Scratching my own funny bone for shits and giggles. Lampooning books, music and being a single woman over 40. Recording observations with an almost Seinfeldian obsession for the minutiae of life. Things can get sweary around here. You understand.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Blow in her face and she'll follow you anywhere!
Well blow me! (sorry I couldn't resist) There’s a lot to be said for smoking in front of your children. It certainly had an effect on me. My father was a heavy smoker and in turn, after a few experiments, at the age of nineteen I took up the habit as well. I remember smoking my first packet of cigarettes at a cricket match at the Gabba in 1982 when I was fourteen. I’d snuck an odd cigarette here and there before that but this was a whole packet of Winfield Red and I was so sick I didn’t touch another until I was at uni. I remember the moment clearly. I was reading some gloss and on the back cover was an advertisement for St Moritz cigarettes, the luxury length ones in the flat packs of twenty with the gold band. The scene was absolute pool-side French chic. It didn’t help matters that my best mate, a rather imposing looking Teutonic boy named Andrew from Rockhampton who also played double bass was a smoker as well. We hung out regularly in the male dressing rooms adjoining the Basil Jones Theatre when the Conservatorium used to be located at Gardens Point near QUT in Brisbane. The space was deserted throughout the week and Andrew and I used it as a lunch room/smoking lounge/practice suite. We would take turns lugging our bass into the shower cubicle to do our scale cycles and the acoustics would fool us into thinking we were really awesome players. I once got my spike stuck in the drain-pipe and ended up getting tangled and head-butting myself on the tiles in there one day but that’s a story for another time. We must have smoked a million cigarettes in that room over a period of three years and nobody could have cared less. Oh yeah good times. Nothing like the blue haze of a cigarette daze in the morning.

Gradually I weaned myself off menthol cigarettes and started buying Benson and Hedges. Of course I was heavily influenced by a boyfriend at the time who smoked John Player and so that I wouldn’t have to hear the old ‘smoking toothpaste’ line again I switched over to MAN cigarettes. Advertising laws pertaining to cigarette billboards hadn’t been heard of and as a result, all those years of going to the cricket must have subliminally influenced my decision to smoke B & H: a major cricket sponsor in the 70s and 80s. It was a good thing the Marlboro ads did nothing for me.

When I was a kid everyone smoked and we just lived with it: my Granny, my Aunt, my Dad and Grandad, the local priest and all the teachers at school. A trip to the staff room at lunch required night-vision goggles. In those days, the term ‘passive smoking’ hadn’t been coined. Even Sister Mary Francis used to smoke an Ardath when mowing the parish lawn. To this day the smell of a burning match reminds me of my dear old granny and still makes my adrenalin rush.

At the age of 41 I’ve been smoking regularly since I was nineteen. Yesterday I bought my first packet of Nicorette chewing gum. I don’t know why because I still enjoy smoking and the motivation to quit is low so we’ll see how that goes. As a smoker I’ve always been hyper-aware of the aging effect so I’ve always invested in excellent skin care but still you can’t escape the fact you’re depriving your body of oxygen and your complexion and moods suffer for it. I guess if I’m honest, the real problem is I love smoking but I miss the kissing. I’m hyper-vigilant in the breath department and am addicted to toothpaste and mouthwash but it’s just not the same. Wish me luck and spare me the earnest lecture! :-D


Erronius Nomenclature said...

Cheers from the backside of the planet miLady. Just a month without a personal leaf fire in my face. I hold no hope for ever not wanting a cig., but it gets easier not to buy them. Sending you what willpower I have to spare!

Moko said...

Tough shit on the lecture. You know me.

There's no secret to it and 'products' don't make it any easier. There's only one sure fire way to give up smoking - and don't tell anyone I told it coz you'll figure it out somewhere down the track - and that is ... wait for it ... waaait ... don't smoke. You're a smoker. You will always be a smoker. You will never not want a smoke. Just don't do it. That's the reality of giving up. I'm about four years out.

Good luck!. Don't smoke.

Bondiboy66 said...

Yes I too should give up the bungers...for about the fourth time.

Good luck with it Nat. If you fall off the wagon. get back on (unlike me).

Girl Clumsy said...

Best of luck!

I'm lucky - I never had any interest in smoking because I thought it was horrible. However, by the late 80s/early 90s when I was impressionable, most advertising had been banned and restrictions were coming in.

Also my Mum and Dad didn't smoke either, which was probably the biggest factor. I think so much of whether you smoke comes down to whether people around you smoke.

I still feel really excluded sometimes when my smoker friends all go "out" for a smoke. It's like they've got their own little naughty club.

In Scotland a couple of years ago, most of the group I was with ended up chatting on the footpath, because so many of them were smokers, and the pubs had banned it. If you didn't smoke, you'd end up drinking alone!

Barnesm said...

Oh indeed best of luck.

Never tried smoking, as an asmathic and had a dad who never smoked.

Steve said...

I never smoked because my mom was a smoker (Benson & Hedges), and her ashtrays were everywhere and it was pretty gross.

That, and in college I once grabbed the wrong bottle of beer, and drank someone's ashtray. I will never forget that taste.

But more importantly, I just had a laugh over the idea of seeing a nun mow a lawn wearing a habit with a butt hanging from her mouth.

yankeedog said...

Hey Nat! Best of luck with quitting! Never took it up myself.

Obviously, there are good reasons for not smoking and you know them.

The other thing is that if you're successful, you'll save a hell of a lot of money. A carton of Marlboros here is right around $52, or about $5 and a quarter a pack. That'd be incentive for me to find another habit. Don't know what smokes go for down there, but I reckon they ain't cheap.

You can do it, but all the same, remind me to stay on your good side for a while! :)

Dr Yobbo said...

I was a militant punishing antismoker as a kid. The old man was a very very very occasional social smoker - usually only when my uncles were around, they smoked - and we gave him self righteous indignant hell for it as only kids can. I remember being really captivated by a calendar one of my uncles had - the academic one who was doing a Never Ending PhD at UNE, ironically a smoker too - which had 12 months of ciggy billboards that had been amusingly defaced by public health graffiti activists BUGA UP (I wrote about this at the World of Bollocks - will dig out the link.) Dick Smith actually sponsored a (clean) version of a BUGA UP style competition for kids in schools, which was all kinds of ace.

Since then, I guess I've become a pragmatist - I actually kinda miss cigarette advertising. Not cigarettes, not smoking in pubs, not coming home from going out on the town smelling like ashtray and arse (I never smoked) - but in particular ciggy advertising of sport was kinda glamorous in some weird way. Whether it was Benson & Hedges World Series Cricket or the Winfield Cup or the Marlboro Holden Dealer Team at Bathurst with Brocky winning by six laps.

As I said I never smoked - anything - but had plenty of mates who did and some who still do. Menthols were popular with some of the arty drama queen chicks I used to know in Sin City back in the day - for the minty freshness - though one mate had a thing for B&H Special Filters, the 'special' bit being that there effectively wasn't one (they had marginally more tar than scraping bits of the bitumen up off the street outside the flat, rolling it and smoking that.)

More thinks about cigarettes and the advertising thereof, including BUGA UP and the sports advertising angle, in this post at the World of Bollocks circa June last year.

Dr Yobbo said...

More to the point

(a) if I'd smoked it'd probably have been Marlboros - who says advertising doesn't work, and

(b) that ad is all kinds of wrong/dodgy/AWESOME

Flinthart said...

You've got my support and best wishes. Cigarettes cost a bomb, smell kind of awful, and don't do your body any favours. If you can get through the first month or so, you'll wonder why you didn't give the bastards up years ago.

PS: If you need motivation, sit down and make a back-of-the-envelope calculation as to how much the habit has cost you over the years...

YsambartCourtin said...

All the best - Plan something healthy to do every time you get the horrors :)

Moko said...

OH, the Cap'n reminds me. I bought a car with the money I was spending each week on smokes. That took away the financial access to them.

Lunamor said...

Good luck!

Although, if quitting smoking makes you look even better, I'll have to hate you because you're already gorgeous.

But, um, yeah. Good luck!

Bangar said...

I wish you well in this Nat, it will be hard but it will be worth it. If I could've taped the Old Man waking up to help people quit I would of, four o'clock in the morning coughing up everything that had settled during the night.
I still don't know how my sister ended up with the habit (clean now).
Bangar the ex occasional cigar smoker.

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

Firstly apologies for negelecting your comments for a couple of days. Honestly I meant no harm :-D

BANG: Much obliged to you sir. Yes the coughing is horrendous. I remember a neighbourhood cockatoo that would get up in the morning and cough with his owner. Real loud hacking bird coughs. Disconcerting!

LUNA: Honestly that much kindness does my head in. Stop it woman. Everything you see if photoshopped beyond belief. I really look like Pat Benatar on crack :-D

BART: Walking. Lots and lots of walking.

FLINT: I have and it's a shit-load. No. Make that a fuck-load.

YOBBO: The music is extremely beguiling in those Marlboro ads and if I'd had the right equipment I'd dare say they'd be my bunger of choice. I smoked Special Filters for years and yes they are all kinds of wrong. Also the image of mini-militant-Yobbo gave me a giggle.

YANKEE: I think I will have to develop a nasty habit to something else to compensate for the loss :-D

BARNES: Do you still need the puffer?

STEVE: I've got a photo of a nun smoking a bong. That always gives me a for the concoction you drank I can only shudder for you.

CLUMSY: Nat I remember Birmo once wrote a smokers blog and I commented that some of my best work was done on the balcony with a ciggie. It's true. Smokers are such a small minority we band together.

BONDI: Words to live by!

MOKO: Nah it's cool I need a bit of straight talk. Just don't smoke uh? Bugger!

EN: I'm much obliged to you for taking the time to bridge that geographical gap sir. Again, welcome back.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Nat!


NowhereBob said...

How did I miss this ?
I share your pain sister Nat, I'm about to step on the stop smoking express myself.

For all the never did smokers: it is a remarkable thing. The act of deliberately fumigating oneself then suppressing the cough reflex IS at least at some level relaxing and satisfying. It is also a sneak peak through the mailslot into a room of full blown psychosis. The Need To Smoke after 3 or 4 hours is as close to delusional & psychotic thinking that the majority of people might experience. I "intelectually" know that no harm will come to me if I dont get a smoke, but I am totally prepared to expose myself to rain or risk just to have one.
I'm a massive supporter of kicking the stinking things out of clubs, offices, nosheries et al, but if only 727's came with a little deck with a couple of potted palms where one could pop out to for a quick gasper, perhaps on the tail.

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

Not sure how Bob. Maybe you were in ENZED at the time. There's plenty of archives you've missed if you feel the need :-D

As for the psychosis's mild but it's there isn't it? I'm cutting down a little and some days are better than others. As for the planes...well they could cater for smokers if they really wanted to...I often wonder what the attitude to drinking would be if it was on the nose. Half the time non-smokers are just pissed about the smell and not concerned for your health in the least.

DCAja said...

awsam post!

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