I learned something depressing today.


Turns out my occasional recreational toke on a shisha pipe is going to kill me after all. And as punishment for my smugness about its ‘practical harmlessness’, rather faster than a cigarette, apparently.

Great. Spent my life walking the remarkably high-minded line between having never smoked and being socially unphased by the idea of people smoking, and then it turns out my multi-cultural affectations are going to punch me in the lungs for being a pretentious arse. Fair enough I suppose.

A study by the Department of Health and the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre – you know them, right? – has revealed some allegedly shocking levels of Carbon Monoxide.


Turns out half an hour on a hookah is, at its measurably very best, significantly worse for you than a fag. In fact, in many instances apparently, an average shish sesh outstrips a ciggy by factors in the hundreds for CO levels.

And to add cultural insult to circulatory injury, a London shisha bar owner mentioned that he doesn’t ever inhale when he’s using one. Like you’re not supposed to.

So I should stop filling my lungs with this stuff, then? You tell me this now?

But it’s so sociable. I really enjoy breaking out the pipe occasionally. Never put anything more relaxing in it than humble oriental apple resin, you understand, but it’s a nice thing to hand round the table after you’ve mopped up the last of your baba ganoush and your lamb tabouli, don’t you think? Right?

Oh fine. Right. So don’t break out the hubbly bubbly.

I can hardly have any complaints otherwise today, though.

I’ve spent half of it sifting through the schedule to construct various strata of To Do lists from the chaotic debris of a busy couple of weeks. And I’ve been doing so after a weekend that was a much looked-forward-to long one that’s subsequently etched its blatant idleness all over my face. Really. I have stupid ski-jock panda eyes from staring at the skies in sunnies.

After a few days of shamelessly lounging around the vast front lawn of Laura and Chris’s place on the Westcliff, sipping champers and nibbling strawberries, while tracing the lazy arcs of various acrobatic aero displays over Bournemouth’s fairly amphitheatrical bay, I feel nicely head-cleared again. Gorgeous weather for four days, basically, while a selection aviation engines purred and roared their poetry over the seaside atmosphere. Lovely. These are the days, and all that.

The ones that will help you say: “meh – fair enough” when it all goes belly up.

The secret to switching off in such a Carefree Git-like manner though, is tying up loose ends before you clear off. Wiping the ol’ slate. Putting out the mental moggy and leaving a note for the mental milkman. Clunking the door closed on a clean house as you leave with a full case.

I managed to push the wraparounds up the nose and fold the hands behind the remarkably successfully disengaged bean as I did for three whole, luxuriant days purely thanks to the number of serendipitously positive notes on which last week was mercifully ended – the most significant and serenading of which being the pertinent one. The one you need to take note of. The album.

The album.

Yes. Really.

If I could relax on the lawn at all for a couple of precious days, it was partly because I could bask a little in the mental warmth of having posted a complete pre-mastered version of The Golden Age to Jamie on Saturday morning. Yes, again, really.

No, really.

Ish. The ‘ish’ being that it’s not completely right, of course. So just hold your horses.

It’s not a version I’ll be putting in anyone else’s hands until I’ve heard his immediate verdict and given him my lengthy Well Obviously It Won’t Be Like That list. Various levels are off and numerous details are not quite right and a session is missing… but, ah, it is in shape. It does exist. ..I can now hear it from start to finish.

There is now no smoke to hide behind.


So now, back to work, I have to start resolving what the hell to do with it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *