Tomorrow, or rather later today since it's already Friday, there is a smoky-drinky. It's occurred to me that it's been some time since I hosted one of these events, but what the hell. The local smoky-drinky has sort of settled into one guy's house. I wonder if that's how pubs started?
He hasn't started brewing his own beer yet but there have been noises made about that possibility. Naturally he can't charge for it because that would constitute a 'business' and that would mean we can't smoke in there but we'd all chip in for the equipment and the kits and all help out with the brewing. I've done it from raw ingredients in the past and it's better than any kit - although by 'raw' I mean I did buy pre-malted barley and dried hops. Not quite first principles.
At the moment smoky-drinky is mainly a whisky event but as Prohibition spreads out from York, that might change things. Assuming it manages to break the natural barrier in Glasgow, that is.
The leisure industry and CAMRA will not stop the Puritans because they are still addicted to smoker-hating and have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the idea that anything but the smoking ban is causing the pubs to close. In the comments at the Curmudgeonly Bar, the blame for closing pubs is actually laid at the feet of the smokers. Pubs are closing because we smokers stopped going to places that didn't want our custom. Because we didn't want to freeze to death in an exposed 'shelter' you'd be jailed for keeping a pig in. It's currently -6C outside. Is it so surprising that I'm not planning on visiting the pub?
It's not some kind of 'smoker attack on pubs'. I haven't been inside a cinema or a restaurant since the ban came in and soon stopped using cafes too. It's not relaxing to be made unwelcome, so why on Earth would I pay extra for it? I drink my tea and coffee at home too, and bought an espresso machine a few years back as a direct result of the smoking ban. It's a Gaggia Cubika and it's excellent.
No, smokers did not 'crawl into the gutter and whisper disquiet'. We made alternative arrangements. Some now buy all their tobacco abroad, some from Man with a Van, some of us are even trying our hands at growing the stuff. We set up our own smoky-drinkies which cannot be clubs because that would invoke the smoking ban. They cannot be open to the general public because that would invoke the ban. No business can be conducted there because that would invoke the ban. We meet up, smoke, drink and talk just as we used to in the pub, and nobody is forced to go outside. So no, we don't need sympathy, we don't need pity, we don't care what the antismokers think and we don't need the pubs.
If the ban was repealed we are not likely to rush back to the pubs (if there are any left by then), but it's probable we would trickle back. We do, after all, quite like pubs. We didn't 'desert' them, we were thrown out.
However, if the day comes that we have a Government with a spine, and the insane eugenics-driven agenda is at last cast aside, all those smoky-drinkies will be ready to open for business. Probably as ale-houses first of all, offering home-brewed beers for pennies a pint. Which is where the pubs started.
It has been suggested that we all stop smoking so we can go to pubs again but a smoke and a drink go together for us. You might as well suggest we wear ear muffs in the cinema or only eat half of whatever we are served in a restaurant. A drink without a smoke is half the experience and yet you want us to pay extra for it?
It has been suggested that smokers should fight the ban by determinedly lighting up in pubs, but that would get us jail time and get the pub fined into bankruptcy. How does that help support the pubs? Besides, it would most likely be a CAMRA member who reported us and who caused the closure of that pub. We have no allies. Fat people sneer at us, people who like salt on their chips sneer at us, people who like sugar in their tea sneer at us, none of them can look past their smoker-hate to see the same thing coming their way even when it's already arrived. They'll just have to deal with denormalisation on their own. We have, and we're doing okay, thanks. You want help when the eugenics juggernaut hits you? No. We are non-persons and you antismokers did that to us. Find your own ways to cope.
Even the tobacco companies are no use at all. They are only now waking up to what 'plain packaging' actually means, when they could have been supporting their customers from the beginning. Screw the tobacco companies. They don't care about their customers. They only react when their profits are threatened. Tobacco grows in Scotland even in these inexpert hands so it'll grow almost anywhere.
I'm still planning to 'lose' some seeds this year but that won't work too early because of frost. I'm considering 'dropping' a few established plants into holes that 'just appeared' in waste ground to give them a better start. Further south, where the frost window closes earlier, wild tobacco is a real possibility. Here there is a saying 'Ne'er cast a clout till May is out' - which roughly translated means that anything planted outside before the end of May is likely to freeze to death.
Wild tobacco in Scotland is not likely to do that well. Since I have enough seed to plant half of Scotland I'm going to try anyway. If I visit Wales this year I'll be suggesting we take a drive over those empty, wild mountains.
So no, anonymous commenter, we did not 'crawl into the gutter and whisper disquiet'. We have been active, we just haven't bothered to tell anyone what we've been up to.
Why would we, when nobody listens to us anyway?