[blue rare]Melodies and Food For the End of the World

Playlist Suggestions for Unique Dining Occasions-Part 3

In the six thousand years or so since the birth of human civilization, it has surely never been easier to envision the ultimate, quite possibly imminent, seemingly inevitable demise of our species.  Nuclear brinkmanship, overpopulation, underpopulation, technological uprisings, climate catastrophe, epidemiological devastation, alien invasion, zombies, parasites—from the fanciful to the all-too-plausible, there’s seemingly no end to ways in which we can picture ourselves snuffing it.  And modernity is hardly the only epoch to picture the looming end times.  From Old Norse visions of Ragnarök to Christian biblical prophecies of Armageddon and the Second Coming, we have long relished our extravagant doomsday scenarios.

Of course, it may never happen; or at least not for a very long time.  Like my rusted out, one-eyed Chevrolet Malibu, humanity may continue limping, wheezing, and grinding along far beyond even the most optimistic expectations.  But, if and when we do come face-to-face with extinction of the species, there are those of us who are determined to be prepared and to take our final bows on our own terms.  For some, this may involve gathering essential provisions for a foreseeable societal collapse.  For others, it may mean embracing some form of religion or spirituality.  For me, it means carefully selecting music and dining options appropriate to whatever variety of apocalypse seems most likely to arrive.  Of course, it would require many volumes to fully exhaust this topic, but here are a couple of brief examples of the sort of planning I’m talking about:

One very likely scenario is the evergreen possibility of a world-ending thermonuclear war.  If you’re like me, imagining this will bring to mind cozy and quaint images of 1950s families gathered together in underground bomb shelters, wearing funky protective eyewear.  I would suggest embracing this vibe and tracking down a recording of the exquisite Virgin of the Sun God by 1950s Peruvian singer, fashion icon, and world music pioneer, Yma Sumac.  It’s fun, infectious, ethereally beautiful, and unfortunately largely lost to history, making it both literally and symbolically a perfect choice for the end of the world.  Suggested meal pairing: a selection of early atomic-age snacks, such as canned cocktail franks, a cheese ball, a shrimp ring, and plenty of jelly salads.  Don’t forget to whip up a batch of martinis in your stainless-steel cocktail shaker!

My next example is a bit more personal and esoteric.  I have always been a big fan of unusual atmospheric and celestial phenomena.  Electrical storms, dramatic cloud formations, comet sightings, lunar and solar eclipses, meteor showers, love them all.  So, if I had the option of a bespoke, artisanal crafted apocalyptic event I would definitely choose something along the lines of an enormous asteroid or possibly even a newly discovered rogue planet hurtling its way towards the Earth.  Should this come to pass, I already have a pair of beautiful antique opera glasses ready at hand.  And, for me, the musical choice would undoubtedly be the suitably superlunary “Olsen olsen,” by the Icelandic wonders Sigur Ros.  It’s a song that is achingly elegant and bursting with hope.  I can’t imagine a more apt elegy for humanity.  Suggested meal pairing: Comfort food, all the way…fish and chips, perhaps.  And champagne.  Lots of champagne.  Also, location is going to be critical.  I’m thinking atop the London Eye observation wheel, if you can make it, or a snowy mountain top.

Perhaps I will see you there, and we can share a toast to all the wonders of the world we have known.

Or, as I said, perhaps none of this will ever come to pass.