Wandering around the huge Vegfest event in Brighton this weekend was a stunning experience.

What was once a tiny event has exploded into an arena production.

It’s like when a small band breaks out of the toilet circuit and hits the mainstream. Vegfest sees a whole plethora of great ideas and versions of the culture explored from the whimsical to the practical, from the slightly insane to the type of ideas and foods that could continue the growth of the culture into the mainstream instead of the fringe.

The only real drawback hovering on the horizon is, that like the big band on the big breakthrough, the whole movement could be pricing itself out of the market financially and culturally. Like a Led Zep type combo playing an arena show and the t shirts costing just a bit too much veg culture needs to reconnect with the people.

Vegan/vegetarian has always had an air of the luxury lifestyle about it and the suppliers have to make a living. But for the whole culture to slide towards being a kind of denial for the rich and a plaything for the chattering classes only is dangerous. It’s become a part of the kit and caboodle for the middle class ghetto when it needs to be for everybody and not just a fluffy badger toy.

Of course we could just go and boil up a bag of vegetables but everything needs a little spice flavour wise and intellectually but does the leering bank manager have to be so happy looking!

What in reality is just choosing to eat vegetables instead of meat as become a compassion disneyland- a dietary tourism when your pocket is punished by the trinkets and the grockle cups of tweeness that cloud the real issue.

It’s like everything in the West these days that gets turned into this kind of cultural holiday in the sun where the trappings become more important that the idea – even ghoulish old Halloween has become a Ramones T shirt and Mother’s Day seem to be overtaking xmas in bulk tack.

For the vegan ideal to continue and grow and survive it has to take a step back into some kind of reality.

A fine and noble idea like this cannot be allowed to turn into a middle class ghetto where it prices itself out of the financial and reality market. It cannot be seen to be a rich plaything but an idea that anyone can connect with if they want to,

I’ve never understood why organic food costs so much but then, I guess, I’m not a farmer. Surely without the being covered in the death spray of capitalism and the toxic chemicals of greed it should be a but cheaper – is the cost like a punishment for not wanting to fill your body with lead and strange sounding chemicals that even most scientists haven’t head of?

It’s time for that reality check and not the reality cheque – not killing animals needs to re-enter the so called real world.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. cooking from scratch is still pretty cheap but convenience food is super expensive as is decent chocolate.

  2. I shop a lot in Heron for my veggie food, John. Was a case of having to when I was on my uppers, but now my situation has improved I still don’t like getting ripped off, so I’ll still often use the cheaper shops. I think, too, it’s a case of vegetarians and vegans being taken for granted, because we’re perceived as being a bit timid. Glad you’ve bared your choppers on this issue.


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