Drugs

A Grim Premonition of a Future Without Poppers

What now for banned alkyl nitrites? Good question, let's speculate.
January 21, 2016, 1:00pm

Some poppers (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
You can no longer legally use poppers for your bum

Poppers news: looks like poppers aren't happening any more, with MPs voting 309 to 228 against an amendment to the upcoming Psychoactive Substances Bill that aimed to exclude alkyl nitrites from the list of banned drugs. It means that when the final vote goes down on the PSB (and it will almost certainly go through) then poppers will become finito, illegal, donesies. No more dipping a cigarette into poppers and pretending that was a good idea. No more weird kids at school discretely doing poppers under the desk in art class. No more huffing a load of pop-pops halfway through a really demanding butt session. No. No. The government won't have it.

Weird that MPs are so often the moral arbiters of everything we – the amassed scum – are allowed and disallowed to do, but then are also the subgroup on the whole most likely to have cocaine and stripper-heavy Nazi-themed fuck parties, isn't it? But then even they are not above a little poppin': Reigate MP Crispin Blunt yesterday declared himself a proud poppers-liker ("I use poppers. I out myself as a popper user.") and stated that the new legislation would directly affect him and others like him. The world is split evenly in two: popper-users and popper non-users, and never the twain shall meet.

Anyway now poppers are almost certainly to be banned, this leaves the UK in a quandary: where… where to get poppers from? Because the people must have their poppers. Outlawing them just pushes them underground, same as any other drug. And so we can envision a Sliding Doors-like hell future, a timeline split from this one decision: poppers being offered on rickety late night tube trains by shady dudes in poppers-lined mackintoshes; teens on hoverboards stopping you in the street to ask if you "pop, bruv. I said: do you pop?"; entire stag parties going to Amsterdam on a big poppers bender. Here's what's definitely, definitely going to happen following the poppers ban.

SOMEONE IS GOING TO EXPLODE THEMSELVES TO DEATH HOMEBREWING POPPERS IN A BATH

You know that kid who smokes exactly one thin saliva-soaked joint behind some abandoned tennis courts at your school and then decides he is Really Into The Ganj now and starts researching such as 'how to grow marijuana' and 'head shops' and 'seeds' and 'big lights that cost like £150 a go and he has to do double shifts at the last dying HMV in the UK for six weeks to afford to pay for one' and sets up a discrete little grow sight in the attic above his mum's room and watches Scarface repeatedly and goes, "Soon, mate, when them little weed plants get big, I'm going to be rich as fuck", he's switched to a Business Studies AS Level, he's talking about giving you a 10% discount on your "sweet kush" when you go over there to play PlayStation, he has a bookmarks folder on Chrome of all the solid gold motorbikes he's going to buy when he gets rich, he's thinking about getting an upper chest tattoo that says 'MOGUL', and when you go up to see his booming crop after a month-and-a-half of sweat he's just got one limp brown plant, curling and dying in the small amount of light the loft door allows to creep up there, whimpering almost, the plant, and then he goes: 'yeah I might just put all this stuff on eBay' and never does? Well, after this poppers ban, he's going to burn half of his face and at least the entirety of one arm off after trying to make a shit load of poppers in a big enamel bath and trying to light a cigarette near them.

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YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET POPPERS FROM A DRUG DEALER AND FEEL VERY, VERY FOOLISH DOING SO

There are three kinds of drug dealers: the ones who are somehow capable of wearing more than one puffa jacket at once and rarely if ever speak and are chronically 45 minutes late; the kind of jovial half-fat ones who have really good sales patter and are like 30% likely to accept your offer of having some drugs with them and have at least four different phones; posh ones who have the good gak. Everyone else – those nervous blokes who find a kilo of coke stashed in a panic in the rims of their Peugeot and try and sell it on for profit; those ones who never leave their flat because their flat is just a constant and extremely smoky party that you are always a bit afraid to go in and score; the cool dressing gown-and-bongs ones you see in American films but don't actually exist – are just underlings to the above. And they are all in control of the poppers industry, now. Imagine: you, huddled up against the cold on top of the 24-hour Tesco car park you were meant to meet your dealer on top of an hour-and-a-half ago, ushered menacingly into a blacked-out BMW. "Hey my n— hey bro," you say, not quite sure if the extended hand means a complex street handshake or a fist bump, never knowing, just play it safe with a solemn wave. "Can I get a bottle of poppers please?" And he forages in the back for ages before turning to you and going: "That'll be four quid."

SOMEONE IS GOING TO GO TO PRISON FOR TWO YEARS FOR SELLING EXACTLY ONE BOTTLE OF POPPERS TO A PLAIN CLOTHES POLICE OFFICER

Sample MailOnline comment, from user justthetruth_barry: "SkY TV AND 3 WARM MEAlS A DAY!!!! MAYBE I SHOULD SELL THESE SO-CALLED ''POPPERS''!!!! BROKEN BRITIAN!!!!"

NERVOUS SIXTH FORMERS PRETEND TO GET HIGH ON FAKE POPPERS THEY WERE SOLD AS A JOKE

Pushing the poppers industry underground is going to leave to an extension of the classic clingfilm-full-of-oregano-in-lieu-of-some-actual-weed trick: duplicitous drug dealers approached by a gaggle of nervous and pockmarked sixth formers, a damp wad of £5 notes in their sweaty hands, their squeaky voices asking pleasingly for some "grass", selling them a wad of dried supermarket own-brand herbs and asking if they know how to roll it. Now switch them for English Literature students hoping to explore the entry-level drugs scene as well as the potential elasticity of their arseholes and you've got a whole cottage industry for nefarious drug dealers to mine for gold. Imagine the letters schools are going to have to send out to parents warning them about the menace of fig syrup mixed with chlorinated swimming pool water and sold to their children as poppers. Imagine.

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ARISE, NEW POPPERS SUBCULTURE, ARISE AND BE KNIGHTED

Picking poppers out of the 'legal highs' category and plunking them in the 'illegal highs' bracket makes them – instantly – infinitely cooler to everyone in the world, which means people who do poppers are definitely going to want you to know about it. That guy in your uni halls who had dreadlocks and a hacky sack and experimented with not wearing shoes and wore a big hoody with the adidas logo made out of a ganja leaf? Well guess what: he is bang into poppers now. He's turned up in a wavy matching tracksuit covered in tiny poppers bottles. He has an imported glass poppers bottle that he decants his poppers into before he sniffs them. Bucket hat that says 'POPPERS' in the Supreme font. You ask him what he's up to tonight and he just chuckles and says: "Oh, it'll be poppin'." He declares 4.30pm every day to be 'pop o'clock'. He keeps doing poppers in the share kitchen and asking you to run a single finger slowly up his forearm. Oh god, he's got a whistle on a lanyard around his neck. He— wait, look closely at the whistle. The whistle has a tiny poppers bottle on it. He has poppers-flavoured lozenges for his poppers addled throat. He just sincerely croaked the words 'pop lyfe'.

THERE'LL BE A BIG 'POPPERS IN' ON HAMPSTEAD HEATH IN PROTEST

First day poppers are outlawed and Hampstead Heath is nailed on to be the host of one of the worst protests of all time, where a combination of 'worthy people who don't do drugs but think the drugs laws are corrupt' and 'actual drug-takers on a first warning from the police' come together to do a load of poppers in that sort of half-ashamed way people only do when they are flouting the law in a really telegraphed way. Like: there's a 40-year-old woman from an improv company there inexplicably in a tutu who bought a megaphone and keeps trying to start chants, as well as a load of hard kids in North Face and Timberlands just doing poppers in a circle. There's a massive gay pride float glowsticking its way through as well as your dad going red in the face from a headache next to the burger van. Oh he's… he's gargling something about human rights, your dad is? He's wearing that camouflage jacket you told him not to buy from River Island. He's going really red. "Fucking… Cameron!" he's saying. He's doing another huff of poppers. Are you alright, dad? "I just need to lean against this big bin," he's saying. He's not taken the divorce well. For some reason he's bought his vinyl of Never Mind The Bollocks along to prove his drug-liking credentials. Not a healthy colour, at all. He's— no, that's a heart attack. He's definitely having a poppers heart attack. His last words before he clenches himself unconscious and the ambulance wends its way through the crowd to get him are "legalise… it!". He'll be fine. Everything will be fine.

@joelgolby

More stuff about poppers:

Hey Straight People, You're Using Poppers Wrong

In Defence of Poppers: The Banned 'Gay Drug' That Everyone Loves to Ridicule

How I Stopped Doing Popper Bongs, the Grossest Way to Smoke Weed