Thursday, 16 September 2010

(v) Denotes Very Annoying.

There are a lot of things that can stop you being vegan. Even buying a pair of jeans isn't always a vegan thing. Jeans makers insist on putting a little bit of leather on the belt loop of their jeans to advertise their brand. I mean, you've already bought the jeans. There's very little else that you can do. It's like adverts promoting going to the cinema while you're at the cinema. I'm at the cinema, you can calm the fuck down.

Most restaurants have a vegetarian option but not always vegan. You find out every single day that yet another thing you previously liked has goats milk or bull sperm in it. Bits of animal just seem to be everywhere. It's a drag but one that has it's rewards. All of a sudden I'm eating food that I normally wouldn't and I'm cooking new stuff. Big chunky curries, red pepper and carrot soup, fucking amazing bean salad with spicy courgette (I invented that). That's the easiest way to be vegan: just cook for yourself. Most places won't cater for you and the ones that do are bollock-burstingly infuriating. That's what puts you off being vegan most. Fucking stupid vegans.

What is a vegan? Well, from what I can gather vegans are generally physically beautiful people who are trying their best to look like a big pile of shit. Most succeed. They also want to make everything as awkward as humanly possible. There are really only three vegan restaurants I've been to since becoming vegan but I can only recommend one of them. All three have got their good points but only David Bann's in Edinburgh have got it right. It's a clever set-up: people who look like they wash regularly show you to your table. Then, after you have chosen from the menu, they bring you your meal. It's different but it works. Hendersons, also in Edinburgh, doesn't do that.

During the Fringe I really wanted to persuade the cast of Gutted to join me for a meal at Hendersons, just so they could see how great it is to be meat-free. The whole experience made me want to survive on nothing other than antelope blood. HOW THE FUCK CAN YOU GET GIVING PEOPLE FOOD SO FUCKING WRONG? You queue for fucking ages at the buffet. You choose your food. Then they tell you to take a seat, they'll bring you your dinner in about half a fucking hour. I just queued up for a buffet. Surely that just means handing me my food? Don't be so ridiculous, Michael. That's how an evil carnivorous meat-eating buffet works. Vegan buffets are powered by candles and incense and terrible dreadlocks and clogs and wishing. It takes fucking ages. Now go and take your seat and wait for far longer than necessary. Don't worry, you can have your dessert now. That'll tide you over until your Lentil Mystery turns up.

So I took my dessert into the oak-riddled dining room and tried to eat it while listening to a bearded jumper playing an acoustic guitar. It was like being in a vegan restaurant dreamt up by bad sit-com writers. I was embarrassed. Don't think many Gutted's gave up eating meat that night. Stupid Legge.

Last night I went to InSpiral Lounge, a vegan restaurant run by tramps, by the look of things. InSpiral is in Camden Town and it is painfully vegan. I mean, wow. Rice beer, cous-cous gravy, hemp steaks, breast of dandelion, grass kebabs, thin-air burgers. Again, you have to queue up buffet style to get your food (I went for the carrot zebra) and it wasn't long before I was completely ignored. What with not having actual human faeces in my hair, piercings all over my face, a fold-up bicycle under my arm and those ridiculous big wooden hoops the mentally away twats put in their earlobes, they just didn't see me. The guy behind me got served first and no amount of noise I made about it made any difference. Chillax, man. You're going to get served real soon. FUCK OFF, YOU UNWASHED PRICK. Then, when I got my food and went to the other washed out (but not actually washed) hairy ghost at the till, I still had to wait for her to deal with a fucking moron who just appeared out of nowhere. The moron wanted to text his friend the names of some of the food served at InSpiral. Fair enough. That will only be a second, right? WRONG! The moron can't write in English so hairy ghost has to spell EVERYTHING. "Small filled bagel. That's small s-m-a-l-l. Filled f-i-l-l-e-d. Bagel b-a-g-e-l. Vegan cream cheese. That's vegan v-e-g-a-n. Cream c-r..."

I had gone mad by this time. FUCK OFF. That's fuck fuh-uh-uck. Off oh-phffffffffffffff.

The thing I should be pointing out about these two incredibly annoying places is that the food is amazing. Really delicious. It's just a complete trial getting it. I'll probably go back to InSpiral because the food is amazing and all the booze is vegan but I'll mentally prepare myself before I go through their sunflower oil door. Also, they have a sign on their front window saying "We're breast feeding friendly". Well, not all of them were.

HA HA HA! Brilliant.

After dinner last night I went to the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town to see Jim Bob and Tim Ten Yen live and in concert. The opening act was called Pete and had his rock n' roll coolness of turning up late totally ruined by going round the crowd afterwards adding their names to his mailing list. Good lyricist though. "Come with me, come with me, come with me, come with me, come with me, come with me, I'll be waiting by the sea" was one that caught my ear. Hang on, Pete. You want me to come with you but you're already there? Plus, I need a clearer address than "by the sea". I don't think this Pete wants me to come with him at all. Sir, good day.

Tim Ten Yen was next and was wonderful. I'm a big fan anyway but it was lovely seeing so many other people loving him too. He's upbeat and sinister, joyous and awkward. You'd like him. Apart from his excellent songs, his between song banter was just hilarious. He's a very funny man. And ADORABLE! He dedicated When The Song Applies To You. Then ruined it by dedicating the next song to someone else. Then the next song was dedicated to everyone in the room. Yeah. Good one, Tim. I feel really special now. You should definitely buy his stuff. Seeing Jim Bob on stage was amazing. His songs are funny and angry and clever and they are obviously adored by his fans. But really it was great to see Jim from Gutted on stage doing songs that weren't in Gutted, like he had some sort of life before Gutted came along and made us all famous. I've read Jim's novel, Storage Stories, and bought four of his albums plus I got to hang out with him for a month. Like everyone, I only have great things to say about him and everything he does. He is, you know, great. Plus lots of Gutted's were there so it was like a reunion. The whole cast joined Jim on stage at the end for a brilliant version of This Is Love.

That last bit never happened.

My dog just coughed something green on to my leg. I must go.


shoogly_nail said...

I'm surprised to hear about your crappy vegan-about-town experiences in two of our capital cities, because believe it or not, Glasgow has not one but four great vegan bar/cafes. Admittedly, I think they're all owned by the same people (or three of them, defnitely) but they're proper pubs with proper service and proper people who take and bring your order and everything. It sounds like more vegan places could learn a thing or two from them. (Mono, Stereo, The 78 and 13th Note, should you ever be in Weegie-town.)

Andrew Collins said...

Wow, I feel like one of Stalin's generals. I have been airbrushed out of both your meal at InSpiral Carpets and your evening watching Jim Bob and Tim Tong Yong. Just because I wasn't in Gutted, I don't count.

Another shit thing about Henderson's - I tried to book a table for us all and they were fully booked. People are prepared to book the entire place out so that they can queue up with a tray for some lasagne.

Michael Legge said...

Shoogy, I will check them out next time I'm in Glasgow. Thanks!

Andrew, It was lovely to see you despite you're constant heckling of Jim Bob. What did you want me to write? "Andrew Collins was there and we had a lovely time"? Not on my blog, mate.

Lauravegan said...

I thought the food at David Bann's was unbelievably bland. Were you joking in the podcast about not being able to eat out anywhere? We don't have many interesting options in Southeast London but you do have a vegan place in Catford, vegan options at Madras in Lewisham and the ace new cafe at Goldsmiths Students' Union. Apart from that, you'll want to check out this book:

these websites:

this shop:

You can also get one to one help from the Vegan Pledge people next Spring:

Welcome to veganism! I've been vegan since 1994 and my dog has been for 3 years :)