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Wednesday, 5 June 2019


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan


Many people frown on smoking and more recently on vaping, and I am one. I don't really care if people choose to smoke or vape but I do care about smoke-clouds and sickly-sweet vapour that hit me in the face as I am walking through town. Ghastly.

Even though it is not my cup of tobacco, there was a time when smoking could be done with grace and dignity. I think of Cary Grant and Lauren Bacall, two personifications of style. However horrible I think it is, and if I was forced to choose, I'd prefer the classy smoker to some of the puffing Billys and Berthas who roam the pavements and stand in pub and bookie doorways.

Today, I watched a young lad vaping like it was a minute to the end of the world. There was a nanosecond between each inhalation and blow. His head really was in the clouds. Two women stood chatting, both smoking and belching out cumulonimbus-thick layers that hung dreamily above them for a few seconds after each exhalation.

We are in the slalom generation when it comes to walking in towns as we dodge and weave our way through advertising boards cluttering the pavements as well as inconsiderate and oblivious bipeds, spatially unaware and unconscious to the fact that they are being a bloody nuisance.

But then, don't get me started on manners and social behaviour!

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