At last it can be revealed: the synopsis of Benjamin Britten’s contemplated space-age opera, mentioned in biographies by Humphrey Carpenter and Paul Kildea.TYCO THE VEGAN

Prologue – an intergalactic truth and reconciliation event. Tyco (his skin is scaly and green, he has four eyes) is on trial (but in a non-judgmental way) for eating a pork sausage. His defence: it slipped into his mouth by accident.

Act 1

Space interlude 1: The Soya Milky Way

Mars. Chorus of Martian vegans and boys.
Tyco has landed his flying saucer with a massive crate of tofu, but he is shunned. Only Lesbia of Venus stands by him, as well as Cap’n Birdseye from Earth.
Findus of Murco tells Tyco he has secured him a fresh supply of veggie sausages but the Martians suspect his veracity and are outraged in a strictly non-violent way.
Meteor storm, during which Tyco tells Birdseye of his ambitions of opening a falafel chain across the galaxy “I dream of making it big in Uranus”.

Space Interlude 2: Meteor Storm

Night time (which lasts 38 hours) in the “Oat and Soyabean”. The nettle wine is flowing. Tyco has come to meet Findus and collect his sausages. Tyco sings the aria “My Satnav always mistakes the Great Bear for Extragallacticon 13”. A drinking song ensues: “Old Joe has gone looking for sustainable quinoa”. Tyco collects his sausages and leaves for his flying saucer. The act ends with the line: “Inter-Planetary Transportation Device! Do you call that an IPTD?!”

Act 2

Space interlude 3: Argon Morning

It is Argon morning, the seventh sun in the Iphoxian galaxy, and the Martians are at the Deodrome, all except Lesbia who is boiling chickpeas. Tyco appears. He wants to take the chickpeas to his IPTD and zoom to Jupiter. The Jupitans are having a music festival and Tyco sees his opportunity to start his falafel empire. A row ensues and Tyco storms off. A mob gathers and they decided to head to Tyco’s IPTD to check it for meat.


Tyco’s spaceship, his IPTD. Whilst deep-frying his falafel and contemplating his future with Lesbia, Tyco stumbles on the unopened box of Findus’s sausages. Peeling off an outer label he sees that the sausages are in fact pork bangers. As the mob approaches, some fall into the deep fat fryer and in order to hide the evidence, Tyco gorges himself on sausages. He steps into the Matter Transpodulator and disappears, just in time. Finding no sausages in the ship, the mob disperses. Cap’n Birdseye remains and finds the discarded label.

Act 3

Space Interlude 4: Like, Peace, Man.

There is a “Recycling Awareness Freeform Celebration of World Dance (Bring Your Own Bongo Drums)” taking place in the Desmond Tutu Community and Peace Centre. Rumours start to spread that uneaten meat sausages and piles of boiled chickpeas have been found in a crater just a few steps from Tyco’s IPTD. Again a mob forms, intent on raising a petition and having a cruelty awareness day. They leave and Lesbia is left to sing her aria “Native American Dreamcatchers are, like, so spiritual”.

A crater. Tyco is half-mad and sings a soliloquy. Cap’n Birdseye discovers him and tells him to fly his spaceship into the galaxy and open the hatch.
The vegans of Mars go about their daily business, cleaning their yurts and polishing their tantric crystals, while an IPTD drifts ever deeper into space.

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