For Thomas Thwaites, videogame Goat Simulator just wasn't enough. He needed to know the reality of life as a goat -- stomping around the side of a mountain on all fours, eating grass and eyeing up the lady goats.
"I only wanted a holiday from being a human… I didn't want to lose myself as a goat forever, because that would be the end of Thomas," he told Paul Henry this morning.
"I just was curious -- what would it be like to experience the world from a different creature's point of view?"
Thomas Thwaites as a goat (Tim Bowditch/thomasthwaites.com)
After being told transforming himself into an elephant would make him an "idiot", Thwaites instead decided to try life as a goat and enlisted the help of a willing prosthetist.
"I made a reverse costume -- a costume that was never intended to look like a goat, but was meant to make me feel like a goat."
To fund the venture he told charity and arts funder the Wellcome Trust he would not only live as a goat, but armed with an artificial rumen -- a gut, of sorts, that can digest grass -- cross the Alps as one.
"I was really keen to get the money so I was promising the world... After three days I had to nod goodbye to my goat friends and um, try and cross the Alps. I got a bit stuck on a glacier."
To avoid unfortunate amorous encounters with confused billies, Thwaites roamed with a herd of does. But this got him thinking strange thoughts.
"What if my project was such a success that I transform to a goat so much I would feel like I would want to mate with a goat? It's weird. It's kind of like a philosophical conundrum. I didn't want to do that as a human."
The end result was Thwaites' second book, GoatMan: How I Took A Holiday from Being Human, and thankfully no baby human-goat hybrids. He says the experience has given him a new appreciation for our evolutionary distant relatives.
"You think to transform yourself into a lower form of life somehow… you would think we're so technologically advanced, we should be able to do that. But actually, goats are just as evolved as humans," he explains.
"People have evolved to carry shopping bags, and goats have evolved to jump down the side of a cliff and be okay, and eat grass."
GoatMan is available online from Thwaites' website and book sellers such as Amazon.