The Smoking Pogue
I can’t believe how severely the smoking ban is enforced up here in Scotland, where I’ve been playing a gig with The Pogues – and recovering from posing naked with Pete Doherty.
So the Glaswegians seem pretty happy, albeit pissed off about something else – the smoking ban. The ban is simply incredible up here – the enforcement is tougher than you could believe. Certainly compared to Dublin. Back there the fuss has comparatively died away. There are areas divided up into smoking and non-smoking and so on, and there are a lot of blind eyes being turned for the sake of the “auld boys”. And rightly so – it’s all about personal freedom and personal choice, and city air is damaging enough as it is, so you might as well choose your own filter.
But in Glasgow the police really go for the ban in strength. Some of us were smoking onstage on account it being part of our time-honoured performance, as it were, but the audience was clearly feeling the eyes of the ban upon them. It was tangible. The moment we left the stage for good, the crowd dashed outside purely to smoke. And it’s not as if the Scots were pressurised into the ban in the first place. I think it’s that tough, gutsy Scottish will-power thing – “We can jump about pissed to Irish rock and roll music AND we can do it without smoking!”
A Scottish will-power thing, or a Scottish lung cancer thing. Semantics. Well Shane, if it comes down to it, you can probably get stage-smoking fine-avoidance tips from Robbie Williams. Maybe the two of ‘em and Joe Jackson should do an anti-ban charity trio?