Wednesday, 11 May 2016

My 5th post.

      Do I feel any different since I gave up smoking?
      You bet I do! 
      I find it quite amazing that for 60 odd years I fed my body nicotine in one form or another. Convincing myself that I needed it to feel good. To feel content, happy, to feel normal!
      When I gave up smoking it was like, well I'm not a fanciful man, so I am a little embarrassed to say it, but it was like a brand new dawn! Okay, my chest will never repair the damage done, but my brain and general well-being and my ability to concentrate improved so considerably, that I felt moved to write a bit about smoking and how I stopped. My hope of course, is that this will inspire you and encourage you to do the same.

           Just think about this for a moment, if I set up a factory to produce a product that was so toxic, so noxious it made people sick, created lung damage, caused mouth, throat and lung cancer, and in severe cases, killed people, how long will I stay in business? Surely the government, local or national will close me down. Even now if a restaurant or cafe produced a meal that gives people food poisoning or E. coli, creates dire sickness and death we, quite rightly, are able and do take those restaurantuers and cafe owners to court and charge them with manslaughter. Yet still we allow companies to manufacture, create and sell tobacco products worldwide that cause sickness and death.
      These companies, like bullies are blatantly aiming their sights at the weakest among us. They see third world and emerging countries as new marketing opportunities. I could go on for pages about
this, but quite frankly I want my blog to be about more positive things and not a rant about too many negatives.
       I mean, did you know, for examples that smokers include some of the most revered cartoon characters? Popeye and Donald Duck smoked pipes. Wilma and Fred Flintstone were cigarette smokers, as were such notables as Bugs Bunny, Daffy duck, and Sylvester the cat. Coming more up-to-date even Patty and Selma Bouvier (from the Simpsons),and Cruella de Ville have enjoyed an on screen fag or two!
However, some cartoon smokers had perhaps a more cultured taste and Tom and Jerry were amongst  those that smoked cigars!
      As we have become more aware of the dangers of smoking and enlightened governments have tightened up on smoking laws, many companies creating cartoons have been editing out the smoking scenes to make them more acceptable to present day audiences. Interestingly, decisions appear to have been made as to whether the smoking scenes involved goodies or baddies, so in some cases if the goodies were thought glamorous or cool, the scene would be cut, but if the baddies looked mean and villainous enough whilst smoking the scenes were sometimes left in!
      To show how anti smoking we were all becoming the Belgian cartoonist Maurice de Bevere's most famous cartoon character Lucky Luke renounced his previously permanent cigarette for a simple single blade of grass. Because of this, in 1988 Maurice was presented with an award by the World Health Organization!
      The cartoon film industry was not the only one to edit out signs of smoking. Perhaps the most famous being the music industry and the Beatles 1969 "Abbey Road" record sleeve. This shows Paul McCartney walking and holding a cigarette in his right hand. When this image appeared across the Atlantic some politically correct company executive decided that the cigarette was definitely not PC and had it airbrushed out, with no reference to the Beatles or the record company that owned the copyright.


      This wasn't the only Beatle's record to have been mucked about with, when their single "I want to hold your hand" was released in 1964 with a picture sleeve, Paul McCartney was again seen holding a cigarette. This apparently was fine, then when it was re-released in 1984 for the 20th anniversary of the record as their first number one hit in America, the cigarette had disappeared !!


      Staying with the Beatles for a while, George Harrison died aged 58 from cancer. It is said that the cancer was caused by years of heavy smoking. Now probably the last song and record George ever made, he wrote with his son Dhani, and it was called "Horse to the water". This song reflects a little of George's macabre sense of humour. Friends and family understand that this song was a reference to his inability to give up smoking, though he knew this was probably the cause of his cancer and imminent death! A little more than 8 weeks after this song was recorded with Jools Holland, he was dead! He showed the publishing credits as RIP MUSIC LTD. 2001,     instead of his own publishing company Harrisongs; a further sign of George's gentle, but black humour! 
      In one of my earlier post I said that I would, on the odd occasion, chuck in hints and tips (call them what you will) on how you might make a little extra cash. So whilst I am talking about music I will add a note or two on how I have made a bit of money buying and selling  vinyl records.
      Now this is a really huge market and it is difficult to generalise about what will make money, but there are a number of easy pointers about what to avoid. Some record labels or companies simply re-issue music, songs and artistes packaged in a different way. Labels like  "Music For Pleasure", "Hallmark" and "Pickwick", to name just a few are ok if you just want to play the music, but with very few exceptions, will not make money for you! Extremely popular artistes such as The Beatles, Elvis, Tom Jones and the like, whilst eminently collectable will rarely make big money. Yes, there are a number that are worth lots of dough, but the likelihood of finding these are extremely remote! I tend to look for long playing records from the 1960s, 70s, and artistes that are either unknown to me or slightly obscure. For example, I bought three albums dated 1971 to 1973, by a band that I had never heard of called "Help Yourself", from a charity shop for just £3.00. I put them into a specialist music auction and they raised £180.00!! Similarly, I aquired three 1973 albums by a band called Gong for £2.50, and they sold at auction for £65.00!


      Mind you, if you select carefully even the seven inch singles will make money!! Hands up those of you who remember a band from 1968 called The Factory. I bet not many hands went up!! Well, I found at a car boot sale a record by this band, featuring two songs, "Pass through the forest" and "Gone". I paid £0.50 for it, it subsequently sold at auction for £490.00!!! The record label was marked as a "demo disc", when I checked to see if it had ever been released, I discovered, the record in mint condition was changing hands at £1000.00 a time.

         Sorry about the poor quality picture, but it is good enough to give you food for thought!........ GOOD HUNTING!!

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