I'm smoking again (after 18 months of being a good, boring girl). Shock horror!!!. But I'm not because this isn't a real cig. yet see how realistic it is. Last week I found myself having a cocktail in The Savoy with my chum Emily Evans Eerdmans, on a whistle stop visit to London researching her new book, and then she took me along to Notting Hill to meet up with lovely Colette Van Den Thillart who happens to live in this very apartment. Blimey.
Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy by David Hockney 1970/71
Feeling un peu sophisticated already, I couldn't have been more pleased when Colette's associate, legendary interior designer Nicky Haslam arrived looking fit and fabulous in a crisp white shirt, navy jacket and sand-coloured cotton pants of a tres au courant cut. His boots of distressed leather had a whiff of Mad Max about them and a clue to Haslam's wild hinterland as a fearless setter of individual style and an adventurer in many senses of the word, not least socially. Call him a wicked old snob but he only does it because he knows it teases and the fact is, his company is intoxicating and he is charming and engaging with everyone. Oh do read my profile of him here if you have a mo.
Anyway, the point is that he produced an elegant black cigarette and puffed away contentedly. It glowed red when he drew on it and emitted a harmless odourless vapour. But the smoker gets a hit of nicotine which whilst addictive, I admit, is proved to aid concentration and clinical tests have shown that it can stave off senile dementure. Devoutly to be wished in my book. .. Oh where was I?
.. happy in my study with my Easyciggy working away through my 500 puffs before I put it
in my virtual ash can and start a new one. Easy as that.
But oh dear, just as I was warming to the idea, there was a bonkers incident on the motorway yesterday when a coach passenger, observing another messing about with something vaporous, deemed it suspicious and called 999. The response involved 16 fire engines, 15 police vans, 12 police cars, ten undercover cop cars, an ambulance and incident control vans. It is good to know that in the run-up to the Olympics terrorist threats are taken seriously.. but the motorway was shut for seven hours causing untold grief and chaos. Have a look here. (Oddly enough the article was written by my son who was just about to be given an easy-cig by me.)
I guess this has put paid to my childish fantasies of using my virtual cigarette in a restaurant or other congenial spot, now that smoking is universally outlawed, and waiting for the hysterical intervention to occur. The sad thing is that smokers were inconsiderate of others' comfort but I was also shocked how rude and intolerant those others were becoming in a civilised society. Let's hope there can be a truce with these totally harmless pleasure sticks now.