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« Going, going ... gone | Main | Ten reasons why the smoking ban stinks »

Rod Liddle, (Brian Binley) and me

Just enjoyed a rollicking couple of hours with Sunday Times columnist and Spectator blogger Rod Liddle. The hair may be a little greyer than in this photo but Rod has lost none of his sharpness or charm.

He is currently filming a weekly video for the new Sunday Times website (paywall and all) and this week - prompted by Brian Binley's EDM - he has decided to cover the smoking ban.

At 11.30 this morning Brian and I duly reported for duty on College Green, opposite the Houses of Parliament, where Rod wanted to interview the pair of us and a representative of ASH.

In the event - and after a lot of waiting - an ASH spokesman failed to show. Instead they put forward Stephen Williams, a youthful-looking Lib Dem MP, who declared that the reason he couldn't support the use of extraction fans (and therefore an amendment to the smoking ban) is because - wait for it - they are too noisy and drown out conversation!!!

Well, that's what Rod said he said. I was out of earshot at the time but it reminded me of what a BBC presenter once said on a Five Live discussion programme. Why would we want better ventilation in pubs, she asked. Surely that would encourage people to smoke more?


After Brian and Stephen had left and it was my turn to be interviewed we decided it would be more interesting to do it outside a pub with a drink in my hand and a fag in Rod's. So off we staggered - Rod, the cameraman and me - to the Marquis of Granby, a pub familiar to those who attended the Voices of Freedom debates in June.

A couple of pints later (Rod was drinking dry white wine) we finished filming and continued chatting. Here's a little of what I can remember:

  • Rod smokes 30 cigarettes a day
  • He plays five-a-side football for the Smoking Monkeys at Millwall Football Club
  • Several members of the team smoke, but not as much as Rod
  • Last time out Rod was top scorer
  • The Smoking Monkeys are better than most 19-year-olds

Confidentially, Rod also told me that his wife Alicia bought him a running machine for Christmas because, in her words, he was "fat as fuck".

After she caught him smoking - while running - on the machine she declared the whole thing to be "pointless".

PS. Rod's video will appear on the Sunday Times website from Sunday. For the benefit of those who don't want to subscribe I am hoping that the ST will allow me to post it on this blog later next week. Watch this space.

Reader Comments (9)

If Stephen Williams actually gave noisy extractors as his reason for maintaining
a total ban in every room,in every pub in the United Kingdom, he is little more
than one total snivelling prat who deserves a stern lesson in reality.
Meaningfull conversation with a Liberal,that alone is an impossibility regardless of
buzzing fans.. Whats even worse ,some half baked non producing cluster of
hamlets have voted for the fool.

Anyway times up for chattering.

July 8, 2010 at 19:47 | Unregistered CommenterEmpty Egg Timer

"one total snivelling prat who deserves a stern lesson in reality.................."

Time, I think, to swallow our pride, and borrow an idea (or two) from the French.

Such as the Guillotine.

With a new head upon his shoulders - and the latest techniques in transplant surgery - Master Williams may one day learn to talk some sense.

We should help him with his little problem.............................

July 8, 2010 at 22:10 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I think Rod has had other issues with keeping fit.

"Serves you right, you might be thinking, with your lifestyle, all that alcohol and cigarettes – something was going to go wrong sooner or later. Well, you’d be half right. It is a lifestyle problem. It’s the consequence of a mishap which occurred when I was using my fucking running machine, a couple of torn stomach muscles when I inadvertently hit the “sprint!” button. The thing set off like the bloody clappers but I, initially, did not and there was an audible tearing as I grasped desperately for the handlebars. My wife bought me the treadmill as a forty-ninth birthday present, so that I might become thinner and healthier. Thanks love; you reap what you sow."

"I emerge from the cocoon of pain to discover that the ton ton macoute within the medical profession are now trying to ban smoking in cars, another absurdly unjust imposition upon our choices of lifestyle."

July 9, 2010 at 7:20 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Gotta love the man......................................

July 9, 2010 at 10:23 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I bet Steven Williams regrets that remark.ASH UK seems to be keeping a low profile these days. Is the Government going to stop giving them hundreds of thousands of pounds of our taxes each year? They are not earning it. We had a woman from CRUK on Nicky Campbell's "bonfire of the laws" phione in - I guess because the smoking ban was the most popular. On the Tony Livesey Show we had a woman from the Roy Castle Foundation.

July 9, 2010 at 12:19 | Unregistered Commenterjon

"the Roy Castle Foundation......................."

Of course.

Roy Castle - never smoked in his life - dead at 62.

Keith Richards - a dedicated smoker (and occasional Illegal Substance Abuser) - still rockin' at 66.

And as for Bill Wyman, aged 73............................................

Luck of the Draw ?

I reckon it must have SOMETHING to do with it..............................

(Or did nobody die from lung cancer before the Age of Tobacco ?)

July 9, 2010 at 13:09 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

"(Or did nobody die from lung cancer before the Age of Tobacco ?)"
There were virtually no deaths recorded as from lung cancer prior to the twentieth century. Tobacco smoking became popular in the sixteenth century so there was a 350 year incubation period.
Expect to see deaths from the English civil war and the great fire of London to appear soon.

July 9, 2010 at 20:08 | Unregistered CommenterTony W

No win eh?

Drowns out conversation?

He'd hear me OK because I'd be shouting an inch from his santimonious puss.

What a pathetic excuse, they really are scraping the bottom of the bottom of the barrell, not even the new mantra of - "its the stink".

And what happened to the ASH person, cold feet, any explanantion?

July 9, 2010 at 21:33 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph K

Stephen "they are too noisy and drown out conversation!!!" has never been to a club with music or a packed pub full of laughing and joking, jolly people.
He must drink alone (not a good idea) but understandable given his attitude.
Noise from a fan would never be noticed.
His absence from these places would never be noticed.
The smokers absence from business that depend on people who want a good time and a degree of comfort have been missed.
I am an Adult, I will Choose, the pity is the country has been regulated into the ground, the taxes that could come from tobacco sales (a Legal product) are being severely reduced because of the lack of consideration for smokers, the worst hit (again) are the poor. Those that can not afford to buy abroad, those that are at the mercy of government bullying. The black market is booming, the country is on it's knees, the bankers have ruined the economy with the Governments help, why on earth should anyone think they have a clue how to get us up and running???
We need to Welcome Everyone into Our Business to survive, is that so hard for Stephen and his ilk to understand????
Thick or what?

July 13, 2010 at 11:48 | Unregistered CommenterMary Smoker

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