it is highly likely that the question of just which brand is considered the quintessential American cigarette is one which is inconsequential. with advertising long since banned and packaging becoming some sort of bland standardised thing few would care for such a question today, and no one of the generations to come will think to ask it.
what would i think it is? instinct probably tells all Marlboro, but deeper thought says no. Marlboro had cultivated an image of sophistication, class and luxury that was not indelibly tied to one particular country. Camel is another contender, perhaps, but then again they branded themselves as the cigarette of choice for the man of adventure, or if you like man of action.
the quintessential American cigarette, then, is likely to be one which is well known across the American market, but has perhaps not managed to flourish in other lands to a point of instant recognition or association. like, for instance, Lucky Strike.
yes. actually no, hang on, but yes. i have recently come into the ownership of some packets of Lucky Strike cigarettes, or if you like some Luckies. that would be the purpose, if not point, of this post and the semi literate start, so if you have no interest in the subject i would suggest you find another corner of the internet and i shall bid you a very good day.
how is it that i came into the ownership or if you like became the custodian of some Luckies? Spiros. as part of his efforts in being the greatest legal mind of his generation he frequently needs to visit other sovereign states to conduct his affairs. he said he got bored of just getting me my beloved Marlboro, and thus elected to procure for me some Luckies.
to this i say nice one, for as much as i love Marlboro, any fags are a blessing and a delight to receive when one considers the frightening prices on them here these days. also, it is lovely to get some cigarettes with the traditional, proper packaging still allowed.
this is, strangely. not the first time i have had the pleasure of having some Luckies. it is, however, probably the first time on this northern side of the equator. down in South Africa i am sure i had a packet or two of these, and indeed the non-filtered, rum roasted Texan ones, too. hair on your chest cigarettes was my abiding memory of both.
how are they, as in what are they like to smoke? most decidedly bronchial, dear reader. they are reasonably pleasant at first but my word do they have one heck of an after kick. how i imagine waterboarding is, right, is what i imagine one does to their body - in particular lungs, other chest elements and throat - with these, but only with nicotine laced smoke rather than water.
surely that sensation would be enough to insist to yourself to stop smoking, no? but of course. absolutely everyone instantly stops doing absolutely everything that is bad for them the moment their attention is drawn to this fact. that's why no one smokes, drinks, eats, exercises, etc, any more in this world, and why we are now all destined for a very real immortality.
the above is so very clear in Commodore 64 mode that you do not need a single word from me, but for the sake of completeness yes, the above indeed are Great Barrier Reef branded cigarette lighters that i got off of Poundland, with the packet costing me £1. i did indeed buy them specifically for the commencement of use with them in lighting up the Luckies. in my imagination Luckies would have been a popular brand in Australia, right before the country went for some inexplicable reason all fanny and effectively banned cigarettes all together. funny things happen when you are so far away from the rest of the world.
i don't remember the specifics of where i heard this, or if it was in any way accurate, but i have memories of either reading or being told that Lucky Strike were called so because, presumably as part of branding, they came with matches and one of them strips that you could ignite a match on. if that's true then they don't do that any more, at least not with the packets i got.
but still, since they are allowed to do some branding on these cigarettes, they do for now keep true to the Luckies branding name on the bottom of the packet. and beyond, as we shall see.
if these are the quintessential American cigarettes, then who might be the quintessential American smoker? it's a tough one. in terms of Luckies, not New York. from what i can work out off of television documentaries, New York is roughly 30% Jewish, 20% Irish, 10% Italian and 40% 'African American', give or take. this may well be incidentally or if you like passively presumptuous and stereotypical of me, but none of those groups particularly strike me as Luckies types of smokers.
no. i think the home of the Luckies smoker is Texas. and Utah. and Denver. and sorry of any of them are actually all one in the same; alas i do not have an atlas to hand.
the Lucky smoker, then, has a defined chin, a pronounced nose and them subtle yet striking eyebrows which are juxtaposition to elegantly understate the features. the skin is not so much bronzed by the sun as it is tanned to the point of leathery by it, with the cracks upon the face being from the ferocious heat of being out in it. they smoke Luckies because they hurt, just as they swig red eye and other forms of harsh liquor because they hurt. they embrace the hurt and the hardship so that all may know who they are.
effectively, then, the Luckies smoker is pretty much this one bloke Spiros and i saw in a quite revealing documentary called Bronco Johnny Hard On, sometimes broadcast under the name California Cowgirls. although very little of the documentary seemed to show off California. Bronco Johnny Hard On is something of a personal hero of mine.
that's a quite clever use of space, that is, to be sure, above. whilst it is obviously crystal clear in the Commodore 64 mode picture i have taken, for the benefit of those of you who are hard of hearing what they've done is made the legally obligatory barcode in the shape of a bin, and had the cartoon character putting some rubbish in it. a nice way of meeting all requirements for packaging and making the notices more interesting to look at.
one thing which will have struck you is that these packets of Lucky Strike seem a good deal bigger, as in wider, than regular ones. that would be because they are. no, it's not that they are "fat" American cigarettes, it's just that you get 25 in a packet rather than the conventional 20.
i remember the days of packs of 30. i think you could get Chesterfield in them. they were smart, man. came in a lovely presentation tray, and made smoking them feel all the more luxurious, ambassadorial and sophisticated.
that really is a lovely touch on the cigarette itself - having the slang name for the cigarettes printed on them, and in quite the attractive font too. now, in England, of course all you get is the type of cigarette it is stencilled on it with the blandest font in the shop being used. it's like they don't care about smokers any more.
once there was a TV show here called Strike It Lucky. the host, whose name i failed to catch, was a popular and funny bloke, but there was some sort of problem with his passion for swimming pools as i recall. anyway, they changed the name of the show to Strike It Rich at some point. not sure why; perhaps it had something to do with accidentally promoting Lucky Strike cigarettes in a country where they were not readily available.
oh sure, a tobacconist in London could probably get you them, but they can get you anything, man.
and so, quite, that is perhaps all that i have to say on the subject of these fags, as such. once again i would like to declare how indebted and grateful i am to Spiros for his generosity in getting these and sending them my way. most highly appreciated, amigo.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!