Cheap

I bought a couple of expensive wine glasses last week. I wanted them for the transgressive videos I was planning to make with Emily, which were to feature us both (and other people as well) ostentatiously smoking and drinking and talking. I’m thinking of including eating in the list of transgressive acts. Particularly eating ‘forbidden’ foods like chocolates, cream cakes, or cheeseburgers.

Anyway, I thought that drinking from a large, shapely wine glass was probably more transgressive than drinking from a simple glass or tumbler. It had me thinking that smoking cigars and pipes is more transgressively in-your-face than smoking cigarettes.

What, for example, could be more transgressive than smoking a meerschaum pipe like this?

Particularly when this particular pipe is even smoking its own little pipe. One might imagine an infinity of meerschaum pipes that are each one smoking their own meerschaum pipes, with faint plumes of smoke arising from each and every one

Cigarettes are very discreet, and almost invisible in comparison with such a huge work of art as the pipe above. Imagine lighting up that fucker in a crowded room, with a mushroom cloud of smoke ascending from its bowl with each puff.

So why was it that it was against cigarettes that the war on smoking was first launched, with cigars and pipes initially exempted from the onslaught? Shouldn’t it have been the other way round?

Cigars and pipes are slow and heavy and relatively expensive ways of smoking tobacco. Cigarettes are quick and cheap and light. The cigarette, I often think, is the military way of smoking. Cigarettes come in minimalist packs just like bullets come in clips. And both bullets and cigarettes get fired. The chain-smoker almost mimics the machine gun, with one tab following another into the firing chamber. Which suggests that true chain-smokers should keep their cigarettes in belts or bandoliers, the cigarette butts from which would be sprayed out sideways like spent bullet cases from machine guns.

Maybe cigarettes were reviled because they were quick and cheap and light, and made smoking an ubiquitous popular pastime. Much like vinyl records made music into an ubiquitous popular product, freed from the concert halls where it had classically been consumed. Hasn’t cheap pop music always been regarded as inferior to expensive classical music?

And I smoke the cheapest of cheap cigarettes: roll-ups. And I even use the cheapest of cheap filters in my cheap roll-ups: I use bits of scrunched-up paper. How cheap can you get? How low can you go?

And maybe hookers are reviled because they’re cheap women who can be bought for a few dollars on a street corner. And respectable married women are respected because they sell themselves dear with elaborate marriage contracts. And nuns are respected most highly of all, because they are priceless. Each is valued according to the price that is placed upon them, just like cigarettes and pipes and cigars. Or wine glasses. Or anything else.

And yet, if I were to arrive in some city somewhere, I wouldn’t go looking for the company of nuns. Nor that of respectable married women. I like the company of girls who smoke cigarettes, drink beer, cuss loudly and profanely, and wear lipstick and mascara and mini-skirts and high heels. In short, I prefer the company of hookers to that of nuns. And, above all, I like the company of those cheapest of cheap hookers: the ones who will give out for a couple of beers and a bag of chips and an evening of music and conversation.

One might say that the sexual revolution of the sixties was the result of a catastrophic collapse in the price of sex. And if there were no longer many hookers on the streets of London in the 1960s (I never saw any at all) as there had been in the 1940s or before, it was because they were being undercut by an army of hot mini-skirted chicks who would have sex for next to nothing.

And if, when visiting Paris in the mid-1970s, I saw lots of elegant prostitutes as I walked through Pigalle, it was because the same thing had yet to happen in Paris as it had in London.

And if migrants from Morocco and Tunisia become rapists in Paris or Brussels or Berlin, it’s perhaps because they find themselves surrounded by cheap hookers, and they can’t be bothered to pay even the lowest of prices for them, and so steal them instead. For rapists, the price of sex is zero. And if they have complete contempt for the women they rape, it’s because they value them according to their price.

All of which will most likely serve to drive up the price of sex, and cause hemlines to fall, high heels to vanish, and parents to lock up their daughters – and prostitutes to re-appear on the streets.

Which is probably exactly what the pinch-faced puritans in Lifestyle Control want to see happen, just like the pinch-faced puritans in Tobacco Control want to drive the price of tobacco through the stratosphere.

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About Frank Davis

smoker
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31 Responses to Cheap

  1. Frank Davis says:

    I’ve ordered one of the meerschaum pipes from the website linked above. Unfortunately the pipe-smoking meerschaum pipe I showed in my post was sold out (the only one sold out), so I had to choose another. It should arrive in a few days time. If I can get it working, I may conduct future Skype interviews while puffing on it, and drinking pink champagne, or something that purports to be that.

    • nisakiman says:

      Ha! That’s a great image, Frank! You producing great clouds of smoke from a large meerschaum – I can’t wait. :)

      I’ve been through pipe-smoking phases, and I really quite like it. The only problem is that when you’re working as I was, a pipe isn’t nearly as convenient as a cigarette. You can’t just let it dangle from your lips as you lean over a potentially lethal circular saw while cutting wood. It tends to droop and try to fall out of your mouth with all that weight at the end.

      Now I’m semi-retired, I may have another look at pipes. There are some lovely pipe tobaccos out there. Or at least there were. I don’t know to what extent Tobacco Control have decimated the market in their vandalistic glee.

      I like cigars, too, but a good quality cigar is expensive, and you need to be able to sit and appreciate it. Preferably with an accompanying good quality coffee and Armagnac.And I can’t really afford to indulge in those things as often as I would like.

    • Furtive Ferret says:

      Welcome to the world of pipes Frank. I’ve been smoking a Peterson briar pipe for a few years. I’ve also been thinking about adding a meet’ to the collection.

      One thing that I have found with a pipe is that there seems to be much less animosity towards it. In fact it can be quite an ice breaker. Complete strangers have come up to me with various comments such as, “that smells good”, “you don’t see many people smoking one of those these days”, “my old uncle/grandad smoked a pipe”. All very friendly stuff.

      What do you plan to get as a first tobacco?

      • Frank Davis says:

        I bought a pipe a few years back, and smoked it a few times. Here’s what I wrote. I think the main problem I had was the same as Nisakiman above. A pipe requires at least one hand devoted to it full time. And I never knew what to do with it when I wasn’t smoking it, so it would fall over and deposit its contents on the table.

        This time the pipe has a purpose. It’s there to make a statement. I probably won’t smoke it much when I’m not on Skype.

  2. castello2 says:

    I would be tempted to hint at drug use as they did before the prohibition started in the 1920s or earlier maybe? Glorious lines of cocaine or at least soda with original ingredients or codeine/heroin at least as they were very legal back then.

    • nisakiman says:

      Ah yes. Perhaps a bottle of Absinthe and an opium pipe? Line of coke on the mirror next to him? I could cope with that.

      • castello2 says:

        Indeed!

      • Rose says:

        Talking of Absinthe

        Absinthe Turkish Delight

        1lb (450g) granulated sugar
        ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
        3½ (90g) cornflour
        7½ (210g) icing sugar
        1¼pints(750ml) water
        1 level tablespoon golden syrup
        (50ml) Absinthe
        Green colouring – optional

        7″ (18cm) buttered square tin or similar.

        Put the sugar in a medium-sized pan with 5floz (150ml) of the water and heat very gently until all the sugar has dissolved.
        Then boil briskly to the “soft-ball” stage 240°F (115°C).

        While the syrup is boiling, combine 7oz (200g) of the icing sugar and 3oz (75g) of the cornflour in another pan.
        Gradually stir in the remaining 1 pint (570ml) of cold water, bring to the boil, then boil for 2 minutes.

        As soon as the sugar syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, pour it slowly, stirring constantly (safety equipment is recommended at this stage, it can spit) into the cornflour sauce.

        Sprinkle in the cream of tartar and boil very gently, stirring frequently, for about another 25 minutes or until the mixture is a very pale straw colour and semi-opaque.

        Now remove the pan from the heat, beat in the golden syrup and absinthe.

        Add about 2 drops of green colouring, stir well and pour this mixture into the prepared tin.

        Leave until absolutely cold and firmly set.

        Finally combine the remaining cornflour and icing sugar.
        Tip the turkish delight onto the mixture and cut into 1inch (2.5cm) strips.
        Roll these in the icing and cornflour mixture, cut into 1 inch (2.5) strips.
        Roll these in the icing sugar and cornflour mixture and leave on a rack for several hours.

        Save the spare cornflour and icing sugar mixture for storage so that they don’t stick together.

        I just remembered that I’d posted that recipe on Leggy’s blog in 2011 and that I have a very old, half used bottle in the pantry.
        Probably too old to try it again now.

        • nisakiman says:

          What a great recipe, Rose. I’ll copy ‘n’ paste that one. Thanks.

          If it’s Absinthe you’ve got half a bottle of, then it won’t have gone off, it will be as good as when you first bought it. Good Absinthe is very alcoholic, usually coming in at least 55% ABV. You and I will be long gone before your Absinthe loses any of its value. The only thing that would degrade it would be strong sunlight and high ambient temperatures, neither of which I would imagine pertain in your pantry. I’ve got a bottle (half full) of Green Chartreuse (55% ABV) on the shelf which I’ve had since about 2001, and it’s still in fine shape. Spirits don’t go off, even when they’ve been opened.

        • castello2 says:

          That sounds wonderful. I kept a bottle of locally(San Fransisco)made absinthe in the cupboard for a few years. Sipped on it now and then till it was gone. If anything it gets a little better with time.

        • Rose says:

          Thank you, Nisakiman, I certainly will take a sip.
          A friend gave it to me many years ago and apart from turning it into Turkish Delight, I haven’t really known what to do with it.

          I can recommend the recipe though, it’s been thoroughly tested, though you will need a sugar thermometer.
          H/T Delia Smith – Creme de Menthe Jellies.

        • nisakiman says:

          Ah, Rose, Absinthe is strongly associated with decadence, and there are many ways to partake. I personally favour the fairly simple Classic French, but there are other, much more exciting ways to drink it! There’s quite a good summary of a few of the most popular methods here which should give you some ideas when you break the bottle out for a sip!

        • Rose says:

          Thank you for the link.

          The reason I turned the Absinthe into Turkish Delight was because of it’s fearsome reputation, I wanted to turn it into something that was harmless enough for your maiden aunt to enjoy.

          I love the taste of spirits, but don’t cope well with the alcohol.

  3. Have you ever noticed the pipes sold on EBay that are guaranteed to come from a “smoke-free home”? Sheesh!

    • Joe L. says:

      Hilarious and sad at the same time. I’ve never looked for pipes on eBay, but I have noticed the “third-hand smoke” bullshit has apparently made an impact due to the need for sellers to add the disclaimer that their products come from a “smoke-free home.”

      The next time I sell something on eBay, I’m going to add the disclaimer that my products come from an “antismoker-free home.”

      • “The next time I sell something on eBay, I’m going to add the disclaimer that my products come from an “antismoker-free home.””

        Someone posted a wonderful note about five years ago regarding selling their car on ebay. I can’t do it justice right here but maybe someone will be reminded of a copy in their files. Basically it was giving the royal finger to the Antis, going on at length about all the politically incorrect properties, including the smoking, of their jalopy.

        :>
        MJM

    • margo says:

      Ha ha!!

  4. Rose says:

    “For many Europeans, cannabis is a gateway drug to tobacco as many people are first exposed to tobacco when they smoke their first joint, a phenomenon referred to as the reverse gateway effect.”
    “https://theconversation.com/cannabis-isnt-the-health-problem-the-tobacco-people-mix-with-it-is-77067

    Stunned.

    • Emily Wieja says:

      I have to admit that for me, this was actually the case. I was 13 and I soon discovered I liked tobacco better than cannabis.

      • nisakiman says:

        All the Americans I knew back when I was young found the idea of putting tobacco in a joint most peculiar, even if they smoked cigarettes. But of course we in the UK didn’t get grass back in the sixties, it was all hash, so tobacco was an essential part of the roll*. My American friends had been brought up on grass, which they always rolled neat in a small one-paper spliff without a filter.

        * Expanding on the hash thing, in Afghanistan hash was in fact usually smoked neat by the locals. They would just break the hash up into small chunks and bung it in the bowl of a water pipe. They would then put a few small pieces of hot charcoal on top, and the pipe would be passed round. The method (if you wanted to be taken seriously) was direct to lung smoking, and so when you got the pipe, you’d keep taking draws without coming up for air, until you collapsed in paroxysms of coughing, whereupon you’d pass it to the next guy, who would perform the same ritual. And thus the pipe would progress round the circle. By the time the pipe was finished, you’d find yourself squatting in the circle looking at a bunch of Afghan tribesmen rocking on their heels with a glazed, faraway expression on their faces, quite often singing quietly to themselves in a kind of falsetto they seemed to like. It was a brutal way to get wasted, and not for the faint-hearted.

        • Joe L. says:

          My American friends had been brought up on grass, which they always rolled neat in a small one-paper spliff without a filter.

          That’s one thing that hasn’t really changed since the ’60s — neat with no filter is still the most common method of rolling joints in the U.S. today.

          I recently moved to Washington state, where recreational marijuana is legal, and most dispensaries here sell pre-rolled filtered joints. Ooh la la!

          I always found pot smoke to be quite harsh, so, being a tobacco smoker, I preferred to add a healthy dose of tobacco to joints when I would roll them, but I was always the odd man out. Friends who I would smoke with preferred their joints ‘pure.’ I’m sure it’s even more of a faux pas to do so amongst the Hitler youth of today’s Antismoking climate.

          However, I didn’t realize how common blending tobacco with marijuana is in other parts of the world until I saw the charts in Rose’s link. It seems to be yet another example of an aspect of American culture that’s lacking sophistication and nuance.

        • emilycat88 says:

          Yes, nisakiman and Joe L., that was also my experience with Americans- I first tried cannabis mixed with tobacco when I lived in Holland as a kid. The cannabis was much stronger there and so we would dump a cigarette, spilt open, into a rolling paper, and drop little balls of cannabis on top of it and roll it all up. I carried cigarettes around with me just for rolling joints, but I soon discovered the pleasures of smoking them on their own :)

          I later discovered that Americans turned their noses up at this combination but I think it was actually really good even though I don’t care for cannabis anymore. The tobacco was naturally stimulating and mellowing which tempered the downer effects of cannabis for me.

        • Emily Wieja says:

          Sorry that’s me below, I keep mixing up my WordPress accounts!

        • RdM says:

          “All the Americans I knew back when I was young found the idea of putting tobacco in a joint most peculiar, even if they smoked cigarettes. But of course we in the UK didn’t get grass back in the sixties, it was all hash, so tobacco was an essential part of the roll*. My American friends had been brought up on grass, which they always rolled neat in a small one-paper spliff without a filter.

          * Expanding on the hash thing, in Afghanistan hash was in fact usually smoked neat “

          In the early ’70s, my first introduction was to Nepalese hash (block parts of which one could still see the Government seal in) but I forget how it was rolled at the time, or if I knew. Months later, though, after being introduced to strange by comparison weedy cannabis, albeit quite strong, that was rolled in pure joints, I came across hash again – that was just enough of a perfect consistency, not too moist, not too dry, that it could be chopped patiently (razor blade on a mirror) into small enough fragments that one could make and smoke and share a pure hash joint.

          Years later, I recall some Lebanese hash that was quite dry and possibly a bit old and faded, that one could also make pure hash joints from.

          But the NZ thing has always been to make pure cannabis joints, often crudely with a cardboard filter/handle (a handle provides a useful function;- you know when you’ve reached the end, and you don’t get a soggy wet roach) although I developed the idea of folding a paper into 3rds or 4ths lengthwise, then rolling up from the narrow end, gum side out so it would stick, maybe starting around a small nail, but later just being able to leave a hole anyway, and using that as a filter for a racehorse or slightly larger… maybe even doubling it for a larger joint. Thus, no stinky cardboard & ink burnt toxins at end.

          (The cardboard torn or cut-off from a Rizzla or ZigZag RYO paper packet – I disliked it!)

          When I went to Germany in 2004, visiting an NZ friend living there, I was taken to a party at some friends place, and was surprised to see that perfectly good strong cannabis was being dropped in little bits into tobacco roll-ups for spliffs for the smoking session… I wanted to protest but was nudged by my friend, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, & etc. It still seemed weak, and a waste of perfectly good dope, in my opinion.

          There’s a scientific reason for this, backing up my opinion, I think.
          Your lungs have just X capacity (in litres?)
          The vapor pressure of y% concentration THC into x capacity is just so much.
          Just so much will cross the barrier.

          No matter how much weak dose you smoke, it’s still weak per a single lung full.
          A stronger dose in one lung fill will enable much more THC to enter the bloodstream.
          Or something like that…

          So, with stronger weed or hash, one can talk of a two toke joint being sufficient.
          People self moderate, just as they do with tobacco, or can, at least. (one likes to test!)
          I remember a friend offering a joint, saying, “This is two-toke stuff”, disbelieving, taking a third, and having to acknowledge that he was right… two would have been fine, but OK!

          I’m reminded with your comment on Afgahanistan, but I think it was Pakistan in his case, of Howard Marks, Mr Nice.
          I read the book “Mr Nice” and saw the film.
          Not sure which first! Worth a look, in any case.

          Great British (well, Welsh) hash smuggler and all-round nice chap, interesting life story!

          Look up Howard Marks on youtube for some interviews, also see the film Mr Nice.
          There’s a lousy res version of the film on youtube, but see if you can find a better one.

          Meanwhile, it’s been decades since I smoked hash, and it’s only a few times a year I even see marijuana;- there seems to be a shortage on this island nation, from time to time.
          I now subside on a daily influx of tobacco, coffee, food, alcohol, in no particular order.
          But I wouldn’t say no if it was offered, generally, if in pleasant circumstances with friends!

          But I don’t really miss it. Memories are fine. Tobacco, I desire to continue with, daily.

          So life goes, so far! ;=})

          (Of course there are fruits, juices, vegetables, all sorts included in ‘food’!) (And tea… )

  5. Joe L. says:

    Apparently Donald Trump has congratulated Rodrigo Duterte, dictator president of the Philippines on his successful genocide war on drugs, which I assume includes his insane anti-smoking laws. I don’t think this bodes well for Trump being sympathetic to our cause.

    Trump sounds exactly how you’d expect in his chat with strongman Duterte

    (Ignore the CNN bias and just read the transcript of the phone call)

    • Frank Davis says:

      In addition to his murderous war on drugs (and smoking), it appears that Duterte has declared a state of martial law throughout much of the Philippines:

      MANILA — Casting himself as his nation’s savior, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he was prepared to extend martial law to all the Philippines if necessary. “I will not allow the country to go to the dogs,” he said.

      Since winning the presidency a year ago, the words “martial law” have rarely been far from Duterte’s lips. On Tuesday, as fighting broke out between the army and Islamist insurgents, he cut short a trip to Moscow and fulfilled his own prediction, declaring martial law across a vast swath of the southern Philippines. At least 21 people have been reported killed in the fighting.

      On Wednesday, as insurgents rampaged through the city of Marawi, reportedly taking a Catholic priest and worshipers hostage and torching buildings, Duterte told Filipinos the law would be as “harsh” as it was under Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator whose martial law-era abuses still loom large.

      • beobrigitte says:

        Is that the same Philippines which was struck in 2014 by Taifun Hagupit? I do recall that there is no social network in the sense of unemployment benefit, social benefit etc in this country.

        Shame on tobacco control!!! No food, no help, but a smoking ban!!

        MANILA — Casting himself as his nation’s savior, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he was prepared to extend martial law to all the Philippines if necessary. “I will not allow the country to go to the dogs,” he said.
        It has. Sadly. President Duterte has forgotten to ask tobacco control a very important question: ” HOW will a smoking ban cause the magical appearance of e.g retirement pensions for all, unemployment benefit for all”…. etc. etc. etc.

        Duterte waiting for the next taifun?

  6. On the subject of “cigarettes=bullets” it is a well known (although probably apocryphal) fact that the infamous ‘Belomorkanal’ Russian cigarettes are made to the size and diameter they are so that in war time the machines might be more easily re-purposed to make bullets.Apparently the same diameter as the 901 Vintofka rifle round & later the 7.62mm.
    Infact the relationship between cigarettes and cartridges goes back to the original cartridge paper used to roll those first cigarettes by the Zouaves in the Crimea.
    And on that note, that Meerschaum you show is listed as ‘Xmas Scrooge’ but looking at it I’m betting it was originally made as a ‘Zouave wearing a serouel ‘ -the zouave being a famous pipe motif and Scrooge looking rather too cheerful. It is all interconnected, what goes around….

    • castello2 says:

      Great information! E-cigs used to have a 901 cartridge also. Not sure if it was for the same reason.

  7. beobrigitte says:

    And maybe hookers are reviled because they’re cheap women who can be bought for a few dollars on a street corner.
    I do agree, hookers are treated with little respect. I never understood this, since these people are doing us all a service. Prostitution (registered!) is legal in Germany and growing up with a closed off red light district in almost every town, it was a challenge as a girl to walk through the gates. (Not recommended as this is the only place the ladies can hit back! My hair most certainly needed washing after taking up the challenge!!)
    Question is, can you buy hookers? I believe you buy their service and acting and when the allocated time is over, the lady moves on to the next customer. I used to think that hookers help to keep rapists off the street. But then, there are always people (yes, women as well!) who look for free sex, so rape never went away. Men are just far more reluctant to come forward; after all, they are supposed to be the “stronger” gender.

    And respectable married women are respected because they sell themselves dear with elaborate marriage contracts.
    That’s an angle I’ve never viewed it from. When I was 23 some well-meaning(?) relative asked me when I intend to get married. I replied that I didn’t since I wasn’t going to say “I serve my husband” out loud anywhere.
    And, I don’t need a piece of paper to certify my commitment to a relationship. I make a commitment to anything and I take it seriously.
    Isn’t it the married women who worry most about husbands using the hookers’ services? Regardless if their husbands look, smell and often repulsive behaviour, at least the hookers put up with that!
    Let’s be honest, WHO fancies a wrinkly, drooping, sweating oldster?

    One might say that the sexual revolution of the sixties was the result of a catastrophic collapse in the price of sex. And if there were no longer many hookers on the streets of London in the 1960s (I never saw any at all) as there had been in the 1940s or before, it was because they were being undercut by an army of hot mini-skirted chicks who would have sex for next to nothing.
    The sixties and sexual revolution. It was more about guys getting free sex than the girls finally being able to do what the guys have done for a long time. Somehow it didn’t work, though. A guy who sleeps around is regarded as a stud, a girl who takes the same freedom is still disrespected and called a slut.
    In the muslim tradition the females carry the responsibility of conserving the “family’s honour” and therefore MUST be dressed in a certain way, not speak or even look at men in a conversation and will be killed if they dare if they begin to meander from that tradition.
    Where is EQUALITY in that?

    Was the 1960s sexual revolution really a disaster? I don’t think so. I just don’t think it was successful.

    And if migrants from Morocco and Tunisia become rapists in Paris or Brussels or Berlin, it’s perhaps because they find themselves surrounded by cheap hookers, and they can’t be bothered to pay even the lowest of prices for them, and so steal them instead. For rapists, the price of sex is zero. And if they have complete contempt for the women they rape, it’s because they value them according to their price.
    It has happened and still does happen and will continue to happen. It’s their non-acceptance of western dress code as well as implying their own (in their view proper) laws. I can only guess that the air in these places or the water they drink there causes them to never engage self control.

    All of which will most likely serve to drive up the price of sex, and cause hemlines to fall, high heels to vanish, and parents to lock up their daughters – and prostitutes to re-appear on the streets.

    Which is probably exactly what the pinch-faced puritans in Lifestyle Control want to see happen, just like the pinch-faced puritans in Tobacco Control want to drive the price of tobacco through the stratosphere.
    The truth is, prostitution never disappeared and neither will tobacco. Tobacco Control has the biggest disadvantage; it does not know people.

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