He fell into the dirt. Scuffed, but unharmed, the kid observing nearby said "how do you get up??" in that annoying whiny voice. The question was irrelevant, and so was his statement. Neither of us had a cigarette, but both of us understood what he meant.

I never smoked a cigarette until I hung out with Europeans. Those damned mantelpieces of culture. An Australian has no taste of what history looks like. Only the unspoken cultural traits of irreverence, like our ex prime minister holding world records for chugging down a yard of beer, or hosting the only dry regatta event in the world. The best part of our history – in between WW1 and WW2, we fought and lost a war with emus. The worst part – well, there are many...

I smoked cigarettes, but I never was a smoker. Smokers debilitate themselves, smokers are addicted. Nah, I didn't crave cigarettes like I needed oxygen. But I sure loved smoking a cigarette and talking to a French girl. It feels exotic, it feels like an aside/refrain in my own life, which in a way, it is. Smoking always seemed to be a refrain from something else, you don't invite people around to smoke cigarettes, like you do coffee. Partying till 7am in the morning, inside a dark smokepit of Germanic techno, or outside in the misty forest, grooving to a digital melody – always, cigarettes were the currency, the propinquitous pasttime.

I smoked cigarettes for the expressionism, sometimes for the social contact. Being a smoker means a dirty thing, a person barred from the eating areas. Being a writer almost grants you license to smoke, at least it used to. Smoking is an activity of posture, of contemplating, but all the same, something that tradies do to get out of work. The very object itself will eventually kill you, and so will loneliness.

Smoking will kill you, eventually. So will everything else. For some, cigarettes are domain of control I have over my life, a final fuck you, a comforting routine to get you up in the morning. You have your bean drip, I have my nicotine breathe. For others, it's almost like roasting

Why do you smoke cigarettes Liam?

Well, I know the disadvantages, naturally. But they're insignificant in small quantities. Almost the same callous disregard for inflation, I can apply to my respiratory health. Everyone used to smoke. I still have a newspaper clipping from 2014, about an American veteran who is 104 and smokes every day. A little smoking can't hurt, can it?

Smoking for me is more than a social event. It is what it is, I think. When I smoke a cigarette, I do it around people, I've done it alone only a few times. How does it feel? It feels calming, almost signatory as an extension of my own thoughts and movements. The headspin is never there, no. It's only the breathing. Just breathing. I think as a social signal, the externality of the exercise, as opposed to normal breathing, makes it something of an art, does it not? It aligns conversation, towards rhythms of boom and bust? Inhale and exhale?  

smoking first became a thing in my life
started working at palace
enjoy the experience
draw out draw out
expressing yourself in a way
gasps are enunciated
actively looking for a moment, need, look forward