* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.


17 January 2002
Jamie's fuming....

It's always us who get the blame. Like we're outcasts, lepers, a disgrace to society. Next thing you know, there'll be a campaign to list all our names in the News of the World, so vigilantes can come round and duff us all up for being a danger to the nation's children, stealers of young life, ne'er-do-wells with flagrant disregard for the concerns of others.

Sorry. I just got triggered off by a news headline (followed by a five-minute special report) on the BBC's notoriously hard-hitting Breakfast News (with Jeremy Bowen). 'A new survey on the dangerous effects of passive smoking', they trumpeted. At last, I thought, some justification for the ostracism we've had to face. A case to answer, a defence to be made. Something to get my teeth into.

But with the Breakfast News, it's never that simple. The survey announced the following 'startling' discovery: people who live with smokers are likely to inhale up to twice as much cigarette smoke as those who don't. 'Most alarming' was the statistic that children whose parents smoked were exposed to over five times the amount of cigarette smoke as those with non-smoking elders.

Let's run through that again. If someone smokes in your house, you will breathe in more smoke than if they don't. Forgive me if I don't faint with surprise. Where else but in the home are kids likely to be around smokers? I can only think of two places: behind the bike sheds, where it's hardly going to be a particularly passive intake, or in the staffroom (insert gag on previous clause here).

Then they interviewed a 'victim'. Kerry, who lived with her smoking boyfriend Dave (names have been changed to protect the injured parties). Her voice wasn't spoken by an actor, but it might just as well have been. She revealed the extent of Dave's terrifying habit (he sometimes smoked as many as 20 cigarettes in a day! Sometimes he had a cigarette within ten minutes of getting up in the morning!), finally admitting that the house did smell a little smoky. Especially when they'd had friends round and they'd all smoked in the house. Dave just looked nonplussed; she knew he was a smoker when they first met, and she'd never complained about it before. Some people will do anything to get on the telly.

I finally had to laugh when they interviewed someone from the Imperial Cancer Research fund, who organised the witch-hunt (sorry, survey). To be fair to him, he did look a little sheepish when a (clearly concerned) Bowen asked him about the health implications of these findings, and he could only stammer 'Well, this was a quantitative rather than qualitative survey...'

So someone has paid thousands of pounds of desperately-needed charity money to come up with results you could have worked out in five minutes in the queue at M&S. Not that you ever have to queue that long, they're very efficient. Let me save the country a few more millions: you are more likely to eat significant amounts of red meat if you are not a vegetarian. People who are professional athletes are likely to do more exercise than those who do not have gym membership. People who work on a farm spend more time outdoors than office workers. Cheques from the Linda McCartney Foundation, Get Out Get Fit, and the Agricultural Institute should be made out to Jamie at

Don't get me wrong, I don't think it can be all that nice to have a faceful of smoke when you're trying to eat your expensive meal that you've saved for for three months. It's certainly an irritant. But don't go pinning lung cancer in non-smokers on the likes of me without having more than the circumstantial evidence that 'they didn't smoke - cigarettes cause lung cancer - it must have been other people's fags'. If you can link the findings of that survey to increased incidents of the big C, then I'll hold my hands up and apologise. But let's look at the exposure to traffic fumes and pollution and the way they link in to disease first. Before we end up with the California situation where you're not even allowed to smoke outside in public. That forces people to smoke inside their own homes. And we all know how dangerous that can be.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
13 October 2003. Jamie writes: The Persistence of Memory
22 September 2003. Jamie writes: The Email Eunuch
1 September 2003. Jamie writes: Credo
11 August 2003. Jamie writes: Brad and Jennifer and Me
21 July 2003. Jamie writes: Interruption
30 June 2003. Jamie writes: Do you remember the first time?
12 June 2003. Jamie writes: Forthcoming Attractions
19 May 2003. Jamie writes: Stupid Mistake
28 April 2003. Jamie writes: Hoping and Praying
7 April 2003. Jamie writes: Strangers on a Plane
17 March 2003. Jamie writes: Q&A
24 February 2003. Jamie writes: Altered States
3 February 2003. Jamie writes: How to say goodbye
13 January 2003. Jamie writes: In A League Of Their Own
23 December 2002. Jamie writes: What's in a name?
2 December 2002. Jamie writes: Lies, Damned Lies and Spastics
11 November 2002. Jamie writes: Memoirs of a Gaysian: A Preface
21 October 2002. Jamie writes: Love is blindness
30 September 2002. Jamie writes: Time for bed
9 September 2002. Jamie writes: Angry Exchanges Can Be Puzzling [10]
19 August 2002. Jamie writes: High Speed
29 July 2002. Jamie writes: Firkin Hell
8 July 2002. Jamie writes: Do you, er... haiku?
13 June 2002. Jamie writes: Unnatural Porn Thrillers
20 May 2002. Jamie writes: The Triumphant Return of the Septic Fiveskins
25 April 2002. Jamie writes: Meeting People is Easy
4 April 2002. Jamie writes: I Want I Want I Want
7 March 2002. Jamie writes: The Player of Games
11 February 2002. Jamie writes: Fat Man Walking
17 January 2002. Jamie writes: Passive/Aggressive
3 January 2002. Jamie writes: Love (classified)
29 November 2001. Jamie writes: A Lil' Nite Muzak
5 November 2001. Jamie writes: Natural born liar
11 October 2001. Jamie writes: All I need
17 September 2001. Jamie writes: Postcards From The Edge (of the pool)
23 August 2001. Jamie writes: Class act
30 July 2001. Jamie writes: Ritchie Neville is dead
5 July 2001. Jamie writes: A Letter from God
11 June 2001. Jamie writes: "If it's in French, it must be deep"
17 May 2001. Jamie writes: Reportage
23 April 2001. Jamie writes: Show me the Logos
29 March 2001. Jamie writes: Sobering Thoughts
8 March 2001. Jamie writes: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
8 February 2001. Jamie writes: Spent
15 January 2001. Jamie writes: Full to the brim
21 December 2000. Jamie writes: fuck xmas
27 November 2000. Jamie writes: Eye Candy
2 November 2000. Jamie writes: World-wide-web?
9 October 2000. Jamie writes: Kids' stuff
14 September 2000. Jamie writes: Scatological Warfare
21 August 2000. Jamie writes: I can't stand up (for falling clowns)
10 July 2000. Jamie writes: The Etymology of Greatness

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