Now you may have seen a lot of posts written by the EcigClick second in command Neil Humber.
He has been with EcigClick for many years and has taken on the role of Editor.
With a background of Journalism you can see from his news articles and his fact finding missions he still has that hunger to get to the root of the truth.
However he did encounter some difficult interviewees – Sooty was (allegedly) intimidated by Sweep to keep quiet…
On top of being an all-round really good egg and a bundle of silly there is indeed an element of “still waters run deep”. Due to his lovely humility a lot of people are not aware of the sacrifices he has made in his life in order to try and get justice for those who have been wronged by the system.
I will let him tell you all about how things panned out in his own words but just for reference have a read of this article to get a background on what went down.
Basically Neil was a journalist who witnessed a huge miscarriage of justice with a man wrongfully convicted. Neil fought and fought to prove the guy was innocent. Despite not being personally connected to him other than through the story itself. Many sacrifices on Neil’s part resulted in the chap finally getting the justice he deserved.
Obviously Neil can’t interview himself so I happily stepped in to give him a good probing (Ooerr Missus)…
Neil – please don’t be scared – I will be gentle with you! (Lulls him into false sense of security as I am on quite a power trip now…)
Tell me all about you right now – Work, Personal Life etc.…
I’m 58 soon – where did that go – I was married for 21 years, divorced for over a decade. Currently single – very single – almost 3 years now – my last two relationships went south – probably my fault lol…OK totally my fault…
Not looking for love as like Wallender or Inspector Morse said – “I’ve decided that chapter of my life is closed…”
And nope never been on Tinder or any of those websites…despite being urged to by all and sundry – you can see photogenic I ain’t lol.
Though saying that if someone like Gillian Anderson was to pop in my local for a pint I might consider coming out of ‘retirement’ – not that she’d look twice at me I hasten to add.
Moving swiftly on from my empty love life, I have an amazing son, Harry, who’ll be 33 soon and a 10-year-old grandson Oscar – love my boys!
I live alone and work alone and can go days without speaking to a soul which is sometimes bliss, and sometimes a bit annoying!
Which pet would you prefer? A Unicorn or a Dragon?
A unicorn and I’ll tell you why!
I was Father Christmas at my local pub and bought a load of stock to sell on the festive market, including 25 unicorn headbands. I sold 5 so have 20 of them under my bed at the moment.
As for dragons, I’ve had enough of those in my life…ooo slap my bitter wrists lol.
When and how did you get on board with EcigClick?
I was living in a homeless hostel almost 3-years-ago [June 30th 2016!] and Jonny somehow found me on Twitter and DM’d me asking if I fancied doing some work for him. I’d never written a review before but was plying my trade as a freelance copywriter so thought I’d give it a go.
First article was ‘Steeping E-Liquid – How and Why’. I guess he liked it ‘cos I’m still here.
My first few reviews and I guess most of them now, are pretty crappy, I’m not the most technically minded person out there. I’m a news man at heart and vaping has a ton of news angles, so I’m in my element with all the twists and turns.
I guess I’d better explain the homeless hostel. Homelessness has dogged me since I first left home at 15 and a bit. I lived in a tree then a tent when I left the Army [yes really] – stayed in and opened up squats – slept rough very many times – and found myself living on my sister’s sofa more times than I can mention [thanks Helen lol] during/between and after relationships.
I eventually returned to Leamington Spa recently – where I’ve lived for 35-years, and was lucky enough to get a room in the hostel – my neighbours being junkies and alcoholics lol. Thankfully the staff found me this new-build flat after 6 months where I’ve been for 2.5 years.
I’ve lost pretty much everything so many times I’ve lost count – still standing though…just about given my bad back – dodgy knees etc!
When did you start smoking and what was the final trigger to knock them on the head?
First fag was as a 10-year-old and an Embassy Number 6 from a mate at school whilst fishing! I smoked for the next 40 years from Capstan Full Strength – Park Drive – those Russian cocktail cigarettes when I was disco dancing in the seventies lol – Marlboro Red [loved them] through to roll-ups.
I once gave up smoking for 3 months when my son was young to save up to buy him a BMX for Christmas – but began smoking again.
It was cash that stopped me smoking if I’m honest. My partner who I lived with at the time was a psychologist and I was running almost 200 of my own websites. We lived in a large four bedroomed house in Warwick and it was expensive to run and we simply decided smoking was making a huge hole in our expenses – especially my meagre income lol. A year in we’d pretty much quit on cig-a-likes and nasty cheap kits from China bought at car boot sales!
However 2 weeks in India saw us smoking like troopers with 200 fags for a pittance! A year later same thing happened – cheap fags and away we went smoking our lungs out!
A year before we split I splashed out on a JAC Vapour Series E kit and never looked back except for a few hiccups along the way. That’s a bloody brilliant bit of kit and I still have it!
I do miss a good cigar – none of the vape kits I’ve tried cut it for me. Sadly I had a few fags, and one wonderful cigar – with a 12-year-old malt, last Christmas after 7 years of abstinence. I blame my stint as Father Christmas – six hours in a grotto not able to vape, and the stress of the festive season…no excuse I know, but hey I used to love smoking and it was Christmas… ok no excuse!
What kit or device name has made you do the dirtiest laugh? Mine I think still has to be the iStick Rim!
Not so much a device name – more what I coined it. I did the review on the Nautilus 2 tank and labelled it the ‘bell end’ due to its shape. I know, I know. I have a puerile sense of humour – mostly.
What was your first kit?
I saw a Dutch bloke at the Hay on Wye book festival [love that place] and he was vaping – something I’d never seen before. We were in a pub garden and he let me have a blast. I hunted the internet and found a ‘Deluxe’ kit for £30 – no idea of the name. It came with a free bottle of coffee e-liquid and pissed out everywhere filling my mouth with juice – yuk! I can’t vape coffee flavours to this day without retching lol.
I then spent a fortune on cig-a-likes and at markets and car-boot sales buying cheap kits that were crap. Until, as I mentioned above, that awesome JAC Vapour Series E set-up with strong tobacco flavoured e-liquid. Never looked back…until last Christmas.
You find you have a sudden quiet day – no work or plans what is the first thing you want to do?
Go to the pub.
Pubs have been my social life since I can remember and especially now I’m alone.
Whilst I’m not the most ‘peopley’ person out there I do enjoy sitting with a pint of ale or Guinness and watching the world go by – especially when I can vape.
Being on my own all the time does mean I get into some scrapes [as Jonny well knows] but as I’m getting older I’ve calmed down somewhat since my brawling bouncer days lol.
I’m very lucky that two of my favourite pubs in town are extremely welcoming with the staff and gaffers now classed as close friends… though I can still attract blokes looking for trouble… must be my resting bitch face and refusal to put up with crap.
I really must settle down…
What has been the worst thing you have reviewed?
However it shows what a cool company they are with no grudges, as I reviewed their latest range and bloody lovely they are!
What TV advert makes you want to smash up the telly? Mine is that sodding postcode lottery knocking at the door song?
I don’t own a telly – nothing on there I want to see that I can’t see on catch-up… except for the BBC iPlayer because I refuse to buy a TV license and have done for years. Despite telling them I have no license I get a visit every year and relish showing them my empty ariel sockets lol.
They really are perplexed that I genuinely don’t have a TV because I think the BBC in particular is biased and the price is ridiculous.
They’ve just decided to make the over 75’s pay over £150 per year to watch TV!!! Fk ‘em and let’s hope we get it scrapped asap.
Rant over haha!!
What has been the most surprising – good or bad – thing you have reviewed?
The Sigelei Kaos Spectrum mod by a long way. For me it was the start of big name companies losing the plot. Poorly put together, poor materials and that hideous LED light I mean WTF?
I got slated for that one too lol.
Do you drive? If so what car do you have?
Nope, no car, I can drive however circumstances have meant I never took a test.
I’m public transport and shank’s pony.
Not driving has driven the women in my life mental as they could never drink when we were out…ha!
After reading the article in the Independent it is shocking how much work it took to get you and Michael listened to. How did you find the strength to keep fighting?
A journalist’s main role apart from accuracy is to right wrongs and make mischief – something VERY lacking with today’s so called reporters. I call them ‘repeaters’ as they write what they’re told to – thankfully people are clocking onto this as far as the mainstream media goes.
After a year or so of interviewing him and reading through scores of case files and getting off my arse and travelling to Portsmouth to walk the murder scene and track down and interview key witnesses I knew he was innocent.
As a stubborn sod I wouldn’t let go. The strength came from knowing 100% a terrible miscarriage of justice had been done. Not only Michael and his family deserved justice, but also the victim and her family also needed the full truth to allow complete closure.
The strength came from that, and of course my ex-wife who was amazing. My son Harry grew up with this and it affected him in so many ways – especially my years on the dole as he grew up, given I was sacked as a journalist over this case..
As I’ve said before I lost my career, however, Michael lost 16 years of his life and mine and my families loss was a small price to pay for justice.
Incidentally I wrote a book on the case which sat in the solicitor’s office for 25 years. Thankfully an amazing couple I met on the internet, Peter and Margret, drove to Scotland to collect it and Margret inputted the typed manuscript into Word – can’t thank them enough.
I’ve edited the book and it’s on hold as believe it or not a script writer has begun turning into a true crime drama… watch this space to see who would play me – suggestions on a postcard ha! (Shell: Brad Pitt Obviously….)
How many people fobbed you off and told you to pack it in?
The newspaper I worked for grew tired of me investigating it with my editor eventually calling me ‘obsessed’.
In the end I did all the work in my free time. After being sacked I won an Industrial Tribunal, spoiled my wife and son , paid some bills accrued whilst on the dole for 3 years – no one wants to employ a sacked reporter lol. I also put a substantial amount of cash aside which helped with the next decade of investigation.
Are you still in touch with Michael – I bet his gratitude to you is endless?
We lost touch a while ago which is not uncommon in these kind of cases.
What has been your career history to date?
I part grew up in my grandad’s butchers shop so that was an obvious choice when I left school. Bloody loved it back then with real customers to be the ‘cheeky young chappie’ with!
I had a stint in a coal packing factory whilst waiting to join the Army.
On leaving the service I had about 5-years of homelessness and ‘pissing about’ with all sorts of jobs from ‘minding’ a left wing bookshop to bouncing in pubs, clubs and live concerts. Highlight of the latter was Bruce Springsteen for 3 nights in Birmingham… but even then I got into trouble lol [long story ha!].
As a teenager I read the book and saw the film All the Presidents Men and knew as someone who loved writing and being a bit of mischief maker [nicely put Neil lol] that was the career for me.
However, no way did I want college as I needed cash on leaving school so it would be another 25 years before I joined a government sponsored scheme with journalist training and experience at my local paper.
I was there 2 weeks and got a cracking front page story and they took me on… best job I’ve ever had. Sadly I was never able to work in newspapers again after being sacked for doing my job. Me bitter? Naw 😉
I did own and run almost 200 websites for a decade selling anything that moved. The majority of those were of an adult nature – not something I like to be reminded of but it paid the bills lol.
Last job was in a challenging behaviour unit working with young people with severe learning disabilities prone to, shall we say, ‘outbursts’.
Bloody loved it and rose from support worker to deputy and acting manager.
Funnily enough one of the guys who’s now in his early thirties often spots me in the pub and comes in for a pint with me – much to the despair of his new carer’s lol.
What are your thoughts on the UK vape review scene at present?
It’s very YouTube led and a little clicky if I’m honest.
I’m glad I just write reviews because I wouldn’t know which reviewer – company or product was literally flavour of the month lol.
I’m old enough to be pretty much the majority of reviewer’s dad so all the drama and rants whilst kind of entertaining [at times] are if you think about it a bit over the top – but hey I guess for some vaping is life and they feel very passionate about it all.
Calling out companies and other reviewers seems to be the new drama – on all social media – and as a former journalist I do shudder at the amount of libel and slander going on unchecked.
Sure it’s OK to have the bravado on camera whether it be insulting a fellow reviewer or calling a company or organisation to task, and however right and virtuous you think you are being, just because it’s the internet doesn’t mean you could come a cropper down the line.
Not sure if other review ‘communities’ are like this but it certainly doesn’t give vaping a good name.
Hey maybe I’m a bit too old school – long in the tooth and more mellow in my old age, but nothing I’ve seen recently that’s got outrage videos and social media storms all the rage bothers me much.
That’s me off everyone’s beer list at the next Expo lol.
Upright hoover or cylinder hoover?
I miss the upright Dyson I used to wheel around in my ‘posh house’. Now I have a decent upright I got off eBay for thirty quid lol.
Anything in vaping make you want to rant and smash things?
Not really but like I just said, virtue signalling and ‘fake’ or over the top outrage does make me shake my head…a lot.
What are your main vape set ups at the moment and the liquid you use?
This past few weeks I’ve gone back to my trusty old Q Mini topped with the Augvape BTFC dripper – awesome set-up!
As for e-liquids, I love strong tobacco flavours especially Black Note and I’m still working through a bag full of the awesome Azhad Elixirs kindly gifted to me at last October’s Vaper Expo. When I say awesome I mean bloody gorgeous stuff.
Is the future looking bright for vaping?
Kind of, especially here in the UK. Even without a Brexit I reckon we’ll see more relaxing of the legislation and I’m pretty sure the silly 2ml tank limit will be scrapped in the not too distant future.
America and other parts of the world where vaping isn’t already banned are on a very thin tightrope with a real possibility in the US of a complete flavour and/or e-cigarette ban.
Crazy and worrying times.
What kit would you tell a smoker to buy right now to get them off the smokes?
The Smoko kit was the first that sprung to mind – it’s a little cracker and a UK brand too.
Favourite breed of dog?
I guess given my last two dogs I ‘owned’ – who I haven’t seen for over 5-years… man that breaks my heart daily – were GoldenDoodles, I’d better say that lol. They’re a Poodle cross with a Golden Retriever and nuts lol.
God I miss my Millie and Wally, but after that split-up it was best for them they never saw me again.
Working from home meant I was with them 24/7 and pretty much 365 days a year. Massive void in my heart and this has been the longest in my life I haven’t had a dog or two around.
If I had a choice now and I was allowed a dog where I live I’d probably go for a rescue mongrel of some kind. Our family dog, Breezy, when Harry was a baby, was a Heinz 57 and a beautiful lady who lived until she was 15.
I do like Black Labs though and Ruby was part of a group I used to walk with and the big lump used to run full pelt across the field and hit me like a cannonball knocking the wind out of me…every…single…morning lol.
I lived with her and her mom for a while until that ended and so I lost another awesome dog…as I said earlier, loss and homelessness ‘dogs’ me literally.
How can people find you online – website, social media etc.?
I leave Facebook to family and friends.
I used to be a prolific tweeter but that’s dipped off somewhat: @FlophouseFlip
The Flophouse is a reference to the homeless aspect of my life and I was once labelled ‘flippant’ on a political website – who me naw surely not lol – which they all shortened to Flip 😉
I’m not very photogenic – as you can see – so no Instagram and my Pinterest has long gone since they banned my risqué’ stuff all those years ago lol.
I’m on Linkedin but have absolutely no idea how all that works – I just press accept or a random button every now and then lol.
Can you play any musical instruments – apart from the bottom trumpet?
Nope pretty talentless and tone deaf and my diet really should have more fibre 😉
I did try very very hard to play the Blues harmonica…can do a very small couple of rifts…badly!
Anything else you’d like to add?
They’ll probably tell me to stop being a soppy twat but there are two blokes in my life I owe a debt of total gratitude to.
My son Harry has stuck by me through thick and thin and there’s been some real thin times and definitely times when I’ve acted more than a little thick!
And our Jonny…one of the nicest guys in vaping and then some…me an ass kisser surely not!
I was working as a homeless writer in my local bar when he found me…there’s a song there somewhere!
Trust me without him steering and supporting me these past few years I wouldn’t have settled – if a little lonely – existence I have today….OK enough of the sob story this ain’t a dating website lol.
God knows the number of times he’s put up with the latest crap life seems to chuck at me, so thanks man you don’t know just how much I appreciate all you’ve done and continue to do.
Vaping has not only opened up a healthier lifestyle for me it’s also introduced me to some amazing people within the industry. I might only bump into them at Expo’s and chat with some online now and then, but they are as close to friends as I have ever had…and I mean that.
Thanks Our Neil!!
On behalf of EcigClick I would like to thank our Neil for all his hard work and determination!
He truly is a good egg and full of fun despite facing many hurdles in life. He always is the bearer of a double entendre and like myself we find the silliest things hilarious!
Neil writes all our news articles and a lot of articles trying to dispel the myths spread by mainstream media regarding vaping. He has used his journalistic tenacity to debunk the huge scaremongering campaigns we sadly see frequently.
As for his reviews being “Pretty Crappy” (Neil’s words not mine) – I don’t agree and will have a big punch up with him over that one – oops forgot he used to be a bouncer – best not!
Thank you again Neil and keep doing what you are doing – you are helping to spread the word and in time will contribute to saving many lives.
Go and have a pint Neil now that’s over!!