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Hitchhiker Memories
Geoffrey McGivern
Geoffrey McGivern

Webchat question: Did Geoffrey really come to blows with Douglas at a Footlights party?

"Well, it was in the Trinity Old Kitchens and it was Douglas's birthday party. I had imbibed not wisely but too well and Douglas, to my mind, was being a little bit pompous in conversation to someone standing next to me. I impetuously swung a right hook and Douglas shied like a nervous horse and slipped on the polished flagstone and went down like a California Redwood. I later apologised. He accepted grudgingly. But I didn't connect and for that I am thankful."

Geoffrey McGivern (Ford Prefect)

It was HHGTTG which introduced me to Radio 4. I can remember ironing in the kitchen and twiddling with the dial to find something to listen to. Found it in HHGTTG and left the dial where it was.

Got a lot to answer for that progamme!

posh scouse - from the Hitchhiker Message Board
Terry Jones
Terry Jones

"I suppose I was one of the first members of the public ever to hear The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. My friend Douglas Adams invited myself and Michael Palin along to his producer's office in the BBC and there we sat listening to the shows back-to-back. It was a harrowing experience, with both Douglas and his producer minutely examining our faces for the slightest reactions. After three shows Mike and I made our excuses and left, and as we walked away, I think I said to Mike: "You know, that wasn't all that bad..." Perhaps one of the classic understatements of showbiz. The Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy blossomed into one of the funniest and most thought-provoking shows ever put out on radio."

Terry Jones
Writer and presenter

Terry provided the voice for the parrot on Douglas' Starship Titanic computer game

Listening to the HHGTTG Radio series inspired me to become a sound engineer, as I could hear the power that sound had in communicating a universe that we had no idea about. I bumped into Douglas at a Procul Harem concert in the mid-nineties - he was propping up the bar after having introduced the act by recounting to the audience how a PH track had given him the idea that became the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. For me this was awfully relevant - sound had inspired him, and now it inspired me. I told him this, and we chatted a bit about digital audio, and we even swapped emails, one of which I used to offer my services for his film, but at that point he was not having fun with the whole film thing, and nothing happened. When he died I had one of those feelings of knowing there was something I would now never do - along with seeing Frank Zappa or Pink Floyd live again, I would never hear any new HH. I hope the new series is as good as the previews sound - I'm sure it is. Douglas always seemed to inspire that sort of excellence.

aws2001 - from the Hitchhiker Message Board
Simon Jones
Simon Jones

"I've always thought that radio was the perfect medium for science fiction because the action takes place in the universe of your head. What was so surprising, coming back to the project after 22 years, was that it was perfectly natural. None of us had to make any effort at all to get back into character. Stephen (Moore) still spent a lot of time acting in a cupboard, but we popped in to see him from time to time and let him out periodically."

Simon Jones (Arthur Dent)

The first (and unfortunately last time) I listened to A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I was in a village in the Drakensberg in Lesotho... a good couple of days from nowhere and only accessible on foot or horseback. A fellow American had the radio show on cassette tapes. It was a wonderful to sit by the light of a paraffin lamp, with a cup of tea on a cold night, and listen to the whole of the first series. Somehow the batteries held out.

Letlatsa - from the Hitchhiker Message Board
Simon Brett
Simon Brett

"When I had recorded and edited the pilot episode of Hitchhiker in 1977, I had to play it back to the Head of Light Entertainment and his two Senior Producers (gentlemen of mature aspect who had all had "good wars"). They listened for half-an-hour in total silence. Not a single smile muscle twitched. At the end of it my boss turned to me and asked, "Simon, is it funny?" I said, "Yes, I promise you it's funny." And he said - full marks to him for doing so - "In that case we'll back it all the way." And they did.

Simon Brett
Writer and producer

When I first encountered hhgtg, I was still at school, dyspraxic (though we didn't know it), and being told I was due for a life of factory work. Douglas so inspired me that I refused to beleive I was a stupid as I was told, and now I'm a phd student in computer science. I was so sad he died before I could write to him and say how he helped me. Having this new radio series is unbelievable, I can't wait.

carey_pridgeon - from the Hitchhiker Message Board

I can remember going to visit the wife's grandparents in Jersey (very posh) and I was laid in the back garden reading HHGTTG and I was crying with laughter - I don't think I made a good impression. But then again - at least I discovered the meaning of life...

Jodman - from the Hitchhiker Message Board
Nick Webb
Nick Webb

Douglas Adams was a huge man of great personal warmth. He suffered from a giant brain and a nose like the Northern Line. Despite the latter, he loved scuba diving. Underwater he must have resembled one of the friendlier marine mammals, a manatee perhaps. A militant atheist, his sense of wonder was all the more intense for his understanding that the beauty and complexity of the world had come about through push-pull material causality.

Douglas enjoyed being a famous author, but hated the process of becoming one. Writing was something he did with painstaking anguish, and he was notoriously delinquent about meeting deadlines. Many times he tried to stop writing altogether. However, his unique humour, an inventive mix of the cosmic and the minutely local, and his unsettling ability to convey how bloody strange it is that we exist at all, appealed to millions all over the planet.

Gritting their teeth at the thought of getting delivery, publishers persisted in bunging him advances to persevere. Fortunately for all of us, he did.

Nick Webb's biography of Douglas Adams, Wish You Were Here, is published by Headline.

Douglas Adams was at a book signing in Venice Beach... I got him to sign my books, asked some dumb question and then just hung around the bookstore for a while. While looking through the shelves of sci-fi books, I became aware of a very large fellow looking over my head. Turning around, Douglas was standing behind me. He tried to start a conversation, but being a teenager confronted by my idol, I couldn't think of anything intelligent to say. I look back now and kick myself...

John Gay - from the Hitchhiker Message Board
Christopher Brookmyre
Christopher Brookmyre

"To fully acknowledge the extent of the debt I owe Douglas Adams - as a reader and a writer - would very possibly crash this server, so I will merely cite one significant example. I am frequently asked who was the inspiration for my investigative journalist Jack Parlabane; whether he has some real-life antecedent or represents some indulgent alter-ego of mine. The truth is that Parlabane was entirely inspired by Ford Prefect: I always adored the idea of a character who cheerfully wanders into enormously dangerous situations and effortlessly makes them much worse."

Christopher Brookmyre
Author

Christopher Brookmyre's latest novel Be My Enemy is published by Little Brown

A conversation on the Hitchhiker Message Board:

Lidenbladt - ... listening to the original HHGTTG series in bed on my home built crystal set when I should have been asleep before school the following day. I'm nearly 40 now but it all seems like yesterday. Where did the time go??

Banana Splat - Not exactly home build, but certainly a very old radio. I managed to tape the very original first broadcast. they are in MONO (remember that) - a bit like listening in black and white. Very historic. I still listen to them whenever I need reassuring that the universe is still there.

Miranda P - Me too. Just the same - home built radio & everything. My radio was called Fred (must be a girl thing). I'm 46 now and I know where most of the time went ... Uni, career, husband, home, family ... It will be nice for the past to join to the future when the new series is on next week. Wonder if I can get my kids interested?

English Exile - I'm a mere sapling at 26. My dad brought me the tapes (shiney covers) as a Christmas present about 13 years ago. I still own them and listen to them once a month. Nothing comes close. I use it as a way to filter out girlfriends.

pebbleswilma - listened to this fantastic series when I was serving with the Army in Germany. It was on BFBS after the Archers if I remember rightly. Just hearing the music again brings back all those long lost memories!!!

PaulJ - I was at college, and had other things on my mind, but I went home to Mum & Dad for the w/e, and discovered that my father had bought himself a stereo cassette deck, and was recording all sorts of things off the radio. He lent me a recording he made of the first episode. From then on I was hooked. Pigsalive - I remember listening to it on vinyl records after school with a friend. I am now 42 which is of course a great age it being the secret to life the universe and everything!!
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