As a child, a teenager and a young man in my twenties I sat amongst smokers. My headmaster at my small village primary school would sit in his small office right next to the classroom puffing away during the breaks. Some of my uncles and aunts chuffed away whilst cooking or watching TV, my Grampa would have a Woodbine on the go while telling me jokes and stories.
Throughout my teenage years and through my early twenties smokers were everywhere. I’d sit during lectures at art college where both lecturers and students would light up; bus drivers and passengers, café owners and diners, fellow musicians etc etc all unashamedly seemed to be taking pleasure from smoking tobacco products.
I always enjoyed the smell of burning tobacco and there was a sense of calm around smokers. In my early thirties I started touring the Netherlands and Belgium with my band. I took to the rich aroma from the Dutch hand-rolling brands and was introduced to ‘real’ coffee, what a combo. I started smoking around that time and haven’t looked back.
The calming pleasure of sitting down with a rolled cigarette and a coffee, or maybe a whisky, has become an essential part of my life. I can reflect, focus, enjoy solitude or company in those moments as I put flame to my tobacco. My mental health is all the better for it. The social restrictions and smoking legislation we now live under mean that the only place I can truly enjoy smoking indoors is in my home.
Throughout this ‘lockdown’ period, when everyone is experiencing social restriction and isolation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I know smokers will be finding comfort in their pastime. By way of bringing together those who share my love of tobacco I have created this website, inviting others to join me in submitting a photo of themselves smoking at home or in their garden. This isn’t about making a statement but more about embracing a community that is already familiar with social isolation.