Tuesday, April 05, 2022

HAPPY PLACE! HAPPY PLACE! HAPPY PLACE!

When I was still a teenager hanging around in bars, I mentioned to a woman sitting next to me that I painted. Upon hearing that, her eyes lit up, and I received a long disquisition about how she too loved to paint, she loved nothing better than being in a quiet room undisturbed, good music in the background, with nice things around her, whereupon inspiration would come fluttering in .....

I've always believed that if you paint, you can do so in the middle of a downpour during the siege of Beirut. While a rabid skunk plays heavy metal bongos in the other room.
She passionately disagreed. Happy place, happy place, happy place!
We ended up not seeing eye to eye.

Some pipesmokers are very attached to the right mood, quietness, and a series of beautiful glowing images. And, for some reason unfathomable, Sherlock Holmes crap. Or their pirate costumes. It makes the exquise tobacco they have chosen for just this occasion, along with the glass of sparkling rosé, taste heavenly, absolutely divine, and why can't the rest of us peasants worshipfully realize and understand that?!?

We're brutes, and we're dumping mud all over what should be regarded in awe.
Harshing their mellow, heretics, barbarians, horrid heathens!
We lack the proper cultured attitudes.
How rude!


Please imagine a chorus of Bronx cheers.
The computer painting above was done while a chainsaw was going on in the garden next door. This room is a mess, and my feet hurt. Oh, and there's a pandemic in the world.
It provided some nice distraction for a few hours.


Yes, it would have indeed been nice if I had just gotten out of school, and settled down with a mystery novel by Georges Simenon, the Dreigroschenoper on the Victrola, and a big pot of tea on the table next to me, in the upstairs living room of our old home in Valkenswaard, one of the cats near the radiator, and a freshly cracked tin of fine tobacco for my pipe, but that is not going to happen. Neither will that time in Mindanao, when I had a full thermos of oolong, had just eaten some splendid food and had a shower, and the ongoing mess between the army, the logging interests, and the Moros seemed to be very far away. Further even than the goldminers and their crime-ridden shanty towns. Or Northbeach, with bad rock and roll from the sleazy bar on the alleyway barely audible, the delicious smell of roasting coffee beans from the Trieste coming in through the open window, a book about headhunting in the Solomon Islands on my lap ......


I acquired the pipe above long after all of that.

The previous owner had left it a right mess and maltreated it while he was still alive, but he'd smoked burley blends so it was still decent underneath the tar and carbon. His kinfolk sold it to the shop a decade after he passed on. After a thorough cleaning, including steaming out the scratches and dings, reshaping the battered rim, de-oxidizing and polishing the stem, as well as salt and alcohol in the bowl, it has proven to be a stellar smoke.


After doing some completely mundane errands and having lunch at a favourite chachanteng down in Chinatown, I'll load it up with whatever is in my tobacco pouch and smoke it while dawdling for an hour. It's a sunny day, not overly warm, and life can't get any better.



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