As far as possible I have avoided the smoking versus non smoking debate. There are times, however, when despite the evidence on health and effects the anti-smoking case seems to lose the plot, literally in this case.
Perhaps, given the nature of the story below, if not shooting then at least stabbing yourself in the foot.
This sorry tale of stupidity comes from Western Australia where one can only assume that either the heat got to them or someone was bitten by a rabid dingo. Are they even half aware of the story line?
The lead character, a promiscuous and dangerous person at the end is brutally stabbed to death by the former lover she left. He in turn is destined for the firing squad because he deserted from the Army to chase after her.
This occurs at a stadium which is for bull fighting, where cruelty to animals goes along with the risk of dreadful death for the men taunting the bull. All this is enmeshed with the tobacco industry as she and her fellow girls work in cigar or cigarette factory.
They in turn are loose living and are associated with a group of thieves, murderers and smugglers of forbidden substances. It may look like fun on stage but it is evident that they are in for a short life and to a great extent a hard one. Treachery and deceit are their life.
In a sense this is history. The original story on which the opera is based is said to have been, if loosely, factual. It is not far removed from what did and could happen in the Spain of that period. Life was often nasty, brutish and short.
In the meantime, the old Gallagher factory at Ballymena in County Antrim is to close, with over 800 jobs lost, a blow to the local economy. The news item said this was the last British tobacco factory.
This was once a substantial industry. Now it is imported at some cost but the taxes on tobacco are still an item in the Treasury revenues, despite the scale of the bootleg traffic along the M20 and M2.
For generations smoking was a norm and even seen as a social necessity. It may be that the age of smoking is ending and will soon be gone and perhaps the difficult issues with it.
But a problem now is that we have replaced it with worse ones.