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VV and Me by Valerie Alferoff, Vegan Views 50 (Summer 1990)

Long, long ago, when vegans were few and far between and we had to travel fifteen miles to buy Plamil, there plopped onto the doormat my first copy of a friendly little magazine called 'The Vegan Newsletter' except that that wasn't quite its name yet! 'Letter One.... Name?' was its heading. But by Issue 2 it was 'The Vegan Newsletter' and from the beginning it was for me "the best thing that came through the letter box". Now I was no longer an Isolated Vegan, for I'd found all these new friends to communicate with at Wray Crescent, The Vegan Café and far and wide around the world.

By Winter 1977's issue, the name had changed to Vegan Views and I had become a contributor, illustrator and part-time helper glad that at last I could do something positive for the vegan movement other than marching, demonstrating and leafletting all activities that left me frustrated at the seeming waste of energy.

Working more and more on VV with David, Malcolm, Sue and Maggi was exciting and time-consuming. Eventually, at Issue 21, VV came to live at Edenfield, brought all the way from London in lots of boxes by Dave Richardson in his intrepid little van. From then on David and I found that co-editing VV took up most of our time. The hard work was enlivened by lots of VV gatherings: picnics, bonfire suppers and garden parties. We had plenty of support from vegans near and far and many were the cakes and feasts we made for our work parties.

There were piles of letters every morning, full of stories, recipes, articles, grumbles, compliments, jokes and drawings all part of the amazing mix that became VV. Much of the content of vegan magazines is of necessity dreadfully serious and often sad so when the cartoonists "FLAN" produced their first lampoon of a typical Vegan Society A.G.M. at The Friends' Meeting House, London, there was a delighted response from many readers. The cartoons continued and grew ever more wicked some were much too extreme to publish!

By the time we reached VV 33, David and I both felt it was time for a change. He wanted to do more gardening and I got a place at Manchester Poly to study painting again. So we passed the editing over to Malcolm and Harry with some gratitude and confidence that it would keep its 'character' in their hands.

Since then, I've enjoyed contributing occasionally from a back seat. Looking back at the issues I helped to produce I see only a fresh and lively little magazine instead of a never-ending, gigantic slog of typing, name-cards, letter-answering, stamp-licking, harassment and heavy discussions. I am glad I left at the right time for me.

And now here we are at VV 50! It's still supportive and friendly, serious yet fun, still a complement to The Vegan and an important part of the vegan movement. My congratulations to Harry and his helpers for their vision and perseverance. And my good wishes to vegans everywhere: may our ideas continue to grow and come to fruition all over the earth!

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Cross-reference: History