Everyone’s invited to the Smoky Drinky Bar tonight at 7 pm UK time. We’re having a party. I’ve even bought a couple of bottles of champagne.
We’re celebrating. We’re celebrating the demise of not just the UK smoking ban, but every single smoking ban in the world. All of them. Every single one.
And to this end, at very great expense, an army of contractors are hard at work refurbishing the Smoky Drinky Bar. My thanks go to RdM in New Zealand who has supervised the dismantling and shipping of the entire Thirsty Dog bar in Auckland, New Zealand as a replacement for Foxy’s Tamarind bar. I am now in process of directing an army of interior decorators to fill it with vintage cigarette ads. Here’s the current state of it. With luck it’ll be ready by 7 pm.
Today ought to be black day, but it’s not. It’s the 10th anniversary of the UK smoking ban, and lots of people have written angrily and bitterly about these last 10 miserable years.
But I’m not going to write anything like that. I’m going to celebrate.
I see that you’re puzzled. You ask: Have all the smoking bans been repealed?
So what has changed? Has anything changed at all? What’s there to celebrate?
Well, I’m celebrating the opening of the Smoky Drinky Bar. And I’m celebrating all the future online bars that are soon going to be opening, and filling up with people from all over the world, eating and drinking and smoking, and conversing in their own languages. The Smoky Drinky Bar is just an early prototype. A bit like the Wright brothers first airplane was the prototype of thousands of bigger and faster and higher-flying aircraft.
The world’s smokers may have been exiled to the outdoors, and dispersed. But soon they’ll all be meeting up again online, and drinking and smoking and talking just like they used to do, only now with people from all over the world. And the bars in which they meet will never close. And they’ll be full of cigarettes and cigarette ads and overflowing ashtrays. There’ll be No Antismoking warnings on the walls. And Deborah Arnott dartboards. And the secondhand smoke in the air will be so thick that you won’t be able to see the ceiling.
It’s going to be a disaster for Tobacco Control. It’s going to be an absolute catastrophe. They made such a big effort, for so long, to kill pub and bar culture everywhere in the world. And now they’re going to see all the smokers and drinkers simply walk out of their new “smoke-free” pubs, and walk straight into the riotous new smoke-filled online pubs and bars, and carry on exactly as before. And so while the killjoys are busy denormalising smoking in real bars, smokers will be renormalising it in online bars. Smoking is going to become more normal than ever before.
All their work will soon prove to have been wasted. Utterly wasted.
What are they going to do about it? Call for smoking bans in online bars? On what grounds? Health? Safety? Are they going to claim that 137th hand virtual smoke clogs the arteries of the internet?
Real bars will start to close even more quickly than they were already doing, as people desert them for the new thriving, buzzing online bars. Bar owners will complain that real bars are losing out to online bars, because people can’t smoke in the real ones, and can smoke in the online ones. Well, they let the bastards in Tobacco Control do that to them, and they deserve everything they get. They’ll start calling more and more loudly for the repeal of smoking bans.
It hasn’t happened yet. But it will. And very soon.
And that’s why I’m celebrating. And that’s why you’re invited to the Smoky Drinky Bar to join in the celebrations tonight. And may the Smoky Drinky Bar never, ever, ever close.