Saturday, 12 December 2009

What happens when you ban things.

At the Smoky Drinky place last night, we put away rather more than the government's made-up guidelines for consumption. Let's just say there were two bottles of whisky per three people, and none was left. I managed to find my way home around 3 am, was overcome with the munchies, dealt with that by means of a couple of these heated up with butter on them, and then slept until 2 pm. I am fully recovered now, and I put that down to all the whisky being of good quality. None of that own-brand toilet cleaner rubbish at the Smoky Drinky place, oh no.

Imagine how much we'd have spent in the pub if we were allowed in there. We're all smokers so we have been banned. Not by the pub. By non-smokers who have never visited these pubs and who still don't. So we've set up our own socialising method. It can't be licenced premises because if we do that, it immediately becomes subject to the smoking ban. We cannot allow people to come in uninvited because then it becomes 'open to the public' and again, here comes the ban. We can't even call it a club. It's the Smoky Drinky place and that's it. No staff. No sign outside. No membership.

A public house, once upon a time, was just a house. Someone brewed their own beer, let anyone into a room or two and sold it. That didn't require a licence at first. The licencing was originally applied only to spirits. Anyone could open a beer-house, any time, no licence required unless you were selling gin or whisky.

That seems to be happening again. This time it's not beer or whisky or anything that's being sold. No money can change hands within a Smoky Drinky place because that would make it business premises and as we all know, smoking is not allowed on any business premises. The principle, however, is the same - people gather to socialise, drink and smoke within a private premises. It's a smoker's speakeasy.

It was bound to happen, and it's bound to continue. When booze is priced into the rich-only bracket, the Smoky Drinky place will invest in homebrew facilities. We'll buy a little bit each. Illegal stills will pop up and I, for one, will have no idea where, nor will I remember where that old copper tubing went that I used to have in the shed. Soon, the little old lady next door will be cooking up those butteries for us, once the health nazis have managed to take them from the baker's shelves.

Many of the Smoky Drinkies buy their tobacco from non-tobacconist sources. The health warnings can't scare us if we can't understand them and the prices are much better than the legit stuff. This sort of thing has become far more common since the smoking ban and the socialist ban-brigade will howl about the lost revenue. Tough. You banners are demanding that people pay you to persecute them so it's no surprise smokers no longer care about the legitimacy or otherwise of their source. It's not the money as such. It's the use it's put to. All that tobacco revenue goes into schemes to tell the people paying the revenue that they are scum. Why the hell would you pay someone to treat you with utter contempt? We don't all aspire to be gimps, you know.

Pubs need customers. The customers don't need the pubs. It's a convenient place to socialise, it's a place to have a couple of beers someone else has gone to the trouble of brewing, a good place to try out one glass of a new whisky before committing to the expense of buying a bottle. Someone goes to the trouble of seting up a place where all are welcome to relax, so we use that. Smokers are no longer welcome - again, not the decison of the landliord, but of the Righteous who demand he runs his business their way. Therefore Smoky Drinky places are appearing that do the same job as pubs used to. Cheaper - a bottle of good malt costs less than a night out. Friendlier - nobody is demanding the places are run a particular way, indeed they are not 'run' at all. Above all, nobody is forced to go outside in the cold.

Beer is easy to make. As the pubs die, new informal ones appear in which no cash changes hands, no licences are required and there is, at first, no public access. Technically there is no public access to a pub at the moment anyway. It's private property. If the landlord doesn't want you in there for whatever reason, he's not legally obliged to let you in. So it's not that different anyway, other than the smoking part. Yes, it's easier if someone else makes the beer for you, better if someone else takes the risk of a bad batch and simpler if someone else stores it. However, it's not hard to do it yourself and as drink controls tighten, more will do so.

Whisky is not so easy. Aside from the fact it's illegal to make your own, the risk of introducing dodgy contaminants is much greater than with beer, and tyhose contaminants are concentrated by distilling. Then there's getting hold of the oak casks and waiting at least eight years until you can drink the stuff. It'll take longer, but as long as those controls keep tightening, the illegal stills are inevitable.

As it stands, the Smoky Drinky place has no dedicated fixtures and fittings. No bar. No optics. No pumps. The entire group can move to another Smoky Drinky place at the drop of a hat. It cannot be formally banned because it doesn't formally exist. Last night it was in one house, another night it might be elsewhere. Even when the beer-brewing starts, that won't hold it down. The equipment can be in one house for one batch, another house for another and made-up batches will be small and mobile. Next summer, we are considering designating one of the local stone circles as a Smoky Drinky place but that will require tents. Nobody is going to agree to drive home afterwards.

There will be attempts to put a stop to this. Not for any real reason at all, but because we are smoking indoors. Even though we are in a place no non-smoker is going to visit and indeed is unlikely to be allowed to visit, the fact that we are smoking in comfort is enough to set Righteous eyes a-swivel. There is no reason to stop the Smoky Drinky places other than pure spite. As has become evident, pure spite is what drives the entire anti-everything brigade so they are bound to try. They will fail.

It's what happens when you ban things. People do the banned thing anyway. Ban smoking in public places and private businesses and we'll find somewhere you can't control us. Ban smoking in private homes and we'll buy big sheds. Ban smoking in those and we'll chip in to buy an old minibus or a camper van, SORN it and leave it in the garden. There is always a way.

The smoking ban is killing pubs. I can't do anything about that. Non-smokers who claimed they'd go to the pub if we smokers were ejected were, it turns out, lying. I can do nothing to save the pubs because when I visit I have to stand out in the cold to smoke, and the last couple of nights have been extremely cold. Electrofag is handy in that respect but some pubs are so scared by the ban they won't allow even that. If I have to go outside anyway, I might as well smoke a real one. The Righteous are moving to ban Electrofag too, even though it produces no smoke at all.

So I'd be surprised if these informal smoking clubs don't start popping up everywhere. Perhaps they already have. Naturally they don't advertise their existence. They don't need new members because they aren't run for profit and the last thing they need is the anti-smokers tracking them down, although even if they do, the Smoky Drinky place will just move.

The Righteous can't win this one. Ban tobacco from sale if you like. There wasn't much around last night that was bought in this country anyway. If we have to get it under-the-counter in shops and be made to feel like we're buying something dirty and dodgy, why not simply buy the dodgy stuff in the first place? It's cheaper, it doesn't include a donation to people who want to beat us up, and the seller doesn't look at you as if you have a dildo sticking out of your ear.

Ban beer and we'll make our own. There are recipes that need no hops. Bread yeast can be used as a starting point if beer yeast is banned and successive brewings will yield a fair to middling beer yeast in no time. No, Righteous, you can't win that one either.

Destroy the pubs and we'll gather in our homes. You can't stop it, Righteous, and you can't sit at a nearby table and listen in because you're not invited. You have no idea what we're talking about now, no idea how many of us are gathering and no sense of the mood of the gathering. Although if there were such a thing as an intelligent Righteous, they could guess.

Finally, for all those socialist utopians who are waiting for the likes of me to die, to be replaced with the drones they've created and nurtured through school, take a look at this. Schools ban snacks, kids buy snacks, take them to school and sell them at a profit. Even when one is thrown out for selling this evil contraband, the trade continues and always will.

It's what always happens when you ban things.


View from the Solent said...

re 'take a look at this'.
Perhaps there is hope. The brainwashing from the cradle doesn't take on everyone.

Leg-iron said...

Yes indeed. There'll always be a few devious ones who'll find a way around the rules.

Such thinking can be contagious.

Corrugated Soundbite said...

I'd prefer the own-brand stuff if it meant I could have a mid-interval smoke. Although at present, I'm suffering a weird leaning towards Jack Daniels.

Very refreshing to see a non-defeatist (not sure if that's the term I'm looking for, although in this day and age it probably is) article on such things. I can see why people feel so downtrodden by the Righteous, but we can take refuge in the fact there are some areas in which they simply can't get us all at once. Our areas. And back to basics. It's why I can't be arsed with Facebook.

TheFatBigot said...

I suggest the premises be known as "smoke-easies".

Anonymous said...

I find it highly amusing that many of these smoke-easies will be in people's houses that have children. Instead of just mum and/or dad smoking in the house, they will now have a whole heap of people smoking around them.

They will of course use that as an excuse to ban smoking in homes. All homes, not just those with kids. They will ban it in every home just to stop any confusion amongst the proles.

Dick Puddlecote said...

mister_choos, plans for the private home smoking ban are already underway. With lottery backing too.

LI: I've got a smoky-drinky place which sounds very similar to yours. I shall be availing myself of it extensively this Christmas. Including a gathering of all regulars on the 25th. :-)

Gendeau said...

Private meetings of small groups of specially selected, independant minded people - I smell potential TERRORISTS.

Certainly the type of people that shoud be monitored, more than normal, I mean.

Or, just

Execute them all to ensure the docility of the CHEEELDREN

Frank Davis said...

I wish I had a smoky-drinky place. But I don't.

And what's a 'gimp'? G-something In My Parlour?

Of for fucks sake, here we go again said...

Action on Smoking and Health Claims that "Secondhand" Electronic Cigarette Vapor Causes Heart Attacks in Bystanders
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is claiming that the vapor exhaled by electronic cigarette users causes heart attacks in nonsmokers because of the nicotine exposure it creates among these bystanders.

Do these people not know when to stop lying (and exagerating to this degree IS lying as far as I am concerned)?

Is there a medical term for the lying equivalent of tourette's? Politicianitis, perhaps or quangitis?

The biggest issue that pisses me off with society today is the fucking LYING that goes on. The dishonesty of fighting your cause for the CHEELDREN etc. AGW might be terrible - any lie is okay, hide the data.

I am NOT a fan of smoking, but it appears to me that these devices address the smell aspect of smoking. Or ar least reduce it to the level of side effect encountered by me drinking beer - gaswise. So, it looks like a compromise that maybe makes most people relaxed. No - I wouldn't change the existing ban, either way. But from LI describes, this isn't the same thing to be around - fair enough.

Is that the problem? It's a viable compromise - therefore it challenges the quangocracy?

Second-hand e-smoking? fuck it I'll take risk. (I also cross the road un-aided and go in cars and airyplanes).


Corrugated Soundbite said...

Gendeau 13:05

One also suspects the Big Pharmaceuticals are sh*tting one or two bricks.

The Righteous are simply idiotic enough to claim a salary today in exchange for destroying tomorrow (or so they think). Righteous are only ever working for "The Man". You're deemed a fascist if you point out whose aims they are furthering though.

Gendeau said...

Pretty easy to smuggle the juice, I'd have thought - a lot less bulky than cigarettes.

I'd suspect that taxing the juice at the equivalent rate to cigs would make the bottles eye wateringly expensive.

That, and the lack of people being used to being ripped off for the bottles, might cause a lot more people go to 'alternative sources'.

I'm not sure whether the righteous are right in their estimation of the general intelligence of the public. They must really think that we're morons, given the blatant shite they're spinning over AGW at the moment.

Having said that, not many people seem to be aware of the CRUdgate leakage. The MSM are acting appallingly badly at the moment.

Praise be for Wattsupwiththat and Bishop Hill...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there is already a law they can use to ban and disperse meetings they don't approve of.

Dick Puddlecote said...

"No - I wouldn't change the existing ban, either way."

Why? You know ASH are lying, they have been lying for over 30 years. Yet you still feel that no choice for LI and the other 10 million or so smokers is the way forward?

Are you an e-cig seller by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Dick, I realised after I'd posted that I'd seen about their lottery funded plans. This will give them a further excuse to pursue it unfortunately.

Second hand nicotine causing heart attacks? I didn't think it was the nicotine in smoke that was particularly harmful to actual smokers. I thought it was the melange of chemicals put together. Otherwise patches and gum would be dropping people like flies.

Then again, what am I thinking? Truth has never been part of their armoury. Never mind I'm sure the MSM will thoroughly investigate this..... Oh shit that's e-fags fucked as well then

Pete said...

I have been E-smoking for 12 months. I used to smoke cigars after giving up on cigarettes. I have been smoking for over 50 years and, as a result have Chronic Pulmonary Disorder (COPD).

At my annual check-up this year I had improved in every test they gave me (initially they said that my medication could only slow down the COPD not cure it).

I therefore believe that 'vaping' has actually reduced the disease.

I smoke 3.6% e-juice and find it completely supplies my nicotine needs.

WRT ASH's lying claim about secondary vaping, I am given to understand that the body instantly absorbs nicotine so they are talking complete bullshit. Anyway, how many e-smokers do you know? How can they possibly claim that anyone has ever died from nicotine poisoning after secondary vaping - there aren't enough of us to take a sample (yet...)

Gendeau said...

Dick Puddlecote,

I'm afraid we're on opposite sides of the smoking debate. I'm a I-want-my-rights-non-smoker, I was just trying to say that e-smoking seems to (from what LI says) address my issues with smoking.

I do not believe that smoking is not bad for you and the guy standing next to you (me). 3rd hand smoking bad for you? - They must be fucking joking. Similarly for e-smoking.

I don't like reeking of smoke after visiting a pub, so the ban works for me (so no changes, except reduce regs on the shelters).

E-smoking means the smell ceases to be a problem, the additional chemicals are reduced.

When you're left with steam, some nicotine and a few other chemicals you've reduced the impact on me to the point where I would think a compromise was possible indoors.

I realise that compromise is not a common word these days, I'm trying to point out that there are non-smokers who now think that enough is enough as well.

The next step is someone to suggest that smoking be allowed and I should fuck off outside (cos I'm a cunt innit). According to the plan, I then reply with fuck you, I love the ban; you stay outside.

Does it have to be like that?

Peace brothers & sisters!

Glad things are working for Pete. I had wondered if there were health 'benefits', but was concerned that it'd sound like I was trolling.

Gendeau said...

"Yet you still feel that no choice for LI and the other 10 million or so smokers is the way forward?"


It's not for me to say that it's (e-smoking) the way forward, or not. I wouldn't presume to tell you.

That's for 'you lot' to decide for yourselves.

I'm just hoping that it is, and from that, smokers and non-smokers can find a mutually acceptable middle-ground.

Leg-iron said...

Nicotine in smoke is not harmful. At all.

If they want to insist that the trace nicotine in the steam (yes, steam) from an Electrofag is enough to kill, here's what to do.

Go to the doctor. Tell him you smoke. Let him write you a prescription for nicotine patches.

Then go to the press and tell them your doctor has just prescribed nicotine at levels far in excess of the levels ASH claim will cause a heart attack.

Then prosecute the doctor for attempted murder.

ASH promote those patches too. Since they are so certain that trace levels of nicotine cause heart attacks, they are deliberately attempting to murder people also.

It's not the nicotine. It never was. The problem was the tar content but Electrofag contains no tar at all. It's steam that comes out of it.

Non-smokers have told me they can smell nothing after an initial whiff. There's no lingering tobacco odour (not surprising since there's no tobacco) and the added flavourings disperse very rapidly.

Nobody can possibly be offended by this unless they are offended merely by the sight of someone enjoying a smoke.

Which was the real reason it all started, if we're honest.

Jeff Wood said...

Gendeau wants mutually-accepted middle ground.

OK, here it is. Leave it to the owners and tenants of premises, any premises, to decide whether or not to permit smoking.

Some pubs will then prohibit smoking, some will permit it, others will confine smoking to designated areas.

Smokers and non-smokers alike can then decide for themselves whether to patronise a given place.

So, what's not to like? Is liberty so problematical?

Dick Puddlecote said...

Gendeau: You seem a very genial guy, and I respect you for that, so please don't take this as personal. ;-)

"I do not believe that smoking is not bad for you and the guy standing next to you (me). 3rd hand smoking bad for you? - They must be fucking joking. Similarly for e-smoking."

I'm curious as to why you quite rightly believe ASH claims towards 3rd Hand Smoke (joke) and E-cigs (even more laughable) are false, yet you are fully committed to believing their assertions on SHS (which are also, funnily enough, laughable).

You know, and have seen first hand, that they lie without batting an eyelid, yet fail to even countenance the possibility that SHS could also be a fraud.

Your standpoint would, however, be easily explained by what you say after that.

"I don't like reeking of smoke after visiting a pub, so the ban works for me"

You wouldn't 'reek of smoke' if we were allowed just one place, local to us, where we could smoke inside. It's a fallacious argument. There is no science behind that, it's just mean and selfish. Just like the law which was undemocratically passed for us to be in this situation.

"The next step is someone to suggest that smoking be allowed and I should fuck off outside (cos I'm a cunt innit)."

No, no, no. That is not the next step. The next logical step (according to ASH) is bans on smoking outside, bans on smoking in the home, and bans on E-cigs.

There is no agenda from smokers or anti-ban advocates. Just that we are given a choice along with others.

You really don't get it, do you? They don't want you inhaling anything if a pharmaceutical company hasn't provided it. And when your E-cig is ten times the price because you didn't kick back hard enough against these liars, what will you say then?

Smokers just want somewhere to enjoy a legal product away from where people who don't like smelling of our smoke congregate. It really is that simple.

That's the compromise. It's not fucking difficult (sorry for the language, LI). It was what the public voted for in 2005. It is common sense and is in keeping with a democracy which values a quarter of its adult population as much as it does the three-quarters.

If you know that ASH lie incessantly, and you have shown that you do, why do you seriously believe that they weren't lying before?

It's rather baffling to be honest.

Smee again, Goan fuckyerself (an old joke, but a good one) said...

What's not to like?

the stench, mate, the stench.

There can be no middle ground, can there?

Voila, vive le ban (as I predicted).

LI already ran a thread about 'You can't reason with (non?) smokers'. (Can't remember whether it was non-smokers or smokers).

Apparently it's true, a shame, but true.

Anonymous said...

As many will know from experience, the extreme example, and proof of your contention, is the ex-pat communities in Saudi Arabia and other muslim countries.
The law, police and judiciary there are a thousand times scarier than ours but stills, breweries and 'Smoky-Drinky' places are widespread.
Alcohol-free beer, grape juices, sugar and baker's yeast are the basic essentials - easy and safe.
Commercial level stills are smaller in number but deliver sufficient product ('Cid' - nothing more than triple-distilled, fermented sugar water, that (in the right hands) can yield 96% pure alcohol with no nasties) to satisfy the community. Admittedlty there is the occasional explosion, but usually only the result of lack of close attention by distillers that have indulged in a little too much product sampling for quality control !
The potential result of being caught is a lengthy spell in gaol (no human rights or minimum standards here), eventual repatriation, lifetime ban on returning, loss of job & income ... and almost everybody still accepts the risks.
So .... your anaysis is spot on - an increase in brewing, winemaking, distillation, below-the-radar tobacco importation and establishment and attendance of 'Smoky-Drink' places is pretty well inevitable.
I'm looking forward to it.

Spartan said...

Personally l just love the smoky-drinky gatherings with it's non-UK supply of cigarettes .... and alcohol at a fraction of the normal price.

And to be percetly honest l couldn't put a price on the satisfaction of sticking two fingers up at all the anti=smoking, anti-drinking cohorts.

lt does indeed feel good to be a rebel!

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