Grumpy Victor Meldrew sort that I am, national holidays & International Belly Button Fluff days are not really my thing. I resent being told when to celebrate anything. There are some such things, I’ll concede, that are too important to ignore. Earth Day 1990 is one I’ll never forget. It was the day that I saw an interview with River Phoenix. He was talking about his childhood & said the word ‘vegan’. When he explained what it meant, I realised it’s what I’d been calling ‘strict vegetarian’ & it’s what I was striving to be. Everything fell into place & I fell a little in love with River. He’s not why I’ve stayed vegan for 27 years, but he was Mercury that day & he delivered a bolt from the blue. From then, my awareness of the planet around me came into sharp focus. I became more political & more compassionate. I think of him often & I know he’d still be the most bad arse plant-eater on Earth if he hadn’t danced that last jig with the ‘medicine’ that he thought he needed to numb himself to all the pain he saw in this world. Bisous, beautiful boy – &, yes: happy Earth Day.