Thursday, 23 October 2008

Ten Weights Please


Just a quick postscript to yesterday's Park Drive post, after receiving a request from Ron Combo asking what the Weights packet looked like. This is quite an early version, when brand names were often put in inverted commas for emphasis. Or emphysema. The design owes much to the first Weights packaging which was an envelope containing cigarettes sold by weight. Hence the name. The classic design pictured here was superceded by a pale beige pack with no excess decoration, and was the worse for it. A brand now forgotten, but immortalised in John Betjeman's Pot Pourri from a Surrey Garden: "Coco-nut smell of the broom, and a packet of Weights / Press'd in the sand."

16 comments:

A F-A said...

This is fascinating! I want you to think for a minute: supposing cigarette sponsorship of racing cars was allowed in Europe in the 50s....could you imagine the colour scheme of a Weights ERA? A Park Drive Connaught? Maybe a Bristol Bristol! Fast forward to the John Player Special Lotus 72.....now THAT got me smoking about 30 a day!

Peter Ashley said...

Good thinking. A Churchman's No.1 livery for the BRM. But I just loved the Gold Leaf packet masquerading as a Lotus.

Jon Dudley said...

No Macs then, just hand drawn artwork...so beautifully seductive. As a gnarled 17 year old smoker I managed to convince quite a few of my contemporaries that smoking untipped 'Gold Flake' was uber-cool and expressed solidarity with the working class, having also invented a myth that that they were the chosen brand of tram drivers. Of course they were quite difficult to get even in the late 60s and were probably far too pricey for the aforementioned tram drivers even back in the golden days of smoke.

A-F-A's point is fun...what if they'd had cigarette sponsorhip in the 20's and 30's...the Bugatti Type 35 Gauloises? or the Bentley 4.5 litre Passing Cloud?

Peter Ashley said...

Trust you John. Last night I was frantically thinking of a racing car to go with Gauloises. The first time I saw Gold Flake was in 1965 when the secretary of my boss chain-smoked them. They looked so exotic in that brilliant yellow pack. She didn't look exotic, but was decidely yellow in complexion.

Vinogirl said...

I think my clothes smell of smoke from just reading your last two posts..ew! But wax lyrical on wine labels, (and liver disease), and I'm your girl.

Peter Ashley said...

I'll have to see what I can do Vinogirl. But this is surely Ron Combo's territory, particularly the liver disease. Anyway, nice fresh air post coming up shortly.

A F-A said...

It is a well known fact that, although Northern train drivers favoured the Gold Flake whilst piloting their 4-6-0 Std Class 5s at breakneck speeds between Kings Cross and civilisation, the more louche drivers of Southern Railway EMUs were usually to be seen handling packs of Sobranie Cocktails.....

Diplomat said...

yes yes - ooh - tracked down some Ismir smokes and awaiting delivery by the way

Peter Ashley said...

AFA, that's a libellous insult against my friends the Southern drivers. Well, one at least. I feel sure they would use Craven A, as they were advertised as not affecting your firebox.

Peter Ashley said...

Oh. And is that really Diplo back amongst us. Hope he's sorted that bloody fish out.

Fred Fibonacci said...

If Sig. Pagani were to enter one of his fabulous Zondas in a motor race it would, surely, be the one car sponsored by Sobranie Cocktails.

I've ranted about this before, but I can't stand the smoking ban. Pubs which once smelled of pubs now smell of Dettol. The addicted are up and down like smoky jumping beans, in and out of the door, shouting above the roar of traffic, freezing cold and wondering why their non-smoking pal politely refuses invites to 'a night at the pub'. It's no longer 'a night at the pub': it's a night outside the pub. I used to go to boozers to lose myself in the warm embrace of good company, decent beer and other people's smoke. The exhilaration of leaving and breathing fresh air was as much a part of the evening as the beer. I liked the insidedness of pubs. I liked the growl of disapproval when the door opened and a chilly blast of outside came sweeping in with a latecomer. Now the door is seldom idle, and there's no peace.

I spend far too much time outside, working, standing up. I liked sitting, virtually motionless, with a pint of perfectly drawn London Pride or Timothy Taylor's Landlord and a packet of Walker's Crisps. Now? All gone, gone forever. We will all live longer and do what, precisely?

Nice fag packets Peter.

A F-A said...

Fred: hear, bloody hear.

Peter Ashley said...

Fred: I just haven't got the words (for once)to say how spot-on your comments on smoking in pubs are. Brilliant, I may ask to quote them in an idea that's brewing. Or maybe I should say gently glowing in the dark like a Woodbine in a bus shelter.

Fred Fibonacci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred Fibonacci said...

Feel free Peter. Anything to help.

Jon Dudley said...

Yes Fred, perfect answer to the question, should it ever be asked, 'Why pubs?'...or more correctly 'What were pubs?' There's a chill wind blowing through the licensing trade these days and who knows what the future holds? Let's hope the answer's not Beefeater Taverns or Kozie Komfort lounges or other such rubbish.