Friday, 17 April 2009

Hankering after the good old days when you could actually use a Lion match to light a cigarette

It’s entirely possible that hard living and hedonism have jaded my tastebuds, so I’ve accepted that Wilson’s Toffees and Sugus and Fizz Pops don’t do quite the same fandango on my tongue as they did when I was 12.

(Remember the ‘costumes of the world’ theme cards in Sugus? My illicit favourite were the Greek men in skirts – ironic, really, when you consider my Scots forebears dressed similarly – but I seem to remember the Greek men also had pompoms somewhere, like on their shoes or on their heads?)

But WTF has happened to Lion matches?

I don’t know how many you get in a box (actually, I do – I’ve just counted: 30; and people say I don’t use my time productively!) but this I can tell you: it takes ONE AND A HALF boxes of Lion matches to light ONE pack of 20 cigarettes.

I know this because I am a compulsive smoker while scribbling. (In defence of my dirty habit, I seldom actually smoke the cigarettes I light; they mainly lie smouldering in the ashtray while I attack the keyboard, polluting the lungs of all around me with their secondary toxins.) So in one night of furious output I may go through even TWO packs – that’s FORTY cigarettes.

But I will also go through THREE boxes of Lion matches.

That’s, let’s see, 90 matches to light 40 cigarettes.

You see where I’m going here, don’t you?

I take out a cigarette and I take out a match. I light the match; it flares and immediately goes out. I light a second match; it flares and immediately goes out. By now my cigarette is getting nastily damp in my mouth and I’m thinking ‘WTF has happened to Lion matches?’ I light a third match; it flares, does something inexplicably flamboyant, and the burning head leaps off and either (a) lands on my lap and burns a hole in my pants; or (b) disappears worryingly from sight and is found, after much frantic scrabbling, smouldering in the carpet; or (c) incandesces alarmingly in midair and then enters a parallel universe, never to be found again.

By this stage I’m cursing loudly and my housemate Dean will emerge from his room armed with a Bic. ‘Lion matches?’ he’ll say, with infinite understanding.

So it’s not only me.

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2 comments:

Juno said...

You read my mind! You read my mind! Not three days ago I was thinking about blogging exactly the same point, as I squatted furiously by a campfire trying to use a box of bloody Lion matches to light the thing. (And we won't mention all the cigarettes I tried to light.) They are appalling (and they never used to be). I bought a bulk lot of Chinese matches a while ago (I liked the logo on the box; they were 'Train' brand) and every one of them was strong and sturdy and lit instantly. I should have bought 100 boxes.

Muriel said...

I bought Spar 'no-name brand' matches today. They light EVERY SINGLE TIME.