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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Friday 30 March 2012

Pipe tobacco of the moment

Working at home today, I was able to happily puff away with a tobacco new to me, 'Charles Mixture':

The jury is out at the moment on 'Charles', but with the weekend nearly here I'll have one or two more pipes and reflect. Looking at the above photograph, I rather like the composition, a sort of 'Skull and Crossbones' for the stay at home pirate.

It's odd, now, how pipe smoking once had a certain cachet, even a tough guy cachet (mine is more the grey-haired gardener pottering in his greenhouse). One of the 'greats' in this respect is the fictional French detective, Nestor Burma. The novels, by Leo Malet, aren't really in the same league as Raymond Chandler, but Burma was big in France. Further, the great French graphic artist, 'Tardi', has produced some brilliant versions, here from 120 Rue de la gare:

Here's Burma puzzling over the case, recently released from a German PoW camp, and sporting an injury gained when falling from a train. While, below, Burma and a cop/flic fill the pages with tobacco smoke:

Funny how 'Station Road' doesn't sound quite the same.


  1. Smoking a pipe gives one that air of dependability that a favourite uncle might have, homely and reliable but square jawed in the face of adversity. Although I no longer partake, I used to use Tranters the Tabacconist in Bath, who blended there own excellent mixtures.

  2. Indeed, sir! And, in this age of brass, it cocks a snook at the liberal-authoritarians that abound. I will investigate Messrs Tranters. On another note, Springinsfeld, I took delivery yesterday of a book you featured on your blog - The Avalonians - and, much to my surprise, it contains some very interesting information on the Allen family. I am currently working on a book that features Mary Allen, and I would never have found The Avalonians without it featuring on your blog - many thanks!