Recycled Nostalgia

Another old blog post …

In the summer of 1989 I became aware that there was such a thing as a ‘vegetarian society’ having found out about it from a local restaurant guide published by Oxford Vegetarians, which was and presumably still is affiliated the The Vegetarian Society (UK).  I purchased that local guide booklet from the only entirely vegetarian establishment listed within it (a cafe that went out of business after about six months), somewhat belying the notion that a place with a large number of students is likely to be ‘vegetarian friendly’.

Pictured above is the first copy of the Vegetarian Society’s bi-monthly membership magazine which I received after I had joined; this itself being a few years after I had become vegetarian.  Featured within was an article on the then recently launched Ark Trust environmental organisation containing an interview with and photograph of Toyah Willcox; also a photo of Chrissie Hynde, Kevin Godley and others.  After a few years the Ark Trust and its eco-friendly household products disappeared into obscurity.

As with all old magazines, the ads tend to be more interesting than the articles, my favourite being the one below, which looks like a spoof from Viz, right down to the address of Acdo Service, Bolton.  Acdo apparently still exists though I haven’t seen it for yonks.  You could buy it in Presto etc back in the day, though it didn’t have the celebrity endorsement of Ark or the political correctness of Ecover.  Other ads are for Unisoy Soya Milk in half-litre containers and Kingfisher Toothpaste, considerably cheaper than now.

The Consumer News is essentially another load of adverts, one of which offers a free carton of Provamel Soya Dessert strawberry flavoured, reformulated without the use of cochineal as a colourant.  Presumably this offer was in the form of a voucher, not a carton sent in a jiffy bag.  Predictably for the time there was also free publicity for The Body Shop, when it was growing to become just another multinational corporation, though before Earth Mother Anita sold the business and her principles to L’Oreal.

The small ads in those pre-internet, pre-budget airline days have lots of vegetarian B&B’s in Britain where you could stay for 10 quid or less per night, which now seems incredibly cheap; that’s what 28 years of price inflation can do.  Surprisingly for the time, there were quite a few overseas holidays advertised, only in Europe though and even then mostly in the South of France. The rest are what you would expect: restaurants, situations vacant, business opportunities, accommodation, courses and personals (with box nos).

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