Hamish Champ: Charlie & The Smoking Museum

By Hamish Champ

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Smoking ban, Smoking, Cigarette

Now you know my views on the smoking ban but let's put that to one side for a moment. How many of you smokers out there want a lasting reminder of...

Now you know my views on the smoking ban but let's put that to one side for a moment. How many of you smokers out there want a lasting reminder of how you were once be able to pursue your habit in peace?

OK, forget collecting ashtrays. Forget hoarding old 'No Smoking' signs. What you should do is get along to something my old investment banking mate Charlie is thinking of setting up: a smoking museum.

He reckons this will be the​ place where puffers past and present can wander around, get all misty-eyed - perhaps that should be smoke-gets-in-your-eyed - and savour the Good Old Days™, before they were made to feel like Pariahs of Society™.

Easily a 40-a-day man himself, Charlie came up with this brainwave after spending a day in Le Musée du Fumeur on the rue Pache in Paris (yes, it does​ exist!). Not everyone's cup of tea - or Marlboro Light - I grant you, but then it takes all sorts.

And Charlie's certainly that sort. He's not got so much a bee in his bonnet regarding the smoking ban as a chuffin' great hive full of the buggers. He went nuclear ​when it started in England last month, going on about how this country's turning into Nazi Germany, etc.

Conversely, he wasn't so vexed when the smoking ban came into effect in Scotland, but then he's like that about most matters relating to north of the border. I remember when Thatcher decided to 'try out' the poll tax in Scotland a year before slapping it on the rest of us. When his ex- got a whacking great bill for her four-bedroom pad in Stockbridge, the one she got from the divorce settlement a few years earlier, Charlie laughed like a drain that had backed up into a pub cellar.

Anyway, back to the museum idea. Charlie wants his venture to feature stuff like paintings by - and of - famous smokers down the ages, eg, David Hockney. Plus he's aiming to install display cabinets containing all manner of smoking memorabilia, such as unusual cigarette brands from around the world, pipes carved out of whalebone to look like the Statue of Liberty and fag papers made from pages torn from copies of the Bible found in German POW camps.

But this being an interactive age, it is the very heart of the proposed exhibition where things get interesting.

Here Charlie proposes a large circular room be done out to look like a pub's interior. As well as having ashtrays on the tables full of real dog ends and genuine fag burns on the carpets, special air filters will pump a stale smoke smell into the 'bar'.

Visitors can stand around and chat about the weather while holding those joke cigarettes you used to get as a kid - the ones where smoke-like stuff came out the end when you puffed on them.

It might not be the real thing, but then what is these days? Charlie's looking for funding partners, if anyone fancies getting involved.

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