I Heard It On The Grapevine

The word on the grapevine from New York City is that Peter Koo’s proposed regulation for No Smoking While Walking on NYC streets has attracted little or no interest from other councillors. It isn’t going to be enacted.

And the word on the grapevine from Ireland is that James Reilly’s proposed No Smoking While Eating outside Irish restaurants has probably also died the death.

And Bucko has got himself into the Lancashire Telegraph with his FOI discovery that Blackburn and Darwen council was targeting smokers (and pretty much only smokers) with its anti-litter campaign. More about it here and here. Other people are sending in their own FOI requests to the council. Maybe a few smokers in Blackburn and Darwen are beginning to wake up to the fact that their Labour-controlled council doesn’t like deplorables like them.

That sounds like three victories. But I’m not so sure. Tobacco Control is very powerful, and has a vice-like grip on all levels of government everywhere, and in most of the media as well, although obviously not the Lancashire Telegraph.

It seems to me that Tobacco Control has now shifted to getting piecemeal outdoor smoking bans on one pretext or other. And if they don’t succeed first time (like in Stony Stratford) they just move somewhere else, and try again. They never let up. Ever.

Indoor smoking bans may have broken society. But the bastards want to break it some more with outdoor smoking bans.

In other news, Emily and me met up with Klaus K in the Smoky Drinky Bar yesterday afternoon. Emily’s going to interview him. Klaus is a Danish rock star, and smoker, and is currently touring Denmark with his band Danser med Drenge. Nowhere else – because they sing in Danish, and nobody much else speaks Danish other than the Danes in Denmark.

We ended up talking for an hour and a half or more, and RdM in New Zealand joined in too a bit later (and also Twentyrothmans briefly).

Klaus thought that the English-speaking anglosphere was too self-absorbed. Americans and Brits didn’t pay much attention to anybody in Europe, or indeed anyone outside their own countries.

I think he ‘s right, but I think it’s changing. I remember when I first got interested in US politics, the Americans I came across seemed to be very inward-looking. The USA was the centre of their universe. Nothing seemed to exemplify this better than the World Series baseball league, most (all?) of whose games are played in the USA. So the World was the USA.

But recently on shows like Alex Jones’ Infowars, which sees Alex Jones comparing the fight against the globalists to the American Revolution in 1776, the appearance of foreign voices on the show (e.g. Brits like Paul Joseph Watson and Nigel Farage, or Italians like Leo Zagami) has begun to force a more international perspective. After all us Brits were on the enemy side back in 1776.

But I think that all countries are naturally inward-looking.  Us Britons in the UK are pretty inward-looking as well. You’d think that what with Shakespeare and Newton and co. we thought we’d more or less single-handedly invented civilisation. But we’ve been getting much more outward-looking in recent years.

Maybe it’s also that most individual people are naturally inward-looking. They’re mostly wrapped up in themselves, in earning a living, getting by, going shopping.

The other thing that Klaus said was that Danes and Germans had a very handy word – Genussmittel -, which usually gets translated to mean “luxury goods”, but actually meant something more like “things you like to buy”, such as tobacco, alcohol, sugar, chocolate, and so on. And there doesn’t seem to a positive word in English for such things. For as Emily pointed out, they’re usually just called “vices” on which “sin taxes” are levied. Klaus thinks I should invent a word for us to use. So I must appeal to readers to join in the search for a word. Funstuff? Fun food? Delights?

Klaus is also a journalist. And he publishes investigative pieces (usually in Danish) on his own blog. I’ve helped out translating some of his articles (for example here and here and here).

Klaus also said that he felt that there was insufficient recognition of the role being played by Public Health people in the medical profession, working in tandem with the Pharmaceutical industry, to prohibit tobacco so that people would have to use drugs manufactured by Big Pharma instead.

Anyway, here’s Danser med Drenge. Klaus is on the bass guitar.

About Frank Davis

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13 Responses to I Heard It On The Grapevine

  1. Claudia says:


  2. Rose says:

    So I must appeal to readers to join in the search for a word. Funstuff? Fun food? Delights?

    I usually refer to such things as “small pleasures”, because that’s what they are. Like clotted cream on scones and jam, here now, gone 5 minutes later, trivial and only the meanest of spirits would attempt to make a living putting a stop to their use, by blowing imaginary harms that they themselves have invented, out of all proportion to any transient effects.

    The body has a very swift way of dealing with over indulgence, you will begin to feel dreadful and then be sick.
    No lectures needed.

    And Bucko has got himself into the Lancashire Telegraph with his FOI discovery that Blackburn and Darwen council was targeting smokers (and pretty much only smokers) with its anti-litter campaign

    This strikes me as a wonderful opportunity for the civic minded with time on their hands.
    Now we all know that they follow you to the exclusion of all else, lighting up in front of one of them and taking them on a nice long walk along the highways and byways of Blackburn and Darwen, then putting the long extinguished cigarette end in a litter bin or small tin in your pocket, will be good for their health and keep them out of everyone else’s way.

    Of course, a much less amusing way of not getting fined is not to drop cigarette ends in the street in the first place.

  3. Emily says:

    I’ve just caught up on all of Bucko’s posts, so I’ll comment here- bravo, well done! Really excellent work. I honestly never thought much about litter fines and enforcement, and it’s something I’ll look into in Boston as well.

    Great to speak with everyone in SDB yesterday, a very interesting discussion, and I look forward to an interview with Klaus!

  4. roobeedoo2 says:

    Fancies? Because a little of what you fancy does you good.

  5. waltc says:

    Yes. Pleasures. (Cut the “small”.) Reframing it as a tax on (or ban on) pleasure has resonance with everyone since everyone has his own pleasure –whether it’s anything from sex to music to chocolate ice cream–and can project to imagining it taxed or banned.

  6. Joe L. says:

    Great to see Bucko’s investigative efforts are getting some attention from the local media. Nice work, John!

  7. I like the sound of ‘funstuffs.’

  8. Russtovich says:

    Mostly a lurker but I’ll give it a go.

    First off, vicariousies.

    Riffing a bit off of vices there with a play on vicarious. Could use some work.

    Or, how about velligoods.

    Using the first part of velleity, (fondness) with goods at the end. Plus it will enrage the PC folk as it sounds like very good with a Chinese accent. 😎


  9. Smoking Lamp says:

    Klaus is certainly right about the collision between pubic health, segments of themedical community and Pharma concerns. The Pharma cartels bankroll the FCTC and the antismoking movement. And they are certainly aware of how to manipulate political processes and the masses to extract maximum profit. After all the successors to the IG Farben cartel bankrolled the Nazi party and the mass persecution known as the Holocaust. Indeed four of the successors of IG Farben still dominate the Pharma sector. Theses are Agfa BASF, Bayer, and Sanofi (the successor after mergers of the original Hoechst firm). In addition Bayer is currently in the process of acquiring Monsanto. Now coincident ally Sir Richard Doll based his early work on German research and received funding from Monsanto and the Chemical Manufacturers Association. He subsequently discounted links between their chemical products (including vinyl chloride which is listed as a carcinogen by the WHO) and cancer.

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      Speaking of collusion between medics and Pharma, this article just appeared at the Los Angeles Times: “Did drug company payments to doctors help fuel the opioid epidemic?”

      The article summarizes recent research that found “that doctors who received free meals and other kinds of payments from pharmaceutical companies tended to prescribe more opioid painkillers to their patients over the course of a year. Meanwhile, doctors who didn’t get such freebies cut back on their opioid prescriptions.”


    • Frank Davis says:

      Klaus is certainly right about the collision between pubic health, segments of themedical community and Pharma concerns.

      Did you mean “collision”? Or did you mean “collusion”?

      Collision implies disagreement. Collusion implies agreement.

      I think you meant “collusion”.

      • Smoking Lamp says:

        I meant collusion (as used in the second entry as well). It was a typo–I certainly know the meaning of both but the i and u key are right next to each other and I hit the wrong one.

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