Saturday, March 25, 2017

How Simon Amstell Changed My Sandwich

I do not have a fond history with Simon Amstell. A few years ago he got irked with me (& the rest of the audience) for not laughing on cue. 

Simon repeatedly reminded us that his live-recording of a show was not for really for those of us who had paid to be there but for a future DVD audience. He berated us for not laughing in the same spots when he lost his place in the script and repeated his jaunty off-the-cuff anecdotes over and over. And over. And over. 

This week he changed my life. Or rather this week he temporarily changed my options when I go to Pret. 

His mock-umentary 'Carnage' arrived on BBC iplayer. It's set in a 2067 where humans choosing to eat animals is a long forgotten shame. Talking heads and a mixture of fake and real footage charts our meat obsession over the last century and how we eventually woke (or will wake) to the magic of a salad bowl. 

When I hear vegan, mostly due to a few bad egg(plant)s, I think of a droning bore who clings to a holier-than-though label to compensate for a very apparent lack of personality/humour/success. While they profess to being on planet-saving mission I suspect they dread veganism becoming the norm as that would mean they don't have their quirky better-than-everyone 'thing' any longer. They would *gasp* be the same as everyone else. Just duller. Until they find a new thing that everyone else does wrong.

But 'Carnage' isn't hectoring or virtue-trumpeting, it looks at society from an outside perspective and says 'hang on lads, is this insane?'. 

Real clips taken out of context hammer this home in a light but oh-shit-we-are-weirdos way. One sees Gordon Ramsay and friends enjoying the sight of sheep frolicking about a garden and musing "I DO think happy meat tastes better". Another sees Nigella Lawson casually cracking a chicken's skeleton and putting the dead bird in her oven, seen from the year 2067 as resembling "a documentary about a lunatic". 

I've always felt that eating meat is a moral choice but have wimped out from owning that choice with various excuses such as 'I love fried chicken', 'There's not enough other options', and 'Seriously though fried chicken is yum'. But after watching the documentary I've decided to try a little experiment and instead of running from meat in horror I'll just see if life is easily survivable for a week or two without it. A positive choice to see what else is on the menu. 

So a few days in and I'm taking baby-steps by going meat-free but not completely dairy-free (dammit I need that cheese) and am surprised by how easy it's been. There's loads of alternatives and they don't all taste like mushed grass. Without milk, coffee doesn't churn heavily in my stomach, I feel lighter after meals but admittedly a lot hungrier by bedtime - which is okay as you can pretty much eat as much as you like, so long as what you're eating didn't once have a face. 

All in all, it's a piece of piss. Roll on 2067. 

Preview of next week's blog: F**k it fried chicken is good. 

I'm on Twitter @theroryjohn

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