Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Wednesday 11/03/09

Your Chairman, noted for his impartiality, objective analysis and impeccable non-partisanship, has sold out to Mammon. It had to happen sooner or later, and I hope you don’t all think I’m a scab for having done so, as it’s only a small link and I won’t be pushing it in your face.

If you take a gander at the link at the top right, you’ll see I now have a multi-million pound sponsorship deal with New Smoke of Singapore. In return for the link I get a free e-cigarette starter kit (we all have to start somewhere). Came out of the blue and I’m not complaining. I’ve been meaning to try the cigarette version for a while now, as I’m fed-up with the failure rate of the e-cigar (for recent newcomers, I’ve been an e-smoker – or vaper – since October). I was a bit cheeky and asked for a car charger too, to which the kind gentleman over at the (cue the trumpets) New Smoke agreed. Anyway – go on and help your Chairman justify the link to New Smoke by clicking on it, even if you’re a non-smoker.

Unfortunately I’d just ordered two new rechargeable batteries for the e-cigar, costing an arm and a leg at £5.99 each. Mind you, the ones I’ve had so far have lasted a good while, so I can’t complain. Out of the six I originally had, two went thermonuclear and melted when the e-cigar inexplicably shorted out, two died a slow natural death and I am left with two which give me about an hour and a bit of vaping each – which is bugger all use if I have to go on a car journey of more than an hour. I just wish I could find a cheaper source, as I’m sure their provenance has something to do with those bundled jobbies you find in cordless phones. Of course, having a car charger with the New Smoke e-cigarettes means I don’t have to worry about finding a mains electricity outlet when driving.

The main problem with the batteries is that the mains charger takes only one battery at a time, necessitating a bank of the damned things if you’re a particularly heavy vaper like me. Not only that, but the chargers aren’t UK spec, meaning you have to find those shaver charging lights to plug them into, or invest in an adaptor. They don’t do car chargers for the e-cigar, which is a pain, but they do for the e-cigarettes, in which case I may just use the New Smoke cigarettes when driving.

I have a distinct feeling that these things are soon to be banned, as they are starting to be in a number of countries. The reason for this has bugger all to do with health dangers, but the loss to governments of tobacco tax revenue – or even taco tabacs. As far as I’m concerned these New Smoke things are as good as smoking, but without the attendant dangers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, carcinogens and vast quantities of coughed up, blood-streaked, gelatinous, green coloured mucous – not to mention burn holes in clothes. It’s cheaper too. Now if I, a hardened former Olympic standard pipe smoker of prodigious experience am convinced, then I’m sure a lot of dilettante smokers on as little as 60 fags a day will be too. By the way, have I mentioned New Smoke?

Given there is nothing burning in e-cigarettes (especially New Smoke e-cigarettes), they help mitigate climate change. Well, that’s if you don’t count the million watts needed to charge the batteries – but there are economies of scale in using mains electricity generated from sustainable and renewable bio-slag heaps rather than petrochemical lighters, which can explode in your face if accidentally hit with a sledge hammer or punctured by road drill while holding them close to you when lit. Gas lighters are also dangerous if put in a microwave and nuked or thrown into a bonfire, whereas you can safely put a New Smoke e-cigarette in a microwave (as you do) or chuck it on a bonfire with no danger, except possibly to the delicate circuitry of the New Smoke e-cigarette.

Talking of climate change; I’m on tenterhooks today. Some 2,000 climate scientists are gathered in Copenhagen to discuss the latest findings on global warming, and they’re expected to publish bad news indicating that sea levels are rising faster than expected. I truly hope not, as I have a customer who is calling in at Male in the Maldives today on his superyacht to collect some spares for his satellite communications system and I’m fully expecting him to say Male has disappeared under a couple of feet of seawater. I think the place only has about 6 inches of freeboard as it is. I wonder if my customer vapesNew Smoke e-cigarettes.

Smoking naturally introduces toxins into the blood. Now Prince Big Ears is in trouble with the scientific community for selling, under the Duchy Originals brand, a detox tincture that is a food supplement to ‘help eliminate toxins and aid digestion’. Now the only organs in your body that can clear toxins are your liver and your kidneys, and no externally introduced tincture – especially one costing £10 for 50 ml – is going to improve on your lights performing their natural functions. Of course, if your offal ain’t in tip-top order and you’re suffering massive organ failure , then a bit of dialysis might help, but that’s mechanical detox and not particularly recommended for a hangover. There is no scientific evidence what-so-ever that detox (other than mechanical) has any effect. The man’s a charlatan – unlike New Smoke, who make no such spurious detox claims.

The prince has another tincture that’s a ‘traditional herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms of slightly low mood and mild anxiety’. Cannabis is cheaper. So is Mogadon. Of course nicotine is meant to reduce anxiety, although it actually increases blood pressure and makes one hyper, but you wouldn’t know it when you’re a 100 a day man and you’ve run out of fags. There is a product on the market that allows you to self-regulate your nicotine intake – it’s called New Smoke.

Now the Continuity IRA has killed someone. Next it will be the Disjointed IRA and then the Silly IRA and possibly the Very Silly IRA. Personally I think they’re all splinter groups of the Monster Raving Loony IRA or even the Original People’s Popular IRA Front. Anyway, they’re all splitters. It’s just smoke and mirrors – speaking of which, did I mention New Smoke? Did you know that Sinn Fein is Irish for New Smoke?

It’s actually quite interesting to read the history of the IRA – it reads just like the Monty Python Life of Brian script. The Python who played Brian, Graham Chapman, shuffled off his mortal coil via spinal cancer, possibly caused by his smoking habit. Had he vaped New Smoke he might still have been alive.

Talking of Graham Chapman, I must regale you with his eulogy, given by John Cleese. It’s a masterpiece – or opus magnum.


Graham Chapman, co-author of the "Parrot Sketch", is no more.

He has ceased to be. Bereft of life, he rests in peace. He's kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky. And I guess that we're all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, of such capability for kindness, of such unusual intelligence, should now so suddenly be spirited away at the age of only forty-eight, before he'd achieved many of the things of which he was capable, and before he'd had enough fun.

Well, I feel that I should say: nonsense. Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard, I hope he fries.

And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn't, if I threw — threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. Anything for him but mindless good taste. I could hear him whispering in my ear last night as I was writing this:

"All right, Cleese," he was saying, "you're very proud of being the very first person ever to say 'shit' on British television; if this service is really for me, just for starters, I want you to become the first person ever, at a British memorial service, to say 'fuck'".

You see, the trouble is, I can't. If he were here with me now I would probably have the courage, because he always emboldened me. But the truth is, I lack his balls, his splendid defiance. And so I'll have to content myself instead with saying 'Betty Marsden...'

But bolder and less inhibited spirits than me follow today. Jones and Idle, Gilliam and Palin. Heaven knows what the next hour will bring in Graham's name. Trousers dropping, blasphemers on pogo sticks, spectacular displays of high-speed farting, synchronized incest. One of the four is planning to stuff a dead ocelot and a 1922 Remington typewriter up his own arse to the sound of the second movement of Elgar's cello concerto. And that's in the first half.

Because you see, Gray would have wanted it this way. Really. Anything for him but mindless good taste. And that's what I'll always remember about him — apart, of course, from his Olympian extravagance. He was the prince of bad taste. He loved to shock. In fact, Gray, more than anyone I knew, embodied and symbolized all that was most offensive and juvenile in Monty Python. And his delight in shocking people led him on to greater and greater feats. I like to think of him as the pioneering beacon that beat the path along which fainter spirits could follow.

Some memories. I remember writing the undertaker speech with him, and him suggesting the punch line, 'All right, we'll eat her, but if you feel bad about it afterwards, we'll dig a grave and you can throw up into it.' I remember discovering in 1969, when we wrote every day at the flat where Connie Booth and I lived, that he'd recently discovered the game of printing four-letter words on neat little squares of paper, and then quietly placing them at strategic points around our flat, forcing Connie and me into frantic last minute paper chases whenever we were expecting important guests.

I remember him at BBC parties crawling around on all fours, rubbing himself affectionately against the legs of gray-suited executives, and delicately nibbling the more appetizing female calves. Mrs. Eric Morecambe remembers that too.

I remember his being invited to speak at the Oxford union, and entering the chamber dressed as a carrot — a full length orange tapering costume with a large, bright green sprig as a hat — and then, when his turn came to speak, refusing to do so. He just stood there, literally speechless, for twenty minutes, smiling beatifically. The only time in world history that a totally silent man has succeeded in inciting a riot.

I remember Graham receiving a Sun newspaper TV award from Reggie Maudling. Who else! And taking the trophy falling to the ground and crawling all the way back to his table, screaming loudly, as loudly as he could. And if you remember Gray, that was very loud indeed.

It is magnificent, isn't it? You see, the thing about shock... is not that it upsets some people, I think; I think that it gives others a momentary joy of liberation, as we realized in that instant that the social rules that constrict our lives so terribly are not actually very important.

Well, Gray can't do that for us anymore. He's gone. He is an ex-Chapman. All we have of him now is our memories. But it will be some time before they fade.


I would imagine my friend Richard, who is has terminal cancer, would echo the last but one paragraph.

There, I got through the blog with hardly mentioning New Smoke once.

This blog was brought to you today by New Smoke, purveyors of fine e-cigarettes.


A Woman Of No Importance said...

Loved the full rendition of Cleese's speech at Chapman's memorial service - Wonderful!

I have clicked on the link to New Smoke - But only out of curiosity!

Do you think if I were to mention Harvey Nicks at this point, I might get some kind of sponsorship offer, Sir?!

Kabbalah Rookie said...

Not sure if you have heard of it, but apparently there is this new e-cigarette thingy called New Smoke. I had trouble finding a link to it, but when I do, I will forward it on...
Loved Cleese's memorial speech - a great reminder not to take life too seriously!

Cotswoldgent said...

This New Smoke thing is still a bit hazy to me, I think a few more posts of explanation are in order.

Chairman Bill said...

Woman - one can but try. I would have thought the Edinburgh Wool Mills (or whatever they're called) would be more up your street.

Kab - must look into them. Perhaps I can get a sponsorship deal.

CG - coming riiiight up sah (one has to by a Python fan toget that reference).

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I am such a masochist, as I keep coming back for more bad-tempered insults! You cheeky mariner, you!