I’m becoming a stamp collector.
When I was about 10 years old I had a small stamp collection. I think I had about 5 stamps. But I soon got bored with it, and I stopped collecting stamps.
My brother was more persistent, and collected lots of stamps. And he inherited my grandfather’s stamp collection. Then he sold the whole lot. I don’t know whether he got bored with them, or because stamp prices were rising, and he decided to cash in. [My brother has corrected me: he still collects stamps, and he didn’t inherit my grandfather’s stamp collection, although it did get sold]
My new stamp collection is made up of the graphic warnings on tobacco packs. I’m always on the look-out for new ones. I’ve taken to cutting them out of the packets. I really need to stick them in a stamp book. I think Brigitte sent me a book to stick them in.
Anyway, here’s part of my current collection:
Soon I’ll have them in a book a bit like my old stamp collections, and I’ll be able to show them to my grandchildren (or, more likely, somebody else’s grandchildren) and say “This is what used to get put on cigarette packets 100 years ago).
As I was looking at them all, I was thinking how strange it was that that Tobacco Control seems to believe that if smokers are told long enough and loudly enough how dangerous smoking is, they’ll eventually stop smoking.
But then it occurred to me that isn’t this the way the mainstream media works? They broadcast a message for everyone to absorb, and everyone believes it. It’s just that their messages are about the EU, or Donald Trump, or Russia, or something.
Repeat something enough, and people will believe it.
But these days fewer and fewer people pay any attention to the mainstream media, just like smokers pay no attention to the warnings on cigarette packets. Instead they get their news and information via the internet. The mainstream media are slowly dying. But they still seem to think that they can control what people think, even though increasingly they can’t.
I used my webcam in the Smoky Drinky Bar to get the above image, and I’d hardly been in there a minute or two before RdM in New Zealand came in too, along with his friend Haydn in the south island of New Zealand.
I explained what I was doing, and Haydn said it was a great idea to have a book of tobacco warnings just like a book of stamps. But he went further, and suggested having clothes made of tobacco warnings, maybe as a printed fabric covered with them.
I thought that was a really great idea. And I’ve run up a quick one on Paint, using the image I’d just created:
I think it’s rather good. Rather tasteful even. (I particularly like the column of buttons down the front, each one a cancerous tongue) And I think that Tobacco Control would approve of T-shirts like this, because they’d broadcast their antismoking messages to a lot more people. Maybe I could get a loan or grant from ASH to design a few, and have them manufactured somewhere.
And Haydn said it would be really cool to wear something like that, while walking down a street, smoking.
RdM said you could also make Hawaiian island skirts made of ribbons or petals of actual tobacco warnings, rather than prints.
And because Haydn was a musician, and was talking about using the Smoky Drinky Bar to jam with his musician friends scattered around New Zealand, I suggested trying out all singing along together, or drumming together, to see whether we could all stay in sync (something I’ve been meaning to try out for a long time). And we did seem to just about manage it, me in England, them in NZ. Although I’d guess that you’d need to have an appear.in room which has a central server like the Smoky Drinky Bar rather than peer-to-peer connections.
Oddly enough, the Smoky Drink Bar, at present, shows the Thirsty Dog saloon in Auckland, New Zealand. And Haydn said he had video of him playing there.
He also wanted to see my re-decorated interior, and here it is:
Looking at it again, for the first time in about a year, I think it might be an idea to populate it with a few smokers, sat on the bar stools. There could be Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe. All smoking, of course. It could be filled with all sorts of people, a bit like the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album.
Maybe we could have a competition where people download the original (by clicking on the image above to get the 1367 x 770 pixel image), and use Paint or some other graphics editor to add in more figures/artwork/events? And the winner gets to be used in the real Smoky Drinky Bar.