The alt.fan.douglas-adams FAQ

Section X- Miscellaneous


X.1. Short stories


X.2. Where did the phrase "Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul" come from?

The phrase "the long dark tea-time of the soul" appears in Chapter One of Life, the Universe and Everything. Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged is described as being eventually ground down by the Sunday afternoons, and "as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o'clock, and you will enter the long dark tea-time of the soul".

According to a now anonymous posting on alt.fan.douglas-adams:


X.3. Is the Islington telephone number for real?

At the time the original radio series aired, the Islington telephone number belonged to friends of Douglas Adams who did not mind calls, but by 1989 they had moved. If you ring the number now, you will get some people who have nothing to do with Douglas Adams and who are sick of the whole bloody thing. Don't do it.


X.4. Dire Straits...?

This answer now has a more comfortable home at L.3.4.


X.5. Names in real life?

Some of the names that appear in Douglas' books have their real-life counterparts, as does (for example) the cafè in Rickmansworth mentioned in Hitch Hiker's Guide..., which was the Cafè Suisse in Bury Lane, on account of the fact it's the only one there was at the time...

Hotblack and Desiato were Estate Agents in the Islington area.

Chris Paulin (chrispa@aotahi.monz.govt.nz) said this in the alt.fan.douglas-adams newsgroup:

"Recently I described a new species of fish from Fiordland New Zealand and gaveit the scientific name 'Fiordichthys slartibartfasti', and a second new species from Northern New Zealand as 'bidenichthys beeblebroxi'." So, it seems that Douglas' works will live on... as a fish.

Zaphod Beeblebrox, meanwhile, is alive and well and living in Sydney, Australia. A consultation of the Sydney White Pages lists one "Beeblebrox, Z." Stop in and see him next time you're passing through, he'd surely enjoy the company.


X.6. Printing inconsistencies

X.6.1. More Than Complete Typographical Errors

The More Than Complete Hitch Hiker's Guide... printings seem to have a couple of flaws in them. The first printing had a significant typo on the spine label, namely the books were named The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Universe and The Restaurant at the End of the Galaxy. A later edition is bound upside-down.


X.7. How much does Milliways really cost?

A lot. Had Zaphod deposited 0.01 in a bank on Ursa Minor Beta before visiting the Guide offices, and had he earned one ten-millionth percent interest annually over the five-hundred and seventy-six thousand million, three thousand five hundred and seventy-nine years that Marvin had waited for him, he would have had 1.42 x 10^248 with which to pay his dinner bill. It seems that "fabulous cost" does not quite do justice to the expense of eating at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. In fact, were Zaphod to withdraw all his money in bills of denomination 10^219, he would be able to, in principle, lay his money from one end of the observable universe (at that time) to the other. Were Zaphod to attempt to withdraw his money in bills of denomination 10^191, the bank would be unable to comply with his request, as the observable universe at that time would not contain the mass required to supply him with so many bills.


X.8. Whatever happened to the answer to question X.8.?

It became the answer to question L.2.1.. I am told it is a lot happier in its new role.


X.9. Why towels?

The whole towel 'thing' is taken from real life. This is what Douglas Adams said in an interview in 1987:

"I was holidaying with friends in Greece some years back. Every morning they'd have to sit around and wait for me because I couldn't find my blessed towel. It seemed to epitomise my disorganised state of being. I came to feel that someone really together, someone who was well organised, would always know where his towel was. I thought of it as a Universal Truth."


X.10. The Cosmic Cutie (the little green guy)

A little green blobby planet thing, nicknamed the "Cosmic Cutie", with eyes, a tongue and two sticky arms, was used on the U.S. editions of the Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy series of books because of worries that American people might not realise that a series of books with completely different names was actually a 'trilogy'.

Douglas was one of many people who hated the little thing, and managed to ensure that it is not going to appear on any new editions of any of his books.

The only tangible relevance that the green thing has with the story itself is an appearance in the BBC TV series, in the section of the Book narrative discussing the population of the Universe. When it is said that the population must be "as near to nothing as makes no odds", a string of noughts appears (0.000000000...), one of which, momentarily, turns into the Cosmic Cutie, waves, and disappears.


X.11. Monty Python's Meaning of Life / Liff?

The opening scene of Monty Python's film The Meaning of Life has the title 'rock' changed from saying "Liff" to "Life" with a thunderbolt obscuring the bottom of the 'E'. If you're confused, watch the film- you should have seen it anyway. Douglas made brief appearances in Monty Python's Flying Circus at one point but this doesn't affect the fact that there is no other relation between The Meaning of Life and The Meaning Of Liff.


X.12. Pink Floyd's Division Bell

The story behind the connection between Douglas Adams and Pink Floyd's recent album The Division Bell, as he told it himself on alt.fan.douglas-adams:

On a related note, Dave's birthday present to Douglas was an invitation to play one number with the band at Earl's Court in October 1994. That night's show was also in aid of the EIA.


X.13. The Real Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy

The Real Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy is the name of a paper-based list maintained by Dave Hodges, also known as "Hodgesaaargh". Copies are auctioned for charity at various conventions. It is extremely large and would be tremendously illegal (and most would find it immoral) to put on the 'Net. It does however have it's 'brother' guide, Project Galactic Guide (see R.2.)


X.14. Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster recipes

There are many recipes in existence, and here is a very abridged recipe. You can read the full version on the Web here. The real thing is highly recommended, it's a much better read.

This makes one approximate 18 ounce Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. The reason this drink seems so large is that Zaphod Beeblebrox required 9 ounces per head.


X.15. Marvin, the Paranoid Rock Star

Marvin the Paranoid Android, voiced by Stephen Moore, was a pop star in the UK in 1981. He not only released two singles, but he even appeared on "Top Of The Pops", the BBC's pop music programme. The first single, "Marvin", reached the staggering position of #53 in the charts in May '81, and was in the top 75 for four weeks.

The Guinness book of Hit Singles describes him as "UK, Robot".

There were two singles: 'Marvin', with the B-side 'Metal Man', and the follow-up 'Reasons to be Miserable' with the B-side 'Marvin I Love You'. The 'Reasons to be Miserable'/'Marvin I Love You' single was actually a 'double B-side'. They were released by Depressive Discs.

"Reasons to be Miserable" was a parody of "Reasons to be Cheerful" by Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

Getting a hold of these records is going to be very hard indeed. Even finding them on the Dr. Demento compilation on which they appeared will be difficult.

However, for the lyrics to these songs and some new soundclips, go to sections L.1 (lyrics) or L.4. (samples) or click the hypertext links above.


X.16. Where could I find a book report on Hitch Hiker's Guide...?

The general tone of the answer to this question on the newsgroup is usually as follows:

Yes; you can find one inside your head. Read the book, and then grow some opinions upon it. Then write those opinions down, and you'll have a book report. Plagiarism is not welcome, and besides which, searches of the Internet have shown up no decent essay-length summaries of Hitch Hiker's Guide or any other Douglas Adams book; if they had, then people wouldn't keep coming to the newsgroup and asking about it.


X.17. Can I have a pie?

No.


X.42. Number games

Yes, six times nine equals fifty-four. Yes, six times nine equals 42 in base thirteen, and we don't want to know about the implications that has on the number of fingers cavemen must have had.

Douglas has himself said:

(As an aside, Lewis Carroll was also obsessed with the number 42).


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