Pieces of a Jigsaw
Well, this is taking longer than expected.
There's a lot of progress behind that episode-by-episode dashboard - a long of interviews that are recorded, agreed or set up. But the series is taking longer than expected. Some facts have taken more checking than expected. Some interviews have taken a long time to arrange. It's been particularly challenging to find ways of bringing vegetarianism in the classical and medieval west to life.
I hope to have all the interviews recorded by the end of January - so by then the first three columns of that table will be green (with perhaps a perfectionist amber here and there where I just want one more voice). On Monday, for example, I'll meet Tristram Stuart, author of "The Bloodless Revolution" (one of the books on my desk in the Kickstarter Video). I'll talk with experts in Salford (where the modern vegetarian movement began) in a few weeks. In January, I'll visit Paris (home to the revolutionary ideas of Voltaire and Rousseau) and amongst others meet Renan Larue as he launches the first ever French-language history of vegetarianism. (My trip had to wait until Dr Larue, who is based in Canada, visited. In line with my shoe-string budget, I'm keeping bills down by swapping flats with a friend in Paris.)
I'm very grateful to those who have helped out. Like experts in vegetarian history, such as Samantha Calvert, who have given their time. And others, like Shitanshu Tyagi who translated the Hindi of a Jain nun I interviewed in Rajgir.
And as I sometimes got lost down the rabbit hole of research, I've discovered a lot more interesting things. Such as the academics who infer that vegetarianism was just a strong a part of classical Roman society as it is in the UK today. Or the medieval Syrian Coptic stories of monks like Rabban Gabriel, living on vegetables and surrounded by wild animal companions whose trust testifies to the monk's saintliness.
As this develops, and I look forward to finally being able to play an episode at the launch party, I grow more confident of one thing: the finished product is going to be one amazing series.