Well, as it was the 25th of may last Sunday I decided to make it into a bit of an occasion. Why is 25 of May important? Well, apart from being the Swedish date this year for Mothers Day. It’s also the date that has been widely regarded as the date to make your rememberance for the late great Douglas Noël Adams. The autor behind the Dirk Gently books, one of the biggest names of Last Chance To See-TV-series but not the least of which being the creator of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy franchise. Having spent one of his evenings drunk off his ass while on a hitchhiking tour around Europe and was just laying in the field thinking that space-travelers would need a Hitchhiking-guide too.
Well that was probably a bit of a paraphrasingly way of describing the origin. But what I wanted to say was that Douglas got his idea sold to BBC-radio and then the rest was history, so to speak.
So what does that have to do with 25th of may, you may ask? Well, this day has been designated The International Towel-Day by fans of the guide. And the reasoning behind the towels comes from a passage of both the book and the radio-show it was based on which goes like this:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels.
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker 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 mini raft 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 to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindbogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a bush, but very ravenous); 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: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, 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 hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might have accidentally “lost.”. What the strag will think is that any man that can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still know 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.)
The event in question was a marathon of the TV-show that was produced by BBC back in 1981. Now, it isn’t exactly my most favorite of versions. But I figured that my favorite is the Radio-version but that won’t really work for a group of people. And the movie has it’s fair share of problems too. And we couldn’t really sit down and read the books all day either. I mean it was the day of the EU-election too you know! So the TV-show it was. I contacted the BBC in order to find out if I could do it as an event on the local arthouse cinema that I help to manage on a non-profit basis. The BBC first replied in a slightly optimistic manor, but when I managed to detail how I wanted to do it (the BBC has got to get some other way for people to get in touch with them from over-seas.) I got a blank rejection. Time was running out anyways so I scrapped the open event and instead invited some friends for the marathon.
As I said, it isn’t my favorite version. The choice of actress for Trillian will always perplex me. The design of Marvin will forever date this film as a cheap as hell TV-production and some of the sets aren’t much to root for. But it did bring a few things in that I do love. One is the visualization of the whole Deep Thought sequence. And the other main positive thing was the amazingly animated Guide-Readouts. These has forever set the mark of how Guide-Readouts should look. and it looks just terrific.
I was however a bit curious. There’s large portions of this that was filmed on 16mm and even 35mm was mentioned in the Making Of. So while the video-sourced parts wouldn’t exactly shine, I would be very interested to see a real bluray mastering of this show. With the film-elements restored to at least 2K-glory.
Anyways. That’s one of the things that has gone through my mind lately. I’ll probably need to get back to work on Potterthon now. I heard from a friend who portrayed Agent Johnsson in his first incarnation (a short film I cannot post here because of copyright-issues with the music used (I was young and stupid back then)) He had agreed to reprise his role in voice-form and had now sent me the takes he recorded. Things are really looking up.
But now I’ll see what the Griffin family has been up to lately.
So long and thanks for all the fish!