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FT: On your first two single releases with Tubeway Army – before you were known as Gary Numan – you used the pseudonym 'Valerian' and drummer Jess Lidyard was 'Rael'. Could you tell us more about this choice of names, or the –'spaceman' image you created?
Gary Numan: I used to drive by a building in West London that had ‘Valerian’ written on it and I thought it had a nice ring to it. I didn't realise it was a flowering herb until later. That name and the 'spaceman' image are just two of the many embarrassing things that come back to haunt me from time to time. I was, and still am, very interested in stories about people that have been, or claim to have been, abducted by aliens. I'm not the sci-fi fan that I used to be, but I still find all that stuff fascinating.
FT: There are many documented cases of pilots reporting sightings of UFOs, or at least things they couldn't explain. You were once a very active pilot... in all your years of flying, did you ever see anything that, whether you're sceptical or not about such things, remains hard to explain?
GN: Nothing at all, I'm sad to say. I wish I had. The most alarming thing that happened to me in the air was when I had bits fall off an aeroplane I was flying upside down, which certainly came as a surprise. I've also had them catch fire, break down, and scare the # out of me on more than one occasion, but nothing of an alien or supernatural nature. I did see something that I have never been able to explain when I was driving home from the studio one night – a large light in the shape of an upside down pyramid focused at a point on the road near me. I also saw a ghost once, so I am completely open to the existence of such things, both alien and supernatural.