Playing Captain MainWaring

I’m trying to foment a revolt. A global revolt. A global revolt against smoking bans. And so a global revolt against Tobacco Control.

The way I see it, there are 1,500 million smokers scattered all over the world. They make up about a quarter of the population of the world. But they’re largely powerless. And they’re powerless because they are disunited. If they can be brought together – or even if a few of them can be brought together – they’ll begin to form an army. And they’d begin to get their voices heard.

The most important thing, in my view, is not so much to fight the enemy, but to bring smokers together, get them talking to each other. First with this blog, and now also with the Smoky Drinky Blog and the Smoky Drinky Bar, I’ve been trying to do this in a variety of different ways. This blog is a written blog. The new Smoky Drinky blog is a collection of videos of smokers talking to each other. The even newer Smoky Drinky Bar is a bunch of smokers actually talking to each other. The underlying purpose of all of them is the same: to bring smokers together.

Everyone who visits it seems to like the Smoky Drinky Bar. It is very like a real pub. It’s just one in which people can smoke and drink and talk, which you can’t do in real pubs and bars. It’s only been going about a week, but it’s already attracted a small clientele of regulars. If it becomes a success, and becomes jam packed all day every day, people will start opening new ones.

It was pretty quiet last night in the UK 7 pm shift in the Smoky Drinky Bar. But a couple of new customers dropped in. They were very interesting customers because one was a non-smoker who hated the UK smoking ban. “What are they going to ban next?”, he asked. And the other was an ex-smoker who hated the UK smoking ban for the exact same reason. Maybe they only hated the smoking ban because both had partners who were smokers. But maybe they would have hated the smoking ban even if they hadn’t had partners who smoked?

It presented me with a dilemma. I think of the Smoky Drinky Bar as a place for excluded smokers to meet up. Why should I let non-smokers or ex-smokers or vapers into it? But ultimately I’m trying to build an army of opponents of smoking bans rather than of friends of tobacco. And since ex-smokers and non-smokers outnumber smokers 3 to 1 or more, I can build a much larger army if I admit ex-smokers and non-smokers. The only people that I must exclude are antismokers. And I’ve yet to encounter any of those. And I’m not sure that there are all that many of them anyway.

I decided to offer membership of the bar to both the ex-smoker and the non-smoker. What mattered most was that both of them hated the smoking ban. It didn’t really matter that they didn’t smoke. And both of them accepted my offer. And if there are a lot of smoking-ban-haters among the ranks of ex-smokers and non-smokers, the Smoky Drinky army is going to be huuuuge.

What that army will do is something that only needs to be thought about when we actually do have an army. And at the moment we don’t. And I see myself as simply being someone who is trying to enlist people into the army. Because I think that if you are to build an army, the first thing you must do is bring people together into one. Only when you have an army can you begin to think what you might do with it – or rather what it might do with itself. So I see myself as a recruiting officer in a bowler hat, sitting behind a  table in a recruiting office with posters on the wall (like the one at right).

In fact this morning I wasn’t seeing myself as either a Lenin fomenting revolution in Tsarist Russia, or as a Kitchener calling for recruits in WW1, but instead as a Captain Mainwaring trying to build a Dad’s Army. After all, most of the people coming into the Smoky Drinky Bar are pretty old. I am myself 69 years old. And some visitors are even older. Very likely it will be a sort of Dad’s Army which I will assemble, with one or two young Private Pikes in it. But I do not at present think that the army needs fit young men who can fire rifles and hurl hand grenades: the army needs hardened keyboard warriors. It needs armchair soldiers who can fight online wars from the comfort of their living rooms. Their war could be a quite hilarious war to fight.

And I was also thinking that I have a much better philosophy than Lenin ever had. Lenin had Marxism, but I have Idle Theory. And Idle Theory is a far more coherent idea than Marxism ever was. And the goal of Idle Theory is a world full of idle people, sitting and drinking and talking and smoking. My image of The Idle Man is a man lounging back on a seat, smoking:

Idle Theory is an almost perfect match with what most smokers and drinkers want: they want to be able to sit and talk and smoke and drink. That’s their idea of fun. It’s my idea of fun too.

It’s not a perfect match because Idle Theory is as cold and mathematical a way of thinking as the Newtonian mechanics in my orbital simulation models. In fact I see Idle Theory as (a proposal for) the extension of physics into economics and ethics.

I think it’s almost as important to have a coherent ideology or belief system as it is to have an army. For if one assembles an army, that army ought to have something it is fighting for, as well as fighting against. We know who we are fighting against: the satanic forces of Tobacco Control. Idle Theory offers an idea of what we are fighting for: an idle, playful world. I’ve been surprised in recent days at the numbers of my readers who are attracted to Idle Theory.

Anyway, here’s a short snatch of Dad’s Army, featuring Captain Mainwaring and Private Pike:

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11 Responses to Playing Captain MainWaring

  1. RdM says:

    Great Dad’s Army clip! ;- “Don’t tell, him, Pike”

    But your poster, I’m sure I’ve seen some more apposite ones, nevertheless apparently doesn’t represent you yourself as
    I see myself as a recruiting officer in a bowler hat, sitting behind a table in a recruiting office with posters on the wall (like the one at right).

    but rather, apparently, is one that might be on the wall, in this case from

    A 1914 recruitment poster shows a Scottish soldier in Belgium, in response to Germany describing the Treaty of London, which protected Belgium’s independence and neutrality, as a “scrap of paper” when they invaded in August 1914

    There’s a few others at

    It’d be kind of cool to see “a recruitment officer under a special hat behind a desk in a recruiting office” cartoon, though… ;=})

    • RdM says:

      ” It’d be kind of cool to see “a recruitment officer under a special hat behind a desk in a recruiting office” cartoon, though… ;=}) ”

      Like Codefellas (description from deathandtaxesmag 2013)

      “Episode one of Wired’s “CodeFellas” (below) features the voice of John Hodgman as Special Agent Topple, the alcoholic and quick-witted superior in an “off the books” nook-n-cranny of the government, who is set to mentor newbie hacker Nicole Winters (voiced by Emily Heller) in what’s sure to be shenanigans galore”


      (start at the bottom of the page and work up, it’s in newest first order)

      Or search around via

  2. RdM says:

    Oops, un-closed italics quote!
    Correct & delete?

    • RdM says:

      Thanks, Frank!
      [It’d be even nicer if that (&now this!} message had self-destructed as well, a la Mission Impossible, but even as it stands, it shows a very responsive editor; so thanks again!]

  3. C.F. Apollyon says:

    The more you match the stereotype(s) and methods, aren’t you perpetuating the same? Or at least, the avenues to the same and/or more of the same?

    1.5 billion smokers = 1 group.
    But now you have to subdivide, which results in even more division.

    Some of these 1.5 billion will be trying to quit, some have just started, some will be occasional/recreational, some have probably died since the last census cycle…and may or may not have died from smoking related causes, some will be conservative, some will be liberal, some will be metrosexuals, some will be black, some will be muslim, some will be tobacco statisticians on either side of the fence and/or both sides of the fence, foul-mouthed non-smoking Okies who curse in front of women, and on and on. But where groups and grouping like this scares me personally the most? Locking in. Oaths, secret handshakes, signed petitions, signed agreements, membership dues, mandatory meetings, t-shirts and bumper-stickers….it forgoes the concepts of guilt, regret and remorse completely…which negates forgiveness and healing. Decisions and decision making become null and void outside of the group and groups within the groups. And so…we ride the hedges….right back where you started…majority/majorities and minority/minorities.

    Sorry, but any entity that identifies, specifies and seeks to reduce a natural propensity within an individual? Yeah…dangerous. We don’t have those things that we don’t need. That’s why I personally fear those groups that seek to reduce the element of fear. Ironic eh? I wonder if there is anything to that? Hmmmmmm….

    Being…it is what it is, when it is, where it is.

    You poll 7.5 billion people by sending out mailers to 7.5 billion people.
    7.5 billion of your questionnaires are returned…100%
    Does that mean that your original numbers were correct?
    We had 7.5 billion names, send out 7.5 billion mailers, got 7.5 billion back…cool…we musta done something right.
    Wait…something’s not right.
    There must be a margin of error there somewhere!!!
    But which side(s)?
    Are you gonna be fair there when applying the margin on “your” side of the numbers? Or are you gonna apply yet another separate margin to your side of the numbers for safety’s sake? Because now you have to add a second margin to the flip side so that the numbers jibe for those snoopy snooty auditing fucks that wander in later to check and verify your numbers.
    We’re right back to margins and hedging.
    Q: Do you care about you?
    A: Yes/No (choose only one)
    Q: Do you care about me?
    A: Yes/No (choose only one)

    Florida vote…year 2000. Man…talk about some schizophrenic types of thinking about the importance of those few “in the margins”…because suddenly…the majority, on both sides, were the margins.

    So…if you are forming an army, what’s your victory cry?
    Smoke em’ if you got em?
    Meh…it’ll give your soldiers something to do while they prepare for the next wave.

    I enjoy the conversation.
    Even the captain of a sea-going ship requires a pilot at port.
    (prolly needs navigator(s) en-route as well…nevermind the ship itself, the water, fuel, blah blah blah)

    ^BSOD – This Is Also The Hook (Deadmau5 Mix) | High Quality^

    • RdM says:

      Just thoughts…

      The more you match the stereotype(s) and methods, aren’t you perpetuating the same? Or at least, the avenues to the same and/or more of the same?

      Well, Frank’s a venerable British dude, and of an era where Dad’s Army was a popular TV series (we had it here too) and so “army” is a familiar idea… almost a code word for a
      resistance perhaps, maybe not to be taken literally. Army metaphor?

      He’s previously written of a “swarm” as well, of angry (at their treatment) smokers.

      I don’t know how long you’ve been reading, but Frank’s been writing for years…
      Typing Army into the search box will show some older posts using the word..

      I look back to this discussion (and post) in 2012, just over 5 years ago:
      Frank’ writes (in part) in

      What I want to do is enable people, not organise them. I want them to organise themselves, because I think that’s how real organisation happens. I want to bring people together. It’s what I mean when I write about the “swarm”.

      and it’s worth going back up to the previous, John Gray’s comment about resistance.
      (and of course to read the rest from the top in good time).

      And he mentioned the “swarm” further up, in

      Thing is, an ‘army’ implies a command structure. A hierarchy of generals and majors and sergeants.

      But the ‘swarm’ is self-organising. It doesn’t have a hierarchical command structure. It
      builds from the bottom up rather than top down..

      (In response to Roobedoo’s comment just above)
      Hi Frank, I don’t like the ‘army’ idea but I do like your previous ‘swarm’ description.
      It’s more apt and, to be honest, more terrifying.


      “All may not be as it seems”

      But your question
      So…if you are forming an army, what’s your victory cry?
      is possibly a reasonable or interesting one (if an “army” were being formed).

      Sociologically, even.
      Is there even a need for a victory cry?
      Well, maybe… but

      Most of us I think would just be greatly relieved (and recovering from the extended
      “post-traumatic shock” of living under such conditions for years) to go back to or take up
      anew, some joy in being able to live private and public lives without the yoke of TC and all
      its minions both gullible and crafty, free from the exorbitant taxes, the social opprobrium,
      the hideous bloated organisation of TC and its tendrils through Government and Councils and Health Departments all vanished, vapourised, vanished.

      Free to live freely.

      Yada yada. If it were able to happen, could be made to happen…

      Getting to know other smokers is just the first step, fertilising the soil…

      Organisation later? From John Gray’s comment, one should respect the need for it.

      But I’d far rather be in an organised resistance, or even a loose one, than any army.

      Just thoughts off the top of my head!


      • RdM says:

        Oh, fucked up the first original quote italic close again, 2nd & 3rd lines!
        (Could you please fix it, Frank! Thanks! ;-)

        • C.F. Apollyon says:

          Thanks for the thoughts. Sounds like we are all in the same boat. Now all we need is something to talk about, then for people to actually talk about it whatever it is that needs to be talked about.

          A place to hang out and talk when and if we choose to do so would be nice. May sound like a radical idea, but maybe someone could think of something to fit that bill. Prolly need to first inquire about getting the proper approvals and permits, and see what all is involved, who is involved, and is it worth the time and effort….things like that.

          Levity aside…no…I’ve not read Frank for very long. Honestly, I don’t care if Frank has been writing since before the time Christ or even before dinosaurs…I can’t know what I don’t know. Especially under the guise and guises of spending the next 5-10 years of my life, reading 30-40 years of someone else’s work. Sharing the ride together, when and where we can, is much more invigorating to me personally. It’s asking quite a lot to suggest that we can creep into eachothers’ heads by following some chronological growth path that may in fact not even be there. Not to mention, what I personally perceive to be the nature of relationships…and that is simply that they are what they are.

          I have no real interest in any sort of individual movement or cause. I’m more interested in movement and causes. If I read something on topical on, I seek out similar or same writings on Usually, they are damn near identical save for personal needs and bias.

          I guess I simply don’t like being told that I either do not require representation, or do not meet certain standards that provide for representation…all while seeking representation from those specifically designated by law to represent me. But maybe that’s why I feel kinda at home here…isn’t that smoker’s big gripe? Or at least, one of them? No representation from representatives because of political affiliations and/or personal like and dislikes? The irony is not lost on me…but yeah…it kinda is.

          Anyway…thanks for taking the time. :-)

  4. Frank Davis says:

    Click to access ROAD_TO_RUIN.pdf

    Road to Ruin. Highly cited by the Last Furlong

  5. Clicky says:

  6. Pingback: Missive From ‘Merica: Never Lego – Library of Libraries

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