Building An Army

I’m to be a guest once again tonight on The Smoking Section in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Last time Emily Wieja told me what questions she wanted to ask me. This time we’re just going to wing it. We’re quite used to just talking to each other conversationally now.

But she did say that Stephen Helfer was going to be on the show this time, and he’d probably want to ask me how to “organise smokers” and how to get smokers to “engage in political activity”. So I was thinking about that yesterday, sat out in a sunny English pub garden with a beer and a cigarette.

And what I thought was that it’ll only become possible to organise smokers when they’ve formed a political entity. The analogy I had in mind was that of an army. It’s really only possible to “organise soldiers” and get them to “engage in soldiering activity” once they’ve joined an army. They must first be recruited into an army before they can be organised and engaged. And if they’re going to be recruited into an army, they’re going to have to want to join the army. They’re going to have to want to do something. They’re going to have to want to fight some enemy. So the first thing to do is to “build an army”. Only when you’ve got an army of willing volunteers does it become possible for them to be organised and engaged.

In this I was reminded of my late fighter pilot uncle who volunteered to join the Royal Air Force shortly before the outbreak of WW2. He’d been talking with friends of his in school in England, and they could see that war was coming, and they wanted to do something. And so, without telling his parents, he went and joined the RAF. He wanted to do something. I imagine that several of his friends also wanted to do something, and they probably joined some military outfit or other too.

The situation today for smokers is somewhat similar. Except this time the war on smokers has already started, and smokers have been roundly defeated, but there’s no RAF for them to join. They might want to do something, but they can’t see what they can do.

But they can always do what my uncle did, and start talking to people. For before he joined the RAF, he was talking to his friends. In fact, he was probably talking to as many people as he possibly could (although not to his mother or his father, who had been a late conscript into WW1, arriving at the front line the day the war ended).

In fact, I think that before any army or other political organisation forms, I think people have to be talking to each other, and wondering what they can do. And maybe, all too often, they simply don’t know what they can do. And maybe some of them will believe that there is nothing that can be done, and that they are completely powerless, and that resistance is useless. Powerful armies, it might even be said, are always formed from powerless individuals who are all facing the same threat. At the outset, nobody ever knows what needs to be done. But what needs to be done will gradually emerge out of prolonged thought and debate and discussion.

So I think that the first thing that must be done is to get smokers to talk to each other, and to form a community of like-minded people, with a shared common experience. And there are now hundreds of millions of people, all over the world, who have the same shared experience of being demonised and excluded and robbed. I estimate that there are at least 1.5 billion of them. And of those there will be some – maybe only one person in 100, or one person in a thousand – who will want to do something about what is happening to them. And if such people can be brought in contact with each other, they will have a lot to talk about, even if it is only to tell each other that they don’t know what to do. And one hundredth of 1.5 billion people is 15 million people who begin to form a political entity, who begin to form an army.

So I’m much more interested in”building an army” than I am in “organising smokers” or getting them to “engage the enemy politically”. I think that building an army is an indispensable prelude to any sort of organisation or engagement. It’s only when there exists a body of like-minded people, all of whom want to do something, that it becomes possible to organise them and engage them.

And I think that the internet offers an excellent way for the persecuted smokers scattered all over the world to come together with each other. And it will only be out of the internal discussions of this company of like-minded people that there will emerge suggestions (lots of them) of how they might be organised, and how they might engage the enemy.

And that’s why I’m more than happy to be talking this evening, from my home in Herefordshire, England, to a couple of smokers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 5000 km away. That’s what the internet allows people to do, almost entirely effortlessly. And later on this year I hope to be talking to a bunch of like-minded smokers in Germany. I hope to be talking to lots of people. And the more that this happens, the more that invisible ties will begin to bind together the scattered smokers all around the world, and their army will begin to emerge.

And I think that the next time I come across Vince, the retired paratrooper, in one of my local pubs, I’m going to ask him why he joined the British Army all those years ago, and how old he was, and what had happened with him before he decided he wanted to enlist. I’m sure he’ll have a lot to say. And the pubs round here seem to be full of Vinces.


About Frank Davis

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49 Responses to Building An Army

  1. Dirk says:

    Maybe a crazy idea, but what if suddenly 50 smokers turned up in a pub and started smoking? By the time the police arrives they’re gone. And then they do this again and again in other pubs, soon joined by more smokers, because it’s a well know psychological principle that when a movement is successful, more people who agree with the movement will join. It takes the courage of the original group to convince the others.

    If smokers would follow this movement, newspapers will notice. Then they will have to publish your arguments such as The Black Lung Lie.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Nice idea. But first you have to get the 50 smokers before you can organise them to engage in such an activity. That’s why building an army is such an essential prelude. Until there is an army of like-minded people, nothing can be done.

  2. Dirk says:

    One group that spearheads the “smoking in a pub” flash mob would attract other smokers and start the ball rolling. They can contact one another by phone.

  3. Vlad says:

    What would that gimmick solve? A fine for the pub owner and a headline perhaps. Regarding political activity, NHS and healthcare costs in general are a big thing. So building a movement concentrating on how infected by parasites (of which anti-smokers are just one) it has become would be, I think, a good idea. How about letting people know that during one year 2013/2014, £49 million were spent by NHS England on prescription medication for quitting smoking. Money completely thrown down the drain. How about talking about obesity, depression and other health issues that have risen while smoking decreased.

    • nisakiman says:

      I’m not sure you’re right to dismiss Dirk’s idea out of hand, Vlad.

      The point of the flash mob is that the landlord would be powerless to stop fifty people from smoking in his pub. He would doubtless call the police, which would effectively prove to any court of law that he, the landlord, was not himself in breach of the law nor responsible for the law being broken, but was simply powerless to prevent that number of smokers from lighting up in his pub, hence the call to the police. I doubt very much that the police would charge him under the circumstances.

      The clever way to organise it would be to find landlords sympathetic to the action who would secretly be in collusion with the flash mob, thus avoiding any unpleasantness.

      But whatever, if the flash mob were to approach the situation in the right way, by avoiding any violent confrontation, remaining polite, providing their own ashtrays etc etc, and were to disappear before the police arrived (or even remain, to be martyred – a fund could be set up to pay the fines), it would make a story. And if it were to happen regularly, and each time the flash mob were to leave leaflets explaining just why they were doing it, and how inherently unjust and baseless the bans are, I think it would pretty soon hit the national news networks. And if the flash mob remained unfailingly polite and well behaved (apart from breaking the smoking law), I think they would start to garner a lot of public sympathy and support. And perhaps even the politicians would start to take notice.

      If nobody ever talks about it, nothing is going to change.

      It’s how the Gay Rights movement got where they are today. By being loud. By making people take notice. Not just other gays, but Joe Public, who never really thought about it.

      Because one of the biggest problems we face is that Joe Public, particularly non-smoking Joe Public, isn’t really aware of how much the bans have affected smokers. Many, if not most non-smokers are not anti-smokers. They just don’t think about it.

      And they need to be made to think about it.

      • Vlad says:

        You’re talking a quite different thing – organized, repeated flash mob, as opposed to a one off thing. I agree, you have a good point there. Being loud and making known the discrimination, suffering of smokers is a necessary part. But the main problem as I see it is that as a group smokers don’t generate sympathy because they’re seen as addicts that kill themselves and others and are a drain on public health finances. Gays didn’t have this baggage. Debunking these falsehoods which are deeply ingrained in public’s mind should be the priority.

        • nisakiman says:

          Gays didn’t have this baggage

          I dunno about that Vlad. What about HIV / Aids? That was a big issue at about the same time the gay rights movement got going, and they managed to overcome that hurdle. And the religious objections, and although religion was in decline anyway at the time, it was still pretty establishment.

        • nisakiman says:

          As an addendum, the reason I mentioned leaflets in my original comment is that it needs to be explained to people just how much in taxes are taken from smokers as opposed to the alleged health costs, as well as pointing out the lack of evidence in the SHS scam.

        • Vlad says:

          Hmm, good point with HIV. Yes, gays had some baggage too. But the differentiating point, highlighted by Nightlight on this site a few years back, is that smokers (as a group) are ashamed of their habit. As long as they live in the Matrix, they can’t be of any help, despite the fact their numbers is +1Billion (worldwide).

          They first have to be awaken in order to become soldiers. As long as they think tobacco is the enemy and public health and big pharma are their friends, how can we expect them to go to war against their ‘friends’ ?

        • nisakiman says:

          Yes, you’re absolutely right there, Vlad. That’s the first hurdle to overcome. And that’s why what Frank is saying about building an army makes sense. We need to get smokers (and sympathetic non-smokers) talking to each other. And What Frank is proposing, with establishing a Skype network may well be the way to do it.

          Overcoming the apathy is going to be the hard bit!

        • Joe L. says:

          I agree that getting many smokers to overcome their apathy is our biggest hurdle, however I disagree with Vlad that that is the “differentiating point.”

          I’m almost certain that the gay rights movement encountered the same hurdle. I believe there was a large percentage of gays who were ashamed of their orientation due to social stigmas and pressure and thus also difficult to motivate to action.

      • Barry Homan says:

        I hate to (ahem) barge in here, but isn’t this talk about flash-mobs in pubs akin to inciting people to break the law? I smell trubble. I think we have to be careful here.

        • nisakiman says:

          “Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.”
          ― Howard Zinn

          If laws were not broken by the US civil rights movement, how far would they have got?

          “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
          ― Martin Luther King Jr.

        • waltc says:

          Well–agreeing with Nisakiman–that’s the thing about joining an army. Armies fight. And, especially if they’re Volunteer, are willing to take risks, even with their lives. So were the American revolutionaries, the marchers at Selma, the French, Resistance, the Stonewall Rioters. (*)

          But an army also requires some kind of commanding officer. Someone to tell the recon team where to recon, someone to yell “Ready, aim, fire.” Ultimately, it can’t be just a loose band, though it can pick its commanders.

          The antis are pretty good at that. Among easy things, they get their troops to barrage legislators, newspaper Letters to Editors, etc with hundreds of letters, phone calls and and emails– many phony and duplicative– but honor is not among their traits. It has to be understood that newspapers usually print letters in proportion to the number they get on a particular side of an issue, so it may take a hundred to get them to print four in their limited space because they see a trend. Online comments are either instant or moderated into oblivion but even then the moderators see the tide.

          (*) The Stonewall Riots for gay rights at a time when gays in NYC were forbidden by law from gathering as openly gay in Public Places, took place in 1969, long before AIDS but certainly when gays were closeted out of centuries of legalized shame.

  4. John Watson says:

    Well, a smokers ‘army’ is established, what comes next?
    In a way, it already is, I recall some time ago you penned an article on how smokers were like a swarm of bees, which currently have few flowers and produce very little honey. Perhaps it is because there are many ‘drones’ but no Queen bees.

    How do we get a ‘Queen Bee?
    There are Billions of smokers, some will want to actively engage, some will support, others will simply accept, and some may even oppose, there are Billions of non smokers too, who find the war on Smokers distasteful and a growing army of Vapers some of whom are realising that they are going the way of the smoker. The answer is I think is to make Queen Bees, elect them onto City, County and Town Councils. Start at the bottom and work up. In a small way it would be a little like electing a Trump like political class.

    What platform do we stand on?
    Smoking alone will not move anyone, it would have to be part of a package. Billions worldwide is spent on anti smoking, anti alcohol, anti obesity, global warming, un-needed foreign aid, lets face it if a country can afford space programmes they really do not need foreign aid! What if this money was spent on education, real health issues like Doctors, nurses and infrastructure instead of dictating lifestyle choices? Housing? The Billions who cannot look after themselves or their families because the system has failed them? Politics created these problems, politics should solve them.

    Build an army, an army of humane Politicians.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I recall some time ago you penned an article on how smokers were like a swarm of bees,

      Indeed I did. And the swarm has been slowly gathering, and will keep on gathering.

    • Barry Homan says:

      One idea I see here is to get together a group of queen/king bees, in the form of celebrities who smoke, and smoke unabashedly. Famous folk in film, music, arts, etc.

      We have Joe Jackson who visits here, but he may wish to continue handling issues via his own style and fashion. What about others?

      • Joe L. says:

        Good point. I think the apathetic smokers need “queen/king bee” figures in order to feel somewhat normalized before they will stand up for themselves, let alone smokers as a community.

        However, aside from Joe Jackson, can you name even five more famous unabashed smokers? I sometimes wonder if Tobacco Control has paid off many influential smokers to quit or at least cease from smoking in public, because smoking celebrity sightings seem to be newsworthy events these days (e.g., the bathroom smoking soiree at the Met in New York last week).

  5. Emily Wieja says:

    Looking forward to having you on again tonight! Meanwhile, someone just sent me this on Facebook, it’s bad news. Pennsylvania is one of the few states relatively near me that still has indoor smoking at some bars:

    • Rose says:

      I read about that this morning.

      Perhaps someone should tell this poor deluded soul what happened everywhere in the UK after total bans were passed.

      Proposal would end exemptions to Pennsylvania smoking ban
      May 9, 2017

      “Steve Kopy, owner of Kopy’s Bar on the South Side”
      “He said a greater share of his customers are now smokers than before the ban, and some tell him they come there specifically because they can smoke. Nonetheless, he expects he wouldn’t lose business if smoking were prohibited.

      “If they can’t smoke anywhere, then they’re still going to go out and drink,” he said.”

      Oh they’ll still drink but not with you, they will drink where they can smoke, at home
      You don’t insult your customers like that and get away with it, they leave and they don’t come back.

      “Kopy said he supports the new proposal as it’s a way to “level the playing field.”
      The very words that were used to talk the hospitality industry into destroying their own livelihoods.
      Perhaps his bar will become a mini market or just an empty space.

      • Emily Wieja says:

        “If they can’t smoke anywhere, then they’re still going to go out and drink,” he said.”

        Wow. Just wow. This makes me angrier than anything else I have read.

        • Rose says:

          Perhaps you might send some interested Pennsylvanian this article –

          Pete Robinson: The British Pub – A thesis on it’s decline and fall

          “For 450 years British pubs and their smoking customers have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship that has survived essentially unchanged through wars, periods of extreme poverty and famine, riots, massive social change, the Industrial Revolution, the English Civil War, WW2 rationing, licencing and taxation, opening hour restrictions, many recessions, and a great deal more besides.

          Throughout that long and stormy history pubs have NEVER closed in the anything like the numbers they have since July 1st 2007, not even 100 or so years ago when magistrates pursued a policy of drastically reducing pub numbers by refusing to renew licences.

          There are pubs closing today that have been serving their communities for 400 years. Imagine the tales these iconic watering holes could tell but tragically they are lost to our culture forever.”

          “Yes, pubs have occasionally waned in popularity. In recent times the mass arrival of TV in the 1960s caused a temporary drop off, and there was some gradual erosion in trade throughout the 80’s and 90’s due at least in part to the plod’s manic enforcement of the drink-drive laws along with newly introduced jail terms for offenders.

          However since the new millennium pubs had fought their way back to health and by 2006 were more popular than ever, with The Publican reporting overall turnover at a FIVE-YEAR-PEAK. We’d never had it so good, and things could only get better still.

          Smokers accounted for over HALF of that income.

          Then the trade went collectively mad and ushered in the blanket smoking ban with barely a murmur of protest. The majority of front-line publicans were intelligent enough to have grave concerns. But their voice was drowned out by those upper echelons of the industry, men-in-suits, who presume to speak for us.

          Driven by pure greed we were won over by a barrage of bogus statistics coming from ASH, CRUK and the DoH ‘proving’ that we’d keep our existing smoking customers who’d simply accept the ban as meekly as we had.

          The icing on the cake was to be the countless millions of ‘new’ non-smoking customers who were poised like a coiled spring, awaiting the starting pistol on July 1st 2007 to risk serious injury in the crush to pack our pubs to the rafters as they quaffed pint after pint in such quantities you would need to employ a team of cellarmen to support all the extra bar staff you’d need – and a SecuriCorps van to bank your takings.

          This better class of customer was termed ‘NewBreed’ and we were promised he’d set the tills ringing as soon as we’d driven out the riff-raff. The advice was to steam-clean, fumigate and redecorate throughout replacing curtains and fabrics wherever possible. At all costs we must completely eradicate any evidence that that society’s scum had ever been there. The ‘New Breed’ of customer wouldn’t like that.

          So we built a few half-open cattle sheds in our pubs’ back yards and banished the most loyal, better spending half of our customers out into the cold and rain expecting them to be grateful. After all the stats did say most smokers secretly wanted to quit and really we’d be doing ’em a favour!

          Of course NewBreed was merely a clever figment of the anti-smoking lobby’s imagination, but even savvy pubco bosses bought it hook, line and sinker. Strong objections from organisations such as CAMRA evaporated in a wave of hysteric euphoria as it seemed everyone ’embraced’ the new age of endless prosperity to come.

          From the day of the ban’s inception pubs immediately began to shed customers, and haven’t yet plugged the leak.
          We forgot that pubs were built by the pennies of the common man, yet we tried to move upmarket in a vain attempt to satisfy a demand that never existed.”
          http: //

          The Publican – now shut down as well.

      • nisakiman says:

        It sounds to me, Rose, like our Mr Kopy has been primed. It’s just all too pat; straight out of the Tobacco Control guide. No bar owner can be that stupid in reality. I suspect Mr Kopy is himself an anti-smoker who allowed smoking in his bar because he knew he’d lose all his customers if he banned it. Which is why he’s so keen on the ‘level playing field’.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Poor Mr Kopy.

        I wonder how long it’s going to take for Kopy’s Bar to close.

        Michael McFadden lives in Pennsylvania.

        • Rose says:

          Why do they even want a smoking ban, now that the dreaded TSNA’s are gone and the bar tenders safe?

          Retrofitting Tobacco Curing Barns – 2000

          “Paul E. Sumner, UGA, J. Michael Moore, UGA, and Michael D. Boyette, NCSU
          Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Crop and Soil Science

          Recent research has shown that a class of carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds known as tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) may be formed in flue-cured tobacco leaves during the curing process. These compounds are not found in green (uncured) tobacco. Present research suggests that TSNAs are formed through a chemical reaction between nicotine and other compounds contained in the uncured leaf and various oxides of nitrogen (NOx) found in all combustion gases, regardless of the fuel used. Eliminating NOx compounds in the curing air by using a heat exchanger system has been shown capable of reducing TSNAs to undetectable levels in cured tobacco. The direct-fire curing systems currently in use in most U.S. curing barns are considered to be the major factor contributing to elevated levels of TSNAs in U.S. flue-cured tobacco. Further, there is no known fuel treatment or burner design that can eliminate these nitrogen compounds from combustion gases without the use of a heat exchanger (found in all indirect-fired systems). It is believed that reducing the levels of TSNAs in tobacco products would reduce some of the health concerns associated with tobacco use.

          To receive price support for tobacco grown in 2001 and thereafter, producers must retrofit, or change, all barns used to cure the crop to operate with indirect-fired curing systems. An indirect-fired system passes the combustion gases through a heat exchanger and out of the barn, thereby preventing the mixing of flue gases with curing air. Systems with the combustion entirely outside the barn and that conduct the heat to the barn with hot water or steam have proven entirely satisfactory for reducing TSNAs and are acceptable.

          Research during the 2000 curing season has shown that converting from direct- to indirect-fired curing can reduce levels of TSNAs in cured leaf to below detectable levels (less than 0.1 part per million).”

          Even the infamous poly aromatic hydrocarbons no longer seem to be the problem once thought, the good appears to cancel out the bad.


          “Despite an 18-month study in the late 1950s, the search for a “supercarcinogen” in MSS and CSC to explain the observed biological effects was unsuccessful. In addition, the exceptional study on MSS PAHs by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) personnel in the 1970s indicated no “supercarcinogen” was present. Only recently has the concept of complex mixtures in relation to the understanding of the complexity of carcinogenesis taken hold. Perhaps the reason why MSS is less tumorigenic than expected in humans is because of the presence of other MSS components that inhibit or prevent tumorigenesis. For example, it is well known that MSS contains numerous anticarcinogens present in quantifies significantly greater than those of the PAHs of concern. When one reviews the history of these four PAHs in MSS or CSC it is clear that many unanswered questions remain.”

          The Chemical Components of Tobacco and Tobacco Smoke, Second Edition

          “Authors Alan Rodgman and Thomas A. Perfetti were jointly awarded the 2010 CORESTA (Cooperative Centre for Scientific Research Relative to Tobacco) Prize for their extensive work on documenting the vast literature on the chemical composition of tobacco and tobacco smoke in their original edition.”

        • Rose says:

          Not that bartenders and visiting non-smokers ever inhaled much anyway.

          Passive smokers inhale six cigarettes a year – Telegraph
          Sunday 16 August 1998

          “PASSIVE smokers inhale the equivalent of just six cigarettes a year from other people’s smoke, according to the largest ever study of actual exposure levels of non-smokers.

          The figure, which undermines previous warnings about the dangers of passive smoking, is a thousand times lower than that faced by direct smokers, and so tiny that it could not be measured statistically. Results from personal air monitors carried by more that 1,000 people in cities across Europe reveal that even the most highly-exposed passive smoker inhales the equivalent of 0.02 of a cigarette a day – 10 times lower than Government-backed estimates.

          The findings, published by an internationally respected UK-based team of air monitoring experts, are the biggest blow yet to the credibility of the Government’s insistence that passive smoking causes fatal diseases.”

          “A team led by Dr Keith Phillips of Covance Laboratories, an independent consultancy in Harrogate, has found that even passive smokers who live and work with smokers are typically exposed to just 0.1 per cent of the dangerous components of cigarette smoke inhaled by smokers”

          Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory

          Exposures to second-hand smoke lower than believed, ORNL study finds

          “OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 2, 2000 — Exposures to environmental tobacco smoke may be lower than earlier studies indicated for bartenders, waiters and waitresses, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).”

          ” The study, which involved 173 people employed at restaurants or taverns of varying sizes in the Knoxville area, concluded that exposures to respirable suspended particulate matter (RSP), for example, were considerably below limits established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the workplace.

          Subjects, who were non-smokers, wore pumps that sampled the air they were breathing while at work for a minimum of four hours. Researchers recorded a maximum RSP level of 768 micrograms per cubic meter. The OSHA standard for RSP is 5,000 micrograms per cubic meter over eight hours.”

          And that was before they retrofitted the barns.

        • waltc says:

          Rose: the ORNL study was repeated with 1500 subjects in 16 cities by the same team (Jenkins et al) with the same results

      • Smoking Lamp says:

        His view is likely the result of hearing relentless antismoking propaganda combined with wishful thinking. The tobacco control cadres conceal the negative impacts of smoking bans on business (just read the biased reportage and comments section in a articles about bans to see the propaganda machine at work).

  6. Vlad says:

    @nisakiman eloquently put by Nightlight (Theophil Goddard) in the comments:

    Note that even gays, who are far less numerous than smokers (at least 10 times) didn’t start fighting until the “gay pride” concept arose in their ranks, that broke the paralyzing spell in _their own mind_ about homosexuality being a sin (being previously classified as psychiatric disease). Once the “gay pride” idea spread among them, this 1-2% minority, previously held down by their own shame and guilt, fought so fiercely that they have become untouchable, legally, economically and socially, reaching privileged/protected minority status.

    If smokers would shake off their death curse “smoking kills” (since _hard_ science is squarely on their side anyway), with our numbers we could crush antismoking parasite in one tenth of the time it took gays to win their protected minority status.

    • nisakiman says:

      Thanks for that Vlad. Nightlight has made a lot of brilliant comments – I have several notable ones copied to file as reference pieces. And what he says is true – we need to disabuse ourselves (not us here, but smokers in general) of the notion that we are an underclass.

    • waltc says:

      Again–see my comment way above–gay pride hadn’t been invented until after the Stonewall March. IOW, someone has to start the ball rolling. Everyone should google the Stonewall Riots.

  7. Dirk says:

    Look here (Charlie Chaplin explaining that politicians are mad)

  8. nisakiman says:

    I trust, Frank, that you are going to post a link to your interview with Emily on here tomorrow? It will probably be too late for me to watch live if she’s doing it at 7 pm EST.

  9. Rose says:


    Here is that recipe I promised you.

    Barm Brack (Tea bread )


    12 fl. oz. cold tea
    7 oz. soft brown sugar
    12 oz. mixed dried fruit
    10 oz. self-raising flour
    1 egg

    Preparation time
    10 minutes

    Cooking time
    1 hour 45 mins

    Oven setting
    350°F, Gas Mark 4

    Put tea, sugar and dried fruit in a bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight.
    Tea that has been left over during the day can be saved and used.
    Well grease an 8-inch round cake tin, or a 2 lb loaf tin.

    Mix the soaked fruit and sugar plus the liquid nto the flour.
    Add the beaten egg to make a smooth mixture.
    Turn into the tin and bake in a moderate oven for about 1 hour 45 minutes.
    Turn out to cool on a wire tray.

    Serve sliced with butter.

    Mary Berry
    Hamlyn All-Colour Cook Book

    Bearing in mind that it’s written in Imperial and will need converting, it was also written before fan ovens existed, so I’d lower the temperature, check how close it is to being ready after an hour and 15 and keep losely covered with a piece of kitchen foil incase the top gets over done.

    To test if a cake is baked stick a knife in the middle, if it comes out clean except for a bit of moisture it’s done, if it comes out still covered in cake mixture it’s not.

  10. complexkid says:

    Just listening to Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan’s latest podcast, to be found here:

    It’s about three hours long, so put it on while you’re doing housework, and it does bounce around various topics of the world going mad.

    Interesting point: Jordan maintains that authoritarianism rises more out of *disgust* than *fear*, and I think he’s right – he’s done quite a bit of research on this. He brought up Hitler and the nazi public health plans as a prime example, albeit he didn’t hit the nazi anti-smoking laws. Pity, that.

    But when you look at so many of the antis comments, like the folks in Pennsylvania under that newspaper article, yeah, there’s a little bit of fear, but mostly it’s our ‘filthy disgusting weak-willed habit’ that they’re on about, and don’t want to be exposed to.

    It’s interesting, though, that PH has been pushing the fear angle so much, and a lot of people are indeed afraid. Still, don’t discount the disgust part, how we’re not only untermenschen, but ungeziefer to these people. I think that’s still there. Why else attack the poor, minorities, etc so fiercely over smoking?

    Not sure this has any practical organisational value for Frank’s army, but it’s worth bearing in mind….

    • Rhys says:

      That was me ^^ up there. For reasons unknown whenever I post here, it tries to log me into a wordpress account not used since 2005. Ah well.

  11. Rose says:

    29th August 2004


    “The idea for this ice-cream came from a colleague, Xanthe Clay, who demonstrated her own tobacco ice-cream recipe at a London fair.

    10g pipe tobacco (I use Condor original);
    300ml milk;
    300ml double cream;
    175g golden caster sugar;
    3 large free-range egg yolks

    Bring a pan of water to the boil, then add the tobacco and bring back to the boil. Boil for one minute, then drain through a sieve and rinse under the cold tap.

    Place the milk and cream in another pan and bring slowly to the boil. Once just about boiling, remove from the heat and add the tobacco, cover and leave to infuse for ten minutes, no more. Sieve the mixture into a jug, discarding the tobacco.

    Beat the sugar and yolks together, then add some of the warm cream, stirring well. Pour into the jug and stir until combined. Return to a clean pan and cook over a low heat, stirring, until thickened to the consistency of single cream (it thickens as it cools). This will take ten to 15 minutes.

    Pour into a jug, cover tightly and cool. Once cold, churn in a machine – or pour into a plastic container and place in the freezer, whisking every couple of hours until it sets.”

    I haven’t tried that one, but you never know when a recipe like that might come in useful.

  12. Dmitri says:

    All right, people, what comes before an army is formed? A name (Glorious Army or something) and a very general idea, rather a feeling, a style. Something positive and gay, obviously victorious, worth joining.
    How about a viral epidemy of very short video clips, to be sent around (in English, later some people may want to pick up the idea in other languages).
    No (relatively) old angry suffering sulking people like me. Quiet, optimistic, smiling, self-assured young bastards, smoking a cigarette in a pleasant surroundings and saying something like “You lied that my cigarette harms others. You failed. I smoke. My friends smoke. And we know you are a liar”.
    Or: “Fighting smokers is been de-normalized, far as I’m concerned, as of today”.
    The trick is that every such video should have a different text, and one… title, shall we say – like “de-normalize you”. Or it may be a name of the movement. Or “you harassed smokers, you failed”. Generally I think that “you failed” could be a good starting slogan.
    I’d love to ask a Russian hacker who meddles in US elections to start inserting such clips into anything thinkable, the problem is nobody was meddling there. But hackers do exist.
    That kind of clips could provide a start for a movement, with a general feeling that members are self-assured people, known and unknown, who are not ashamed of smoking, but proud of it. Other ideas about what to do may come later.
    And I don’t like the idea of Gandhi-style self-sacrifice, in pubs or anywhere. Only desperate people do it. We are not desperate, we know we’ll win.

    • Frank Davis says:

      It would help if there were lots of self-assured young bastards. But for the most part we’ve only got self-assured old bastards (like me).

      But I’m not sure it matters. Old people have the wisdom that (is supposed to) comes with age. They have a lifetime’s experience. Their words have greater weight.

      As for the name. That will come in its own time, like everything else.

      • Joe L. says:

        Old people have the wisdom that (is supposed to) comes with age. They have a lifetime’s experience. Their words have greater weight.

        Not to mention that older smokers are themselves living counter-evidence to the Antismoking hysteria that ‘smoking will almost certainly cause death at an early age.’

        Otherwise, I think Dmitri’s idea of a series of simple, short, succinct videos (15-30 seconds each) that could go “viral” is a fantastic idea. Antismoking campaigns like “Truth” (that name makes me unbelievably angry — only a campaign of lies would need to name themselves “Truth” in order to gain subconscious credibility) here in the U.S. have had great success with this strategy — why not fight fire with fire (or with smoke, if I may)?

        My 2¢: I think each video should feature a few different smokers from all walks of life (different ages, races, sexes, etc.) each reiterating the same phrase/slogan (each video would feature a different, brief, powerful slogan which is repeated by a handful of smokers) and they would all end with the logo/name of our organization (TBD) and a URL to visit. I believe these videos would help engage those who feel denormalized by showing how wide the new net of discrimination has been cast.

        Also, I think any phrases referring to Antismokers should be in the third person (e.g., “they failed’) rather than in the second-person (“you failed”) because the videos should be directed toward an audience of smokers and compassionate nonsmokers rather than the Antis.

  13. Clicky says:

  14. Pingback: Defeating the Undefeatable | Bolton Smokers Club

  15. waltc says:

    Not to disparage the utility of gnarly old bastards (“so smoking makes you die young, eh?”) who can also wryly comment on the idiocy of the Ants and recall what the world was like back when it was fun, but Dmitri has a point, if it’s only that the young can better convince the young who know only the status quo.

    And that part aside, the young seem to think that new (as is anti-smoking) is always better than old, that Now is better than Then, that the present knows more than the past, that whatever comes later represents progress. Then, too, since I agree with the flash mob idea, it’s most likely to be peopled–at least in the majority–by the twenty-somethings.

    Look forward to seeing your interview

  16. Pingback: Breaking Point | Frank Davis

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