I was doing so well... I'd managed to completely give up smoking and I'd lasted a good six months... and now here I am chuffing away again.
It's classic self-destructive behaviour. I've got two important gigs coming up next week: one of them we're going to film, so I want it to be note-perfect and pure honey-coated sound, and the other one I've got to sing without a microphone, so I'm going to need my full lung-power.
And just when I need my lungs at full capacity, and my voice crystal clear, I'm hijacking my bronchial system with smoke and tar.
Yeah yeah I know that some people like to hear a bit of 'hard living' in a jazz voice, but I haven't really got that sort of voice. Much as I'd like to sound like Billie Holliday, I know I'm more like Doris Day in her squeaky clean phase... and you've gotta play to your strengths. Apart from which, if I've been caning it with the tobacco, I can't sing to the end of a 45 minute set without running out of puff. And breathless panting, although it can work in some contexts (Brigitte Bardot in Je t'aime, for example) is not really appropriate for my material...
Even while I'm writing about how terrible it is for me to smoke, I'm getting cravings to roll another cigarette. What's that all about?
I've noticed that pretty much every singer I ever meet is a smoker - including Honey Mink, who is similarly wrestling with her addiction at the moment. She smokes Marlborough Reds, which is properly hardcore. And they look great in a cigarette holder too. My own personal predilection for roll ups doesn't go with my image at all - another reason to knock it on the head - plus they leave orange stains on my fingers. Yuk.
And when I brush my teeth after I've been smoking, they feel really sensitive. And then there's the foul taste you wake up with in your mouth. It's so much nicer to feel clean, inside and out.
All in all, it's a no-brainer.
So why am I still eyeing that packet of Amber Leaf with pure longing...?