“You’re no better than Hitler, you lot. It’s not natural. Get a life. It’s people like you that cause all the wars. Vegetables scream when you pull them up so that makes you a murderer. Oh, poor little plant…
Have a burger, hur hur hur…“*
Vegans exist in a thin and exhausted scatter across society, occasionally clumping together in the more alternative towns across the country. They can sometimes be found trying to live together in car-free, oil-free, herbivorous, rule-filled communities or communing at a vegan festival stall, eating chocolate cake.
When first hanging out with the alternative set in Glastonbury, perhaps at the Assembly Rooms, it’s acceptable to be a righteous vegan, even a fruitarian. But after a few months, it just gets boring for everybody else. Vegans are then taken to one side and introduced to that most perennial of New Age obsessions, the indigenous peoples of America. Because Native Americans have always eaten buffalo and worn moccasins and as they’re so peaceful and wise, it must actually be OK to eat meat. Animals are just another food and clothing manufacturer provided by the universe but only if you remember to say thank you first. Then they don’t mind. It’s good anyway not to get stuck in one way of thinking about ethics for too long, when there is a world of equally valid angles to try.
This is called relaxing your attitude.
Once-upon-a-time vegans can be spotted by subtly eavesdropping in on conversations in Glastonbury’s plentiful vegetarian cafés. The first sign that you’re over-hearing an ex-vegan is when you hear words lifting out of the background noise like ‘… really lacking in energy…’, or, ‘… I was told by my Homeopath/Kinesiologist/Acupuncturist…’. This will be said in a slow, deeply sincere and measured tone while looking intently into the other’s eyes. At this point there will be a break while Native American spirit guides are discussed, before returning to the previous subject with a question about the serious ethical implications of someone reincarnating as a pig and then someone else killing and eating said pig and would that then be karmic cannibalism?
All these words are intoned while secretly chewing on a MacDonald’s they’ve sneaked into the café in a bag. This is definitely evidence of someone who’s relaxed their attitude. For those Glastafarians still calling themselves vegetarians, a loop-hole exists called fish. Fish are vegetables and may be eaten, in fact, they want to be.
*All true, I’m afraid.
Vegans can, as with any system of belief, be split into rough groups.
- The Private Vegan. This vegan has been quietly animal-free for years and still hasn’t died. Usually healthy, fit and happy, he or she tends to be quite normal, if a little too willowy to stand in a strong wind.
- The Animal-rights Vegan. While nearly everyone tends to believe that animals have a right to some respect and a decent life, some vegans turn it into a lifestyle choice. They only eat chips and white bread, wear canvas baseball boots, share abattoir movies, angrily picket things and are middle class nouveau poor, usually in their early twenties. They would look ill but are young enough to hide their malnutrition.
- The Over-sensitive Vegan. This creature was just meant to be vegan from the start. Disliking milk and meat from an early age they even get upset watching cute little baa-lambs playing in a field, intuitively sensing the futile cycle of their short lives.
- The Fat Vegan. Oh yes, it’s possible. There is a sneaking admiration amongst vegan stalwarts for anyone who has the dedication, drive and lunatic ambition to get fat on a vegan diet. Some fat vegans are actually considered holy and revered.
- The Raw Food Vegan. Cooked food is evil and poisonous. Fire is only there for warmth, to keep the bears away and give just enough light to chew by. Raw foodies want to get back to the roots of Hominidae and grate them into a salad.
- The Style Vegan. In the UK at least, these vegans are to be found living in Brighton or Totnes. They only wear the best organic cotton clothes and handmade vegan shoes. They are deeply suspicious of the countryside, and intensely dislike the whole dirt/mud/wet thing. Instead, they buy perfectly clean vegetables at fully organic whole-food shops and dine out at only the most expensive, exclusively vegan restaurants. They don’t have children or animals. In fact they’re only vegan because they hate the thought of eating any part of the nasty, dirty, stinking creatures. Eughh.
- The Humourless or Righteous Vegan. The enforced austerity of their personal New World Order dream has caused their laugh to atrophy. Possibly the saddest of all vegans, everything is taken personally. Dogs on leads, people eating burgers, woollen jumpers, advertising and anyone who won’t listen to THE TRUTH.
- 8) The Spiritual or Way Holier Than Thou Vegan. Being vegan is the only way to get into heaven/achieve Nirvana/lift your vibrations to a higher, more evolved one.
- 9) The Faux Vegan. They make up for any deficit in true vegans by pretending they are 1) through to 8), until they smell a bacon sandwich.