Damon Albarn Draws the Ire of Anti-Smoking Advocates

Damon Albarn Draws the Ire of Anti-Smoking Advocates
British anti-smoking campaigners are calling for fines to be placed on Damon Albarn after he lit a cigarette onstage. The singer was performing with Gorillaz in South England this past Sunday (March 21) when he neglected British anti-smoking laws by pausing halfway through the band's set and lighting one up.

The country has strict laws regarding smoking in public places - concert venues notwithstanding - that can earn up to 2,500 British pounds ($3,800 Canadian) in fines.

As Contact Music reports, members of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), which has branches in the UK, U.S. and Canada, are determined to see Albarn receive fines for his actions. The same goes for his supporting bassist, the Clash's Paul Simonon, who also smoked that night.

As spokeswoman Amanda Sandford told the British Daily Mirror, "There can be no excuse for that, as it is an indoor place and the law is very clear - we are not allowed to smoke on stage unless it's relevant to the act."

She further maintained, "It's not just illegal, but more importantly, it's about the message it sends out to fans. People in the public eye have a duty not to promote smoking. It's very irresponsible - I suppose they think it's rebellious and they may get some extra kudos from it and maybe some extra publicity."

In related news, Gigwise has mentioned that Albarn's Blur counterpart Alex James, who became a cheese farmer following the band's hiatus, is finding being a farmer harder than being bassist in Blur.

"Bass player is probably the easiest job in the world," he said. "Now I've got the hardest one, a farmer. You have to get up early. I thought I was sort of retiring for a quiet life, but I'm busier than ever. I love it, though."

James is reportedly in the process of creating a new cheese for the Prince of Wales, which he's dubbed "the poshest cheese in the world."