Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Talk to the ashtray by James Leavey
I was twiddling my Nicaraguan corona over a cup of Gold Blend tea in Bewley's Grafton Street, thinking of this, that, but mostly the other, when the first anti-smoking idiot of the day rolled up.
'Stop that, immediately!' he cried. 'You cannot smoke here.'
'If you used your eyes and what's left of your underdeveloped brain before you opened your ignorant gob you'd remember there's no law against unlit tobacco, even in this famous tea-room,' I growled.
'Besides, it's nice thoughtful smokers like me who keep puritanical twats like you in clover with our taxes.'
The idiot's ugly mug boiled over and he muttered, 'Just wait until 2015, when we ban the whole lot of you in Ireland.'
'Yeah, well, we shall see what we shall see. Until then, talk to the ashtray. Now fuck off, you pompous uneducated prick.'
I know, I know...it was much too subtle.
So I underlined my perfectly reasonable point of view with a suggestive vertical jolt of my cigar and resisted the temptation to shove it up the idiot's arse. In the grand old days I would have offered to put sand in his Vaseline to help the stogie on it's way. For that's what the likes of him deserved.
Bored of bumping into beastly bastards, I decided to take a break from Dublin's unfair city (for smokers, that is) for the literary and seaside delights of Sandycove, topping up my travel humidor at the Decent Cigar Emporium, en route.
The James Joyce Museum & Tower was open. I stepped inside and asked the friendly curator if I could take another sniff of the great writer's favourite leather cigar case.
He'd first allowed me to do this a few years ago when I was filming BBC2 Horizon's documentary, 'We Love Cigarettes'.
The curator nodded and even let me slide my cigar inside Joyce's cigar case again.
Then I took myself and the anointed tube of fine tobacco outside and lit up, hoping Joyce's genius would rub off on my scribblings.
'Jaysus, Mary and Joseph, the Great Man and all the other genius Irish writers and dramatists must be twirling in their graves at the very idea of the Elf & Safety boggarts taking over the world and turning it into an unused ashtray,' I thought.
Then I took another reflective puff on my premium stick of fine Nicaraguan tobacco, 'It's not over till it's over. And while there are people like Mr Guy Hancock selling excellent cigars like this, there's hope.'