Tuesday, April 04, 2006

When it was so cooool to smoke.

Chewing the fat at work today, the American War of Independence was the topic of interest. Don't know what brought that on, but there you go.
Peter Stuyvesants name was mentioned. Apparently, he was one of the early governors of New York, or was that New Amsterdam? I digress.

Hearing that name swiftly took me back to my youth when it was really cool to smoke. Do you remember Peter Stuyvesant fags back in the sixties/seventies? I think I had my first drag of a coffin nail when I was around fourteen. We had the ubiquitous corner shop just down the road from the school gates, where the greasy proprietor would often flog us youngsters ten Park Drive with a box of penny matches. We were all pretty convinced the shopkeeper was an old perve but with a Woodbine hanging from yer gob, you were considered 'ard. The brave ones would strut past the girls school, fag clinging precariously from the corner of their mouth, hoping to be spotted by one of the nubile young things. They usually got spotted by an eagle eyed teacher, which resulted in a sore arse. No, they did not bugger them, but the slipper was brought forth. Remember the times when teachers were allowed to whack you with the nearest available weapon? Didn't do me any harm.

As I grew out of my short trousers (what?), my preference for fags went onto Number six, or 'numbo's' as we used to call them. Looking at the size of cigarettes today amazes me how the tobacco companies got away with flogging fags that were about three inches, or a dozen drags, long.

On joining the Royal Navy I was introduced to the hacking cough and phlegm inducing 'Blue Liners'. These were manufactured specifically for members of the RN and were distinguishable by the blue line running down the cigarette. They were reputed to be made from the sweepings off the factory floor. Dragging on one of those bastards was enough to give anyone a hernia. Once out to sea, you could buy kingsize fags from the NAFFI shop. Needless to say, I was in much demand when coming home amongst all my civvy mates with their little numbo's.

My smoking days were numbered not long after leaving the mob. The Chancellor of the Exchequer of the time put the price of a packet of fags up to ten bob. "Sod that for a lark" I thought and promptly gave up never to smoke again.

And that was a bloody surprise.


billyboy said...

I was intrigued by your bit about fags. I have always been a non smoker but I have an observation to make.

Now that tony B is banning smoking there will be no cnacer in a few years time. Horrah...However... The boffins tell us that smoking reduces the chance of alzheimers (dodgey spelling. So in a few years time the supremarkets will be full of old senile cancer free wrinklies -like you and me who have forgotten where we live. Dont despairs mes amies because the TB chaps have though that one through as well and each shopping trolley will have a help line number. So you will beable tom ring them and tell them you dont know who you are, where you are, what you wer doing or where you live. Sounds simple to me.

krip said...

I think you've cracked it :)

Birdman said...

Do you remember Joysticks? They were fags about 6 inches long and lasted all morning. Wouldn't get away with them either these days.

Jennyta said...

Gauloises are the ones that stir up memories for me. I smoked them as a student in France in 1969 - only 1 franc for 20. (No, I wasn't one of those students ripping up cobbles stones to throw at the police.)

krip said...

birdman: Joysticks? Sounds like a pseudonym for Happy Baccy to me :)
jennyta: And Gitanes of course. But weren't they rough.....

Jennyta said...

Yes, I did try Gitanes too but they were a bit strong.