It was the summer of ’69, but I didn’t know anybody with a porch. “Oh, and when you held my hand - I knew that it was now or never,” sang Bryan Adams. Someone was holding my hand, it was the ambulance lady, and blood was cascading down my face. David Somebodyorother was in too much of a hurry to get out to play, Thatcher hadn’t got her act together, and my face was shoved into a crate of milk bottles.
It’s not my fault that he got the cane; I didn’t say a thing because I’d no idea who’d pushed me. Anyway, no one was asking because that was all taking place in a head teacher’s office and I was in a casualty department having my head sewn back together.
Roll on a few years and I’m sitting listening to the lilting yet soporific drawl of a Scottish doctor. His years of experience clearly taught him that drowsy children kick up less as you stab them with needles. As he tied my fingers back to stem the flood of red, I wondered how many more times I’d have thread used to keep me together.
Six. Six times more. Two more head accidents, one hand through a greenhouse, the same hand through a front door’s plate of glass, a piece of surgery I’d rather not discuss in public, and the final time following an accident with a knife. In short, I know all about stiches.
This week there has been a bit of consternation in the world of juice makers. Stealthvape has been around since the dawn of the industry. It has seen people come into the market with their home brews, gradually take things more seriously and grow in respected businesses – and friends.
The thing that marked out vaping as a different business to be in was that so many, regardless of what they were offering, treated other businesses as friends, offering help and support so that they could grow as well. A lot of that camaraderie still exists even though we are all snowed under with the increased work requirement due to the effort of complying with legislation. You can see this at events like Vape Fest - vendors sharing tents and hotel rooms, beers and laughs. Customers too have become long-term friends following forum interactions.
It’s why bathtub brewing will always be frowned upon now. Everybody who is a major name in juice making started in their kitchen, but quickly went to great lengths to demonstrate the efforts they were making to be responsible with respect to hygiene and sterilisation. They’d start posting pictures of a new process, then a new machine – then dedicated facilities. They’d receive support and encouragement in the early days and become professional. They had clear intentions of making something reliable and worthy for the community to buy and use.
And some idiots never had any intention of doing anything other than ripping you off with shoddy products.
“As you all know,” one such bathtub brewer writes, “tpd has changed the way we vape and buy our vape.. however the tpd does not apply to [their trade name here] as we don't supply for human consumption.”
The genius thinks he has discovered a wonderful way to avoid complying with any legislation. Unfortunately, having the word ‘Vape’ in the business name kinda destroys that plan. It’s not a loophole – it’s just a display of rank stupidity.
Some people might ask what is wrong with folks buying cheap, they know they’re getting something that might contain dust, pubic hairs or bits of leftover sandwich – but that’s their choice, right? They know they could spend far more than £7.50 for 30ml, they choose not to. They know there could be urine or excrement from a pet in there, right?
Sure, as long as they are happy with what they’re doing then fine, that’s their call. But, odds are that most buying his cheapy juice haven’t thought about what nasties could lurk inside the bottles; he certainly isn’t telling them.
And we don’t live in a little bubble. What one disreputable bloke in Telford does reflects on the wider community. We are still fighting those who’d seek to place stricter controls on vaping; there are people who would see use in public and all flavours banned. Irresponsible people operating illegally do nothing but give them ammunition. The mind-set would be: if we can’t police ourselves and don’t conform to the legislation in place then maybe total banning is the way forward.
And then there’s the matter of it simply not being right that someone can produce nasty stuff in his bedroom, with no measures taken to ensure any level of hygiene standards – while other juice makers, our friends, have had to commit tens of thousands of pounds to be legally compliant. It’s not fair to them, it isn’t fair to the people buying the juice and it’s not fair to the whole community.
So, knowing all about stitches, we're more than happy to point out these bathtub brewers can be reported to: