The Vegan Speaks: The Power of Spoken Word and Veganism.
Suicide is the number one killer in the world
From the poison on the food we eat
To the fizzy coca cola fleet
The pigs and cows whose throat we cut
To fill right up our moral gut
There aren’t many funerals here
In the farmers field, where deaths so near
To the feelings we totally disconnect
The names we’ve given them they regret
Because they put trust into your soul
And you chewed it up for profit goal
But just one day when you least expect
You’ll feel a bulge inside your neck
The air will leave your skinny throat
The meds you fed the cows and goat
Finally you just can’t breathe
“The things I’ve ate have ended me”
Your body burnt in your Sunday best
Your body finally laid at rest
Now you’ve felt what they must feel
Your life shown on a film reel
You’ve realised just what matters most
But you made the connection as a ghost..
Writing is something I have done over many years, in many different forms. I remember the first time I started writing was as a bright eyed and bushy tailed 17 year old after I listened to Morrissey’s ‘You Are the Quarry’. Words have always moved me. In an inescapable way, despite my music taste changing, morphing and getting heavier by the day, it is still the the lyrics that move me amongst the backdrop of more than aggressive soundscapes. You see people say music can transport you, and by God it can, but the words inside of that music, their power alone can act as the greatest inspiration. And I’m not talking inspirational quotes that your friend posted on Instagram. I’m talking about real words. That’s what I’m in love with.
While we are on the subject of my passions, another thing you should know about me is that I’m vegan, and a vigorously passionate one at that. It’s not a passing hobby or a phase, since 2012 I’ve not touched one sliver of animal produce. And why, you might ask, do I defend this diet, or rather lifestyle choice, so vehemently? Well, quite simply, it was a film that made me do it. The powerful, overwhelming production that is ‘Earthlings’. Put it this way, that film left me in floods of tears. I’ve cried 3 times in the last 5 years. Earthlings, getting married and Bowie dying. Three times. That is less than once a year. Earthlings broke my heart.
“Being vegan changed my life in a massively positive way. I feel better in body and in mind.”
I’m not one of those vegans who is a self-publishing narcissist. Some are so passionate, so strong in their beliefs that they will say the craziest, most hurtful of things. I get it. I’m there with you. It kills me what goes on, I understand you. Please believe that. But one thing I’ve realised since the “awakening” is that the vegan scene is seen as something people consider extreme, and nobody wants to be compared to the Westboro Baptist Church. Pushy, self-righteous and most importantly… annoying. Yet so often I see vegaism advocated with crazy statements. Words that don’t move me as vegan, let alone someone who isn’t.
I’ve spent the last 6 months or so working out how I can use my spoken word to combat this. We need to look at a vegan lifestyle from a positive perspective. Let’s stop fighting about it. Let’s talk. Let’s listen.
My view is a rosy one. I do indeed, as a little boy called Peter once said, believe in fairies. As far as I’m concerned, 95% of the world has a good heart. That’s not a fact, granted, but it is my belief. We have a degree of evil in this world, but the good will always prevail. At the heart of us we are all mainly good-natured and built to love. On the flip side we have a large amount of folk who are selfish. I am. You probably are. It’s just how we’re built really. For the sake of self-preseravtion and all that, we are, as many a philosopher has testified, naturally self-interested beings. I believe that is why most of us eat meat. We like it. Simple as that. So how about we show people what is in it for them?
Now I’m not a ‘vegan spoken word’ artist per se. That would probably be career suicide before it even began. Too niche. But I have taken it upon myself to tour the UK on a 50 minute spoken word set based on my experiences as a vegan. The beginning all the way up to the present.
“I’m sick of radical belligerence which alienates folk, makes them tune off before the conversation has even begun.”
Being vegan changed my life in a massively positive way. I feel better in body and in mind. Check. I get excited about food now. Check. I get to perform at really cool events like Vegfest. Check. My life has benefited by being vegan, and not just because I feel a little more self-righteous. Being vegan is about so much more than what you can’t do, but what it pushes you to do. I now try to combat hatred, anger and any abuse that ever comes my way with my spoken word. Instead of being an aggressive activist, I want to start a conversation with people. I’m sick of radical belligerence which alienates folk, makes them tune off before the conversation has even begun. I want at least to try and combat the militant vegans by being a positive vegan. Not to be the ‘cool’ guy but because it benefits the animals at the heart of it all. Which is what I care so deeply about. That’s why I have such a strong belief that people will go vegan. People are good people, in the main. Selfish maybe. Aren’t we all? Let’s start showing people what’s in it for them. How will it benefit them beyond the basic satisfaction.
Words have always moved me, and I can only hope that the jumble of words I put together will somehow, somewhere move someone else in turn. I fell in love with being vegan, and I want to share that. Because that’s how we should all be allowed in the door, with a handshake or a hug and a smile. Not a finger point and an overly worked tongue muscle from a stranger telling us things we don’t want to hear.