Thursday, 29 September 2011

Stupid Vegetarians!

I’m a vegetarian in Newmarket. It doesn’t have the same mass resonance as the song about the Englishman in New York who felt like an alien, does it? And it certainly doesn’t conjure up feelings of sympathy. Vegetarians? Tree-hugging, hypocritical weirdos – the lot of ‘em. That tends to be the general consensus.

I never intended to make an identity out of vegetarianism, and I certainly never thought I’d have to make a case outlining why I think it might be a nice idea for people to be kinder to vegetarians. But here I am, four years down the line, feeling a little, well, emotional.

When I made the decision to snub meat, I never imagined that every dinner party or occasion revolving around food (which is all of them) would result in me playing out the part of annoying, awkward, do-gooder who enjoys making life difficult for chefs, hosts and amateur cooks. I have no idea why such foresight escaped me, but it truly did. I never thought I’d have to share personal information to strangers about the reasons why I choose not to eat meat. I didn’t anticipate the spotlights or the inquisitions, or the eyes-to-heaven looks that follow my admission that I don’t eat meat.

Some people are offended when I spill the beans, which makes little sense to me. Maybe it’s because they feel I judge them for eating meat because it’s clear to them that I hold the belief that to eat it is intrinsically wrong. I can understand that. But here’s the thing: I’m not judging. It’s OK to share a table with people who don’t share your opinions – we all do it every day of our lives. Why is the vegetarian issue such a hot one, then? People don’t get impassioned when an individual presents to a group admitting they don’t eat, say, oat bran muffins. Why? Because nobody really gives a toss about oat bran muffins.  

So I have to ask: what sensitive nerves are vegetarians sitting on? If carnivores are truly guilt-free about their decision to eat meat, and I suspect most are, why do they feel the need to be aggressive towards vegetarians? Why all the put downs and jibes and disrespectful comments?

People often haughtily say to me: “You don’t really thing meat is murder, do you?” All I can say in response is that it is not suicide. We all know animals don’t go to slaughterhouses because they’re so fed up with life they just want to die. Our rational brains know this. So when you ask me if meat is murder, and murder is described as the taking of a life without the consent of the being whose life is being taken, how can I not answer in the affirmative? It’s a logical answer that has nothing whatsoever to do with opinion.

I don’t eat meat because I have seen what happens in slaughterhouses. I have read compelling research about the emotional lives of farm animals. I have looked into the eyes of a cow and seen fear. I am aware that it’s a carcass on a plate, even though it’s garnished in herbs and wrapped in breadcrumbs. Those are my reasons. I am not on a mission to convert the masses. I am one person doing what I feel is right for me.

Is that so annoying?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Growing, making, creating – Somebody Stop Me!

My little apartment has morphed into a veritable plant sanctuary. Since beginning The Ringing Cedars Series, an eight part volume of concentrated and sometimes incredible wisdom, I’ve been sowing seed after seed. It started with a salad mix and some mange tout, then progressed uncontrollably to sunflowers, marigolds, foxgloves, calendula, poppies and evening primrose. I don’t know what’s next – maybe some cotton so I can create a fashion line - though limited acreage may present a challenge there!

Here’s some snaps of my growing little ones – the flowers have yet to come up. I’m encouraging them with banana skin, a tip I got from the movie Seven Pounds.  Can’t knock it till you try it, right?

The Sunflowers and salad mix...

The mange tout...

And, oooooo, I’m also experimenting with cosmetics and just made some lovely, bubbly coconut shampoo, a body scrub and some summer cream for the God Pod, or body! It’s all so wonderfully simple J

Saturday, 5 February 2011

If I were a teacher...

I'd play this song to the kids every morning. Trés mushy, but sure puts the boo in bootiful...

Serenity of a Saturday...

This music is conducive to floating...

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

If Christmas did not exist, would it be necessary to invent it?

Christmas begins at the darkest, coldest time of year. Almost exactly. The 25th of December is just four days after the winter solstice - the shortest, blackest day of the Roman calendar. It comes to prevent us approaching our wits end, really.

The season for love and understanding breathes dragon’s fire on us, doing its mistletoed best to melt our icicled hearts. It comes with blow-torched fiery kisses to sooth – or startle – people out of bleakness. Without its passion, and without the fire-toned twinkle of red dresses, red nail polish, red cranberries and red fireworks, would we, or would we not, sink into a black hole of despair? Would we not float lifelessly in the deathly dreary doldrums? Would our existence not seem meaningless without it? Or, worse again, pointless?

This wild conjecturing begs the question: if Christmas did not exist, would it be necessary to invent it?

Think about it: it’s a time when man-made sparkling lights battle the dark; a time when we warm ourselves with heart-felt gifts and exchanges of love. Of course it’s necessary that we do this at the darkest time of the year. But… what happens subsequent to our desperate attempt to escape the dark clutches of Jack the Ripper-Frost?*

Well, fires increases pressure (a law of physics) and boy, does Christmas bring its pressure. Stroll around a supermarket on Christmas Eve and notice the stern faces of determined shoppers. “If it takes an elbow to get to that last pack of thyme in time, then so be it,” the more determined out there will say to alleviate themselves of guilt (and criminal responsibility). It’s a time when latent tensions come to the surface; when good old fashioned arguments get belted out across Christmas cracker tables. For others, it’s a time to sit gloomily while staring into a mental abyss.

Of course, this is one side of a double ended phenomenon. If there are no latent tensions or depression, then it truly can be a cracking time of year where muchos fun can be enjoyed. Whichever end of the sword an individual sits on, positive or negative, they can be sure of one thing: Christmas is going to heighten, maximize, blow through the roof, everything that person feels at a milder level throughout the rest of the year.

Christmas comes at a price: for all of its cheer and warmth, it demands that we look into the giant invisible mirror it holds to our face. “Are you really happy?” it asks us on Christmas morning as we look around to see who is or isn’t there to share love with. “Are you achieving your highest possible potential?” it asks us as we meet old friends who ask us to summarise our life story in the five minutes they have to hear it.

Everything gets reflected back to us. It’s a time for excessive behaviour, over-indulgence and unrestricted play, yes. But it’s also time to have a good look down the rabbit hole. What do you want to see down there? What is the stuff of your dreams? What do you want to create in your life?

New Year’s Day. Aha! An opportunity for resolutions. It’s genius, really – the whole operation. The system is carefully built into the structure.  Rather than seeing through all the fanfare and man created frills, I tend to fall under the hypnotic temptation of a fresh start. Every. Single. Year.

In keeping with that going-with-the-tide behavioural pattern of mine, I have a stack of resolutions higher than my wildest fantasies following me around the house. Will I really be so healthy this year that I’ll float to the moon? Who knows. But I’m not done trying yet. I’ve kicked those dirty fags to the curb. Again. This time, I hope it’s for life and not just nine months (I realise that’s the length of a pregnancy and that by saying I gave up for nine months I’m implying I was pregnant, but I wasn’t. It’s merely coincidence that nine months is how long my will-power lasted).*

I’m intent on fulfilling my resolutions this year. To those cynics out there who think New Year’s Resolutions are stupid, I say: what better and more practical time to set resolutions than at the beginning of the year? I also say: Cheer up! If you’re done reinventing yourself then maybe you should be hanging on a wall in the Louvre with all the other completed works of art.

Anywho… to all and sundry: I wish you your best year yet!

*Both Jacks (Ripper and Frost) are related and in cahoots. Jack the Ripper-Frost is a figurative representation of this malicious (if supernatural) axis of evil. Warning: it is possible they may try to take over the world. Explanation: I made this up for the sake of it, and possibly for its humour factor, though dubious. Humans make stuff up all the time, that is the point of this blog. But it’s still fun to play with our creations – holidays, religions, theories, laws, etc. Existence is a game. I digress…

*Maybe nine months is the human limit for will power and that’s why the baby has to come out after that period. Ever seen a woman whose pregnancy goes over by a week or so? They’re not very friendly.