Since making the veggie-to-vegan leap a few weeks back, me ol’ grub’s been limited. By default, all my fave C’s are out: no cheese, chocolate, or (gasp!) cake.

Vegan hot dogs are floppy as the floppiest of fucks, and cheese-ish slices are essentially oily sheets of sappy, sopping cardboard.

Meatless sausages are ok, I suppose, and vegetable pâté isn’t half bad…but these are all things you need to eat with OTHER things so it’s been Bread With Everything. EVERYTHING.

From pâté on toast…crisp butties (to make sure I stay proppa Northern, like), it’s been carb-central all the way. Sunflower spread isn’t worthy of licking butter’s boots, of course – but if ya sprinkle a l’il salt on there, it’s quite possible to con yerself.

Lunch today? Baked beans and sausages on toast. Which – after plopping the lot onto my plate – looked and smelled a little dodgy, it has to be said. I was going to bin the lot, and go foraging in the fridge for summit else.

And then…BZZZZZ.

A dirty fly-bastard put me even FURTHER off, right before Bite One was even thought of.


I’d left the window open last night (I was staying at me Mam’s with the kids – and what with her being ancient and thin of skin, the house was hotter than the sun), so the bewinged one had found his way in. And the little bugger didn’t bother bothering me until I was about to eat.

Forkful of carbs ready to be munched…until FLY. Batted it away, and back he came. Third time fucky: after a futile swat, he landed on my hand.

I didn’t splat the twat (vegan, remember?) but his landing gave me pause to think. He’d been deliberately and universally painted onto my hand, it seemed. I gawped at his little black body.

For here was mine was so white.

Clarity was on the menu then: a menu I make myself read every now and again with my peepers firmly closed and my mind wide open. Behind my eyes: flies. In my head: flies on faces.

Black flies on black faces. Faces that see SO MANY flies that they no longer twitch, ignorant to the silence…so silent that a fly’s footfall can be distinctly heard.

Apathetic hands no longer inclined to bat-away. Flies that stay wherever they squat. On face, on food, in mouth, in hell.

Black children. Black flies. Children so malnutritioned that the bigness of their distended stomachs is only balanced out by their enormous heads. Lolling heads too big for their raving scrawny bodies.


And none of this is new to me; it’s just that sometimes, I forget to remember it. This is the same shit. The same old shit. The same old shit I first learned about in the eighties, with the advent of Live Aid (yeah yeah – I’m old as fuck). This is the bollocks that’s perpetuated by the likes of enormous corporations unnecessarily peddling their unnecessary shite when African women have perfectly good breasts.

What the actual crap was I doing moaning about shite food and one bastard fly? How fucking DARE I? How dare I complain about the state of my food when I HAVE food?

So I slapped myself in the face – and not for the purposes of insect-removal.

Then I ate a meal of beans on toast, with meat-free, dairy-free, flavour-free sausages.

From the wall, somebody was watching me.