The majority of my early memories take place in Pubs. Smokey dens populated by middle-aged bachelors; the smell of spilled beer, the taste of Coke made with too much syrup; the sound of a jukebox not updated since the coronation. All of this punctuated occasionally by the metallic clunk of shrapnel pushed into a fag machine, followed by a plastic-whirring and the thud of 16 Superkings hitting a tray.
Fast-forward to my teens and it was me injecting that coin; scraped together from the leftovers of my EMA after the rest was blown on rotgut scrumpy, to buy a piddle-arsing box of baccy.
But as of this week, that mainstay of pub décor is no more. Apparently, Fag Machines are the cause of 35 million cigarettes being sold to children illegally each year. I’m not exactly sure how chilblaines have been popping into pubs and blowing their pocket money on tabs – but thems the ‘facts’.
Landlords are still able to sell packets of fags behind the bar, but as with smoking inside and getting change out of a tenner for a round - it's another part of the authentic pub experience that has been binned.
So we’re going to mourn the demise of that irreplaceable piece of pub furniture with a gallery of Fag Machines through the ages, from the unbelievably cool to the downright scummy. Vale, you pocket emptying beauty you.
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