January 28, 2022

Hey! What do you know about mushrooms? Uhm… well..


I don’t know…are there microscopic ones that can grow under your skin? Imagine a whole network of fungi gestating inside your body. What is that disease that turns you in to a tree? Is that a fungus? The guys in those videos and pictures always look so relaxed. Like its no big deal that they are turning in to a tree but I guess depending on the nature of your life style, it might not be a big deal. I’m sure there are plenty of areas of work that actually require a tree-human…in the arts…probably. If athletes foot is a fungus, why doesn’t it grow past your feet? I thought fungus could grow anywhere? Or wait no, isn’t it dark, damp spots it grows in? Why does fungus not grow in your armpits then? Or around your genitalia? Oh wait is that a form of STI? Is one of the STIS a fungus? I’m pretty sure one of them is. A cold sore is definitely like a fungus and when I was little they used to sprout on my face like a fairy ring. It would sprout up over night and then just grow up my face. Sometimes it would spread from my lip up to my nostril. The speed and formation with and in which it grew, definitely reminded me of a fungus, so maybe that’s a fungus.

In school I wanted to do a project about mushrooms, just drawings of them, and paintings. Paintings and drawings of my bedroom with mushrooms coming out of the corners and growing out of my chest of draws and out the wardrobe. The teacher said it was too clichéd, I told her it couldn’t be,  that it wasn’t a metaphor for anything, I just want to see what it would look like if there were mushrooms growing all over my room because I think that would be disgusting and I like to feel disgusted sometimes, particularly by things I can look away from when I feel like it, like a painting. Like so many people who prefer the comforting tedium of repetition she repeated her original advice to avoid cliché, I switched to Spanish because oh how sensitive the teenage disposition is. Si, muy…something…muy, what I said in English just there. It was the world of lots of pictures of mushrooms’ loss and definitely not Spanish’s gain, poor Spanish.

The mycelium is the underground network that is the fungus. The mycelium can go on for hundreds of miles and still remain the same original fungus. The mushrooms we see sprouting from the earth are only flowers, the real business stays underground, growing where we can’t see it, taking over more and more of the earth while we sleep.

When there is a global food shortage and we enter a post-apocalyptic Ballardian type situation, mushroom spotters, the expert eyes that can distinguish the poisonous from the edible will be most useful indeed because fungi may be one of the few consistent sources of food we have left, whatever nutritional value it is a mushroom contains…does it have protein? It is sort of meaty when its cooked, or do I just always eat it with meat? I will endeavour to discover the answer to this before the apocalypse.

If you boil the ink cap mushroom in a little water and some cloves you can make ink. The cloves don’t add anything to the ink formula but they do stop the terrible smell of boiling ink caps. You can use the ink to draw pictures of the ink-caps. Meta-caps. Incidentally the ink-cap tastes terrible, it wont poison you in any extreme way but it will taste very, very bad. Unless you are an expert the general advice is to never eat any mushrooms you find because the ones that kill you look a lot like the ones that wont. There are mushrooms you can eat, feel fine and then three days later you drop dead of multiple organ failure because of the amatoxins your liver can’t break down. If you eat mushrooms and you start vomiting your face off straight away it’s a good thing. This means it is most likely not one of the more poisonous ones and you will be fine. You will be even better after you stop eating random mushrooms, silly.



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