26 December 2009

Wipe the spilt drinks off your face -

DJ Simon:

At the end of another long weekend of mixing it seemed like an appropriate time to pop on a reflective blog, the huge relief of a week off work with my sons around creating a gap in the endless roundabout of work, single parenthood, and spinning records until 1am, 5am, 5pm. Just over a year since I started playing the decks with TVC at the Smack, the small lure of an interesting extension of having a record collection has become a dichotomous obsession- liberating yet addictive, draining yet energizing, sociable yet involving long periods of withdrawal from the jabbering tongues of the outside world.

Mixing house music, as the poets would remind us is characteristic of all activities that put us in touch with what is essential about life, is paradoxical. Two turntables is not all that’s binary in its nature and the lifestyle that comes with it. Choose to do it or choose not to. Take the gig or don’t. Fuck a stranger or don’t fuck them. Bosh the bugle or don’t. Open your front door to everyone or no-one.

I first heard house music at a dreadful seaside club in Ramsgate called Nero’s in 1987. The old school Chicago house of Adonis and Bam Bam. Weirdly, it wasn’t being played in London then, and fuck knows who those DJs were and I don’t remember what Thanet made of it at the time. But there was a radio DJ on Invicta, playing at their old studios near East station called Pete Tong, who’d hooked me on Mantronix and electro from 1986 onwards, and I followed his taste wherever it went. A dance music John Peel at the time-maybe it was him playing at Nero’s as a precursor to his future career playing for those pissed up wankers’ offspring in San Antonio. Nero’s was a terrifying place and so I just used to look at the labels on the records and then buy the compilations, seeking out the better tracks on vinyl.

Well I drop some of them when I play Delicious in East Kent on a Saturday, and many of the punters at the Brewery Bar seem the same as those at Nero’s then…the DJ’s there to provide a soundtrack to drink to til 3am, maybe some of them get it, I suspect most don’t. What’s the it? Well when I fight my way back from the bar across the dancefloor, lagered up members of my old Sunday football team howling in my ear, boys spilling whiskey and coke on me as they try to stick their tongues down someone’s throat, I know very well what the “it” isn’t…there’s little to choose between these libertines and those who spilled their drinks on me while I studied for my A levels 22 years ago. Wipe the spilt drinks off your face, and you can see little pockets of the it, here and there…

The It is what I search for as I stumble, often exhausted from juggling being dad, salaried professional and amateur DJ, fuelled by my loyal friend Mandy, between my house, and wherever my record bag gets asked to go. And it’s there…you can feel it, just playing some old acid house to one refugee in your front room. It’s the absolute love of the music, of the sensation and community that only the shared experience of house music can bring. It’s palpable at the gig at the Labour Club for Louis’s birthday in March. Family in all its glorious chaos and common embrace. Couples who met at TVC parties and have had kids, who’ve grown up- Tyrone is 18! 20 years of people loving, falling out, dancing, laughing, weeping. Pretentious, yeah, but if James Joyce wrote a sound system, it’d be TVC. My neighbours Sarah and Ade met at a TVC party. Every street in Whitstable probably has children that exist because TVC did. My boys exist because of the Heavenly Social at Turnmills, but they’re in TVC now.

Once we’ve gone through our ritual of setting up by trial and error, having forgotten how we wired it all up the previous week, Oz starts off with me, doing our usual 2 or 3 each, then he sees my lads are a bit bored. So he leaves me to play, with them helping me, and my youngest gets really into it. It suits his sense of order and his natural love of rythmn- he starts getting very strict about getting the right record in the right cover, something a few DJs round this town could improve on, and then I set up a few mixes for him. Some nice little party tunes first, D Train and Italian house, I count down from 5 on my fingers and he puts the fader across. Then within a few tracks he’s dropping in some edgy tech house, mixed in by an 8 year old in the Labour Club in Whitstable at a 40th birthday party. There are kids in front of the decks munching Twiglets, kids behind the decks, mums and dads I’ve only seen before at the school gates, grooving away to some tunes that are probably about a week old. Oz n me still seek out and buy new vinyl, you see- not downloads, not mp3s, trying from our end to keep a little industry of aficionados alive.

From Valentines day on, I think 7 out of 8 weekends Oz and me played out- house parties, birthday gig in a country pub, the longest run I’ve done since I started but a typical segment of time in the life cycle of the sound system that’s been rolling on since the first house 12 inches hit these shoes. A constant backdrop to living, loving, generating and evolving, presided over by a benign dictator. My only night out other than that was a trip to London to drink with old MTV mates in our annual commemoration of a dead colleague. Matt’s brother, Matt who will host the TVC party in his woods in June. But you don’t escape TVC- some guy I worked with years ago, Steve Linton, says, “you live in Whitstable now? D’you know Justin and Emily Bagpuss? They sorted out some DJs for me for my 30th at the White Horse in Brixton”. No need to ask who those DJs were….

We were mixing at my house following my spot at Delicious, on and on, til Sunday afternoon, and nearly everyone who cranked out those hours of tunes had first tasted life behind the decks with TVC. Add to that young Caspar, making his debut at the Labour Club…generation of Love, as Jesus Loves You anticipated house music would become in 1990. That might well be the “It”….

25 December 2009

Everyone can dance; Dancing is good for your health; Dancing is good for your well-being; Dancing is fun

Why do people dance?

And what makes some more confident than others?
Dr Dance has the answers

The office party is in full swing, you've knocked back a few glasses of bubbly and edged on to the sticky dancefloor where Fred from accounts is looking strangely attractive as he struts out some wild moves. Nearby, Ian from IT is boogieing like nobody's watching. What makes them so confident while your feet are shyly shifting from side to side? According to Dr Peter Lovatt, principal lecturer in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, it's to do with age, gender and genetic makeup.

Lovatt – who is known around campus as Dr Dance – has just completed a major piece of research into dance, analysing 13,700 people's responses to an online video of him, a former professional dancer, strutting his stuff. Lovatt demonstrated various dance movements, then asked respondents to rate them. He also asked people to imagine they were dancing at a wedding or disco, and say how good they were compared with the average dancer.


Peter Lovatt, aka Dr Dance, struts his stuff to help you discover your dance style Link to this video

The research was part of his investigation into "dance confidence" (DC) – the factor that makes the difference between you sitting glued to the bar seat and actually going for a boogie – and how it changes with age and gender. "First things first if deep down you think you're a better dancer than most, you're not alone," Lovatt laughs. "The average DC level was significantly higher than expected, meaning most people thought they were better dancers than the average person of their own age and gender."

The findings also show a significant difference between how women and men develop DC. The highest level was recorded in girls under 16. "At this stage, dancing is for fun. They do it on their own, with friends or in formal dance classes, and do so to enjoy it," explains Lovatt. But once girls pass their 16th birthday, there is a big drop. "Teenagers are likely to start dancing publicly in front of members of the opposite sex, and as dance starts to play a part in the sexual selection process for the first time, that may contribute to a significant reduction in dance confidence."

From then until 35, however, women's DC levels increase steadily. "They are likely to be moving through the mate-selection and reproduction cycle, so they will be more confident in the behaviours which form part of this process, like recreational dancing," says Lovatt. But that pattern reverses after 55. "From then on, DC drops steadily and significantly. That's not surprising if perceptions of dance ability are related to fertility-based courtship displays, because this is a post-menopausal life stage."

It's a different story for boys, however. They did not show the pre-16 peak seen in the female data, instead increasing DC every year until middle age, then flattening before rising sharply at 65. "The significant increase in rates for older men could be because in partner situations women's DC has gone down, so men might be less intimidated by women's confidence. Also, separate research findings show that optimistic people are less likely to suffer from life-threatening conditions than pessimistic people. So it might be the case that our sample of older men includes those optimists who have outlived their pessimistic contemporaries."

But it's not just genetics that make your legs itch to hit the dancefloor. "People dance for social bonding and mate-selection purposes," Lovatt says. "It's also good for your health and fitness, and people dance to enjoy themselves. Some dance because they are told they have to, and it has been used to show strength and fearlessness, like the traditional Maori haka dance."

Lovatt says his own experience proves dance can provide confidence that spills into other areas of life. Suffering from profound reading difficulties at school, he left with no qualifications, and was unable to read until he was 23. "I taught myself to read while working as a dancer in theatres," he says. "I was surrounded by talent and thought it was ridiculous that I couldn't read, so I just sat down and, very slowly, learned."

Next, Lovatt studied A-levels, then a degree in psychology and English at Roehampton Institute, ultimately gaining a PhD and taking a senior researcher post at Cambridge University. Now, he combines dancing "nearly every day" with dance research at Hertfordshire University, where he teaches the psychology of performing arts.

There, in his onsite dance laboratory, Lovatt flags up more interesting research. "Beautiful women of high genetic quality with symmetrical features have been shown to innately select men with equally high-quality genetic features," he says, "even when they were only shown videos of the men dancing, and couldn't see the men's faces." Women of a lower genetic quality who watched the same videos, by contrast, "thought all the men were great", Lovatt explains.

He says there is good news for everyone from that research: "It means the best way to attract a compatible mate is to relax and just move naturally to the rhythm."

Lovatt also has some specific findings for men to make women fall at – rather than trip over – their feet this Christmas. "My research showed women find men who use medium-sized, complex movements to be the most attractive. If a woman is looking for an attractive and dominant man, she'll go for one doing very large, complex movements, but if she wants an attractive yet submissive man then she'll go for one doing smaller, complex movements." Simple, small movements are considered unattractive, submissive and feminine, apparently. But don't head straight for a dance studio to learn a new routine. "Dance lessons are a bit like plastic surgery," says Lovatt. "They mask the true expression of your genes."

• Peter Lovatt is carrying out more research into dance – take part in his latest survey at bit.ly/WhyDance. Find out more on his website DanceDrDance.com

Article from http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/dec/15/research-why-people-dance

Four Facts of Dance

1. Everyone can dance

2. Dancing is good for your health

3. Dancing is good for your well-being

4. Dancing is fun

Dance & Testosterone

Dancing ability is thought to be influenced by biological and evolutionary factors. Fink, Seydel, Manning and Kappeler (2007) asked women to rate the freestyle dance movements of men for dominance, masculinity and attractiveness. They found that ratings varied as a function of the amount of prenatal testosterone to which the men had been exposed at an early stage of prenatal development, such that the freestyle dances of men exposed to high levels of prenatal testosterone were rated as more dominant, masculine and attractive than the freestyle dances of men exposed to lower levels of prenatal testosterone. Fink et al. suggest that prenatal testosterone may have an organising effect on male body movement, which is perceptible to women. Levels of prenatal testosterone can be estimated by measuring the ratio of the length of the index finger (the second digit) and the ring finger (the fourth digit). This is known as the 2D:4D ratio (see Manning, Scutt, Wilson & Lewis-Jones, 1998). A low 2D:4D ratio suggests high levels of prenatal testosterone and a high 2D:4D ratio suggests a low level of prenatal testosterone.

Brown, Cronk, Grochow, Jacobson, Liu, Popovic and Trivers (2005) observed a relationship between physical symmetry and perceived dance quality in men and women, such that people who are more physically symmetrical, in terms of the relative size of each of their wrists, knees, ankles, feet, fingers, and ears, were rated as better dancers. Brown et al. found that women rated symmetrical men as better freestyle dancers than asymmetrical men. Brown et al. draw conclusions based on a bio-evolutionary perspective and suggest that physical symmetry is an indicator of quality within a species, such that symmetrical individuals are higher quality specimens, and that high quality individuals are important and in high demand for reproductive success, particularly from other high quality individuals. As perceived dancing ability is related to physical symmetry these authors suggest that dance movement is an innate transmitter of an individual’s quality.

In both of these studies people were asked to dance individually in a laboratory setting and their dances were filmed and then manipulated so that individual differences in physical attributes, such as gender, height, frame size, attractiveness, symmetry and fine motor movements, were not visible. Fink et al. (2007) manipulated the dance video clips by applying a Gaussian smoothing technique, which blurred the images, and Brown et al. (2005) converted video recordings into 3-D animations.

It is clear from both of these studies that there is a relationship between people’s perception of dance, in terms of its quality, and perceived masculinity, dominance and attractiveness and the dancer’s genetic make up, in terms of their indicators of testosterone and physical symmetry. However, it is not clear whether the same factors would predict perceptions of attractiveness etc. when people are dancing in a natural environment. It seemed logical to us that if we dance as part of a mate-selection process then we will dance differently depending, for example, on who is watching us dance, where we are dancing, what our motives are for dancing, and who we are dancing with. We therefore set out to extend the studies of Fink et al. and Brown et al. to examine these factors.

What we did

In January 2009 we took over a nightclub at the University of Hertfordshire and we filmed people dancing in a naturalistic setting. However, before we filmed people dancing we asked them to fill in a series of psychological questionnaires. We asked them about their relationship status and whether they were looking for a new partner. We asked them questions about their personality and their mood, we measured their fingers and ears to work out their prenatal testosterone levels and we asked the women to tell us about their menstrual cycle status, so that we could work out their “fertility risk”, that is, the risk of them getting pregnant if they were to have unprotected sex. When people had provided all of this information they were “released” into the nightclub, which was full of people enjoying themselves.

We let things get hot and sweaty and at about 11.30pm started to film people dancing. We did this in two ways. First, we filmed people dancing in the club as part of a big group of dancers on the dance floor. Second, when people were dancing on the main dance floor we asked them to move onto a separate dance floor, which was right next to the main dance floor, and carry on dancing on their own for 30 seconds while we filmed them again. The second dance floor was just as lively and noisy as the main dance floor. We finished filming in the early hours of the morning.

The next stage of the research was to blur all of the videos of each dancer, and then ask people to rate them for attractiveness, dominance, masculinity and quality. We found two things.

Finding 1

When women rated the men’s dancing they rated the highest testosterone men as the most attractive and the lowest testosterone men as the least attractive.

Finding 2

When men rated the women’s dancing they rated the lowest testosterone women as the most attractive and the highest testosterone women as the least attractive.

Finding 3

High testosterone men dance differently to low testosterone men. High testosterone men make larger movements and their movements are more complexly coordinated than low testosterone men. High testosterone men express more energy in their movements and they take up more space on the dance floor.

Finding 4

Low testosterone women dance differently to high testosterone women. Low testosterone women make more subtle and isolated movements with their hips than high testosterone women. High testosterone women move more body parts while they are dancing and their movements are less controlled.


We interpret these findings to suggest that one function of social freestyle dance is to communicate genetic fitness as part of the sexual selection process.

From Psychologist and Dancer

Dr Peter Lovatt is an academic Psychologist and a Dancer

16 December 2009

Do I want to stay in with a mug of tea and the latest Romanian social realism abortion movie?

Another trip to Margate Lido- Ribbed (aka a polysexual night out) 7 November 2009

The TVC mission to the far outlying badlands of Kent took in another stage with a return visit to the toothless pagan hard house worshippers of Thanet. It was the least I’ve ever felt like playing anywhere in my, ‘swhat, 18 months of DJing, and I was wistfully yearning for my early puppy dog days when I first started to play, when I’d salivate at the chance to play a 10 minute set at 4am to 3 alcoholics in someone’s front room. Oh, how easily we become jaded and curmudgeonly…

Actually I love a trip to Margate - the main reason I lacked enthusiasm was that my legs could barely hold me up after 2 nights out, and I’d looked on the net the night before and seen there was a Smokescreen free party in Nottingham, with all our Drop favourites playing, and was wishing I was there. But a commitment is a commitment, and I love the Unite crowd who promote this night. Their taste is at the other end of the banging spectrum to ours, but they love their house, and are utterly lacking in pretension… which is all that matters really when our local house scene is so polluted by Cream wannabes who download every genre that Mixmag tells them is trendy with the alacrity of Thierry Henry bouncing the ball from hand to foot.

Oz and I have been taking trips about East Kent together with our record bags for a while now, and the trips increasingly start in the same vein, as we’re both on the grumpy side of engaged/enthusiastic of an early evening. That is to say, thinking, do I want to go out into the cold/rain/fog to play obscure house records for an unenlightened rabble in a venue I‘d never set foot in a as punter, or do I want to stay in with a mug of tea and the latest Romanian social realism abortion movie? (Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival mind). Going out generally shades it. I was particularly fragile as I’d had a mad night on Thursday, as Oz and I won our debut quiz appearance at the Neppy (prize- bottle of Valpolicella, £4 from Budgens), and my beer intake increased with every ogle at the new barmaid. For some reason everyone was out that night as they weren’t working the next day-the pints are disappearing much more quickly than normal, but I manage to tear myself away at half ten. However, The Eraser shows up at my house, brandishing absinthe, and I only need a couple of sips to make me spin out and hurl myself into a comatose sleep. At about 2am, my door seems to be being assaulted, as the girl I left my girlfriend (known as DLL) for briefly is hammering away, in tears. I let her in, and for some reason we start drinking the booty that TVC’s general knowledge has obtained from the Neptune .At some point my girlfriend comes down, and the 3 of us are surreally all sat in my front room chatting and making jokes, and the tears and frowns have become laughter. But Christ am I wasted the next day.

As Friday night comes round, all I want to do is sleep, but we’ve got tickets to see the lovely Tim Green play at a “secret location” in Maidstone. I shouldn’t go, but I reckon if I drive and stay away from alcohol, I’ll be OK. These are the kinds of situations where I envy DLL- she only needs the tiniest lift to get her to a pitch of excitement where she’ll dance for hours and chat to anyone who can speak English, or any language for that matter. As soon as we get there, at about 11, I know my goose is cooked. Pleasure and excitement will not be mine tonight. Maidstone is hideous- the venue (Corn Exchange in the centre) is already surrounded by incredibly rude, badly dressed drunks, girls shrieking and topping up their lip gloss while the guys try to stay standing. When I first used to go out in 1987 to house nights, these fuckers used to go to Cinderella Rockafellas and stick their tongues down each other’s throats. What are they doing here? Well I shouldn’t be here, I’m too old. I’ve only really come out as it’s a chance to catch up with the Sideways boys, a lovely bunch from Folkestone who are making and playing some lovely melodic tech house tracks and ploughing their lonely furrow to the heathen. They’re TVC’s younger brothers.

The night’s awful. Room half full makes it even more dispiriting. As the endless drone of tech house continues I crave just the odd snatch of vocal, the odd uplifting key board melody. It makes me mourn for the early days, when there wasn’t enough house to make tiny ghettoized genres, and Mark Moore could mix from hip hop to hip house to acid without anyone asking for their money back because the flyer promised minimal tech. Tim changes it, peps it up as he always does, and I can only hope that in a year, however much he loves his home town, his sense of aesthetics won’t allow him to be part of this mundane dross any more. I’m so bored, and so pleased when the GF looks tired too, and is begging to leave. I want to support others doing house music in Kent, but my life’s running out, and my battery’s low. I got to be more selective. Thank God she’s got an Audi- we’re home in 20 minutes. It devours the Thanet Way.

So as I’m driving Oz and the rest of us out to Margate the next day, and he asks her how the night was, I’m again amazed at her incredible ability to reframe the negative into the positive. She’s Kent’s best social worker, so that is her key skill I guess. She says she had a great time- were we at different nights? As so many times before I envy her ability to filter out the shit music and ugly, Neanderthal punters and make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. A sow with swine flu at that…

As we drive into Margate we pass the huge 3 storey club complex called “Sugar”, with hordes of shivering teenagers in their best gear queuing up for R & B and Chlamydia. This always makes you realize that the place you’re about to play it will be empty- and if anyone is there it’ll be their parents and social workers. When we get there of course, the spirit lifts, because we’re playing with other mad fools, who believe that music is more important than money, or fashion, or even sex. We love our sort of house, they love theirs, and we hate compromise. This is the moment I love to watch Oz, as the grumpy, curmudgeonly bastard on the trip down melts into the house music troubadour, embracing his fellow sufferers Danita, Lou and Nik in his broad shoulders, twenty years of determination peddling house music round the country in his hug. To these guys, he’s like John The Baptist, a life of anointing people and turning them on to the principles of going it alone in the house music biz, and playing what you love.

The mood proves short lived as when we walk into the place it’s empty. The bar’s shut; there’s no door staff; no punters; and we’re on in an hour. I’m so tired I can barely stand, and we’ve missed a Smoke Screen party to come and play to an empty bar. I mean, the grille ain’t even up on the bar! And currently Kent is a mum and dad free zone. A miserable, long dank night beckons, playing deep house to a few drunken shadows.

Nik Beat’s warm up is utterly heroic. Ignoring the emptiness, this K filled troubadour starts his set of hard house at about 134 bpm, gyrating like a Catweazle with fleas behind the CD-Js. What a man, a one man party inside his head. I love his attitude- he’s as easily enthused as I am deflated. Thank fuck for people like him, with all the pretentious cunts that play their funky house wank to hairdressers and Kwikfitters the county over. DLL is already jumping up and down on the deserted dance floor, and I can’t help but join her. Others shuffle in and gyrate loosely- I invent a new dance as a pretty, but drunk and overweight girl keeps hitching her jeans up while she tries to do the generic “pole dance without a pole” next to us.

Shoots start to blossom as the night accelerates- I bump into a clutch of guys who I think used to live in my street, and whom I always used to see pale faced on Sunday mornings…I’m glad that my suspicions of their debauchery is entirely well founded. Oz scores some of whatever makes Nik’s heart accelerate, which has the taste and texture of Mastic, but seems to perk me up. It’s our set now, and thankfully the decks aren’t 10 metres apart as they were last time we played here- I can shuffle between them and mix in almost less time than it takes to play the whole record out. I can’t lose tonight- the last time this lot heard me play I’d only been playing for 3 months, and was at party where they gave me a line of white powder. Mistakenly I’d said I was in TVC- “fuckin legend mate”, says Hank “- them and DIY are the best parties I’ve been to. You must be mustard to play with Oz”.

Now normally, I could have explained that in fact, mustard I was not, pants I was. However, the white powder I’d thought was Charlie was in fact Ketamine, and as a result it all seemed too complicated, as I wasn’t able to speak. I remember little of the next hour, except that to my left I had a pile of someone else’s vinyl, neatly stacked; to my right, some very well stacked sleeves. I think the chaps threw me a forgiving smile, and I’ve loved 'em ever since. Said Hank comes over after I’ve bludgeoned 3 tunes into each other and shouts “since when did you get good??” I shrug my shoulders and think, “never, but give me another 3 years and 2,000 hours flying time”

The one and a half hours Oz and I have on the decks flies by-I’ve had great pleasure seeing some of these hard housers really enjoying some more deep and subtle flavours. This leaves me with a lovely half hour dancing to the end of Oz’s set. I dance flirtily with a young girl, and briefly feel very horny towards a stranger, which I haven’t for a long time- it’s like having an old friend pop in for tea to remind you they’re still around. No matter how many degrees I might acquire, or how serious my job might be, I will always be disproportionately excited by a young, dim, buxom chav girl dancing and smiling in front of me.

That’s all very well, but it’s a night to be with friends. Having informed said chavette that I’ve got a girlfriend- response “are you one of them fucking swingers?!”- I set off on a wee tour of the block with Oz. This is when I love to see him in action most, rolling back the years as the curmudgeonly old fucker in the car remembers how much he loves house music and the people who play it, in all his forms. He folds Danita and Lou in his broad chest, and greets Jasper like an old general greets a former sergeant, easing nicely into shared tales of campaigns waged in the fields of Kent for the benefit of Jasper’s recently obtained girlfriend.

The rest of the music? Good, though crying out for the odd gentle lilting house keyboard riff, or gospel vocal. A rolling programme of tech house and fidget house, well mixed but of fairly constant tempo, with few breaks or changes of direction. It’s good though- and played with love, enthusiasm and without pretention. We melt away at about half four as the repetitiveness starts to grate, and the joy of being part of the Whitstable house scene is reinforced as we go straight to Nick Dent’s place. As the front door opens the unmistakable shards of Warren’s gentle yet hard deep progressive house rest on our ears. We enter a dark room of bobbing heads-The over 40s crowd are dancing, their kids are all asleep, and the night’s just begun. Whitstable, so much to answer for….

- Simon

4 December 2009


The Associates for Research into the Science of Enjoyment, or more simply Arise, represents about 100 scientists who believe we are unnecessarily depriving ourselves of lives pleasures. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, sugar and chocolate are not poisons, so why not let ourselves enjoy them in moderation?

"Alcohol, caffeine, sugar and nicotine all act on the pleasure pathways, the nerve fibres, of the brain and increase the strength of the immune system against disease," explains Professor David Warburton. "If you're not having pleasure or are depressed, your immune system is weakened, and you are more susceptible to infection, even cancer."

Warburton goes so far as to claim that the health benefits of enjoying a cigarette may outweigh the damage. "It's interesting how few people die from smoking. Don't forget, the death rate for smokers and non-smokers is the same in the end -100%"
James McCormick, also Arise member and a retired professor of community health at Trinity College, Dublin, advocates "modified hedonism to enjoy the only life we have. Smoking is bad for you, but if you don't smoke, you'll die of something else. Should longevity be the only goal in life?""The nanny state giving out health education is one way of exerting political power by controlling people's pleasure," Warburton says. "Remember in 1984 how thaw Orwellian state specified the amount of chocolate you could eat?"Medicine has become a pseudo religion. "If we avoid bad habits, we believe we escape punishment. If we smoke or drink, we are sinning - and the wages of sin are death. But you're going to die anyway. The major predictor of our longevity is in our genes, not in our habits."

McCormicks beliefs even cover drugs. "The addictive properties of cocaine and heroin are overstated. Not everyone becomes dependent. A lot of people are stable addicts. It is the by-products of drug use which kill. Our mistake is to criminalise and isolate the drug culture as deviant".

Arise is however sponsored by tobacco, distilling, brewing and catering companies, so of course there exists a vested interest, but perhaps there is a case for modified hedonism?

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