Hello. This isn’t the obligatory “How I became vegan” first post – the kind of thing a vampire blogger would write about how they were created. But it seemed strange to just launch into a post without some kind of brief intro.
I’m Charlie, and this will be a blog predominantly about writing about being vegan in the UK. There aren’t many vegan UK bloggers out there, but I appreciate the tips from those who are visible. I thought it fair and pleasant to contribute my own tips so others can perhaps find them helpful too. Especially if you’re not vegan and you think it’s hard, because it’s not.
So maybe that’s the reason for being here – I don’t mind being asked “But isn’t that really hard being vegan?” because I like answering this, and the other classic questions and addressing the excellent annoyances.
Now, I do have much to say on the subject of how to be vegan in an easy and non-tedious way, and I’ll intersperse the food and drink reviews with some chat on that, but to make my shtick clear, here’s what I liked about the vegan characters in the book Pop Co which was to a large extent my vampire-esque “creator” – but more of that in a later post…
– That it was fun and cool – the secret group of PopCo ‘activists’ in the book (sorry for the spoiler) are people you aspire to becoming. They’re fun, they’re talented, they’re sexy, they’re friendly, they’re open.
– Being vegan is part of the rest of their life – they’re not defined by being vegan, though it’s a big part of who they are. They have other interests as well…like changing the toys that girls play with so that they grow up more intelligent
– They have good reasons – Some reviews have criticised the book’s author, Scarlett Thomas, for putting pro-vegan arguments so openly into the mouths of her characters, but I loved it. Each of the (now familiar) arguments for becoming vegan are clearly and logically stated by people of my age who I empathise with. I agreed with what they were saying, it was entirely logical that I should also be a vegan.
– They’re politicised – being vegan is part of a general stance of opposition to commercialism and advertising. In fact, it’s an obvious part of their overall system of (light) anti-Capitalism that you also oppose a food system that treats animals as routes to profit.
– …but they’re also inconsistent – The PopCo group make it clear that sometimes you’ll do or say things that contradict your system of beliefs, or generally lapse for a bit, and that’s OK. For example, the justification of continuing to smoke after becoming vegan. You’re doing this generally in the name of a good cause, and life is hard to be consistent at, so don’t stress yourself if you do contradictory things to the overall path of Veganism. The book itself is flawed in places, but that’s part of its genius, whether intentional or not – the characters are only human and so is Scarlett Thomas (she’s not entirely vegan now, but that just proves the point that it’s OK to be inconsistent). But they’re doing what they do with total passion and joy, so it’s OK if the edges are frayed.
– They make it sound easy – The book showed that you could just become vegan without a big hoo-hah. You didn’t need to announce it at a press conference, you could be non-vegan one day and then vegan the next. You just do it, and then you learn as you go along. The main character, Alice, makes a big change in her life, and just decides to do it at a minute’s notice. It’s no big deal.
– It makes their lives better – Once the main character, Alice, joins their ‘club’, her life is more fun and meaningful and she feels better about herself. She also has some great cake, which there’s a recipe for at the end of the book. This isn’t a facetious point – vegan cake is the best propaganda tool for the cause, and one that we often use now.
– It’s quite trashy rather than worthy – Eating cake and other snacks is a big part of their veganism, as it is Scarlett Thomas’ subsequent writing on being Vegan – for example her joy that a pint of lager and a packet of crisps in a pub can be a vegan staple.
– That though it worked for us, it didn’t tell you to become vegan – we reacted to PopCo because we were in the perfect place to hear the vegan arguments. Most people wouldn’t be, and they wouldn’t read it as a call to arms. They might read it as a call to resist advertising, or create better toys for girls, or learn cryptology. Or they might just enjoy reading a good yarn and not make a change in their life. PopCo embeds vegan characters in a bigger narrative – it’s normal that they’re vegan and they’re clearly marked as vegan, but this is part of their overall well-drawn characterisation, lives and beliefs. Unless you’re looking for preaching, you’re not being preached to.
Hope you enjoy reading…