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IDLER’S DIARY Despatches from the loafer’s world
Smoker’s Corner ¶ As the ravages of the government's ill-considered, uncivilized and frankly impolite smoking ban continue to tear through old convivial Britain, it’s worth drawing attention to the occasional courageous rebel. Pub landlord Nick Hogan of the Swan in Bolton was recently fined over £10,000for failing to enforce the smoking ban. He commented: “I still believe that this legislation is draconian and I am sure that the fight against it will go on. This was not just about smoking. It was about people’s rights.” Hogan had left notes on the pub’s tables which read: “The management and staff believe you have the freedom to choose whether or not you wish to smoke. If you choose to smoke, it is entirely your responsibility.” The establishment lickspittles at the Manchester Evening News, when reporting the story, called the smoking ban a “great social change”, asserted that “the law is the law” and clumsily attacked Hogan as “just another rebel with a cause that was already lost”.
This Little Piggie Stayed At Home Meanwhile, the editor of this magazine got himself into hot water with the busybodies following his decision to have his pigs killed at home. This ancient cottage practice—keeping, killing and eating your own pigs— appears to have been made illegal with a new EUrule. Instead, they have to be killed in the abbatoir. In the old days, and still in civilized countries, country people killed their pigs at home because it is more humane and more straightforward than transporting them to the slaughterhouse. One moment the pig is happily snuffling, and the next it is dead. Clearly the extra cost and hassle of taking them to the slaughterhouse will tend to deter people from keeping pigs at home, meaning more reliance on the vast industrialised systems of food production. William Cobbett wrote that a pig in the back yard was the sign of a contented home, and that “a flitch of bacon hanging in the kitchen does far more for domestic harmony than a thousand Methodist tracts and sermons.” The meat from a happy, home-fed pig also tastes better
SUMMER 2008 than from slaughterhouse animals. It’s time to campaign for a restoration of this ancient custom, and we urge readers to take a look at at www.thislittlepiggiestayedathome.com for more information.
Announcement of a Free Festival Loafers far and wide will travel to the Exmoor coast again this year for the Lynton and Lynmouth Music Festival, 13th to 15th June. Quality bands, local ales and a seaside setting combine to make this festival one of the quirkiest and most charming of the summer. What’s more, it’s free. The whole thing is organised and run by unpaid volunteers, makes no profit and is done purely for its own sake. Go to www.llama.org.uk for more details.
More Festival Fun Look out for an Idlerpresence at other festivals this summer including The Secret Garden Party and Shambala. We had a great time at both these festivals last year, with our friends from the Duke of Uke, the Rebel Soul crew and of course Bloodstone, the medievalist, bardic and merry-making posse run by the redoubtable Daniel Herlakin. This year we hope to recreate a medieval garden for debate and relaxation.
Movie Night Thanks to Reel Indi ofTapeley Park in North Devon, for asking TH to come and give a talk at one of their film nights. Henry and his gang run a programme of underground and alternative movies at Hector Christie’s household in North Devon: www.myspace.com/northdevonactiveyouth
Born Free To Jock Scot, a child is born, Iris Montgomery. Mother and baby doing well. Dad jobless, toothless and occasionally concussed but also doing well. To Sarah Janes, a child is also born, Indiana Joy Janes. She is really cute.
NOTES FROM THE COUCH