The (Fag) End of an Era by Tim
Review of 'Out Among the Stars' by Neil
The British Medical Association has been asked to propose a radical new plan to tackle the problem of smoking in the UK: the complete prohibition the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2000.
This claim came after the BMA’s own research revealed that 100 million people have been killed because of their smoking habit over the last century.
The BMA, the professional association and trade union for British doctors, was asked by a group of public health experts, headed by Dr Tim Crocker-Buqué, to lobby the government to ban the use of cigarettes for people born this millennium. Recent figures show that over 9 million people in the UK smoke: if these plans come into effect, by the year 2100, only people over 100 years old will be able to indulge their smoking habit.
Smoking contributes to many health problems, according to health experts, including lung cancer, coronary heart disease and bronchitis.
From this angle, the benefits of banning cigarettes are clear: however, there are several problems with the proposal that may jeopardise its potential progress into law.
Firstly, some would argue that restricting the purchase of cigarettes is unfair. People have voiced concerns over the fact that the law would discriminate on age, with children born on 31 Dec 1999 being allowed to buy cigarettes but children born only a day later being prohibited from doing the same. Also, people such as Ian Kennedy, a public health registrar, have questioned why it is 13 to 14 year-olds who are specifically being targeted.
Furthermore, there are financial problems: recent data has revealed that in 2012-13, HM Revenues & Customs received £12.3bn in taxes on cigarette sales. The ban on smoking for post-millennial children, while it may benefit the nation’s health, may hold more detrimental effects for the nation’s economy.
The proposed law is obviously unfinished and largely without in-depth analysis, so comment on the issue will undoubtedly continue. Meanwhile, the two vying sides of the debate will do further research over whether the ban would be viable, economical and good for Britain.
Two days ago Johnny Cash’s fourth posthumous album was released. It presents shelved and long forgotten tracks from the early eighties, a time at which Cash’s career was in a rut. It was released to some anticipation despite the marred history of posthumous albums, as many of the songs that didn’t make the cut originally didn’t make it for a reason and were released as more of a novelty than a genuine picture of an artist’s work. For example Jimi Hendrix’s 2010 album Valley of Neptune fell slightly flat not portraying accurately the genius of the pioneering guitarist. Others such as Michael Jackson’s Breaking News were just plain awful. However some posthumous tracks have pulled through such as Free as a Bird by the Beatles was recorded after John Lennon’s murder. With pre-recorded vocals by the man himself and music by his fellow Beatles the song provided an uplifting and beautiful melody.
Out Among the Stars retains Cash’s classic country sound and pays some justice to the work of this rock and country icon. However, like most of Cash’s material in the 80’s the writing doesn’t compare to the standard of his earlier work. To listen to the album from start to finish provides a superior experience than trying to find a standout track. The album’s tracks exalt the musical style of Cash but don’t truly pay tribute to the writing which made his name.
The album is worth listening to, as it is most likely the truest depiction of Cash in the 80’s one will find. The bit too cheesy lyrics tell stories that better compare to what you could call Cash’s novelty songs such as One piece at a time. The album does however provide a fair country album, which perhaps just doesn’t live up to Cash’s standard. However this review has been written by someone who far prefers the American Recordings to any work of Cash’s produced prior to them. So the view I’ve provided may not ring true with truer country fans than me. So perhaps a quote from Johnny Cash here proves itself apt, if not in it’s intended context; “God's the final judge for Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash too.”