What are we going to do now we’re respectable?
Media man, punk-bred John Robb
In the past decade, veganism has gone from some kind of weird Druidic cult to wam bam mainstream – almost respectable.
John is the vocalist in the punk rock band Goldblade and bassist and vocalist in post punk band The Membranes. Based in Manchester, he has also written several books on music and occasionally makes media appearances as a music commentator. Aged 24, he became a vegetarian and turned to veganism later.
Like every fringe idea, like every cult band that nears the heady bright lights of success with excitement and fear, vegan is entering the choppy waters of the poisonous normal. What once brought puzzled looks from passers by and a sneering distrust from everyone else; stale, over-heated jokes from comedians long past their sell by date; quizzical magazine health scare stories about people fasting themselves to death; dubious ‘research’ from the meat industry; and idiotic bile from the craggy-faced TV chef Gordon Ramsay et al; is fast coming in from the cold. He, of course, is still under the delusion that cooking from his own fair hand can win back lily-livered, non-meat eaters terrified of his macho swagger.
Travelling around the UK and Europe without the addictive lust of dead flesh to fill the gut – and the urge to get fleshy bits of dead animals trapped between the teeth – was once very tricky. It was like a military operation where no-one got hurt and lots of bread and bananas were the frontline in chasing away hunger. Now it’s easy and there’s rarely a shop or a cafe without something edible – even interesting. There is choice for the non-death cult!
Seventies veggie staple of quiche now looks like a strange antique – a relic from when bellyache and boils were part and parcel of bad food UK and boiled cabbage was as green as it got; like flock wallpaper or one of those weird carpets that even your parents didn't really want.
These days, 'celebrities' are tripping over themselves to brag about their vegan lifestyles, with unlikely champions like Mike Tyson sometimes calling himself a vegan, along with a host of others no-one has ever heard of.
Even my mother has stopped staying ‘vaguen’ and learned how to pronounce the word properly.
We are no longer weird, we don’t wear vegan sandals and we don’t have pale skin; we are everywhere, we are normal (ish).
Vegan power is even sprayed on walls on previously meat-heavy cities like Belgrade and no one blinks an eye – apart from Gorden Ramsay, maybe.
Hell, even the Daily Mail is getting on board – we truly live in strange and rather greener times…