Public Health activists were outraged, and stunned Londoners watched in horror as an intrepid smoker climbed the Heron Tower:
Robert, 56, who is known for scaling skyscrapers across the world, said before his climb: “I fully feel alive when my life is at stake. It may sound a bit scary and crazy but this is the way it is.”
“I know it sounds crazy, but I simply enjoy smoking, damn the risks,” he added.
“There has been 44 years in which I have been climbing. This is what I know as a way of living and expressing myself and living my dreams, my passion and living my life as fully as I can.
“Definitely it it dangerous. I have a certain knowledge. I have a solid background.”
“I’ve been smoking all my life, after all.”
Speaking on behalf of Public Elf, chief elf Dame Wendy Killjoy said, “I’m deeply dismayed that a tobacco addict managed to find somewhere to smoke at the top of the Heron Tower. I thought we had barbed wire and No Smoking signs on top of every building in London. What he did was very, very dangerous. And a terrible example to children.”
Professional busybody Sir Anthony Childish, standing beside her, chimed in to express concern at all the people craning their necks to watch the intrepid smoker. “People can hurt their necks gazing upwards like that for more than several seconds. It’s more or less the same as looking straight at the sun. They sometimes spend the rest of their lives with their necks stuck rigid that way. We now teach children not to do this for more than 2 seconds when looking up at their parents, and optimally not at all.”
Orthopedic surgeon Sir Arnold Legchopper, standing beside him, agreed. “There were several dozen admissions at London hospitals with people suffering from cricked necks after this unfortunate episode. And also several people who had fallen over backwards.”
None of this is easy for his family and there are many members of the public worldwide who condemn him.
He said: “It is never easy for family having a dad who is doing that kind of stuff but they are used to it. They never asked me to change my lifestyle.
“I do wish Daddy could find somewhere else to smoke than the tops of skyscrapers,” said son Louis-Napoleon, aged 4. “But as soon as he sees the No Smoking signs he’ll start climbing anything in sight.”
Asked if what Mr Robert was doing was actually a little barmy and just plain dangerous rather than a daring adventure, his manager Bryan said: “I just have to accept that. I can not argue against it, can I?”
“But some adventurous people just won’t stop smoking, will they?” he added, puffing on his pipe.
“Alain is an adventurer. He wants to climb buildings. He is incredible. He is good at it and has been doing it for many years.”