A New Minority

Later on today, I’ll be welcoming two guests. Emily and Brigitte are arriving this afternoon. Brigitte’s going to stay one night. Emily three nights.

What’s remarkable about it is that I’ve never met either of them in the flesh. I’ve only ever talked to them in the Smoky Drinky Bar.

The other remarkable thing is that we’re an unlikely bunch of friends. We shouldn’t know each other at all. Emily lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Brigitte lives in Liverpool, England. And I live in Herefordshire, England. The only thing we share in common is that we’re all smokers. And we all hate smoking bans.

We belong to a new minority: the excluded smokers. And I think that whenever minorities like this emerge, they tend to unite with each other, much like any other minority. They all have much the same shared experience of exclusion and discrimination.

This year has been the first time I’ve met up with other smokers, for no other reason than because they were smokers. A couple of months back Bucko and TwentyRothmans and me met up with Nisakiman. And a few weeks later I met up with Rose. And now Emily and Brigitte are arriving. They’ve already met up in Boston. I was hoping that Dmitry also might show up sometime this year, all the way from Russia. But this seems unlikely now.

And they bring each other gifts. When we met up with Nisakiman we brought him champagne and cigars. Earlier this year Emily sent me a netti pot. And I sent her a book.

Small beginnings. But I think this is something that will happen more and more. And it will happen quite naturally.

In the past, smokers never used to have any particular reason to talk to each other. But they do now. They have quite a lot to say to each other. Smokers are becoming a community in ways that they never used to be.

And there are lots of them. I’d guess that there are about 1.5 billion smokers in the world, and maybe many more than that.

And I think that over the next few years, more and more of these millions of smokers will be meeting up with each other. They’ll be a new international community. It’ll be very interesting to watch it happen.

I think they’re going to become highly influential.

I’ve been watching Emily’s flight on flightradar.


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18 Responses to A New Minority

  1. Carol42 says:

    Sure you will have a great time, I travelled to Canada to stay with an e friend I had never met and it was really wonderful. I was recently in Dublin and when I went out for a smoke I got into conversation with an Australian and two American guys, smokers are naturally gregarious! they are just as disgusted as we are, especially the Australian guy who doesn’t know what’s happened to his country. Must say though, Dublin airport has a nice smoking terrace which was packed.

    • Timothy Goodacre says:

      Zurich Airporr has fabulous facilities for smokers and Sobranie Black Russian in Duty free ! Only 1hr 40 mins flying time from Heathrow too !

      • Carol42 says:

        Still hope you will be able to get me some Sobranie one day! My son managed to get me 3 packs for my birthday believe it or not in a not very salubrious area of Glasgow. They clearly came from Zurich duty free, I wouldn’t have thought there was much demand there but they were expensive.

  2. Rose says:

    I hope Brigitte and Emily have a wonderful visit and the sun keeps shining for you all, it’s lovely to see friends. You might have to explain why England is not quite so green as it usual is to Emily though, it’s definitely looking like another 1976

    • Carol42 says:

      I won’t forget 1976, the year I got married, can’t say the heat did a lot for our honeymoon though!

    • Roobeedoo2 says:

      Archaeologists love it because of what can be seen from the air…


      • Rose says:

        I liked this one.

        Stonehenge: ghostly outlines of missing stones appear
        31 Aug 2014

        “It is a mystery which has intrigued archaeologists for centuries: did the huge Neolithic stones which make up Stonehenge form a complete circle?
        Now the puzzle has been answered after the dry summer revealed the faint outline of the missing megaliths.
        Usually the ground is watered by stewards, to keep the earth moist and the grass healthy.

        But this year, the hose they used was too short to reach the whole site. By chance, the incomplete section of the inner stone circle was left to dry out.”

        “English Heritage said the find was ‘really significant’ and said if they had bought a longer hosepipe, the marks may never have been spotted.”

  3. Joe L. says:

    I hope you all have a great time together! I wish I could be there, too.

  4. Philip Neal says:

    A warm welcome to Emily. Hoping she sees a lovely part of the country at its best.

  5. beobrigitte says:

    I can only recommend this new practice of meeting up!! Had a wonderful time today with Emily and Frank. Sorry, Frank, I am a quite loud personality, Emily met met in May in Boston and was forewarned :)
    Rose, by accident Emily and I stopped at the service station you and Frank met. Small world…
    Next weekend it’s closer to home but looking forward to meeting The Moose.

    • Rose says:

      Small world indeed, Brigitte, I hope you were pleasantly surprised. For a motorway service station, I like it a lot.

      • beobrigitte says:

        It sure is nice, although, sadly, the grass roof is suffering a little from sun and dry weather.
        But then, I take it, TeBay (my usual stop on my way to Scotland) isn’t looking it’s usual green self right now, either.

        • Rose says:

          I thought I recognised that name.

          “Our story here in Gloucester has its roots 200 miles north of this place in the rolling uplands of Cumbria. In 1972, Cumbrian farmers John and Barbara Dunning set up Tebay Services in partnership with local bakers when the new M6 cut through the Lune Gorge.”

        • beobrigitte says:

          I didn’t know that!! I just like to stop there as it’s a lovely service station and I can get lemonade without artificial sweetener tbere.

        • Rose says:

          I had never heard of it before until I started looking for pictures for Frank and read the history..

  6. Joe L. says:

    OT: According to this interview the Antismokers haven’t gotten to John Mellencamp. Excerpt:

    He’s been smoking, by the way, most of his life — since he was 10.

    As he looked for another cigarette, Pauley noted, “You have a voice to protect. Don’t you? Or is it just getting better and better?”

    “Are you kidding me? Have you ever heard my voice, honey? It’s fantastic! Are you kidding me? I sound like a black guy singing now.”


    “I mean, that’s what I wanted. I wanted to sound like, you know, Louis Armstrong. But I didn’t. I sounded like a white guy. And now I got it. These are my babies, c’mon!”

    He says he doesn’t worry so much about cigarettes and his health. He’s got a strange theory: “Rightfully or wrongfully, I believe that it’s the combination of cigarettes and alcohol that get people — the two of them combined.”

    And he hasn’t had a drink, he says, since college.

  7. Pingback: MRS REGN: FlexiT Brexit – Library of Libraries

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