The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Archive for February 24th, 2008

Silent Protest

Posted by Exile on February 24, 2008

We all know that a picture says a thousand words, even though the message is usually conveyed in fewer than that. I am talking about those universal, easily understood and invariably “No” signs. No smoking, no food, no ice cream, no.. just about anything these days. How often have you seen a sign that actually allows you to do something? They are extremely rare.
The “no something” signs are usually posted by the holier than thou crowd. The know-alls. The do-gooders. Health fanatics. The whiners. Spoilsports. All those people who haven’t got a life and don’t want you to have one either. Generally, they have no reason, right or legal back up to paste these forbidding signs up. They are arbitrary declarations of “Do no whatever it is I dislike”.
Ever had the urge to fight back? To do the unallowed right there? Of course you have, but your polite upbringing and the now widespread respect for everybody but yourself will not allow you to do whatever it is the sign says you can’t.
I’m sure you are all familiar with the signs here, there are many others.
I recently joined a forum for smokers. They aren’t fanatics, they merely want the freedom to choose. For example, why should all the pubs in Great Britain be subject to a total and all encompassing ban on smoking? Why are there no “smoking pubs” and only “no smoking pubs? Why has that choice been removed? Even some landlords and their staff smoke. But not in the pub. They have to go outside. The landlord can’t smoke in his own home. It is ruining the trade. Pubs are closing all over the country because the people who used to go there to socialise don’t go there any more. The non-smokers don’t go there either. Mainly because there are so few left to socialise with. Something is very wrong when even the non-smokers go outside in the cold and wet to the smokers area simply for the lack of human contact inside the bar. Nobody likes to be treated like a second class citizen, so the pub-goers are staying at home and drinking with friends in their own living rooms. Smokers and non smokers alike.
This is what any total ban brings. It is a silent revolt by many mistreated people. Unfortunately, many innocent people are losing their livelihoods because of it and a thoughtless, we-know-best government decision to remove the possibility of choice from the people.

forumdemo-2.pngOne smart person has come up with a simple device for anyone and everyone who is feeling similarly oppressed by any ban. One simply attacks the sign. Not by destruction or defacement. More by embellishment. He has suggested that we print up a simple sign of an eagle. The bird, in its present position, is well known from the nazi era of the last century.
Sticking the eagle above the sign gives it a superb quality which basically says it all. Any sign can be embellished in this way, making it very clear what state the country now appears to be in.

How about that for silent protest?

My many thanks to “Hughster”, from the F2C website.


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Aromatic Tobacco

Posted by Exile on February 24, 2008

As I have mentioned before, my tobacconist is moving. I buy my tobacco from what I believe is probably the last of the great blenders. I have my own recipe for my pipe tobacco. It is a blend of 80% rough cut virginia, and equal amounts of burley and latakia. I am currently considering having a little perique added to the blend but conservatism holds me back as yet. My tobacconist is Poul Olsen’s My Own Blend. olsen.pngThe parent company, Orlik Tobacco, has bought up the Danish department of Davidoff and has decided in its infinite wisdom to combine the two shops in the old Davidoff premises, which means that my comfortable little tobacco shop is closing as such. I suppose the idea is to create a sort of “Gentlemens equipper” with everything from pipes to aftershave and fine spirits.Today was the last day. I went off to visit. I needed to buy tobacco anyway, so the journey wasn´t entirely just for the chatter.

Thinking I could sort of sneak in and get out quickly, as I had other things to do, was hurredly thrown overboard as I ran in to some of my mates from my pipe club who were also bargain hunting and visiting the shop for the last time in its present form. We decided to break all the anti smoking laws for the day and promptly filled our pipes and lit up. The guys that staff the place were elated. Memories of how it used to be came drifting back as the smoke began to permeate through the old woodwork and display cabinets full of fine hand made Danish and foreign pipes. I have rarely seen so many customers in the shop at one time. Business was brisk on the last day. Congratulations, hopes of continued success, hand shaking and well wishing.

I couldn’t help feeling that the tobacconist is part of my extended family. People come there that I know. My friends are there. I hear news of others that I haven’t seen for some time from the staff. We can leave messages for each other there. “Say hello to… if he drops in”. “So and so was here last week, he said, did, bought..” and so on. “This guy is ill, this one’s on holiday in wherever, did you hear about?..” A mine of invaluable gentlemens gossip.
The place has been a part of my social network. It would be a shame if that went down the drain.

I realise that things change, that there are people that will make life changing decisions for me without my consent or consultation. Like this bloody ridiculous smoking ban, which is the most anti social piece of legislation ever thought of in human memory. I can’t help wondering if that hasn’t had something to do with Orlik’s decision to amalgamate my tobacconist with a bloody expensive perfume store. Still, I’ll have to give it a chance. No point passing judgement before the trial is over.

I just hope I get to be as content with the new premises as I was with the old.

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