Brushes with Culture

This is a space where I can reflect on the many fascinating things that I experience. Some of the things I brush with are Culture with a capital C. Others are just intriguing moments. Sometimes I am brushing with these moments in a hurry. This is a chance to relive those moments in tranquility. These are the stories I tell myself in those quieter moments.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Up in Smoke

I have come back from town reeking of cigarette smoke with an unusual satisfaction. As we went into the Market Porter tonight, I could be heard to say 'Well, this might be our last time in a smokey pub.' (I've a party to hold on Saturday night when I could be at the Morgan Arms' fag wake...)

I realise with some shock that I shall miss the stinging eyes and tired grey aroma once the ban is in place. Not much, but I shall feel the difference and remember the old days.

I find a well of nostalgia is already filling. The same nostalgia that I have for the smell of Wandsworth breweries in the smog which used to fill autumn afternoons when I was young. Or the large chimneys that bedecked the hills as we drove up the A1.

I was lacking something too when I found that Italy's restaurants had gone smoke-free. The food was better without it, but the Italians seemed diminished. It was with some relief that I discovered the French still gesticulating and flicking and remonstrating with the aid of their Gauloises and Camels.

For the most part, the absence of cigarette smoke inspires tremendous relief in me - not least, I won't go home and face that dreadful smell emanating from last night's clothes - but with the end of smoking, there is bound to be a loss of character. From the days of the bikesheds, to the smokers' corner at work, to the point where I ceased to be included in those networks because I'd quit the habit, cigarettes have always accompanied the best of the gossip.


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