Posts Tagged ‘douglas adams’

Douglas Adams - In the beginning the universe was created


Towel DayTowel Day is an annual celebration on 25th May, as a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams (1952-2001).

On that day, fans carry a towel with them to demonstrate their appreciation for the books and the author, as referred to in Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The commemoration was first held in 2001, two weeks after Adams’ death on 11 May 2001.

The importance of towels is explained in the 3rd chapter of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

Douglas Adams Atheist Bus Campaign Tube Advert

The Code of the WoostersFor Christmas 2011 my friend Ivet gave me the book The Code of the Woosters as a gift. As the title suggests this is one of the Jeeves & Wooster stories from the pen of PG Wodehouse. Ivet chose it because she had heard good things about it. She wasn’t aware that I am a huge fan of the 90s TV series Jeeves and Wooster starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Classy, intelligent, well-produced and splendidly acted television of the style sadly missing from ITV nowadays.

However, in the 20 odd years since the series premiered I’d never gotten around to reading the source material from the pen of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. Yep, that’s bloody rubbish. So it was serendipitous in the extreme that Ivet purchased me the 3rd Jeeves & Wooster novel.

Funnily enough Wodehouse was born in my home town of Guildford so maybe there is something in the air that attracted me to his characters and tales. When his aficionados include the aforementioned Fry and Laurie, and the late lamented Douglas Adams, my interest has august company.

So thank you to Ivet for finally putting me on the path proper to reading the works of PG Wodehouse.

i love deadlines“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Douglas Adams was legendary for his writer’s block and inability to meet deadlines. Of late I’m having a similar problem…and I don’t have £2 million advances to comfort me during those long nights…

I was doing so well with managing the “Doctor Who” and ” Torchwood” articles and throwing in the occasional random nonsense. Then life and writer’s block hit. Granted all deadlines for the articles and general bloggage are self-imposed with no penalties imposed but I can’t help but feel that I’m letting myself down when I can’t stay on schedule. At the moment I’ve got 1 episode of “Torchwood” (the finale!) to impart words about, plus 4 episodes of “Doctor Who” to cover. People like my views of the programmes and it helps the mind to focus.

The last few weeks have gotten in the way of the typing but now that the emotional and physical manacles have been loosened a little I’m hoping to get rolling once more…


Posted: 12 June 2008 in life
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 Probably the best known use of the number 42 is by Douglas Adams as the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything – but it crops up frequently in the works of another famous author.Lewis Carroll (of whom Douglas Adams was an admirer) had a fascination with the number 42 and it makes many appearances throughtout his life and works:

In “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” the King of Hearts quotes Rule 42 of the Wonderland judicial code: “All persons more than a mile high are to leave the court.” The book also has 42 illustrations, not counting the cover.

“The Hunting of the Snark” Carroll’s famous nonsense poem has many associations with 42:

  • The Baker had “forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,/With his name painted clearly on each”. These 42 items of luggage are mistakenly left behind.
  • In the preface to the poem Rule 42 of the Naval Code states: “No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm.”

iPods and iPhones always put me in mind of the actual book from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy of 5 books. Little repositories of vast knowledge and entertainment. Apt given that the late and much-missed Douglas Adams was such an advocate of Apple technology. Has any consideration been given to a special “Don’t Panic” iPod/iPhone? Maybe in 2011 to mark the 10th anniversary of Adams’ passing?