Stamp Collecting

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 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:

It’s got the Deborah Arnott dartboard on the middle far right, and the No Antismoking sign a bit further in. And it’s got an ashtray full of butts on the table at front.

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.

About Frank Davis

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26 Responses to Stamp Collecting

  1. Dirk says:

    Wonderful idea! I’ll take pictures of Indonesian cigarettes packs. There are funny warnings on them such as a guy blowing out a thundercloud of smoke while holding a smiling baby (clearly photo-shopped because of the enormous cloud coming out of a single cigarette)

  2. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    Inspiring and inspired! Those clever Aotearoans, an idea which simultaneously parades the pointless ugliness anti smoker zealots have dictated, an insult to society, while allowing the smoking wearer to be passive-aggressive. 🚬🚬🚬

  3. buckothemoose says:

    I wish I’d collected some non-plain packs before it came in. I always planned to buy some and keep them in their original wrappers, but for some reason, never got round to it. Now I’m sad

    The SDB could do with a cat…

  4. RdM says:

    Yes it was great to coincidentally get an alert that ‘Frank Davis entered’ the smokydrinkybar, as I was catching up with a long lost acquaintance and friend, first by mobile, then in my own room for 30-40mins, introducing him to, mentioning Frank’s blog, even showing by shared screen a brief log in of my own in another tab, the smokydrinkybar…

    Imagine the surprise then – it’s rare to see a UK person late evening here at drinking time! – so I quickly copy-pasted the link for Hayden to swap rooms, and we we able to chat with Frank!

    I’d already mentioned the blog, shared kinks in my room, and so forth.

    Not quite right here though:

    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

    No, I’d spent time showing him for the first time the possibilities, that he could create his own room, even buy Pro, explained the peer to peer vs central server, in my own room, long before we met up in SBD, – so that he could meet with international musicians, who he sometimes does mastering for, as opposed to other platforms… so maybe will get a new client.

    The thought had come – from – him – could one demonstrate a new variant of a riff in real time?

    And that’s where, mentioned again, in SDB, your idea of singing along or clapping, came in.
    It was just about possible, after a brief re-login, with very little delay.
    Not quite a choir, but quite a few seconds of fun, and some spontaneous percussion, hand claps!

    Nevertheless you invited ‘us’ to use it “after hours” as it were, and indeed there are hours when most of the Northern Hemisphere population is asleep, & we’re awake. So be it as may.

    Yes, collections of labels, pack labels, RYO inners extracted from the plastic and unfolded, a great idea! Hayden described slowly creating wallpaper from RYO inners flattened out like that.

    We mentioned another friend who has long collected yellow Zig-Zag paper cases for artwork.

    Social Realism, on its head…

    I mentioned the possibility of actually sewing the quite tough Manitou inner RYO flexible thick paper labels, into segments – hey, maybe even organic paper?

    And there was that previous cynical reactionary thought to the rotating warnings…

    “Kids! Collect the Whole Set!”

    So even as adults, cutting out just the warnings and assembling on a page…
    But prints, fabric, clothing;- endless possibilities!

    I’m really impressed by your quick dress – whip-up via paint, a great collage!

    That’s worth carrying forward, expanding upon, developing!

    All such ideas!

    Worn flamboyantly, should, might show TC that their propaganda is laughed at…

    As any fule will no.


    Of course, Tobacco Control should be taken to the Advertising Standards Authority, on the grounds that every single one of the graphic image warning claims is demonstrably false.

    With a well-prepared case and reams of backing evidence.
    Along with multi-pronged other campaigns of showing evidence of corruption collusion et al.

    The Emperor Has No Clothes

    The boy who spoke out may not have has his name recorded, but it’s time this nonsense was spoken out against and swept away in a giant, just, global transformation…

    Meanwhile, after yet another midnight delicious dinner, I learn (heard a relayed interview on the BBC) that the Rolling Stones are embarking on yet another tour, this time through the UK, for the first time since 2006, and some of Europe – and indeed have just arrived in Ireland.

    The tour is perhaps somewhat appositely called NoFilter.
    And appears to be pretty well sold out already!

    But you never know…

    • Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

      Love your work from nearby UnZud, RdM…always interesting and informative. Using anti smoker propaganda in that “fashion” is most innovative. It may show non (not actively ANTI) smokers how totalitarian and intrusive the entire prohibitionist hard coercive racket really is. Pity the legislators, ‘public health’ parasites, purveyors of useless taxpayer subsidised smoking “cures”, and petty intolerant tinpot dictators everywhere have been so empowered by having ALL their tax and ban demands met, and have a vested interest in more “control”. Keep fighting the NZ health cultists! We may yet meet virtually in the SDB when I get organised, given the 2hr time difference. I will visit Aotearoa again in Oct.

  5. RdM says:

    Indeed, perhaps every establishment should have a “make-over” perhaps every 12 months, at least a “spring clean”, and the anniversary of the SBD is coming soon…

    The Thirsty Dog has changed owners since I lived nearby some 4 years ago, and I never met the new owners, but was quite friendly with the previous one, despite talking with him sometimes about the live band noise levels after midnight!

    Yes, they had a small stage and PA equipment off to the left of the bar, but had an eclectic mix of live music acts, also an acoustic folk night and quiz night, and very smoker friendly, within the confines of the law – tables out front and an area out the back.

    The reviews off Frank’s link don’t seem so positive for the food now, and prices high.
    In a sense it was a bit naff, the blackboards at the back of the bar, but the personality of the previous owner carried it. I even went to a Wake there, a celebration of the deceased.

    The staff were vivacious too, fun. At least one Irish!

    I see that’s FAQ for Pro on customising your room as before advises minimum 1400 pixels wide for best results.

    Frank’s existing 1367 is close… I’d sent him I think a 4:3 version of my original, then one cropped to 16:9 for widescreen monitors, after playing around with lens adjustments (pincushion vs barrel distortion) and horizon correction to level, in software…

    I remember in the early days of talk about backgrounds I went looking for a few online, found some that I liked, used a couple for my two (free) rooms – now cut down to one, and – as of tonight, Emily! – I’ve lost my background in that too;- it took them some time to get around to it,

    Still, I had the spontaneous idea of revisiting my old neighbourhood, on 15 June 2017, after the new owner, to find an empty bar with a disinterested barkeeper behind a screen, so for old times sake I asked him if he’d mind if I took a photo, no, so I backed up enough to take in the bar, and did.

    Frank then decorated it… I’ve said before that I’d thought it would be nice if he replaced the bartenders face with even a cartoon version of himself – but never mind, it’s obscured…

    So perhaps it’s all a bit tired, and could do with a re-vamp, a “make-over”, or a complete change?

    It was difficult finding online images that would suit, although in the end I was happy with a couple for myself later – gone now, I might share them in another comment – so at that time, as time was running out, I thought that that live shot, as square-on as I could do it, hand held, might do – and to my small, quiet pleasure, Frank took it on.

    Here’s the original widescreen cropped leveled adjusted version of that photo:

    Perhaps it is time for a change, a complete change?

    I no longer feel any great affection for that bar after some years apart and a new owner…

    Here’s how the outside looked in it’s even then decrepit (architecturally) heyday ;- })

    I witnessed once a completely empty bar inside in summer with about 17 people outside, including the barman, smoking and drinking, with doors and windows wide open.

    Well, maybe the barman wasn’t drinking!

    “It’s all over now”

    • RdM says:

      And another outside shot

      Plenty of fond interior pics, St Patrick’s Day celebrations, etc.
      Fond memories.

      But perhaps it’s time to let all that go.

      Widen the search, the competition, to not not only new inventive decorations, but also a completely new background to base it on?

      Maybe that needs to be in two halves – a background, and possible decorations?

      It’s hardly like the Eurovision song contest warped, but maybe new ideas?

      A church of liberation and freedom?

      Up in the air …

      Reclaiming spaces …

  6. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    Like the shirt. Another idea might be to have subtly altered depictions of the packs extolling the virtues of smoking.

    Smoking (second hand) is allowed in churches – incense. Why not establish a new religion, the centre-piece of which is the smoking of tobacco?

    Or better yet, just start to smoke in pubs and see what happens.

    National Treasure Stephen Fry mention on QI that blue tits started pecking open foil capped milk bottles more or less at the same time across the whole country – far too fast for the practice to have been copied by adjacent groups and passed on that way – he had a name for it (he usually does) – might be morphic resonance. Or it might not..

    I suspect the smoking ban will end the same way – massive simultaneous lighting up indoors and – most importantly – with the landlords and proprietors blessing, re-establishing their private user rights over their own property, followed by the rounding up and prosecution of the ‘public health’ racketeers, with our Debs at the head of the queue.

    Up the revolution!


  7. Vlad says:

    I like collecting classic cigarette/cigar/pipe tobacco ads….a good source can be found here:
    I find it a bit masochistic to collect medical porn and anti-smoking propaganda….

    • Frank Davis says:

      It’s not as if I like them. It’s more that I think they should be studied in the same way that bullets and bombs being thrown at you need to be studied if they are to be countered.

  8. Dmitry Kosyrev says:

    Hi, everybody. You look at these people – it’s an accepted fact that there has never been a whiff of smoke in the room for 20 years, and still they found smoke particles in there! And they don’t even find that unusual.

    Harmful cigarette smoke residue may be lurking in rooms where no one has ever lit up, researchers report.
    In a new study, scientists from Drexel University in Philadelphia found that in an empty, nonsmoking classroom, nearly 30 percent of the tiny particles in the air were linked with cigarette smoke — what is called “third-hand” smoke.
    “We didn’t expect to see a nonsmoking environment having such a signature of tobacco smoke,” said lead researcher Peter DeCarlo, an associate professor of environmental engineering.
    The dangers of second-hand smoke are well documented. But whether exposure to third-hand smoke carries the same health harms for people isn’t known, DeCarlo noted.
    However, animal studies have found that exposure to third-hand smoke can have negative effects on health, he said.
    In nonsmoking areas, particles from smoking enter through ventilation systems and on clothing, and these particles cling to walls and furniture. They are difficult to remove and can emit harmful chemicals for years, DeCarlo explained.
    “People should know that nonsmoking environments aren’t necessarily free of smoking residue or exposure to tobacco smoke,” he warned.
    “What makes this study so remarkable is that Drexel University has been smoke-free for over 20 years, and the overall air quality during their experiments was very high,” Schick added.
    This paper adds proof that even very small amounts of cigarette smoke have large effects on indoor air quality, she said.
    The report was published online May 9 in the journal Science Advances.
    © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    • The lesson I’m getting from this is that smoking bans are utterly pointless. After all if there’s no such thing as a safe level of exposure, then thirdhand smoke must be just as dangerous as secondhand smoke, and secondhand smoke must be just as dangerous as actually smoking. So being inside a place that’s had no smoking in it for 20 years is just as dangerous as actually smoking! Or to put it another way, smoking is just as safe as being indoors.

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      The third hand smoke (THS) gambit is demonstrably false. it follows the tactical template followed to impose smoking bans based on the second hand smoke ruse. Consider for example:

      Hank Campbell, “Third Hand Cigarette Smoking – Legitimate Worry Or Shark Jumping By Zealots? Science 2.0, 12/28/2008. Campbell lays out the fraud of third hand smoke pointing out that the concept wasn’t the result of health outcome studies but rather a perception survey. As Campbell concluded; “The actual data on second hand smoke is suspect but it’s common sense that breathing any form of pollution is not a good idea for your kids. But this third hand smoke stuff, the idea that left over particulates from a cigarette will cause your child to not be able to read, is the kind of societal witch hunt science needs to make sure we all avoid.”

      The ‘study’ that started the THS gambit was Jonathan P. Winickoff, Joan Friebely, Susanne E. Tanski, Cheryl Sherrod, Georg E. Matt, Melbourne F. Hovell, Robert C. McMillen. “Beliefs About the Health Effects of “Thirdhand” Smoke and Home Smoking Bans,” Pediatrics, January 2009, ;123;e74-e79. Their conclusions (based on a telephonic survey) were as follows: “This study demonstrates that beliefs about the health effects of thirdhand smoke are independently associated with home smoking bans. Emphasizing that thirdhand smoke harms the health of children may be an important element in encouraging home smoking bans.” The study was funded by tobacco control entities and reflects a desire to impose home smoking bans. No health effects were studied, but that didn’t stop it from being used as propaganda to advocate smoking bans.

    • Joe L. says:

      I also posted a link to a different article on this absurd “study” in a comment a few days back.

      • Smoking Lamp says:

        The sad thing is these outright lies and fabrications actually trigger hate and political persecution of smokers rather than the derision they deserve.

    • smokingscot says:

      Well that’s going to get shot of a whole bunch of snowflakey things at places like the Churchill War Rooms, the Anne Frank house, the Houses of Parliament, the London Tube and every hospital, hotel, university and so on that’s more than 12 years old.

  9. I’m amazed at how extreme those warnings are! There’s nothing like that in the US. Well not yet, anyway. I’ve always kind of felt warnings like that and antismoking ads in general are meant more for people who don’t smoke. People who do smoke are rightly pretty skeptical. Most of them have done their research. But if you don’t smoke and you see something like that and see it often enough, and you’re particularly prone to propaganda, you might start feeling like you’re superior. And when you feel superior you become a walking talking antismoking ad yourself, spreading propaganda to others for free.

  10. waltc says:

    Also designed to get credulous nonsmoking family members to nag smokers, to ban them from tneir own homes, and forbid them access to their neices/nephews/grandchildren, and convince the piblic they’re a menace–all as a way to force-quit them.

  11. Joe L. says:

    I like the idea of plastering the medical/pathology porn warnings on everything: clothing, handbags, posters, etc. The whole campaign was meant to make smoking unfashionable. But if smokers turned the graphic pictures themselves into fashion statements, it would render the disgusting “warnings” void of any “message,” making them meaningless.

    Also, would you rather have your chiiiildren walk past someone simply smoking a cigarette, or have them stare at a collage of the grotesque images designed by their champions in Tobacco Control?

  12. Rose says:

    Now that the government have taken over responsibility for tobacco package design entirely, in the case of tobacco pouches, what measures do they intend to take on their continuing use of single-use plastic?

  13. The shirt is a great idea. I have an account on redbubble, where I have some of my artwork available, people can buy it on pretty much any medium – shirts, prints, even duvet covers… you should set up an account and upload that!

    Turning the unfashionable into fashion is a great twist!

    • Frank Davis says:

      You’re saying I could get that T-shirt made? How much does it cost? Who makes it?

      Once you’ve finished your latest masterpiece, simply upload it to your RB profile, choose your products and set your pricing. Products can be found by the millions of people who visit RB each month, or you can direct your customers to your very own shop.

      When people purchase your products, we handle payment for you. No need for fancy card readers or your very own cash register, although that could be fun.

      You could make the products yourself, but the machines are huge and would probably fill your lounge room. Best to keep your lounge room clear for, you know, lounging.

      We wouldn’t want you licking too many stamps or getting paper cuts so we arrange all of this for you, from collecting shipping info to making sure your products get to your customers safely.

      In the unlikely event that something goes awry, we have a world class Customer Service team at the ready to handle any issues you or your customers might have.

      • Yep, that’s it right there! I’ve sold a few things, (including a T-shirt) to random people. I bought a duvet cover with one of my art pieces on it for myself – as the artist, you will get a discount on pricing. But you can get journals, phone cases, all sorts of bling with your art printed on it. :)

      • beobrigitte says:

        Splendid idea! The chest pockets could be


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