This is just right up Dick Puddlcote's street as another barmy council goes apeshit over smoking.
Lynn Barber, a noted writer, journalist and interviewer pulled out of Novembers Book Now festival because Richmond Council, Surrey, refused to accept the publicity photo she supplied because it shows her smoking a cigarette.
A spokesman for Richmond council defended the decision. He said: “We don’t like to use images of people smoking in our promotional material. As a local authority we are responsible for encouraging good health habits in the area, and to be seen to be endorsing smoking, no matter how unintentional, doesn’t complement this.Naturally Lynn declined and promptly pulled out of the festival. She sent an email to the organisors saying:
“I have always wanted to be a Smoking Martyr and obviously this is my opportunity. I hereby withdraw from the Festival. Best wishes, Lynn Barber.”She later joked:
“If a pic of me smoking is such a threat to the good burghers of Richmond, imagine what my presence would do.” In a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ms Barber cheerfully admitted: “I am 65 and I smoke and drink like a fish.”How can you not like this woman?
Her publicist from penguin had few choice words to say about all this hullabloo and Ms. Barber's audacity in supplying 'that' photo:
The black and white shot was supplied by Penguin, Ms Barber’s publisher, and has been used countless times over the years without controversy. Amelia Fairney, publicity director at Penguin, said the council’s decision was absurd.Absurdity is nothing new with councils like Richmonds, they thrive on it. Even the organisors are left exasperated:
“I was absolutely flabbergasted when I realised what was going on. It’s a great picture which has never posed a problem until now. It wasn’t a problem for the festival organisers either - I think they were quite frustrated. It was the council’s decision and it’s just ridiculous.”Oh I think I'm in love with Miss Fairney, she points out everything that has gone rotten in this country of ours, even though her tongue was firmly in her cheek:
With tongue firmly in cheek, Miss Fairney sent a note to organisers which read: “I do hope the finished brochure contains no photos of fat people (promoting obesity), or thin people (promoting eating disorders), white people (promoting cultural imperalism), black people (tokenism), women wearing make-up (promoting an unhealthy obsession with idealised female beauty) or children’s authors who do not have the correct CRB clearance.”There's more I could have said about all this crap eminating from councils like Richmond but I'm in need of a fag!
Update: I've just found out Dick Puddlecote had written about this on the 24th of August...Boy, is that man on the ball!