Monday, 22 September 2014


No more smokes for him^ Were you to blame^ - N...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It must have been wittering about Gin Pahits yesterday that put old times in mind or something, but I found myself in the car on the way home last night reminiscing about how I used to smoke.

It seems odd to think about it now, but I did. And so did Sarah, and her mum. And her older sister. And her husband. We all did it. And none of us do now.

Staying in Tipperary, I'd get up at 6am and nip downstairs for a quick smoke with Mrs W, a cup of tea and some brown bread and jam. In the kitchen. Smoking. Can you imagine?

We used to smoke in the car. I had a natty MR2 T-Bar (lovely, lovely car) and I remember filling the ashtray. The lord alone knows what that motor smelled like. We must have been oblivious.

I used to smoke for England. I qualified for the olympic team. I'd chug a fag in between puffs of shisha. I was on 60 a day. I went for a medical and the GP who did the summing up was in a state of quiet fury. 'You have no right to enjoy the health you do.'

Now it all just seems strange. I can't imagine why we all did it. I look at people smoking now and just think it's odd.

I always said I wouldn't become one of those annoying rabidly anti-smoking ex-smokers, but it kills me now. If I'm in a smoky room - despite still liking the smell of fresh smoke (stale smoke's icky) - the next day my throat's knackered.

I gave up in 2001 after I realised I was increasingly culpable of manipulating social situations so I could smoke and didn't like myself for that. I wrote Space partly to give me something to do with my hands (they did a blog interview with me for the last Emirates LitFest when I said 'I wrote Space so I could find something publicly acceptable to do with my right hand' and the PR types primly edited it out. Le sigh) and had to edit out all the indoor smoking - there was a lot of it, too - when smoking bans came in.

I had a short but nasty fling with cigars and then realised it was a case of clean up or toes up.

It's been over ten years now and I have not the faintest desire to stick chopped up leaves in my mouth and set fire to them. Which is lucky, because when I was going through the initial cold turkey it was all I could think about. What an odd chap I must have been.

Talking of which, I'm doing another series of writing, editing and publishing workshops at DIFC next month and a literary lunch thingy at Trade Centre in November. More news as I find out more myself...

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