tenn after the ban to start anew in kentucy a place my great great great great grandfather came to after the revolutionary war to settle, He to left tenn right before statehood in 1796, Why I dont know but I assume for the same motivation FREEDOM!

  9. Hal says:

    It feels weird..i thought it was just me! I am a veritable tightwad since the smoking ban. Yes, I know, the crisis and all that. Plus my personal career circumstances. But. I stopped spending once the ban came into effect.

  10. David says:

    You’re right, of course. When you could smoke in pubs people used to get dressed up to go out, have a few jars at the pub and then go on elsewhere. For many – especially women (oops – sexist!), that meant a new outfit/piece of clothing/lipstick/etc most weeks; not forgetting the scran on the way home. Many of us blokes used to buy something new to wear too.

    Now we do all that stuff round at friend’s places. Maybe it’s just because we’re older now though. The young ‘uns still seem to go out every weekend, ban or no ban.

  11. Mr A says:

    I make three times more money now than I did in 2007. But I now go to the pub once every couple of months (in 2007 it was 3 to 4 times a week), I go to restaurants half as much, I haven’t been to a nightclub or lapdancing joint since the Ban came in (I used to drop hundreds of quid per visit in those places). In addition, I don’t browse for books or go to speciality shops like I used to for DVDs, CDs and comics etc. I buy everything online now – including clothes, and even sometimes food. It’s true – far from becoming some kind of clean, glittering utopia, I find this new smokefree world they’ve created to be dark, sinister and joyless and I do my very best to avoid it. I even do a fair chunk of work from home, too. And yes – I blame the ban and the horrible intolerant atmosphere (in all aspects of the social arena) that it has fostered. Still, in 4 years I have saved enough money to get out of this shithole, but where to go? Tobacco Control, like a particularly nasty venereal disease, seem to be weeping and festering everywhere…..

    • Hal says:

      Unfortunately, Mr A, I have not saved enough to get outta my personal shithole (my bad). But should life give me a second chance, I will. And I know my destination too. Any of those wonderfully free states and/or cities in the USA. They speak some proper English :-), freedom still abounds and they seem to be turning the tide on prohibitionist. Should that fail…I don’t know. But I still have high hopes for the UK. I really do. They once were warriors.

      • Brigitte says:

        freedom still abounds and they seem to be turning the tide on prohibitionist. Should that fail…I don’t know. But I still have high hopes for the UK. I really do. They once were warriors.

        I believe the English STILL ARE great warriors – you just have to live amongst them to see it.
        I used to think (and hope) that Germany would be the country whose population would laugh at the prohibitionists – only to find that the prohibitionists have done a good job in inducing fear and confusion. (It is beginning to fail right now)
        Then I decided that I don’t care what country puts an end to this nonsense ban culture. (The Greek’s open rejection to the smoking ban most certainly encourages)

        Nevertheless, I live amongst the English who do things their way. And they do things their way in real life, not so much on the internet. This is the bit which irritates the anti-smokers most.
        I have no idea about the reality in the USA – there is just too much anti-this, anti-that propaganda over here. We are being led to believe the smoking ban “works well” in the US – if it wasn’t for Michael McFadden and Theodore King I still would (ok, I hold my hand up; it’s prejudice!) think that the mess we are in is due to the complacency of the US citizen who believe EVERYTHING….

      • Hal says:

        “I believe the English STILL ARE great warriors – you just have to live amongst them to see it.”

        And I believe you are totally right. Brigitte. I follow blogs that depict the lifes of some great young English warriors in Afghanistan, just to mention an example (that you may agree with or not). Us continentals (most, whether some aceept it or not), always knew the English do things their way. As an unrepentant anglophile, I am awating a return to the good old days, the days of the “up yours, Delors” and even before that. I no longer live amongst them English warriors, but I learned from them.

        It seems to me Germany is doing a pretty good job fighting smoking bans. Firstly, those bans are not nation-wide. Secondly, from what I read, Germans flout bans, generously. So do the Greeks, even more lavishly. Of course, I do not mind what nation fights bans the most. I want them all to fight smoking bans. I hope the country I live in (Spain), will overturn the current ban after the next general elections. You see, Spaniards were once warriors too, and I hope they still have some warrior blood left. Maybe it will be Greeks that will lead the fight, for they sure were once great warriors. As for the USA, I see encouraging sings. Yep, you are right and those totally radical dudes from California set the antismoking trend they carbon copied from the Nazis, but fortunately we have many other states that think otherwise. I have lived in some of them. They will not surrender. Neither will we.

      • Reinhold says:

        I used to think (and hope) that Germany would be the country whose population would laugh at the prohibitionists

        So did I. :-(

    • Hal says:

      From what I read, Reinhold, Germany is a patchwork of bans, some landers are free, some are not. I have no personal experience, but even the very antismokers wikipedia admits that. I also read flouting bans is the norm. I no longer go out in the country I live in, but party goers in Spain tell me it is not difficult to find a bar/pub that late at night flouts bans….

      • smokervoter says:

        I’m not sticking up for California or anything like that and we do deserve a lot of the blame, but just a couple of points here if I may.

        Stanton Glantz was born and raised in Ohio, moved to Texas and finally came to California in 1970? The California he moved to back then was the polar opposite of the dull, beige, lifeless state it is now. I know because I was born here, as was my mother (dad moved here at 5, in 1924). The reputation we had for anything goes was a reality, believe me. Glantz and his ilk ruined this state and deeply resent him for it.

        When Rob Reiner floated his $5/carton tax here in 1998 it barely, barely succeeded. That tells you something right there.

        Up until about 2006, when the drug violence got out of hand in Mexico, tens of thousands of California people would descend on Tijuana, Mexico, right across the border from San Diego and drink and smoke in the bars there. I remember reading that more people went there than Disneyland on the weekends. I was great fun enjoying the good old free-wheeling days and everyone dropped their anti-smoking constipation at the border. I went there myself one or twice a month.

        My good San Diego friend moved to the Philippines (35 cents for a pack of Camels !) and that’s been the end of that for me. I hear that most of the bars in Tijuana have gone out of business now. It’s pretty dangerous down there now.

        There was a karaoke bar I frequented in San Diego (I mentioned this in a now ancient comment here) where I noted that by the end of the night, 80% of the clientele eventually ended up outside smoking – and mixing.

        I’m wondering what all of those fun-loving California people are doing on the weekends now.

      • Reinhold says:

        Well, Hal, we do the best we can. ;-)
        What you really can say is that Germany ist not completely conquered by the Ban fetishists and hopefully will never be. Some landers are lost for the time being (like Bavaria, where I am living), others are not, and the antis are working hard to oppress them, too.
        But the resistance isn’t sleeping either.

      • smokervoter says:

        Rob Reiner was born in the Bronx, New York in 1947. That figures. He and Bloomberg deserve one another. My adamant anti-smoker Senator, Barbra Boxer, ditto, the Bronx.

      • smokervoter says:

        On the other hand, this is my former CA State Assemblyman Brett Granlund. An assemblyman is a local representative to the state assembly (think house of commons)

        “If the anti-smoking people say it, I assume it is a lie. . .
        I have never found them to tell the truth.”

        “I am a free-enterprise, no-tax, smoker,” Granlund added. “It doesn’t matter if I’m chairing the Health Committee. Those [anti-smoking] people don’t have a right to tell everybody else how to live.”

        (1999) A bill to repeal the California Helmet Law entirely. This is not a modification bill. Author: Senator Bill Morrow. Principal coauthors: Assembly members Brett Granlund (R)

        You just have to know where to live here. We’re not all nannies by any stretch of the imagination.

      • Hal says:

        smokervoter, Reinhold, your firsthand accounts have really helped me brighten the morning :-). The resistance isn’t sleeping either indeed.

  12. Tim says:

    Anti-smokers always complained of needing to shampoo and launder clothing after a night out too. Now with the smoking ban, I imagine the entire toiletries, laundry and dry-cleaning businesses have seen a slow-down too. And for all the anti-smokers, still welcome in the cafes and bars, I’ve heard of some sitting all day on the free wireless internet spending for a single cup of coffee, unlike the smokers who lingered and spent more over the same time period.

    I still think it’s no coincidence that like the 1920s, 30s and 40s, we had Prohibition, Depression and World War – in that order – as today we have Smoking Bans, then Economic/Currency Collapses and then ???.

    Who knows if history doesn’t repeat itself and who knows if this isn’t all part of a planned operation with those who insitute Prohibition knowing damn well in advance what the consequences will be, with the goal of a war eventually the aim in order to re-arrange the pecking order among countries in the world.

    • Hal says:

      History is repeating itself, Tim. Dunno why how when, it will come full circle. But It will. It always does. One can only hope to live in that part of the circle one agrees mostly with.

  13. Jax says:

    “But I think that for non-smokers it must be a different experience. I feel that I’ve been expelled from society, but non-smokers can’t feel like that, because they haven’t been.”

    Yes, I think that pretty much sums it up, and I think that that’s one of the reasons why so many non-smokers can’t yet make the connection, although they are clearly aware that in some indefinable sort of way things are “different” now, and not in a good way. I guess it’s symptomatic of a conflict between the brainwashing that they’ve received – indeed some have often embraced it quite enthusiastically – for so many years, and the hard reality which is now openly challenging that brainwashing, as it inevitably had to the moment a ban was imposed.

    It would be nice if some of these brainwashed non-smokers were able to get “with the programme” a bit quicker than they have been so far, but as anyone who has worked with rescued cult members or the victims of oppressive State regimes such as Communism will tell you, brainwashing is exactly what it says it is. It washes away a person’s previous views and opinions, formed by life experience and the trying-and-testing of received wisdom to ascertain some semblance of a “truth” that works for that individual and enables them to function within society, and replaces them with an equally-strongly-held set of alternative beliefs, drip-fed and reinforced over a long period of time.

    Thus, those new beliefs have to be in their turn washed away and new, more reality-based ones re-learned. This process takes time and can be very discomforting for the brainwashee, and in the intervening time there is inevitably resistance, denial, often a tenacious clinging to “inserted” views, and confusion – depending, of course, on the degree of brainwashing that has taken place and also on the original strength of mind of the brainwashee. Complete avoidance of situations which bring the conflict of the artificial set of values against any other ones is not uncommon in brainwashing victims. In short, you see all the reactions as are frequently displayed by non-smokers when faced with the stark fact that life since the ban simply ain’t as good as it was supposed to be.

  14. Junican says:

    About brainwashing.
    I remember reading about or seeing a film about a catholic Polish bishop. He was firmly ant-communist (their ideas, that is). They arrested him and, over a period of several months, brainwashed him until he stood up in court and admitted his faults in disagreeing with communist doctrines.

    As I recall, the technique involved finding chinks in the bishop’s defences and then forcing him to think about the chinks until the chinks became the only things that he could think about. The technique also involved depriving him of sleep so that he was exhausted both in body, and, possibly more importantly, in mind. The technique also involved the ‘good guy’/’bad guy’ method – so much so that the bishop came to ‘love’ the good guy, thus rendering him susceptible to the ‘good guy’s’ suggestions.

    I cannot remember, but I think that, in the end, he admitted that he had been wrong to oppose the communists because of the fact that they had freed the people from oppression, including oppression from the catholic church. The horror of it is that he really believed what he was saying.

    After the trial, he was released – a broken man. I believe that he was allowed to leave the country and was taken to the Vatican where he became a recluse. I am not sure that he ever recovered.

  15. Rose says:

    “I believe the English STILL ARE great warriors”

    Oh we are, that’s why we are so angry, we instinctively know how to deal with threats from outside the country, not an attack from within.
    Having been systematically torn apart from the inside, old bonds of trust and alliance shattered, old certainties gone,I for one feel quite lost.

    I think that this article sums the situation up quite well

    “Before 1997 it was legal to own a donkey without a passport

    This Government has brought in more legislation than any of its predecessors. Since 1997, the Home Office alone has introduced 50 Bills, launched more than 100 consultation papers, made at least 350 regulations and created an astonishing 271 new offences.

    Overall, more than 3,000 new criminal offences have been created by Labour – 1,000 of them punishable by imprisonment.

    Here are just a few of the things you could do before 1997 but can’t now – many of them, it must be said, forced on us by EU directives, though our government in most cases agreed them.

    Smoke in a pub or on a railway platform in the open air in the middle of the countryside, or at a covered bus stop, or in your own car if it is used for work, or in your own house if it is used as an office where outsiders may come.
    Own a horse, donkey or Shetland pony without possessing a passport carrying a picture of the animal.
    Ride off with a pack of hounds in pursuit of a fox or stag.
    Play the piano in a pub without an entertainment licence.
    Stage more than 12 events a year at, for instance, a school or church hall at which alcohol may be served without a full licence.
    Set off a firework after midnight or be in possession of a firework if aged under 18 at any time other than the period around Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve.
    Own a pistol for any purpose, including sport target practice.
    Stage a protest of any sort, even if alone, within 1km of the Palace of Westminster, without the authority of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
    Fish in the River Esk without authorisation.
    Enter the hull of the Titanic without permission from the Secretary of State.
    Import into England potatoes which a person knows to be or has reasonable cause to suspect to be Polish potatoes.
    Obstruct the work of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.
    Imbibe an alcoholic drink on a London Underground train or bus.
    Keep a car on your own driveway without tax, even if it not being used, without filling in a form.
    Sell a grey squirrel (though you can kill one).

    Labour has created new offences at twice the rate of the previous Tory administration, which was bad enough in this regard, and it has done so at an accelerating pace. Now you may support some or all of these new laws. What cannot be denied is that we have had a frenzy of law-making that has changed the character of the nation in a way that many of us neither expected nor wanted – even those who voted Labour (especially those who voted Labour, perhaps)”

    Cicero said it well.

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.
    An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

    For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist.

    A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”

    It feels as if the England I was born in is systematically being dismantled.

  16. tux1952 says:

    And to my knowledge, not one post mortem report has cited ‘secondary smoking’ as being the cause of death…

  17. Northern Smoker says:

    Same here Frank.I make a mental shopping list,buy the stuff and come straight home again.
    No window shopping,no browsing the gadgets,no point in posh clothes,my funeral suit is all I need for formal events.No need for as much shampoo,deoderant,razor blades,aftershave when you don’t go out.
    Before the ban,my shopping trip started with a greasy spoon fried breakfast.I’d order my food,have a fag with a cup of tea while the food is cooking,and make my shopping list.Eat my food,order cherry pie and icecream,with another cuppa and browse a newspaper with another fag waiting for my pie..A fag is an integral part of a fried breakfast for me.Not worth the money without it.For the price of a greasy spoon,I can buy the raw ingredients from a supermarket and have 3 or 4 fried breakfasts.
    More often than not,I’d give my arms a rest from the food bags in a pub.I’d use the supping time to have a fag and decide if I could afford that shiny thing that caught my eye.Its all gone.All that trade has stopped.
    I was music mad.I have mild tinitus from 30 years of loud live rock music.Not been to a concert of any kind since the ban.Not been to the cinema,pub,restaurant,no social life at all.
    I was a blood donor.Cut my card up and sent it back.I made my own anti-organ donor card in paintshoppro and had it printed on a plastic card.I made a will expressly forbidding the removal of any of my organs.
    I refuse to paticipate in a society that treats me like a jew in 30s Germany.Sod Godwin.

  18. Northern Smoker says:

    On.Monday,we will be cremating my uncle.Typical man- he ignored a pain in his throat till he couldn’t eat.Throat cancer.They blamed smoking and drinking of course.Nevermind that the first 15 years of his working life was in the navy.Who knows what kind of noxious crap he had to breathe.Frankly I think if you’ve spent your life in the military,the chances are you’ve been used as some kind of medical guinea-pig.Modern troops will be dealing with depleted uranium problems in later life.
    Just typing that out has reminded me of another unintended consequence of the Ban.
    When I used to drink in pubs,I bought a lot of scratch cards.The money went to a charity dealing with soldiers from the 50’s who were ordered to walk into ground zero of nuclear bomb tests – cant rem the acronym.The odds of winning were way better than national lottery,even if the prizes were smaller.The chances were pretty good that you’d win a fiver or tenner,which would be ploughed into a round of drinks and another couple of cards.Not bought one since the Ban.
    But back to my uncle.After the navy he became a truckdriver.Ferrying godknowswhat from one industrial shit-hole to another.But its not cordite,depleted uranium,deisel or ICI leakage that did for him – fags and booze.
    They gave him a year,reviewed to months,he moved into a hospice where they said weeks,and he died 4 days later-roughly a month after diagnosis.
    His wake will be held in our formerly beloved workingmens social club.I’ve set foot in there only 3 or 4 times since the ban -each time for a wake.I feel deeply betrayed by the club.We paid a fucking fortune for a new state of the art extractor fan system.The room could be completely clear of smoke within seconds.The non smokers had a whole new room built for them.
    Now – theres a yellow box-junction outside the entrance – no smoking within that box.The club gets a £2500 fine for anyone seen smoking in that box.A committee man hovers at the entrance ready to admonish any smoker who gets too close to the Box.I cling to the folorn hope that one day,the Ban will be lifted,otherwise I’d say screw my membership and just smoke right there in the main bar and force them to do something about it.They must be suffering-smoking members have changed their drinking habits.A lot of old timers use the social club – but they can’t cope with going outside for a fag whenever they want one – they stay for the bingo and go home.A lot like me have just stopped going altogether,and share the same sense of betrayal.
    On the other side of the street,theres a whole estate of empty houses.Victims of that housing policy thing that collapsed – they moved a whole estate out with the intent of flattening the whole place and building new..they never got round to demolishing the old.But theres nothing wrong with them.Theyre perfectly good houses.Theyre just rotting away now.Its just an insane image – the social club is the only living thing there..a few smokers an obvious disance away from the box, then this dead housing estate..fucked up priorities.

    Also – on the subject of history repeating,google Terence Mckenna fractal time.
    have a Youtube addy for a brief rundown.

    history repeats on an ever tightening fractal spiral.

  19. Pingback: Darkness Is Coming | Frank Davis

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