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first Scottish folk session under the smoking ban

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Old March 26th, 2006, 11:46 PM posted to uk.music.folk,rec.travel.europe
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Default first Scottish folk session under the smoking ban

I've been going to the Sandy Bell's folk session in Edinburgh on Sunday
afternoons (mostly Scottish traditional music) for many years. Today
was the first day of the Scottish smoking ban, so that made us the first
folk session in Britain to experience it. The musicians round the table
included two non-smokers who never have, two ex-smokers, three very
occasional smokers, one average-consumption smoker, and a lighting-one-
off-the-other chainsmoking fire goddess. All of whom thought the ban
was way overdue.

Random observations:

- average number of people in the pub, more than last week anyway.

- a lot of people were talking about the ban but nobody was whining.

- the audience was much quieter than usual, we could hear what we
were playing far more clearly. We were a tighter act as a result.

- we could smell the food from the takeaways next door. They're
probably going to get extra custom.

- there is a *very* strange smell from the basement that comes up
under the musicians' feet.

- (from the barman) the smokers were drinking faster because they
didn't have anything to do with their hands except lift glasses.

- the Fire Goddess was only in the pub half the time, from either
being outside smoking or else in the loo (see previous point;
she wasn't drinking anything alcoholic). She thought she smoked
about half her usual number.

- the usual punters taking flash photographs of us playing. Their
pictures will come out clearer for not having the smoke haze
reflecting the flash.

- arriving from Sweden to find you don't have anything to do with
your hands and booze is a fraction of the price you're used to
is a good way to get much more ****ed than you intended.

- there's a surprising amount of extra table space for instruments
with no ashtrays getting in the way.

- lots of people outside smoking. The enforcers haven't hit the
bus shelter yet - smoking in enclosed bus shelters is just as
illegal as in pubs.

- some smokers (not at Bell's today) welcome the ban because of *what*
they're smoking. They had to go outside before anyway. Now, they
just blend in unless somebody sniffs closely.

The one thing I found most surprising was how much quieter the place
was, for the same number of punters sinking more booze than before.
Who would have thought tobacco had such an effect on the noise of
social interactions?

Followups set to rec.music.folk - r.t.e readers, edit headers.

============== j-c ====== @ ====== purr . demon . co . uk ==============
Jack Campin: 11 Third St, Newtongrange EH22 4PU, Scotland | tel 0131 660 4760
http://www.purr.demon.co.uk/jack/ for CD-ROMs and free | fax 0870 0554 975
stuff: Scottish music, food intolerance, & Mac logic fonts | mob 07800 739 557

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