Smoking, the new Yoga

Went out to a nice big party last night. BBC journalist Paul Moss threw a birthday bash in the room above the Mason’s Arms on the Harrow Road. It had a big ornate balcony outside, with umbrellas and a view over the garden.  The party was full of glam West Londoners, the more discerning type, (like me) who is consciously boycotting the big festival at Kimberly Hall this weekend  – Poshstock. (Really a field-party for the hippie children of rich people held on the lawn of a stately home).

I went to the party with artist Kitty Stirling and yoga tecaher Linda Hartly. We bought drinks and went and sat outside on a bench and promptly tucked into a pack of 20 Marlboro Lights.

Around us, the balcony was packed with fellow glam West London smokers. I’ve begun to notice this more and at parties – many many more smokers. In West London EVERYBODY does yoga. Now, it appears everyone is smoking. Smoking is fashionable again.

As the evening progressed, more and more people migrated outside to smoke. By midnight, in fact, the whole party was outside on the balcony – smoking. Just like in the old days. Smokers and non-smokers mingled and chatted together in a harmonious smoky huddle.  It felt good. Only a few sat inside in the pleasant smoke-free bar area. The smoking zone was rammed.

“Smoking is the new yoga, isn’t it?” I said to Kitty.

“Oh, I do both,” she quipped.

“So do I,” said Linda, the yoga teacher.

Funny, that. I’ve started smoking again too, after fifteen years. My trainer, Andre will dump me if I continue.  (Maybe I should take up yoga?)  I like the fact that when the state bans something outright, something so sociable and soft, something which staves the nerves and makes conversation flow, that people tend to regroup, disregard the ban.

Smoking is a social conductor. It gets people talking. And it also gets people touching each other, briefly, reassuringly, sometimes even sexily, as they pass and share and light each other’s ciggies.  Smoking has a benevolent social aspect. Smoke calms bees. It calms people too. 

Nice, wholesome party.

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~ by moniqueroffey on July 11, 2009.

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