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Mastidon Tells You About Douglas Adams Birthday Party!!


Mastidon here with a bit of an unusual report.  This is not a film review or a review at all for that matter unless you want it to be one then maybe I will change it for you.  Don’t Panic!  This is actually an homage to the single biggest inspirations in my life who helped turn me into the geek that I am today – Douglas Adams who at 6’5” tall making him bigger than any of my other inspirations.  In case you did not know, Douglas would have been 60 today had it not for his desire to travel to a different planet and leave us almost 11 years ago depressed and looking for the perfect cup of tea. To honor Douglas’s memory, a party was thrown to celebrate how he would have spent his 60th birthday.   
What was it like to hang out at Douglas’s house?  Well you could expect talk about science and the universe, the environment, some comedy, and of course rock & roll.  All of these things thrown together equaled the evening I just was fortunate enough to experience from the upper rafters of London’s Hammersmith Apollo Theater.  But I digress, why was Douglas important?  Why is it that if you ask Siri what is the answer to everything you will sometimes get told 42?  Well as Stephen Fry put it, the iPad is Douglas’s vision for the Hitchhiker’s Guide become a reality.  Douglas had the ability to time travel making his technology predictions rather simple as he simply had to write down what he saw then go back in time and tell us.  Stephen unfortunately was not on hand in person but sent in a video greeting from New Zealand where he is shooting some small and unknown movie there.  In case you missed it, Stephen revisited Douglas’s book LAST CHANCE TO SEE with a 6 part BBC series 20 years later.
 This series is well worth your hard earned credits.  The evening was put on by the Save the Rhino foundation which Douglas did lots of work supporting.
Also on the bill for the evening were several scientists who talked about well what would you talk about at an Adam’s event -  life, the universe, and everything.  They even went so far as to say cats from space will one day destroy the world.  As an owner of two cats, I can assure you that this is absolutely the case and the world will almost certainly end on December 21st, 2012 – not by a Vogon construction fleet, but by a group of pissed off cats who don’t want to see me enjoy my 43rd birthday which also happens to occur on the same day.  Since I have already started talking about me, I will thrill you with the details that I almost met Douglas, not once but twice.  Both times improbable events kept us apart but I still own a copy of MOSTLY HARMLESS which he supposedly signed for me.  In reality, I think it was my ex-girlfriend feeling guilty and she faked his signature as that is what I would have done.  I know this is as exciting as Vogon poetry so just try and get through it without killing yourself.  I first became aware of Douglas in 1984 with my purchase of the greatest text adventure game ever made (or at least the greatest one that you could say rude and nasty things to and it would complement you for your unique creativity.
This opened me up to this strange world of Monty Python – where I doubt you knew Douglas was the only non-Python to get a writing credit.  Or maybe you knew that and if so, just go ahead and kill yourself anyway before the cats do for having such useless information in your brain.  Douglas would approve.  Or maybe he wouldn’t as how the hell would I know so don’t listen to my ramblings.
Another great portion of the evening was filled with skits Douglas had written over the years including a final reenactment from Cambridge University Footlights comedy troop days. The Footlights have given birth to some of the best over the years including Fry & Laurie.  Terry Jones also sat down for a Q&A session where he talked about the time Douglas almost killed him and Michael Palin by driving the wrong way down the freeway while under the influence.  Feel the love Douglas.  What better way to remember you than tell the world you used to drink & drive?
OK, so now what?  Science, check.  Environment, check. Comedy, eh well maybe.  What’s left?  Rock & Roll with Douglas’s house band.  Now if you are Douglas Adams, who is in your band?  Well your buddies who hang out at your house of course.  Some minor players including some up and coming guitarist who you probably don’t care about and was in some band that nobody really paid attention to, especially cats who thought their music sounded too dog friendly with their song Seamus. Douglas liked their right handed guitarist so much, he bought him a guitar and named that band’s last album for them because they were too lazy to do it for themselves.  David Gilmour came on and performed WISH YOU WERE HERE – a title he stole from Douglas’s autobiography.  What nerve.  To end the evening, Gary Brooker sang A WHITER SHADE OF PALE with David on guitar.  It still wasn’t as good as Vogon poetry but I think I enjoyed it just the same.
Please send out your virtual greetings to the late, great Douglas Adams!  Happy birthday Douglas!  Wish you were here!
-Mastidon out.
Readers Talkback
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  • March 13, 2012, 9:07 a.m. CST

    movie was good i read the books young so ima read them again

    by Jackson

  • March 13, 2012, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Meeting Douglas

    by Richard Hewison

    I met Douglas Adams at a book signing session at the Forbidden Planet bookshop when it had relocated to New Oxford Street in 1988. He signed my Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul with a request I felt very embarrassed to ask for at the time: "To Richard, Who really knows where his towel is". Stealing quotes from Douglas Adams has become a bit of a hobby of mine, and he has some brilliant ones to pilfer. Apart from the noise that deadlines make, I particularly like the one about Travel Guides being books you read on the flight home to discover all the stuff you missed. He was a one off, and for that reason I couldn't bring myself to read the alleged sixth HHGTTG book that came out a few years ago. Nobody else will ever quite match his sense of humour or his outlook on life, the Universe and everything!

  • March 13, 2012, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Douglas Adam died TOO SOON!!!

    by Yotz Von Frelnik

    I'll always feel gypped that he didn't get to finish another Dirk Gently book. And that Infocom text adventure game was awesome! I'm still holding onto my original copy.

  • March 13, 2012, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Adams...With an "S"... Ahhhh!!!

    by Yotz Von Frelnik

  • March 13, 2012, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Just missed meeting him as well.

    by gotilk

    He was going to speak at the Claremont Colleges the next day. (Mudd? Claremont-McKenna? cannot recall) My roommate and I were going to go over early and try to meet him and see him speak/sneak in. Well, he died that day. It was such a strange feeling.

  • March 13, 2012, 9:38 a.m. CST

    I once read an excerpt from the "Hitchikers Guide" in church.

    by CaptainWalker

    You should have seen the response of the congregation when I announced from the choir loft that the answer to life was 42.

  • March 13, 2012, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Mastidon- thanks for that.

    by scaperone

    I, too, feel the same warm and fuzzy, and slightly tilting effect of Adams on my life. When you wrote of your age and the influence he had on you I felt as if I was reading of myself. Then I realized that I should have remembered more of the incident if it had be about me and therefore felt quite sure that your missive was not about me at all. I am a bit disappointed to find out that I did not, in fact, almost meet Douglas Adams. Your ramblings above made me laugh and I don't usually do that when considering the loss of Adams. Thanks.

  • March 13, 2012, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Hitch Hikers guide adventure game can be found here

    by notspock2 I miss him.

  • March 13, 2012, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Few people influenced my life as much as Adams...

    by Edman

    All the more impressive that I never met him. Douglas was responsible for a massive overuse of red ink on many a term paper and essay, for run-on sentences, and indulgence of which I am still guilty. Ahem. Obviously...

  • March 13, 2012, 10:40 a.m. CST

    great article

    by skelly

    I too spent a great deal of my early twenties devouring Adams books. And I'm sure like many others here I often mention bringing towels nad 42 in facebook comments then deleting friends who don't get it. On a side note, I named one of my sons Seamus after the Pink Floyd song.

  • March 13, 2012, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Hitchhiker worked far, far better as a radio show

    by Raptor Jesus

    Than a book or a movie. If you haven't heard it in it's original form track down a copy.

  • March 13, 2012, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Re: "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy"

    by ArmageddonProductions

    I was a huge fan of the series, though, due to the law of diminishing returns, I think it ran out of gas after the third book (and was probably limping along on fumes BY the third book). Though, the whole thing sort of gets a deeper appreciation if you watch "Doctor Who" -- I hadn't really watched too many episodes when I started reading the books back around '85 -- and you can actually compare the "Hitchhiker's" books to the series it's spoofing. What's super-eerie is contemplating how easy it would be for the BBC to produce an updated series with the current "Who" cast: Arthur Darvill as "Arthur", Karen Gillan as "Trillian", Matt Smith as "Ford Prefect" and maybe throw Russell Brand or Noel Fielding in as "Zaphod". I wish they'd do something, because that semi-Americanized movie was crap.

  • March 13, 2012, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Great Writer

    by SonOfChiba

    Very early memories of seeing the BBC TV adaptation of Hitchhikers, and loved it. Then sought out the books as a teen. Remember reading about his death all those years ago, shell shocked. Much missed. Apparently, he told Stephen Fry what "42" meant and swore him to secrecy...

  • March 13, 2012, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Thanks guys!

    by Mastidon

    Glad you enjoyed reading it. Hardly a day goes by where I don't make some Adams reference to somebody. Being able to write an article in a poor rip-off to his style was the only way I could get to sleep after the night. BTW, I just saw DIRK GENTLY is now a BBC series and not just a pilot -

  • March 13, 2012, 11:20 a.m. CST

    I'm not one to geek out when I meet celebs

    by Phimseto

    ...but apropos of the Infocom nod, one of the times that I was just tongue-tied happy was when I had a chance to chat with Steve Meretzky, who co-created Adams' two games with Infocom.

  • March 13, 2012, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Just 73 days 'til Towel Day!

    by obijuanmartinez

  • March 13, 2012, 11:41 a.m. CST

    City of Death

    by kwisatzhaderach

    One of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever, written over a weekend by Douglas Adams and then filmed in Paris. If you have never seen it, treat yourself.

  • March 13, 2012, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Douglas Adams and Carl Sagan

    by antonphd

    two people that i will always regret i never got to meet

  • March 13, 2012, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Reading Tour

    by Industrious Angel

    I heard DA read - from Hitchhiker but also "Last Chance to See" - on the first stop of his world reading tour, in a completely sold-out theater. Great experience, he had a wonderful voice; especially his Marvin (in discussion with the battle tank) was deeply moving and heartfelt. I have to agree that the Hitchhiker series lost some steam on the way, still his books have kept me entertained for many many hilarious hours! btw., you can guess my hometown by checking where and why he gave his reading tour premiere there ;)

  • March 13, 2012, 12:03 p.m. CST

    I got nothing...

    by ScriptCunt

    I have zero to add other than a great fondness for Douglas Adams' creations.

  • March 13, 2012, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Nice article, Mastidon!

    by frank

    I like how you sort of mimicked Adams’ style a bit, and pretty effectively, too. I continue to be depressed and pissed off that Adams died so young. I wanted more Hitchhiker’s books, more Dirk Gently books, and more of anything else he might have come up with. One of my all-time favorite writers. It’s a damn shame, I reckon.

  • March 13, 2012, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Nasty US cover of H2GT2G though...

    by Ciderman

    Great article but I always preferred the British covers for the series, the original covers on the original trilogy of four, rather than the manifold covers that emerged on various reprints. Might I direct folk to the excellent radio series the books are based on, completed to the fifth fit (if you have to ask what that means you should be wanking over the Battleship trailer instead, these aren't the droids you're looking for, move along) Lets face it, when the OED finally has an entry for "Hoopy Frood" it'll be Douglas' face next to it ;)

  • March 13, 2012, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Another weird parallel, Quint...

    by GoDFaDDa42

    I'm the same age as you, within a few months, and it's funny how many similar experiences we had. I also was introduced to Adams via the Infocom game...

  • March 13, 2012, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Fond memories

    by GeneralKael

    I remember reading Hitchhikers again about 10 years ago - my parents were staying over and I was lying in my bed reading and laughing out loud, pretty much uncontrollably. I heard my dad call out from the other room "having a bit of that old Janx spirit are you?" I asked how he knew I was reading Hitchhikers - he asked how many other books make someone laugh like that. I remember the Infocom game well - it was the first game I played on a Mac. I believe I encountered the book earlier in a library - I saw the cover(the freaky rainbow original) and figured I had to check this out. The BBC TV series is great(I watched it when it first aired in Canada and it was the first DVD I ever bought) and I believe is available on Netflix, at least in Canada. The movie was problematic. I think the problem is that part of the appeal of Adams' writing is the way he uses the English language for comic effect("They hovered in the air in exactly the same way that bricks don't"). You need time to do this well - a Radio series and a TV series, even a short BBC one, can pull this off to an extent - a movie I think is way to short to do it, and probably not the right format. Which sucks because I liked most of the casting and the look(except for Zaphod's head - weird); I loved that Marvin looked like an Apple appliance, etc. - it just seemed like they dumbed it down too much and lost the intelligence and wit of the book. The only time my wife and I felt the movie was in the zone was whenever Slartibartfast was on the screen, and that owes alot to Bill Nighty moreso than I think to the filmmakers.

  • March 13, 2012, 2:29 p.m. CST

    New TV series needed

    by donkey_lasher

    And a british one at that. Adams left us at too young an age.

  • March 13, 2012, 2:36 p.m. CST


    by Mastidon

    New TV series found - and a British one at that! Dirk Gently is on the case -

  • March 13, 2012, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Wait, there is a Dirk Gently series?

    by frank

    Why was I not informed?

  • March 13, 2012, 3:38 p.m. CST

    I prefer Dirk Gently to HHG

    by Monolith_Jones

    Both are brilliant obviously

  • March 13, 2012, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Live Stage Show

    by chris888

    Later this year there's going to be a Hitchhiker's Guide live stage show touring the UK, starring the original cast of the radio series! It's going to have a different special guest each night doing the voice of the guide.

  • March 13, 2012, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Happy Birthday D.A.

    by Gabba-UK

    I'm sure you remembered your towel when you left, you hoopy frood.

  • March 13, 2012, 6:58 p.m. CST

    I met him, I got his autograph at school, but there was no chance for chit chat

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    All in all it was a let down. It wasn't his fault, he had no time to talk with everyone. I get it. At least I have an autographed copy of the trilogy.

  • March 13, 2012, 9:08 p.m. CST

    i met him too and got his autograph

    by jon pertwee

    it was at macworld 1999, i took the train to san francisco and brought along the restaurant at the end of the universe for some light reading. i had no idea adams would be at the expo, but there he was, promoting his game starship titanic. we spoke about the game - a role playing mystery on a interplanetary cruiseliner - and about listening to the hitchhiker's guide on radio 4 back in the 70s. as i left i thought about asking for an autograph, but instead turned and as i did, he asked if i wanted an autograph. he didn't have any paper, but i had an old dogeared book he was very happy to deface.

  • March 13, 2012, 10:13 p.m. CST

    My second fave author

    by _Lizarkeo

    After Raymond Chandler. This is, many would say, impossible. And I loved the bloody movie. This, many would say, is equally impossible. Mos Def was an almost prefect Ford. This is, many would now insist, absolutely impossible. And of course, I want the bloody sequel, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, just to watch a talking cow begging to be slaughtered in bloody 3D. This, it can be explained patiently, is also impossible ;)

  • March 13, 2012, 11:15 p.m. CST

    I actually got to meet Adams, too!

    by Queefer Sutherland

    He had an autographing at a bookstore I worked for, and I drove him from the airport to the autographing, and spent quite a bit of time with him. He was such a nice person, so much more giant than I expected, but terrible afflicted with back problems. He wasn't feeling well, but still remained in good humor. He did a reading then signed hundreds of books. I was glad to be able to know him a little bit.

  • March 14, 2012, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Queefer wins! You lucky dog. Wow, a one on one with

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Adams as his chauffeur. Nice!

  • March 14, 2012, 9:13 p.m. CST

    I've met Gary Larson, too!

    by Queefer Sutherland

    Back when we was doing the Farside, of course. Had him for three autographings and we did dinner a few times. He hated touring and only did it twice nationwide, then quit. He was a very quiet, unassuming fellow. Definitely liked life a little more solitary than his fame allowed. I wonder what he's doing now. Also met Dave Barry. Great guy, but I don't like his books. Lots of actors also came into the bookstore - Johnny Depp and Robin Williams are probably the most famous. Depp was a dork, not friendly at all, but Williams was completely natural and real.

  • March 19, 2012, 8:46 a.m. CST

    In the same way that..

    by Big_Daddy_Nero

    It's rather uncomfortably like being drunk.