"In the 2001 film Mike Bassett: England Manager, Ricky Tomlinson play the clueless manager drafted in at the last minute to run the national team. He announces his squad list, which he had earlier scribbled down on a gold cigarette packet. He’s puzzled by the inclusion by his secretary, Margaret, of a forty-three-year-old Third Division player and another nonentity.MARGARET: Here’s the squad list, and I’ve given copies to the press, like you asked.MIKE: Ah, well done, Margaret, thank you … hey, hang on a minute! There’s 28 names here, I only picked 26.MARGARET: Well, that was the list you gave me.MIKE: Tony Hedges, York City? I didn’t pick him, love.MARGARET: You must have done, Mike. I wouldn’t have put him down, otherwise.MIKE: Never heard of him, have I? And who’s this clown? Ron Benson, Plymouth Argyle?MARGARET: Look, Mike, they were on the list of players that you gave me!MIKE: (holding up the cigarette box he wrote the squad list on) Oh, come on, love! Show me where it says ‘Benson and Hedges’ on that."
The first cigarette I ever smoked was a Benson & Hedges DeLuxe Ultra Light. I was young and tired and angry and had stalked to the 24-hour Walgreens in the middle of a cold February night, only to realize once I got to the counter that I didn't know a damned thing about cigarettes-only that, whatever they were, I wanted them, needed them (my relationship with tobacco hasn't changed much). I concentrated on maintaining my poker face, worried that I'd be found out as a non-smoker, and gruffly pointed to the most lavish looking pack I could see, grabbed some ornate "designer" lighter that broke within a week of purchase (like they all do), and stole back into the night.
By the time I bought my next pack I'd decided to move onto the full strength variety, but taxes soon caught up with me and I've been a Marlboro girl for a few good years now. I still look for full strength B&H whenever I pop into a drug store, but for about six or seven months now I've noticed the full strength variety is never in stock. I imagine there simply isn't the demand for it anymore, given that the CT excise tax is $3 per pack. Damn shame.
The Cigarette Book itself, by the way, looks wonderful, and can be yours for the price of two cheap packs in CT/four cheap packs in VA. Unfortunately, given that I already have many unread books and need what little money I have to purchase more tobacco, I won't be owning it for quite some time, which is why it's lovely that its authors have been posting excerpts (RSS feed here).