Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Smoking Ban

With today's arrival of the complete smoking ban in England's enclosed public spaces, I've been trying to think of ways around the ban for all of our unfortunate nicotine addicts who would rather stay indoors than venture out into the squally showers we've been experiencing recently (as an aside, I'm delighted to report the return of the oft-missed word "squally" to our national BBC weather forecast earlier today. I feared it was lost forever).

The best and most viable method for smoking inside pubs/clubs/libraries I've come up with is an adaptation of an idea by comic genius Chris Morris on Brass Eye. If you've seen it you'll know what I mean; the bit in the 'Drugs' episode where he fools Claire Rayner into believing people are taking drugs through dogs in Japan. Our smokers could simply substitute the cannabis for a straightforward cigarette and leave their dog to smoke it outside the door of the pub (or wherever) while they inhale at the other end of the device while propping up the bar. That way they get their fix but also retain the air cleanliness indoors. Admittedly, there will be a certain surreality in having to climb over hordes of smoking dogs just to get inside Wetherspoons for a pint, but it's a goer nonetheless.

If you haven't seen Brass Eye, this is the clip I'm on about:


I don't smoke, that much is clear, but I'm not particularly fussed about banning it in pubs either. In some ways I think it almost adds to the atmosphere, so long as it isn't too overbearing. Pints of ale, soggy beer matts, metal bars to rest a foot on while ordering, fruit machines, dark mahogany bar stools, smoke in your face... they all go hand in hand. But not no more they don't. I'm probably less bothered by it than most because I was used to people smoking around me as a kid. Which is less acceptable these days of course, but it didn't really harm me. Apart from not being allowed to take up the trumpet to add to my pianist and violinist repertoire as a child. It was no consolation to be told they had my interests at heart. I suppose nobody wants a miniature Roy Castle on their hands.

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