Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ar-Ay, Nice Werch, Wach: Noh!

by Blad Tolstoy

You know, I used to like Liverpool - a lot, but not any more.

Yes, I remember when I first became acquainted with that city at the beginning of the 1970s. People told me that if you asked someone the way to anywhere they'd almost take you there they were so friendly. And they were, I tried it and was duly impressed.

Since then, I have noted all the character stripping changes but still enjoyed the city very much until recent years. I recall all those Sunday visits to The Tate in Albert Dock to take in the interactive art exhibitions and all the excellent selections of work by artists from the last 100 odd years. My trips were usually completed by a visit to the Tate eaterie where I would end my repasts with an appreciative cigarette. What splendid afternoons they were.

As this century progressed I became aware that something was changing. The noises coming from the City Council became more politically correct and strident. Then came the announcements concerning smoking bans, I remember them first in about 2003-04. Yes, Liverpool was to become a "modern" smokefree city, leading the way in the UK in stamping out the ghastly habit, or so a progression of snotty wac zealots announced.

Well, we know that a smoking ban has since been implemented and, contrary to the promises of the zealots, it has still not bedded in and sits uncomfortably on the broken back of our pub industry. However, this is not enough damage for Liverpool City Council, which now wants to ban anyone under the age of 18 from seeing films with smoking in them - just in case they become corrupted.


One can be forgiven for taking a sharp intake of breath at this gob-smacking stupidity. If anyone wanted to find a way to make smoking even more attractive to minors well, this is it. If you want to make smoking more glamourous, just keep banning it. Moreover, how will stopping under 18s from seeing films in the cinema stop them from seeing CDs and videos? Puleease, get real you idiots!

Lastly, I ask myself, is this the beginning of yet another New Age Industry? Will Liverpool become the centre for film airbrushing? Will Humphrey Bogart have his fag replaced with a stick of rock? Will Audrey Hepburn suck a banana? Who knows? Perhaps they'll just have to make do with a slug clone.