James Leavey's The End Of The World


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25 seconds in the life of Che Guevara
Will the real Vienna please stand up
A day at the Dublin races
The Big Smoke
24 tips for communicating withy anti-smokers
Bogart lights up
A history of tobacco
Haunted Britain
All I want for Christmas is a fine cigar
Not just another bloody holiday

 

Welcome to the end of the world, as seen through the eyes of James Leavey, one of Britain's most politically incorrect writers, as well-known for his subversive humour as he is for his outspoken support of smokers around the world.

The editor of 'The FOREST Guide to Smoking in London' and 'The FOREST Smoker's Guide to Scotland' - the world's first travel guides for those who still dare to enjoy tobacco in public, Leavey's books and articles on or around the subject of smoking have ignited debate on many of the world's radio and television stations, including BBC 24 Hours, Sky News, CNN, Cuba's National Radio, and in much of the world's printed media, including The Times, The Sunday Times, Playboy, Time magazine, Financial Times, GQ magazine, Marie Claire, Pravda, The Scotsman, USA Today, International Herald Tribune, Die Welt, Independent on Sunday, Time Out, and London's Evening Standard.

As author of 'The Harrods Pocket Guide to Fine Cigars', and editor/writer of JJ Fox's occasional cigar newsletter, 'The Humidor,' his work is also read by many of the world's most famous (and well-heeled) cigar aficionados.

A regular contributor on cigars and other subjects to Classic Travel magazine, Wine magazine, Boom magazine (sent to 50,000 British millionaires), the Hurlingham Polo Association Book of the Season, and Whisky magazine, James Leavey is, when he's not home swigging single Malts and inhaling Havanas, a tobacco historian, cigars columnist for World Tobacco magazine, and an occasional contributor to BBC Radio 4 - where he is not allowed to light up so much as a cigarette in their studios!

When he runs out of cigars, James switches to one of his pipes - one of the reasons why he contributed to the current edition of 'The Pipesmokers' Handbook' (contact www.pipesmokersouncil.org for a free copy).

Week Sixteen - For those of you wondering why I haven’t been updating this column,recently, the short answer is I was rather busy, moving from north Londonto Cowes on the Isle of Wight, just off the southern coast of England –which has for six months now has become, for myself and my wife, ‘foreignparts’. Oddly enough, I wasn’t driven from Britain’s capital by theanti-smokers – in the words of John Wayne ‘That’ll be the day!’  No, Idrove down here, all the way, all by myself, the car packed to the rafterswith cigars, cigarettes and ashtrays.  And have been enjoying it eversince.

Week Fifteen -According to Robert Hare, who teaches at the University of BritishColumbia and recently addressed a police conference in New York, one percent of the world’s population are clinical psychopaths, i.e. deceitful,short-tempered individuals who display early behavioural problems thatlater become anti-social. He also blames the recent blue-chip accountingscandals at WorldCom and Enron on psychopathic chief executive officers,who are easily recognized by their deceit, short-temper, irresponsibilityand craving for excitement. Such people, he says, are usually callous andcold-blooded and don’t care that anyone else, especially underlings, mayhave thoughts and feelings. They also have no sense of remorse or guilt. Goodness gracious me! That almost describes to a ‘T’ many of theanti-smoking born-again puritans most smokers get on the wrong side ofevery day. The good news is...
Week Fourteen - Not long ago, I spent a few convivial and informative hours with Dr Ernst Schneider, chairman of Davidoff, whose multinational company is often said to be the world’s biggest name in cigars.  Indeed, the name Davidoff is inextricably linked with the smoker-friendly city of Geneva, and I had flown there for the grand reopening of Dr Schneider’s refurbished flagship cigar shop. At one point, I told him that I had recently interviewed Peter de Savary, the entrepreneurial businessman and founder of The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle in Scotland, former Highland home of Andrew Carnegie, which went as follows...
Week Thirteen - Week 13, unlucky for some. Especially the quarter of the world's mammals who face extinction within 30 years, according to a recent United Nations study on the state of the global environment. Or to put it another way, that's 11,046 species of plants and animals, including 1,130 mammals - 24 per cent of the total, and 12 per cent, or 1,183 species of birds. They'll probably blame it all on passive smoking.
Week Twelve - We're living in an age where we have become so anesthetized by the media's constant bombardment of images of brutality, war, greed, hunger and intolerance, that our interest is only grabbed by 'sexy' headlines. Such as, 'All the world's illnesses are caused by passive smoking'. Or some such balderdash. The sad reality is that whenever there's a disaster, those of us who have access to the world's 24-hours news networks (CNN, Fox, Sky, BBC etc) are often glued to life's evolving dramas. 'News' has now metamorphosed into a ghoulish form of spectator entertainment.
Week Eleven - ... Maybe it's time we bred a new race of super-smokers: intelligent, considerate, nicotine-friendly adults who refuse to fall for the 'you're killing me with all that passive smoking' arguments, and are prepared to fight for the right to smoke in public areas. Meanwhile, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich have found mice lacking a gene called CRH1 drank more alcohol after stressful experiences than normal animals.Maybe there's a CRH2 gene, for people who smoke more after being publicly humiliated by total strangers. 
Week Ten - There’s a lot that’s been bugging me this week, in more ways than one. Western Europe has been invaded by a supercolony of Argentian ants who, unlike the silly bureaucrats who reputedly run the European Union, represent the largest co-operative unit of individual organism. The ‘Argies’, as we Brits used to call them, in the bad old days of the Falkland War conflict, have collectively driven out the 20 or more indigenous species in an area that stretches from Italy, through the south of France, around the coast of, and up the Atlantic coast of Portugal. And none of them smoke.
Week Nine -' In a few billion years, our home galaxy, the Milky Way, will collide with the Andromeda Galaxy, with catastrophic results. And there’s nothing we can do about it, even if we humans, as a race, survive that long. So given the bleak, long-term future of the Earth, why are some this planet’s country leaders still fanning the flames of war" Get your heads out of the ashtray, I say, and watch where the smoke rises. Then maybe you’d realize there’s a sky up there too, and that we all live under it.'
Week Eight - ' What a week this has been. The Queen Mother died aged 101, God Rest Her, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict gets more nightmarish every time I - hesitatingly - switch on the news. Perhaps that’s why I keep finding myself humming, 'Nearer My God, Than Thee'.'
Week Seven - ' Nipped over to Belfast last Friday, as chief judge of the annual press and broadcast awards, for a black-tie dinner, complete with lots of booze and cigars.It was reassuring to see an ashtray on every table, even if some people insisted on using it as a butter dish. The other judges were the usual top of the media suspects, including the deputy editor of the Daily Express, and head of ITN News.Someone asked me who I represented, to which I replied that, among other things, I was editor of the world’s first travel guides for smokers.“So how come you’ve been the chief judge for the past three years"” He asked.“Because I’m the one who rang the other judges and invited them to take part,” I said.“That, and the fact that I’m the only person in the room with the keys to the cigar humidor" '
Week Six - " It’s all looking good, if you’re a suicidally-minded pessimist. Two Antarctic shelves with a combined area of more than 3,000 square miles have just fallen into the sea. I understand that neither event will affect global sea levels because the shelves were already afloat. But, hey, what a great time to take up surfing.
Week Five - " While scanning several ‘Non-Smoking Vegans Live Forever’ websites last night, to see how the other half lived, I came across one that asked me a series of deeply personal questions about the current state of my mind, body, and all those politically-incorrect habits that help me make it through the night. It then threw this information into an additive-free pot, stirred in some complicated equations – and out popped the number of years I had left to live.
Week Four - ' The other day, somebody asked me if a pea could last a thousand years. "For a man with prostrate problems," I replied, "it certainly seems that way at times." Then he wondered aloud if female frogs croaked. "They do," I assured him, "especially if you hold their head under water for several hours." ' 
Week Three - "Several years ago I read an article about a man who went potholing in New York State, during the course of which he dropped his hammer down a hole – and never heard it land. He went on to claim that NYC is standing on a huge geological fault which one day, no doubt the result of a huge earthquake, will swallow the Big Apple whole and spit out the pipsqueaks."
Week Two - "Had a bit of a shock when I went through this month’s bank statement. Seems I’m worth more dead, than alive, what with the cost of funerals being so high. Rushed out to the local library and found the perfect solution: The New Natural Death Handbook, edited by Nicholas Albery and Stephanie Wienrich. It includes a guide to all of Britain’s woodland burial grounds and mail-order cardboard coffins, the best funeral directors, cemeteries and crematoria, the law on private land burial, and inexpensive funerals ‘without funeral directors’."
Week One - "It’s been a slow fortnight. Just the usual global corruption, crime and violence, an African volcano oozing lava, Trojan Horse viruses threatening my hard-drive, and the most powerful man on the planet spending half of his time as US President playing golf in Texas. And there’s still no sign of the stray asteroid that is about to hit the Earth and wipe out mankind."

 


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