Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Pipe dreams


Have you ever smoked a pipe?

You don't see it very much these days do you. Time was, when I were a lad, that you'd get men smoking pipes everywhere. Even about 20 years ago I worked with someone who smoke a small pipe, but he was a bit of a young fogey, wore tweed hats and had a moustache and reckoned he was a bit of an intellectual. But it was all affectation. He always smelt of oranges and tobacco, and had a fat girlfriend and lived near Queens Park Rangers stadium.

No one in the family ever smoked a pipe, and I don't recall any of my parent's friends doing it either. It was more the reserve of teachers and vicars and retirees. Okay, you saw the odd dickhead student thinking he was John Osborne for about a term, but no one stuck with it. Why would you?



I can't think of a single person I know under the age of 65 who smokes a pipe. I don't even know if you can still buy them. You don't see kids smoking pipes, and neither did you when I was at school. No one was having a Condor moment behind the bike sheds. It was Kensitas or Consulate a go-go.

People complain that cigarette smoke is foul, but it's nothing compared to pipe smoke. It's thick, woody and stifling, and really far worse than a simple fag. I'm sure that's why it's all but died out. If you're a smoker like me, it's hard to imagine every enjoying a pipe. All that loose tobacco stuffed in the end of a churchwarden or a meerschaum and then puffed and puffed until it sparks alight, and then keeps going out. What a faff.

So correct me if I'm wrong, but is pipe smoking dead? Do they still do Pipesmoker Of The Year? Wasn't it David Bryant? Again.

19 comments:

Chris Hughes said...

"He always smelt of oranges and tobacco, and had a fat girlfriend and lived near Queens Park Rangers stadium..." PARK LIFE!

Chris Hughes said...

I used to like those little tobacconists-cum-sweet shops, though. Always really tiny and woody, with loads of intriguing jars and tins on the shelves. Obviously I'd be buying nothing stronger than a packet of Trebor Double Agents.

Five-Centres said...

You do still get those little shops, but surely pipe business has dropped off.

Clair said...

My dad smoked a pipe - lovely, it was - but the only people who do now are people who read The Chap magazine.

I still have an invitation to a cigar shop's humidor which I never took up. I like a cigar, me.

Matthew Rudd said...

My paternal grandad smoked roll-ups by day and then lit a pipe every evening after his dinner, puffing away on it in front of the TV until bedtime. He was a connoisseur of smoking.

Aside from David Bryant - who never actually lit the pipe while he was playing bowls - John Harvey Jones, Stephen Fry, Jimmy Greaves and Tony Benn all won Pipe Smoker of the Year. Indeed, Stephen Fry takes pride in being the last one before it was disbanded under pressure from the anti-smoking lobby.

Oliver Letwin claimed he put cannabis in his pipe at university, an admission which obviously didn't make him look like a total buffoon at all, oh no.

Simon said...

Didn't Clarkson and co get into trouble for lighting up some Porsche designed pipes on Top Gear last year?

Matthew Rudd said...

Well, people complained without knowing that it was herbal tobacco. That's because they're morons with no life to speak of.

Beezlebub said...

So is this post number 666 then?

Five-Centres said...

Indeed it is, Beezlebub. See, pipe smoking is the Devil's work.

Bright Ambassador said...

I've often thought that in the highly unlikely event of me having children, that I'd like to take up the pipe so that I can suck on it while wagging a finger and saying to said kiddies "...and I'll tell you this an'all, in my day yada yada yada..."

Planet Mondo said...

Funnily enough I've seen two pipe smokers in the last couple of weeks, both youngish with Victoriana moustaches.
Around the same time I also saw two woman wearing those Hilda Ogden head scarves -

That tobacco and sugar smell of the local tobacconists was a delight..

How about
this funky guitar and honking on a pipe

Nation Stole My Robots said...

And there was me still thinking DLT held the title. Paisley still has a tobacconist on Moss Street. It sells Dr Who figures.

Five-Centres said...

I rather hoped that too, Nation. And thanks for stopping by.

LF Barfe said...

I wonder what brought this post on? I find it redolent of an empty JCR, PM on Radio 4 and a bowlful of Parson's Pleasure, while other callow sods watch Neighbours.

Five-Centres said...

Neighbours. I'd rather be listening to PM.

TimT said...

Like Clair’s, my dad smoked a pipe. I always used to give him a couple of pouches of tobacco for Christmas - Three Nuns, I think it was.

As a complete non-smoker, I have to say I find the smell of pipe tobacco infinitely more appealing than that of cigarette smoke.

The only problem I had with it was that when he took me to football matches when I was young, the smoke from his pipe always blew in my face. One time we switched seats: the wind promptly changed direction and I still got a faceful of smoke.

Coincidentally, I think I’ve got something in my eye...

Bright Ambassador said...

I've just remembered, I smoked a pipe once. It got passed around at a rock festival in 1994 and contained something a little stronger than Nosegay Shag.

Five-Centres said...

crack?

Bright Ambassador said...

Don't mind if I do, old, boy.

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