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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Parkin

A Recipe for Martian Happiness


Marvin could do with a bit of this recipe, I reckon.

Last Thursday 27th July, I compered an event as part of at-Bristol’s Festival of What If-?

As part of the evening – with its excellent provocations on the theme of living on Mars – I crowd-sourced a poem: A Recipe for Martian Happiness. That poem is now disappeared forever (though someone might have been filming it on their phone, I think) – but I’ve used the components to generate another…

**NB contains a single, heroically-deployed swearword in first stanza**

A Recipe for Martian Happiness

Take: 3,004,437 kisses of rubies and warp-tunnel-bend them with a toolbelt. 3,279,491 metric fucktonnes of lipstick and propulse them with duct tape. 8,197,635 on the Kardashev Scale of roses; whizz with a lovely felt tip pen.

Add: 1,470,239 infinitesimally small bloods, which you’ll propel with a space-hopper pump. 4,724,435 centimetres of crochet, to asphyxiate with a defraction grate. 8,716,756 fathoms of macaws: endeavour these with the machine on the shopping channel that slices the egg.

Continue with: 7,717,684 Angstroms of banjos and drip them with resilience. 3,508,683 planetfulls of strawberries to expand with a penknife. 3,094,126 semitones of folk dancing; smash with a molecular miner.

After that, locate: 6,680,979 planetoids of ferrets, so you can daydream them with a hairdryer. 4,813,550 voids of cold noses to hyperswim with a pen. 4,312,191 planet-hops of cat videos and accelerate them with a quantum discombobulator.

Pause a moment to fetch: 1,714,822 chunks of red lipstick, invented with a centrifuge. 9,705,975 baskets of fire, upthrusted with a whisk. 601,592 on the Beaufort Scale of sex, zoomed with a Mower Drill Toothbrush.

Finally, pop in: 3,498,057 furlongs of a Martian’s ruddy complexion, evaporated with a spiralizer. 4,550,125 glasses of Marslot, blinked with a sporknif. Garnish with a run of compressors. Method for generating this poem:

I asked those present at the What If We Lived on Mars? event to contribute to this poem – by writing:

  1. Measurements of any kind (on yellow tags)

  2. Ingredients – things that make you happy and/or are red (pink tags)

  3. Verbs of any kind, spacey and non-spacey (green tags)

  4. Tools of spacey and non-spacey kind (blue tags)

We then used this formula when performing the poem for the first and only time, in that iteration…

Take <random no. from phone app> <measurement> of <ingredient> and <verb> it with a <tool> REPEAT UNTIL BORED/COMPLETE Final sequence begins ‘Garnish with…’

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