Smoking as a Fine Art
Location : Ontario Canada
Registration date : 2011-11-12
|Subject: Smoking as a Fine Art Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:03 pm|| |
...it was mentioned on a YouTube vid.
by A.A. Milne
My first introduction to Lady Nicotine was at the innocent age of eight, when, finding a small piece of somebody else’s tobacco lying unclaimed on the ground, I decided to experiment with it. Numerous desert island stories had told me that the pangs of hunger could be allayed by chewing tobacco; it was thus that the hero staved off death before discovering the bread-fruit tree. Every right-minded boy of eight hopes to be shipwrecked one day, and it was proper that I should find out for myself whether my authorities could be trusted in this matter. So I chewed tobacco. In the sense that I certainly did not desire food for some time afterwards, my experience justified the authorities, but I felt at the time that it was not so much for staving off death as for reconciling oneself to it that tobacco-chewing was to be recommended. I have never practised it since.
At eighteen I went to Cambridge, and bought two pipes in a case. In those days Greek was compulsory, but not more so than two pipes in a case. One of the pipes had an amber stem and the other a vulcanite stem, and both of them had silver belts. That also was compulsory. Having bought them, one was free to smoke cigarettes. However, at the end of my first year I got to work seriously on a shilling briar, and I have smoked that, or something like it, ever since.
In the last four years there has grown up a new school of pipe- smokers, by which (I suspect) I am hardly regarded as a pipe- smoker at all. This school buys its pipes always at one particular shop; its pupils would as soon think of smoking a pipe without the white spot as of smoking brown paper. So far are they from
smoking brown paper that each one of them has his tobacco specially blended according to the colour of his hair, his taste in revues, and the locality in which he lives. The first blend is naturally not the ideal one. It is only when he has been a confirmed smoker for at least three months, and knows the best and worst of all tobaccos, that his exact requirements can be satisfied.
However, it is the pipe rather than the tobacco which marks him as belonging to this particular school. He pins his faith, not so much to its labour-saving devices as to the white spot outside, the white spot of an otherwise aimless life. This tells the world that it is one of THE pipes. Never was an announcement more superfluous. From the moment, shortly after breakfast, when he strikes his first match to the moment, just before bed-time, when he strikes his hundredth, it is obviously THE pipe which he is smoking.
For whereas men of an older school, like myself, smoke for the pleasure of smoking, men of this school smoke for the pleasure of pipe-owning—of selecting which of their many white-spotted pipes they will fill with their specially-blended tobacco, of filling the one so chosen, of lighting it, of taking it from the mouth to gaze lovingly at the white spot and thus letting it go out, of lighting it again and letting it go out again, of polishing it up with their own special polisher and putting it to bed, and then the pleasure of beginning all over again with another white- spotted one. They are not so much pipe-smokers as pipe-keepers; and to have spoken as I did just now of their owning pipes was wrong, for it is they who are in bondage to the white spot. This school is founded firmly on four years of war. When at the age of eighteen you are suddenly given a cheque-book and called “Sir,” you must do something by way of acknowledgment. A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake—you are undoubtedly a man. But you may be excused for feeling after the first pipe that the joys of smoking have been rated too high, and for trying to extract your pleasure from the polish on the pipe’s surface, the pride of possessing a special mixture of your own, and such-like matters, rather than from the actual inspiration and expiration of smoke. In the same way a man not fond of reading may find delight in a library of well-bound books. They are pleasant to handle, pleasant to talk about, pleasant to show to friends. But it is the man without the library of well-bound books who generally does most of the reading.
So I feel that it is we of the older school who do most of the smoking. We smoke unconsciously while we are doing other things; THEY try, but not very successfully, to do other things while they are consciously smoking. No doubt they despise us, and tell themselves that we are not real smokers, but I fancy that they feel a little uneasy sometimes. For my young friends are always trying to persuade me to join their school, to become one of the white-spotted ones. I have no desire to be of their company, but I am prepared to make a suggestion to the founder of the school. It is that he should invent a pipe, white spot and all, which smokes itself. His pupils could hang it in the mouth as picturesquely as before, but the incidental bother of keeping it alight would no longer trouble them.
Age : 29
Location : Longview, Tx
Registration date : 2011-11-06
|Subject: Re: Smoking as a Fine Art Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:26 pm|| |
That's a wonderful piece. Incredibly relevant with many smoker-collectors, I have found a few newer pipe smokers who have wonderfully crafted pipes, several of them, however they dislike smoking because they never took the time to learn how to properly pack. All in all I would say that there are a few people that seem to smoke a pipe with a good bit of pretension. I started smoking a pipe because I thought I'd look cool, and alternative compared to my peers (read 20 something rock band members.) It wasn't until I was in one of the lowest spots in my life that I went out on pier at the lake with a good bowl. I discovered the beauty and magic that seem to be intertwined in the grains of briar. For just a brief moment in my life, I found peace in a horrific storm. Ever since then, I've been chasing moments like that, that meditative pureness that makes up all of our "pipe dreams".
Age : 77
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26
|Subject: Re: Smoking as a Fine Art Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:19 pm|| |
All very well, but we need to take the broad view, gentlemen. To those ouside the briarhood, we on the inside are distributed along a range from "Poor role models" to "smelly and disgusting" to "antisocial purveyors of mortal diseases." And since those outside our circle greatly out number those inside it, we need to be careful about fomenting internal skirmishes. The briarhood may have a few charming eccentrics, all traveling pipester paths toward ultimate wisdom, peace and a measure of elegance, be it rough hewn or polished. It's the officious sons and daughters of bachelors outside our circle who are proper targets of our venom. The non-aligned should be properly considered candidates for our own recruitment and conversion. [steps down off his soapbox and heads to his deck, pipe and evening paper in hand.}
Location : Columbus, OH
Registration date : 2012-03-28
|Subject: Re: Smoking as a Fine Art Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:48 pm|| |
Well said Kevin. I think most of us are annoyed at the young "hipsters" that smoke pipes to be counter-cultural, but I wouldn't consider them pipe smokers at all. It will likely fade just as their argyle socks. We true brothers of the briar need to cultivate harmony and friendship. We are outnumbered after all. I don't think criticizing "White Spot" owners will do any good.
(Besides, some of us like those "white spotted" pipes. Albeit overpriced, they do smoke well, and when the hipsters are done with them, they can give them to me
Age : 47
Location : Birmingham, AL
Registration date : 2011-08-19
|Subject: Re: Smoking as a Fine Art Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:18 am|| |
I love the point made by this writing. We all have our favorite aspects of the hobby. I have my nicer pipes but I think there is something special about smoking my first basket pipe and getting lost in my thoughts.
Location : Atlanta
Registration date : 2011-11-27
|Subject: Re: Smoking as a Fine Art Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:54 pm|| |
While I do see your point, I must respectively disagree with it for 2 obvious (To me anyway) reasons. The first reason is that I am a big fan of the "White spotted" pipes and the people you describe supply a stream of estate pipes for me to chose from so I can avoid paying retail prices. The 2nd reason is better put into the form of a comparison/question and regards cigar smokers, When was the last time you walked into the bar in the club house of a golf course? The arrogance and ego of the modern weekend cigar smoker is really something to behold. I for one would much rather hang around the pipe smokers you describe than pretentious weekend cigar smoker. But, as with everything these are just my opinions and we all know what opinions are like
Location : Mexico City
Registration date : 2009-08-24
|Subject: Re: Smoking as a Fine Art Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:42 pm|| |
- Grayhound wrote:
- When was the last time you walked into the bar in the club house of a golf course? The arrogance and ego of the modern weekend cigar smoker is really something to behold. I for one would much rather hang around the pipe smokers you describe than pretentious weekend cigar smoker. But, as with everything these are just my opinions and we all know what opinions are like
Hahahaha! I have experienced this myself. Usually at the local B&M on vacations up in the US. Often it seems that a cigar is just compliment or prop for an overly ego-driven individual. But, there are exceptions. Plenty of crossover smokers on this board who you'd never think were...... cigar guys
Smoking as a Fine Art