“Je fume, je bois, je baise – triangle Ã©quilatÃ©ral.”
“I smoke, I drink, I fuck – equilateral triangle.”
– Serge Gainsbourg
While I am only currently a half smoker, I did previously smoke a lot for a few years, and I’ve always been fascinated by the allure of cigarettes. I’m sure I’m not alone. Today, I read design observer’s view on the modern assault on cigarettes, which leaves me thinking about what is to come in a day where the smoker is increasingly becoming a pariah.
Montreal used to be a city of smokers; one that, like any other modern city, received similar smoking bans to those of Toronto et al., where it would no longer be permitted indoors at all. This caused an epic struggle among our smoking population the likes of which has never been seen before in the city. Never mind what happened to the cigar lounges, whose living depends on that mystique.
But what is happening to the romance of cigarettes? People love seeing a classic movie star photo of a smoking rebel or artist (James Dean, say), looking distantly into the horizon with a certain attractive apathy. What will make the movie stars look this good now? How will the poets seem as tortured as they once were? I wish I was being sarcastic, but seriously, there’s a struggle here – how can I make myself look as good as i did when i was smoking, how can i give myself that certain allure, right? I don’t want to die, but dammit, I would almost die to look that good, to be that tortured poet, that movie star, in my mind’s eye.
That look is dying. That blasÃ© attitude, a romantic blend of fatalism and rebelliousness, and I don’t think there is a single item as powerful as the cigarette that will ever resurrect it.
(PS: This is a reprint from 2005. Thought it was interesting and worth re-publishing. Minimal editing.)