Mortigi Tempo

Mortigi Tempo

Humorless and bitter anti-smoking rant

People who smoke inside closed workplaces are selfish bastards. Employers who allow smoking are just as bad. I can't come to any other conclusion.

I used to be light smoker, and there was nothing I liked more than having a few cigarettes while drinking. After working in a smoke filled workplace I can’t smoke in bars and pubs. It’s simply unfair to those who have little choice but to work there.

There was an interesting story yesterday about the consequences on hospitality workers:

Campaigners backing a smoking ban today reveal at least two people are killed by exposure to second-hand smoke every day.

And new research has found that environmental tobacco smoke causes one person working in the hospitality industry, such as a bartender, waitress or club worker, to die prematurely every week.

In the starkest warning yet of the consequences of passive smoking, the Royal College of Physicians said the Government is rapidly running out of excuses for not banning smoking in a public place.

Its members will today repeat calls for a ban on smoking in public places and urge the Government to come off the fence.

The research will add further weight to Wales' attempt to persuade Parliament to give it the necessary law-making powers to implement such a ban.

Arguments for closed off rooms or sections in bars and pubs for smokers are surely moot, as employees must work in these areas anyway. These sections/rooms may work for other customers who wish to share the same bar or pub while not breathing in smoke, but are completely unhelpful for those who have to work there.

Hospitality workers don't exactly have vast employment options either. So to suggest workers can choose not to work in such bars or pubs is erroneous. Due to the fact I lack the requisite skills, I am forced to work in dangerous workplace. From soon after opening time until closing time, my workplace is filled with a thick smoke haze. I arrive home reeking of smoke and red eyed. It is a bad enough job as it is - particularly the ridiculously low minimum wage in the UK considering the cost of living in London - the constant passive smoking makes it worse.

In Australia avoiding smoking areas is difficult, but possible. Here, if you work in hospitality, you have to work in a smoking environment. I've been tempted to head to my employers office and light up. I'd be interested in their reaction. It would no doubt be along the lines of informing me that smoking is not permitted here. If only they'd offer me such a similarly safe smoke free environment.

Of course I won't actually ever get around to taking this kind of action. I'll sit on my blog and whinge instead. I’m starting to think this is the reason I blog – I’m too apathetic to do anything else.

posted by Tim Stevens | 5/15/2004 05:57:00 AM |

What I'm Listening To Now

Now with bonus: 'What I'm Watching Now!'


I must say I'm finding the music scene here annoyingly insular. Second rate, wholly uninteresting acts like Franz Ferdinand, The Streets and The Bees are lauded from a great height. It says something that the most lively scene seems to be Liverpool with it's semi-stoned 'sea-shanty' sound (ie. The Coral, The Zutons). Hardly exciting times.

To be fair though, this is only judging from the world of XFM, Radio 1 and some of the more well known music press. I'll give it some time.

Anyway, to console myself, I've been wallowing in former greatness. I've been meaning to get My Bloody Valentine's Loveless for a while. I finally did. Let me start with something tacky: Loveless is soft as snow but warm inside. The wall of feedback and fuzzy, swirling guitars is exactly the sound the terms shoegazer or dream pop summon. Forget this art-punk revival some seem so keen on lately, I want a shoegazer revival. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are getting there, but they're sorta dull. There needs to be more. I can live in hope.

While it's a great album, there are parts of Loveless I can't quite accept. Having the lyrics so far down in the mix for one. Yes, yes, I know it's all part of some "lyrics are just another instrument" nonsense, but that doesn't mean it works. They could be just a fraction more audible. I'm tempted to suggest it may be a cover for a lack of ability to actually write decent lyrics. But I won't suggest that. Because I can't damn well hear them.


That Tarantino film. Like the first, it was more a pastiche than a homage. I'm highly tempted to say the obscure references are beginning to look more and more like a cover for lack of original ideas than any clever and quirky directing. I see no reason why the film geek set have latched onto this man. He is intolerably self-important.

The man himself was doing a Q&A evening in Leicester Square a little while back. I wanted to go ask some probing and witty questions, but I knew I'd end up asking something like "Kill Bill was crap, yeah?" So I didn't go. The other reason I didn't go was that I feared roving mobs of Tarantino fans would drag me into an alley and beat me with Director's Cut editions of Pulp Fiction DVDs. I'm glad I didn't go. Tarantino geeks can be dangerous. Or so I hear.

Limited time only bonus: 'What I'm Watching Now!'

Troy is awful.

posted by Tim Stevens | 5/12/2004 05:33:00 AM |

Fear by numbers

The Piccadilly line was functioning fine this morning. The Victoria bus station was running as usual. Waterloo station was not inundated. Shock. Going by the hysterics of The Sun et al. regarding the inclusion of 10 new EU nations, you'd have presumed Britain would have collapsed under the weight of new migrants by now.

For The Sun et al. there was only one issue worth discussing about the EU expansion - the new Eastern European migrants. Their scaremonging is formulaic - they've done this plenty of times before, it's as if they're just going through the motions. It's a pisstake though. They are so ridiculously hyperbolic and lack any sort of genuine analysis you have no choice but to laugh along. This is fairly different to the Oz tabloids. Any humour in Australian tabloids, like The Tele, seems strictly ideological. Like Tim Blair in print, if you like. Not so for The Sun. This is what makes The Sun slightly readable - they know they're shit and they're not pretending to be anything else, everyone is in on the joke. I get the feeling The Tele actually believes it's a paper worth taking seriously.

The other interesting issue raised by the EU expansion/new migrants brouhaha is the fact that this is not directly an asylum immigration issue. After Howard did His Thing with Australia's asylum seekers and the critics eventually shrugged their shoulders and muttered "Whatever", one of the few positives that seemed to come out the whole issue was that the heat had been taken out of the broader immigration issue, the One Nation-ish-right's thunder had been stolen again. Some drew the connection to Britain and Tony Blair's reluctance to take as harsh a stance as Howard. If only Blair would take a similarly harsh stance, the issue would go away. Yet the debate in Britain does not seem remotely concerned with asylum migration at the moment - the same heat would be on the Eastern European issue whether Blair took the Howard line or not. It was clearly overly-simplistic to have drawn the connections between Australia and Britain at the end of Australia's asylum seeker debate. I was sorta wrong then, as I'm sure I said something like that at the time.

I have nothing more to say about the EU expansion as I've only been reading The Sun. Sorry 'bout that.

posted by Tim Stevens | 5/06/2004 12:48:00 AM |
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