New Smoky Drinky Blog

For the past 10 years I’ve thought that smokers need to spend less time fighting the enemy, and more time talking to each other. One of my disappointments with Stony Stratford was that, while smokers came from all over Britain and beyond to protest against the proposed street smoking ban, and had a golden opportunity to talk to other angry smokers, most of them seemed to have jumped back in their cars and sped off again as soon as the protest was over.

In writing my blog, I’ve always seen myself as directing my attention more towards smokers than antimokers (whom I rigorously exclude). Some people describe my blog as a virtual pub where smokers can meet up and chat in the comments – which is something I encourage.

But recently I’ve been thinking that perhaps one of the best substitutes for the lost pubs is to use online social media – Skype, Facebook, etc – to have smokers meet up face to face on camera, and smoke and drink and talk almost exactly like they used to do in pubs and cafes. It’s certainly better than meeting up in person outside cold, windswept pubs with rain pouring down on them.

The other thing I started thinking, after watching smokers being interviewed by other smokers in the Smoking Section in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was that simply having videos of smokers talking to each other about their experiences  available on YouTube or Vimeo would allow smokers’ voices to begin to get a hearing, now that they are not only excluded from pubs and restaurants, but also from the mainstream media.

So the new Smoky Drinky WordPress blog that I’m launching today has a number of separate aims:

    1. To recreate online, as best as possible, using Skype or Facebook, the pub environment where people smoked and drank and talked, and in so doing subvert the process of “denormalising” smoking.
    2. To begin to create a new global online pub community where smokers can meet up on Skype or Facebook for online chats, discussions, or debates.
    3. To produce and publish on YouTube or Vimeo or wherever a number of videos of people ostentatiously drinking and smoking and talking, so that not only other smokers can see and hear them, but also non-smokers can see and hear them too.

A simple graphic might explain these stages, firstly of people talking to each other, and then forming a community, and finally getting their voices heard by outsiders:

smokydrinky2

Unlike traditional pubs, which are geographically located, the online pub I’m hoping to start to create will have no geographical location. It will allow people in different countries to talk to each other, face to face, beer and cigarette in hand, about whatever they like.

To this end, in concert with Emily Wieja in Boston, Massachusetts, I’ve put together a number of YouTube videos of people smoking and drinking and talking, usually in their own homes. I intend to keep on adding new videos featuring new people. I’m hoping that the Sketch WordPress theme I’m using in the new blog will allow an unlimited number of videos to be posted up, in tabular fashion. There won’t be very much written in the blog: it’ll almost entirely consist of links to videos. I’ll carry on with my current blog as usual.

At present the only way for anyone to be included in the new blog is either to contact me or Emily by email (or in the comments below), and arrange an online chat at some convenient time for both, or else to make their own videos and offer them for inclusion in the blog. But I’m hoping that as more people become interested, there will be more people available to chat online with.

At present, the online chats can only be done using Skype, Facebook, Google Hangouts. And only on Skype is it possible to record conversations on video with both people appearing side by side on screen.

Also at present it’s only on YouTube or Vimeo that it’s possible to store such videos and make them available.

The weakest element of the new blog is the “community” bit. What I’m hoping is that there’s some platform somewhere where smokers could meet up and maybe swap email addresses in order to facilitate Skype or Facebook conversations. To some extent my current blog (the one you’re reading right now) might serve as the basis of the community. After all, all the participants in the SmokyDrinky videos to date have been commenters on my blog.

People who want to join the new club will need webcam, microphone, and also earphones (to prevent feedback). Most (all?) notebook computers have built-in webcams and microphones. I’ve got a little notebook that does it all perfectly well. Skype membership is free for one-to-one conversations.

This all highly experimental, of course.

I’ve added a link to the new blog in the right margin.

I already have a number of people who are interested in doing Skype interviews/chats. But more or less any smoker or vaper is welcome to contact me to arrange to do one. Antismokers are not welcome, of course.

Advice, suggestions, comments all welcome.

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About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to New Smoky Drinky Blog

  1. TheBlockedDwarf says:

    *book marked* and best wishes on the grand opening.

  2. Great stuff! Will draught Guinness be served?

  3. nisakiman says:

    At present, the online chats can only be done using Skype, Facebook, Google Hangouts. And only on Skype is it possible to record conversations on video with both people appearing side by side on screen.

    This is true for chats, but it would perhaps be nice to include some video monologues, as in the couple of videos of Audrey Silk on the CCSR site, and also as you’ve already suggested to me, Frank, short clips of inside a Greek bar / taverna, where people are smoking, drinking and laughing. There are all sorts of possibilities for people to do stuff like that.. Things like that don’t require Skype etc, as they can just be recorded on a cam and uploaded to YouTube. Anyone can set up their own channel on YT, and then it’s just a case of forwarding the link to your page for inclusion.

    Great idea. I hope it takes off. It would be nice to find some sort of ‘always open’ chatroom where people could pop in to see if anyone’s about, and stop for a chat if someone is there. Is it possible to set up a ‘group’ within Skype? Only accessible to members of that ‘group’? I haven’t really checked what is and isn’t possible on Skype. I’ll have to have a look. The problem with an international situation is, of course, the time zones, but there’s nothing we can do about that. I’ll have to look back through last month’s comments where you gave me the name of the Skype recording software you use. I stupidly didn’t make a note of it at the time.

    Off topic, but interesting, I came across this today:

    Farage the NEGOTIATOR? DUP pushes for ex-Ukip leader to be given role to protect Brexit

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/815954/DUP-Nigel-Farage-Ukip-Conservative-Brexit-Theresa-May

    That could put the cat among the pigeons! :)

    • Frank Davis says:

      Skype recording software

      Evaer is the only Skype video recorder I know that does side-by-side. But you have to pay for the licence. I advise the full licence.

      I also am using Flashback Express (free) to record parts of screens. I recorded the chat with Gary K using this.

      And the VSDC free video editor I use to create captions, chop videos up.

      Emily has an apple Mac, so uses different applications.

      It would be nice to find some sort of ‘always open’ chatroom where people could pop in to see if anyone’s about, and stop for a chat if someone is there.

      That’s what I want too. Not sure how to do it. Sure it can be done though. Emily has suggested noticeboards.

    • Rose says:

      DUP pushes for ex-Ukip leader to be given role to protect Brexit

      Nisakiman, now that made my day!

  4. Rose says:

    Good luck with the new blog, Frank.

  5. Vlad says:

    Looks like smokers aren’t welcome even in outdoor area of pubs/cafes anymore… That asshole cafe owner interviewed would like a blanket ban, just like the indoor ban because he realizes he would lose customers otherwise. http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/15341610.Smoking_ban_outside_Brighton_and_Hove_restaurants_and_pubs_proposed/

    This settles it for me, I won’t go into any of these places anymore unless I personally know the owner to be an honorable person or business/work requires it that I meet people in a pub/cafe. Fuckin’ assholes! They don’t deserve a penny of our money.

    • Barry Homan says:

      Glad I live in Denmark, where small pubs allow smoking. Outdoor seating, no problem, everywhere.

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      We should boycott all pubs and restaurants that ban outdoor smoking. Beyond that we should expose the lies about second hand smoke at every opportunity.

    • Joe L. says:

      CAFES, restaurants and pubs with outside eating areas will be asked to consider introducing a voluntary smoking ban.

      By “asked to consider introducing a voluntary smoking ban,” I assume they mean “pressured into introducing a voluntary smoking ban.” This sounds like anything but “voluntary” to me.

  6. C.F. Apollyon says:

    Wait…am I reading that graphic of yours wrong…or is that the natural progression of vibration?
    As in, a natural propensity for new objects, even those made from existing objects, to find their own resonance?

    Meh…maybe I’m nuts.

  7. beobrigitte says:

    So the new Smoky Drinky WordPress blog that I’m launching today has a number of separate aims:

    A. To recreate online, as best as possible, using Skype or Facebook, the pub environment where people smoked and drank and talked, and in so doing subvert the process of “denormalising” smoking.
    B.To begin to create a new global online pub community where smokers can meet up on Skype or Facebook for online chats, discussions, or debates.
    C. To produce and publish on YouTube or Vimeo or wherever a number of videos of people ostentatiously drinking and smoking and talking, so that not only other smokers can see and hear them, but also non-smokers can see and hear them too.

    I am happy to be part of this global online pub community.

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