I had the great honour of doing a tiny bit for the Douglas Adams virtual 60th birthday at the Hammersmith Apollo.
I once had the great honour of not meeting Douglas Adams. I wear the fact that he once passed me in a corridor in BBC Broadcasting House, and smiled, and I smiled back, and I didn’t run around him and buy him drinks, and scream at him like a lactating gibbon, as a badge of pride. I hope he enjoyed the day unpunctuated by noisy hero worship.
I had the really great honour to have a drink with Douglas’s daughter, Polly on the night of this charity bash. We talked about college, and places to live, and really really normal Mostly Harmless stuff. We laughed. It was fun.
I can’t fathom why some people on the internet get upset at the death of their idols because of the future books they’ll never write, the records they’ll never make, the jokes they’ll never think up. Even if that’s your immediate response, pause with your fingers hovering the keyboard, and try and think about the future games they’ll never play with their children, the future surprise kisses they’ll never plant on the necks of their wives. To me that’s work unfinished.
So thank you Polly, I hope you enjoyed the day.
Here is my sketch, as wonderfully performed by Joh Culshaw on the night, in his ‘Fourth Doctor’ persona. Please be aware if you read a charity sketch, like the one below, you are legally obliged to contribute to the charity, so please visit
DOCTOR WHO BLUNDERS ON STAGE IN A CLOUD OF SMOKE:
DOCTOR: Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. This won’t do at all. I was planning to hop back to 1979 to have a chat with my old friend Douglas Adams. I had this idea for a stunningly amazing and informative television show he could write, about endangered species. He could call it ‘My Big Fat Gypsy wedding’. Oh well maybe the title needs a bit a work…
But It seems I have overshot and landed in 2012. Still, I’ll tell him all about it. I’m sure Douglas would be very amused. Nothing much has changed on Earth. The ape descended life forms in 2012 are still so amazingly primitive that they still think digital television is a pretty neat idea.
How fascinating! Many of his predictions have come true, I see. (PULLS I-PHONE OUT OF POCKET) all earthlings now own handheld devices that claim to tell us everything about the life, the universe and everything, and yet are wildly inaccurate.
(PEERS AT I-PHONE AND PRESSES A BUTTON) (CAN WE HAVE A GUIDE SOUND EFFECT HERE?) I see the wikipedia entry for Rupert Murdoch reads ‘mostly harmless’.
(PRESSES BUTTON ON I-PHONE) (SOUND EFFECT?)
The I-phone has this to say about Greece.
Monetary units: none. Well there are actually three freely convertable currencies in Greece. The Euro has recently collapsed, the goat can only be exchanged for other goats, and the banks refuse to take the Elgin marbles as they refuse to deal in fiddling small change.
Yes Douglas will be delighted to know that In 2012 the banks are still products of a deranged imagination.
(READS FROM I-PHONE) What else? Ahh. And I see in 2012 they’ve finally perfected the infinite improbability drive – or I assume so from watching the republican presidential elections. Douglas would be very impressed to hear about Newt Gingrich. He would think it’s a sign of progress that they allow Vogons to run for president.
Let’s see what it says about David Cameron…
(HE PRESSES I-PHONE) (SOUND EFFECT?) Ah! The i-phone has this to say about David Cameron. Your plastic pal who’s fun to be with.
Yes Douglas, in 2012 the Prime Minister of the UK is a product of the Sirius cybernetics corporation – and they still can’t do genuine people personalities.
And remember that idea of yours for a ‘b’ Ark? Where they put the useless third of the population and put them where they can’t harm the rest of us? The people of earth are doing that in 2012. Only they call it the BB ark. Or big brother, as some of them call it. The only problem is they’re only getting rid of them eight at a time, and they keep letting them out again. Don’t worry I’m sure they’ll work it out one day.
And would you believe it Douglas? This device even has the ultimate question, the one to which the answer is 42. I have it here…
(PRESSES) ‘What is the dullest song ever written by Coldplay’?
I’d better get back to 1979 and let him know. I’m sure he could work out what it all means. He’s good at that.n There was no limit to Douglas’s genius.
(A DISEMBODIED VOICE SAYS ‘I SEEM TO BE HAVING TREMENDOUS DIFFICULTY WITH MY LIFESTYLE’)
Oh no, that voice can only mean one thing. A freak wormhole has appeared in the space time continuum. It has brought a Douglas Adams sketch from 1974 and placed it here. We must watch it carefully. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. It’s just us that’s in danger.
(HE LEAVES LAUGHING)