offended by things is the world's big hobby at the
moment. It's almost taken over from wearing goatee
difference between a thing that might go wrong and
a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when
a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong
it usually turns out to be impossible to get at
overcompensates for disabilities. I'm thinking of
having my entire body surgically removed.
It is a rare mind
indeed that can render the hitherto non-existent
blindingly obvious. The cry 'I could have thought
of that' is a very popular and misleading one, for
the fact is that they didn't, and a very
significant and revealing fact it is too.
Humans are not
proud of their ancestors, and rarely invite them
round to dinner.
I may not have
gone where I intended to go, but I think I have
ended up where I intended to be.
Human beings, who
are almost unique in having the ability to learn
from the experience of others, are also remarkable
for their apparent disinclination to do so.
I love deadlines.
I love the whooshing sound they make as they go
The more I think
about our species the more I think we just do
stuff and make up explanations later when asked.
But it's not true that I would rather write than
read. I would rather read than write. To be honest
I would rather hang upside down in a bucket than
I tend not to
read or watch Science Fiction, particularly not
comedy Science Fiction. The point is that if it's
less good than what I do, there's no point in
reading it, if it's better than what I do it makes
me depressed. If it's like something I'm intending
to write I have to twist myself into knots trying
to avoid it and if it's like something I have
written I feel ripped off. Simpler to read
Who should play
the lead role in a film about me? Dunno. Danny De
Vito? Jeff Goldblum? Meryl Streep? Someone of that
A common mistake
that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the
ingenuity of complete fools.
The story goes
that I first had the idea for Hitchhikers while
lying drunk in a field in Innsbruck (or 'Spain' as
the BBC TV publicity department authoritatively
has it, probably because it's easier to spell).
The Hitch Hiker's
Guide has not been an opera. It has however been a
tapestry, if you count a woven bath towel as a
What makes me
laugh? P.G Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh, Dave Barry,
Garry Trudeau, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen,
Michael Bywater, Hunter S Thompson.
came across the name Hotblack Desiato when I was
driving along Upper Street in Islington, and there
it was on a house For Sale sign. It was the name
of a new (real) estate
agent. I thought it was the most wonderful
name I'd ever seen, and wished I could come up
with names as good as that. I couldn't get the
name out of my mind, and when I was trying to
figure out the name for the rockstar who was
spending a year dead for tax reasons, every name I
thought of was not nearly as good as Hotblack
Desiato. So in the end I gave up and phoned the
agency and spoke - as it happened - to Geoff
Hotblack. I asked him if I could use their name
and he was, as you might imagine, quite surprised
but said I certainly could. And so I did. I spoke
to Geoff quite often after that, in his capacity
as an estate agent. And one day he told me that
they had had quite a few calls from people saying
hadn't they got a bit of a nerve naming their
agency after a character in The Hitchhiker’s
Guide to the Galaxy?
Many words and
expressions which only a matter of decades ago
were considered so distastefully explicit that,
were they merely to be breathed in public, the
perpetrator would be shunned, barred from polite
society, and in extreme cases shot through the
lungs, are now thought to be very healthy and
proper, and their use in everyday speech and
writing is evidence of a well-adjusted, relaxed
and totally unfucked-up personality.
I wasn't that
great a fan of the goons, though there was a lot
of British radio comedy that I loved and grew up
with. I suppose my favorite was a show called I'm
Sorry I'll Read That Again which was going in the
early/mid sixties - John Cleese, Tim Brooke Taylor
and so on. Earlier than that were great shows like
Beyond Our Ken which were classics, and then
things like The Navy Lark and The Men from the
Ministry which I suspect I would think were less
wonderful if I heard them now.
little hidden jokes in stuff from time to time.
There are quite a few little jokes in my books
which only the person they directed at would get.
It's a bit like people waving at complete
strangers out of buses... just being friendly and
saying hi. Incidentally, I don't know if this was
just my imagination, but I had a strong sense when
I saw the movie GHOST that there were little
Hitchhikers and Dirk Gently jokes lurking around
in it. Anybody else feel that?...
The stuff at the
beginning of Long Dark Tea Time Of The Soul about
the harpsichord and the bailiffs was a joke at the
expense of my great friend Michael Bywater, on
whom the character of DG was to a certain extent
For instance in
Life, The Universe And Everything I describe the
way that the robot waiters and guests behave in
the BistroMath ship. One of the guest robots keeps
feeling under tables, insulting people and going
on about some woman or other... I called him an
AutoRory. Old friend of mine called Rory McGrath.
That's exactly what he used to be like in
restaurants. Don't know if he still is because I
haven't gone to restaurants with him for a while,
for obvious reasons. Not only did Rory get the
joke. Anybody who had ever been to a restaurant
with him or even just IN a restaurant with him got