Unusual Encounters with Food.

ISSUE #1 FOOD& Aliens

Podcast #1

Vega-Tables: Eating Human Meat Under Friendly Observation

Read interview

Evan Crankshaw is the man behind internet’s hidden gems Flash Strap and Explorers Room, a fantastic blog and radio show (respectively) dedicated to exploring exoticism across all time’s music. On this topic he also does magnificent collage art with which he has contributed to the last issue, and his self published book ‘expedition’ can be seen on his website: evancrankshaw.com

  • Do you believe in extraterrestrial life?

    Somewhere, there has to be others that are not us. Any universe where that would not be so ought to be erased and begun anew.

  • if so… How do you imagine them, intelligent or not, pacific or hostile?

I imagine, if they ever came in contact with us, they’d be inquisitive, exploratory, like anthropologists. Which does not exclude the possibility of certain manifestations of hostility. They may study us and then colonize, or they may move on. I guess it depends whether or not we have anything they’d want to exploit.

  • Do you think aliens would eat another species’ meat? Who knows what the biological compatibility would be. Maybe they’d be vegetable people with no use for meat. I’d very much like to meet a plant-man and try to understand that sort of consciousness. Maybe they’d be deep-sea fish people, more interested in our krill than any of our larger mammals. Or they could voracious longpig enthusiasts, wiping us out in a kuru-deranged human meat mania, just like we always thought they would.

  • Which is the most alien of the food you’ve ever tried?

Probably the most alien food experience I’ve ever had was my first durian melon, its interior is so much like an unknown body, fleshlike and full of caverns like those of a drained abscess. Rambutan are wonderfully alien as well, pupil-less eyeballs sealed into wild, hairy skins.

  • If you had to host a welcome-to-earth dinner, what background music would you play?

I’d play what I always play when I know I’m having life forms over for the first time: Les Baxter, Caribbean Moonlight. After that, the most human of musics, which is to say, Duke Ellington. I’d read the room and proceed from there, but I’d really want for it to be right if I played some stuff from Sun Ra’s Angels and Demons at Play and Night of the Purple Moon. It’s very important to highlight the drums though, so maybe I’d play some Olatunji and rest easy in the knowledge of a job done well.

  • Have you ever met an alien? If so, what specie was it and what did it eat?

We are surrounded at all times by aliens, meet them every day, though the species is human. It is a major component of the surreal landscape: surrounded by others who are ourselves, we nonetheless perceive an alien invasion. We fear for our flesh before these cannibals, even as we consume theirs.

  • Do you believe aliens could ever farm human beings?

I believe such a thing has been done many times already, yes. The answer is yes.

  • Do you believe in food?

Nominally. Not always. For example, we can confirm that celery is a musical instrument, but not whether it is food. I have seen people who seem to eat, or rather consume, celery; this raises the question: are they eating food (in this case, a vega-table), or merely playing the celery incorrectly? Such examples erode faith in the historical notion/traditional understanding of food, leading the way towards a new discourse of foodstuff analysis and taxonomic classification that does not exclude the possibility of negating the very notion of food itself. “So it’s a very exciting time.”

  • Tell us about the podcast:
    The governing idea for the podcast was to roughly alternate between vegetables (or vega-tables) and fruits (as well as other foods, particularly fish) – in my mind, very loosely signifying otherness, the exotic, the enigma of sustenance and its source, rooted in exploitation of resources – and UFOs, which articulate anxieties related to aliens (which is to say, once again the other, but this time received/perceived as a threat or disruption) as well as utopian/revolutionary desires for liberation or deliverance to a better place/planet. I was also thinking a lot about the green man and all his iterations in myth and lore, and of course, as always, the symbolic power of cannibalism. But all that jazz is just a loose framework, naturally the true interest lies in the unintended and unexpected connotations arising from an essentially absurd juxtaposition and an hour of really good music. The track list is as follows, if you care to know, but feel free to listen unfettered by foreknowledge:
    Vega-Tables (various sessions) – Beach Boys, Smile Sessions (1967)
    Dance of the Cosmo-Aliens – Sun Ra and His Myth Science Arkestra, Disco 3000 (1978)
    Mango Girl – Roger Roger / Nino Nardini, Jazz, Dramatic (1968)
    Guaracha U.F.O. (No Estamos Solos …) – Meridian Brothers, Desesperanza (2012)
    Eating Human Meat – John Giorno, William S. Burroughs & John Giorno (1975)
    The Breadfruit Tree – Enoch Light’s Action, It’s Happening… So Let’s Dance! (1967)
    UFO’s – The Undisputed Truth, Cosmic Truth (1975)
    The Lean Green Vegetable Fiend (From Tuther Side Of The Moon) – Nervous Norvus, Stone Age
    Woo - The Zorch Sounds Of Nervous Norvus (195?)
    Vega-Tables (various sessions) – Beach Boys, Smile Sessions (1967)
    Hunger is From – Ken Nordine Featuring The Fred Katz Group ‎– Word Jazz (1957)
    Favourite Dish – Lee Perry, Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Cornbread (1978)
    Les Émigrants De La Mer – Dominique Guiot, L’Univers De La Mer (1978)
    Fish Specie – Lincoln Chase, Lincoln Chase ‘n You (1973)
    Dagobah Landing – Kava Kon & The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, Virgin Lava (2016)
    Sweeten the Mango (Instrumental Version, For Haunani-Kay Trask, 2012) – Dolphins Into The
    Future / Lieven Martens Moana ‎– Songs Of Gold, Incandescent (2014)
    Exotic Fruits (Afro Beat) – The Fritz Maldener Orchestra / The Voo Doo’s, Studio One 23 (1973) (con’t) Sweeten the Mango
    Vega-Tables (various sessions) – Beach Boys, Smile Sessions (1967)
    Food Preservation – Daphne Oram, Oramics (1958-77)
    Radio Show
    Email: flashstrap [at] gmail.com