Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Creeping Stalinist Control; 1984 And All That

There is decent eau de cologne for sale in Rio de Janeiro - by Roger et Gallet and others too, but not by Floris. In any event, imported goods here cost a fortune in retail shops and you'd need a mortgage form for, say, an orange label bottle of The Widow. There is also snuff available here and, given that Brazil was one of the countries which originally gave the world snuff, it is well made and one is nicely scented with the oil of the Imburana tree. However, this week, I had a yearning for old familiar things and I wanted a bottle of Floris Special 127 cologne and tins of Fribourg & Treyer snuffs (specifically: Old Paris; Macouba and the recently revived Regency favourite - Bureau). So I set inquiries in train and the result has filled me with anger and mild despair.

Floris and Wilsons of Sharrow (who make Fribourg & Treyer snuffs) both tell me that they have given up fighting the tangle of regulation that restricts the export of things such as snuff and products containing alcohol outside the EU and the answer to me is "no can do". I am not even sure yet whether, if I can persuade family or friends to enter the fray, they will be able actually to get the goods to me, without confiscation, arrest, trial, fine or imprisonment or, if they were to succeed, that I would not be dragged off to gaol for some species of attempted smuggling.

As the world gets economically smaller (as well as falling into repeated economic doldrums) and the multi-national corporations gobble up all the small businesses in the world and snuff them out as competitors, and just as the world's 'civilized' populations increasingly become an ignorant, ragged, rabble,  I am told that our governments have so little to do that they need to follow their own scent for stalinist control and regulate such things as the individual's choices in scent and snuff, even in miniscule quantities.

The very grasp of ordinary Liberty and all notion of  appreciation of the maxim de minimis non curat lex seem to be drowned in some painfully articulated and unthinking scream to crush as much ordinary, simple freedom and harmless pleasure as possible at every opportunity.

Well, it makes me sick. It makes me sick that I am to be regulated by some badge-wearing, oikish twerp, wielding a clip board and a cheap biro and be finger-wagged and 'tut-tutted' and told "No, George, don't do that, George! George! don't do that!"

Well, come hell or high water, and by hook or by crook, I am going to get my cologne and I am going to get my snuff - even if 'Big Brother' is not just a fatuous 'telly' programme for all the couch-potato, thoughtless morons that the governments of this world are so busily encouraging to avoid being found out.

PS If anyone knows how to cut through this bureaucratic nonsense, please do tell!


  1. Yes to Liberty, I abhor the nanny state and any form of control, right now I'm battling a PR with Hitler tendencies but she doesn't know that I like to dress as Stalin on weekends.

  2. The 'control' is even deeper than we sometimes suspect: I used a Life photo of Coward smoking a cigarette in the Nevada desert once and my editor told me, by the way, that it had been 'photo-shopped' to play down the smoke! Presumably, this was to avoid offending some tub-thumping tin-hitler. The thing is that we came to Brazil partly to avoid the control-freakery - but it is, at the end of the day, impossible completely to avoid it.