The date: 1992. The place: A basement comedy store in Edinburgh.
It was a showcase for rising comedy talent, a chance for budding stars to reveal their hitherto hidden stand-up skills in front of a small, but enthusiastic crowd.
I was in the audience for this cheap-and-cheerful event that featured five acts who may or may not have gone on to forge a career in comedy.
The last performer stuck in my mind, but not for any good reasons. A middle-aged man in a curly mullet and green suit took to the stage and sang a song about how much he wanted to murder vegetarians. That was it. That was the joke.
The routine ended with him firing what I presume was a replica handgun into the air.
He received what can be generously described as a smattering of applause. I have, of course, never seen or heard of this man again, although annoyingly I still remember the tune.
Imagine then, if this comedian was transported through time to May 2019 and greeted with the news that Britain’s first 100% vegan hotel was opening, up the road in Highland Perthshire. Imagine the incredible convulsions in his brain and stomach as he tries to make sense of this bizarre new world.
Attitudes to vegetarianism and veganism have thankfully improved over the decades.
Yes, we still get the likes of Piers Morgan going apoplectic over a meat-free sausage roll, but the rest of society has evolved enough to realise that veganism and vegans are nothing to be afraid of. It’s no longer a weird, fringe lifestyle, instead its a valid choice for many, many people.
What’s refreshing is that the move to mainstream wasn’t the result of any multi-billion-dollar crusade, or hard-hitting campaign. Instead, it appears to have happened organically, with minds being changed and expanded simply by giving a stronger voice to new generations – passing the mic from out-dated comedy cellar dwellers, if you like.
And now we’re here in 2019, where veganism is actually becoming a lucrative market. Vegan cheese, for example, is estimated to be worth about £3 billion worldwide.
So it’s a great display of progression that Perthshire has opened its doors to this pioneering project. Sure, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but everyone should feel proud our area is making these strides in such a positive and inclusive direction.
And if you’re not a fan, that’s okay too. No one’s forcing vegan sausage rolls down your throat. And if they are, you should phone the police.