Monday, 30 April 2012

Don't forget the menthol...

It’s such a very long time since I last placed a thin white stick gently between my lips, held a flame to its end until it glowed with an almost throbbing intensity,  and then inhaled, feeling that hot tingly sensation at the back of my throat and a momentary light-headed rush.  I’m glad I stopped smoking – over twenty years ago now – and I have absolutely zero desire to ever start up again.  But I can’t pretend I didn’t enjoy it when I did. 

Smoking sporadically through my late teenage years, during college, and on and off for some time after was just part of normal life.  You could smoke just about anywhere for a start, certainly in all the places I frequented: gig venues, pubs and clubs, shops, train carriages.  It was as if everybody indulged in it – although I realise they didn’t.  I find it interesting to watch those old TV interviews, when both host and guest would happily puff away in between the probing questions and their responses, smoke visibly curling up into the air between them as if to illustrate their words.

Anyway, whatever you think about smoking, I really just wanted an excuse to post a single on here today which deserves to be listened to again because I think it’s great.  Its lyrics could only have come from a very different time (in this case, 1978).  It’s hard to imagine a song that is purely about the ‘evil weed’ ever being written again, well, certainly not in quite such a charming way as this one.  Enjoy.  With or without a cigarette.

Prag VEC - Cigarettes


  1. No use tellin' stories...I love to smoke.

    It may kill me...but, I don't know of any death that can't eventually be attributed to birth.

    My favorite memories of graduate school are standing outside class smoking with Mirdu Rai. She kept a pack of Marlboro Reds somewhere in the folds of her sari...she'd say "I know it's bad for me...but it taste sooooo good."

    It's bad I reckon but some of the best times I've had with my Daddy have been sittin' on the porch, drinking coffee and smoking...away from the people that didn't.

    Who knows.

  2. First, thanks for reminding me there was once a group called PragVEC. Forgotten all about them. Like very many people, I used to smoke. I had my first fag (can we still call them that?) when I was about 11 (Consulate Menthol) and enjoyed the 'delights' of Marlboro's, Gitanes and Camel (yes, mostly when I was a bloody student, obviously). Went onto roll my own on and off for a few years through my 20's but just became bored by the absurdity of it all. Basically, most of my smoking was just a pose although it was quite nice at times. Now, all these years later I just cannot fathom what anyone sees in it (without all the obvious health implications). I recall a time, back in the 60's, say, when nearly everyone seems to smoke, even my mum and dad. The again, my gran stuffed snuff up her nose and walked around with a permanent brown stain brown stain above her lip. It went well with the brown ale. Good times.

    1. Ha. My Grandma and my Great Granny both dipped snuff. I used to buy it for 'em...I couldn't even see above the counter. I have NO memories of my Great Granny without a Planters Peanut can in her lap (spitoon of course haha).

  3. I only ever dabbled in snuff a couple of times, but my love of menthol fags knew no bounds. In the New Romantic days an elegant packet of St Mortiz was the ultimate accessory (or Sobraine Cocktail if you wanted to try and co-ordinate your fag with your outfit.). I moved on to Consulate, and then Marlboro Menthol before the penny dropped that if I kept on smoking I'd end up with skin like a Komodo Dragon, and I stopped.

    I will start again on my 60th birthday, I think.

  4. I stopped smoking sometimes in the early 80s ... when they went to I think £1 a pack! The other day I looked at the display in the shop at the end of the road largely because they are soon to be gone from view - it was on the TV about it and realised I hardly knew any of the brands... where are Rothmans, Dunhill, Craven A etc.

    For many many years I still have dreams in which I smoked but they have finished as well now ...

  5. Thanks, all!
    Smokers...(that's you, e.f.)... ex-smokers... looks like there's plenty of us about - I know very few people in my general age group who haven't indulged at one time or other. It was a lot about looks too, as you suggest SB (I still hold that some people (men more than women) can look cool in that nouvelle vague kinda way drawing on a long cigarette. Very French.)
    I'm not too tempted by the idea of snuff...(I mean - spitoons? Brown stains above your lip?) But I did like those pastel-coloured cocktail cigarettes you mention, Kolley, (to go with your yellow and pink eyeshadow?) and also those Black Russian ones - purely based on looks, of course. Menthol seemed like a 'healthy' option (so 'fresh'!) and saved money (no need to consume copious packets of Polo mints afterwards to disguise the smell of tobacco, or so I thought...)
    I knew it was all getting too much when after a night in with friends, all of whom had brought along full packets of Dunhills, Superkings, etc. (you're right about the names, Furtheron) we ended up scrabbling through the ashtrays after midnight in a most savage and manic fashion, trying to retrieve any dog-ends (complete with lipstick stained filters) that could be revived, just for one or two more desperate puffs.

  6. When I quit smoking, I promised that I wouldn't become one of those holier than thou, finger wagging, anti-smoking bores and though I haven't quite descended to that level, I do find myself flapping my hands exaggeratedly around my face if anyone comes within ten yards of me with a ciggy on the go!

    1. Indeed, I've no desire to be a self-righteous ex-smoker either, I have a few close friends who smoke and it doesn't bother me at all. But I have one relative who chain-smokes inside her tiny stuffy flat (being wheelchair-bound and gardenless means she can't just nip outside) and unfortunately I find visiting a bit difficult. I want to wear disposable clothes when I go there, then come home for a nice bath in some bleach :-( It's not her fault, just bad circumstances!


Please come in, the door is open

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...