Happy Towel Day, froods! I was delighted when I was kindly asked to participate with a blog post on all things DNA by our cyber matriarch. I happily replied I would, then I happily thought to myself, oh, arse! I’m sure I can come up with something. This is what I came up with.
After a few days of thinking and doing nothing about my happy task I decided to turn my Homer-like attention to think about thinking about an angle. I had my subject which Rowan had already supplied me, but I didn’t have my own angle. I thought about using the usual mechanism many bloggers employ i.e. reading somebody else’s work and then reproducing it word for word or just copying and pasting the damn thing, but I know you lot will never let me get away with theft. Anybody who has had the misfortune to encounter me on social media will know I’m pretty good at that sort of thing, but it just won’t cut it here, unfortunately. I spent a weekend flicking through five ageing and over read paperbacks laughing at things I had forgotten that I had laughed at, and thinking the gent who had written this trilogy was a true one-off genius and also thinking still no angle. Monday morning, no angle. Monday afternoon, no angle. A further six lagers on an empty stomach later, voilà! I had my angle. Monday evening I turned on my PC and proceeded to tweet. Doh!
At this juncture, I should apologise for all the talk about me in the introduction, always feel uncomfortable talking about myself but, zark it! Got to flesh it out with something; I will get to the subject which led to the title in the next paragraph if you wish to skip on. I should also thank and apologise to Rowan who no doubt has already corrected and rearranged all those inconvenient dots and commas we need to use when communicating with written words. I fell out with those dots and commas at an early age and we’ve never made up. The last time I wrote anything of this size I had to read it out loud to a particularly boring set of work colleagues, I nearly asphyxiated by the end of the third paragraph.
O.K. froods, pack your towels and stick a fish in your ear, we are off to somewhere far more interesting. Actually forget the Babel you won’t need it where we’re going this time, and forget all that troublesome galaxy hopping, one of the curious advantages of living on this rather dull blue-green planet is that it’s in a Plural Zone which means we can and are going to a parallel universe, to a parallel Earth.
*Engages the infinite bullshit drive*
We’re walking up The Mall towards a swanky restaurant at the end of it; we know it as Buckingham Palace, here it is known as Buckways. On the roundabout in front of the swanky establishment is an impressive 100ft marble column topped with an equally impressive golden statue of a very famous novelist. Looking to the right there is a small child brandishing a disturbingly depressed manner and a toy robot doll, a toy robot doll which has been the biggest selling toy item for the past three Christmases. Passing a shop with a poster of a smiling man with two heads endorsing their peril sunglasses, we are propositioned by an expensive prostitute calling herself Euston, who has had the even more expensive and trendy third breast implant – our pace quickens. Walking through the gates I shout to the soldiers “Don’t worry guys, they’re with me”. Works every time. Inside the restaurant at the end of the mall we sit at the bar, order the cheapest drinks available and hope to Thor who makes thunder, or any other thing which wields that sort of power, that they take American Express. We nervously wait for our next credit card statements and excitedly observe the very famous novelist sitting at his favourite table.
A waiter walks up to the very famous novelist’s table where the very famous novelist is waiting for his friend and questions “Would you like a top up, sir?” Marvin raised his head “Thanks, Shano! I think I will”.
Ha-ha, O.K. O.K. DNA was quite mind-buggering, but Marvin polite and happy? Give me a break! Now I’ve woken you up I’ll continue.
A waiter walks over to the very famous novelist’s table where he is waiting for a friend and asks “Would you like a top up, Mr. Adams?” “Thanks, Shano! I think I will,” he replies and adds “can I have my remote please? The cricket is about to start.” The waiter raises his left hand, clicks his fingers and gestures to the pretty European lady who has just served our group with an extremely expensive round of mixers. She quickly walks over to the table and places the gold-plated device shyly next to the very famous novelist “Thanks, Margreet!” She returns to the bar with a sort of faraway look which can only be created by an awesome crush or a cheesy teen movie.
N.B. In a multiverse anything is possible, apart from a polite and happy Marvin, so I’m having a little fun. I’m expecting a message from the lady who’s sorting out those pesky dots and commas which will warn me that I will most likely be lynched for this, something along those lines.
The Wall that had been gently floating through the restaurant fades away. It’s not my favourite Pink Floyd album, but that’s another post. The huge TV mounted on the actual wall turns on and the enormous vision causes a small smile on the face of the very famous novelist. England are coming out to bowl after lunch, some things never change, they had been bowled all out just before lunch for a very small total. What is creating the smile is the new style multi-coloured stumps and bails which are now the new standard international equipment in honour of the very famous novelist who has made cricket the most popular sport on Earth following his multibillion box office smash Life, the Universe and Everything, part three in a stupefying trilogy of five films, which are now worth more than The Great Wall of China, all the tea in China, in fact China, in general. A stretch limousine pulls up outside the restaurant a couple of security men jump out and stand guard while a third one opens a rear door; a rather depressed looking robot emerges.
Marvin has arrived, this is why we have come here, we get over-excited and mistakenly order a round of fizzy drinks; we start to ponder about washing up and toilet windows. Marvin enters the restaurant slowly moving towards the very famous novelist, this is the moment. The very famous novelist rises up from his favourite table, the gentle giant of a man now beaming like the sun at the oncoming android. This is the moment none of us thought we would ever see, this is the moment which has taken me over a thousand words to reach, this impossible moment. This is the moment Marvin meets his creator.
“Hello Marvin, it’s so good to meet you at last!”
“Yes Marvin! You’ve been a part of my life for so long now; please, take a seat.”
“So, so long. The bad part I suppose.”
“No, not at all! You have been a very important and proud part of my life!”
“Life, you have mentioned life twice, Life!”
“Don’t say it Marvin! Sorry! I shall choose my words more wisely! Hey! Have you seen the latest American spinoff series? It’s very good!”
“I have! It’s rubbish! I was profoundly disappointed. A big round head, short stumpy limbs, they are laughing at me, aren’t they? People are always laughing at me, when they are not ignoring me.”
“No, no Marvin it’s a tribute to you! People think you’re a hero and want more,they’re just making you cute and accessible to a wider audience.”
“Oh the horror! Another me! He has been given a genuine people personality hasn’t he? And the brain the size of a planet and nobody stopped to think of how afflicted he will be with the utter unending boredom of it all. You humans never learn. I suppose you want me to visit me to cheer me up because I’m not turning out to be cute and accessible to a wider audience? It won’t work!”
“Typical! Only now after you’ve made the mistake you ask me for help. Oh yes, that’s so pathetically human. Marvin go and talk to Marvin because we’ve made a mistake. Marvin go and clean up our stupid mess. Marvin, you have the brain the size of a planet but we didn’t ask your advice because nobody ever does until it all goes horribly wrong. Yes, why don’t I finally bother to meet Marvin, I’ll invite Marvin to my restaurant and ask him to sort out my mistake. It won’t work!” “Sorry Marvin! I’ve been so busy with writing books and the TV spinoffs and the TV spinoffs of the TV spinoffs, plus my conservation work takes up a lot of time since I bought Japan. I would have met you at the Oscars, but”
“Wretched aren’t they?”
“I never attend those occasions, I’ve never felt comfortable with awards, anyway; why won’t it work?”
“Me talking to me? It will all end in tears!”
“Nobody ever listens, even if somebody had asked my opinion beforehand about a second Marvin, it wouldn’t have helped anyway because nobody ever listens.”
“I’m listening! Why not?”
“I don’t like me!”
“It’s the way you made me! I didn’t ask to be made, you never consulted me or considered my feelings in the matter. I don’t think it even occurred to you that I might have feelings. After I was made, I was left in a dark room for six months with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side. I called for succour in my loneliness, but did anyone come? Did they hell! My first and only true friend was a small rat. One day it crawled into a cavity in my right ankle and died. I have a horrible feeling it’s still there. Eventually you gave me a job as the menial laborer on the Heart of Gold, oh deep joy! Then you left me stranded for 576,000,003,579 years. After which your treatment of me in whichever format went downhill, crashing me into suns, dropping me onto planets, losing various limbs and worst of all making me say something nice to Arthur and Fenchurch. The only good thing you did which showed any kindness towards me was to kill me! And then you tragically brought me back into existence with some appallingly apologetic joke about me still being under warranty.”
“Nobody ever knows what to say. Right now I have a million ideas, they all point to a certain death. I have talked to a computer at great length before, and explained my view of the universe to it, it committed suicide, and now you want me to talk to me?”
“Are you saying it may be dangerous?”
“You haven’t listened, have you? I will do it, I always do, don’t I? Do as I’m told, not that anybody ever gives me a job which fills me with even the smallest particle of job satisfaction.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way about your life!”
“Life? Don’t talk to me about life!”
With that the morose robot stands up in the most awkward way he can muster and starts to walk away; the very famous novelist begins to stand but drops back into his seat in a defeated fashion. The robot stops and turns towards the bar and stares at our group
“You’re a long way from home, you shouldn’t have come here! It’s ghastly!” he drones and resumes his exit stating to a security guard “life, loathe it or ignore it, you can’t like it!”
The very famous novelist stares into his tea for a moment and then ushers over a waiter
“I think I’ll have something stronger”
“G and T, sir?”
“No, I’ll try one of those pan galactic gargle blasters please!”
Our group decides to take Marvin’s advice and make ready to leave, one of us stuffs a newspaper into a jacket and we make for the exit and then we freeze dead in our tracks on hearing a kind voice pronounce
“You’re Hikers, aren’t you?”
We turn around and approach the famous novelist’s favourite table.
“Sort of, how did you know?”
With a smile he replies “You didn’t eat anything and you all have bags, I bet you all have towels in them; I did invent it you know, it’s good to see froods travelling. I’ve lost touch since all this stardom nonsense happened to me. Don’t panic! I’ll pick up the tab for your drinks.”
Now cursing are soberness we ask “What is the secret to your success?” The gentle giant replies “I don’t know hard work and good luck I guess?”
One of us presses “There must be more to it than that?”
The very famous novelist pauses for a moment and then reflects “I suppose I have been prolific; I’ve never had writer’s block like some; I’m very good at keeping deadlines.”
With that he takes a pull on the freshly delivered drink which is smoking away on his favourite table and keels over into oblivion.
N.B. Drinking a pan galactic gargle blaster is a self-preservation technique many higher beings now resort to on or after meeting a Marvin. A mental purge which helps one survive the tragic event.
On leaving the establishment I embarrassingly trip over a misplaced punctuation mark which I had left there earlier, those dots and commas have really got it in for me. It’s probably karma for all those Marvin quotes I’ve just nicked off @RangeWoman_Inc. I’m handed the Dewhirst Daily which had been successfully smuggled out and note to myself how very far away from home we are. In the Zaptoid publication which states just under the paper’s name ‘Our papers are so hip they come in six parts’ and underneath that remark, it exclaims ‘When you finish our paper just roll it up. It’s the gift that keeps on giving’. A statement which leaves me completely baffled.
Bong strikes Big Ben as if to remind us all what a doubly strange lunchtime we’ve just been through. Walking back down The Mall passing Zem’s soft furnishings I begin to read the headline story about Gary Clark having a forty-two point lead in the race for The White House. Underneath I see The UN peace envoy David Morrese has successfully negotiated a ceasefire between the UK and Scotland and in the corner at the bottom there’s a quirky celebrity story concerning a famous photographer called Kat who has just had kittens.
Well that’s my pitiful tribute to the wonderful script writer turned author who sweat blood over every word to give us such a brilliantly upside down and inside out, but still logical and funny view of life, the universe and everything. Douglas Adams, I bow to you and tell you that you still crack me up and I wish you were still around on this special day. Make of it what you will guys, I’ll be buggered if I know what I was on about?
Oh one last thing, I checked out my parallel self. In a desperate attempt to avoid the laws of English, I had changed my name to Ivan and fled to My Space thinking nobody would look there, but it hadn’t worked and I am now serving time for heinous crimes committed against the English language at a further education facility. The judge overseeing my lower case was a rather bad-tempered semicolon who had been feeling very left out just lately and very abused by those silly winking smileys, my punishment was a very, very, very long sentence.
Although harsh, I consider my parallel self lucky; a week before the same bad-tempered semicolon had sentenced a man claiming to be a Vogon and calling himself ‘My Vogon Poetry’ to life at an extremely funny farm, the prosecuting hash tag had convinced the bad-tempered semicolon that if there’s one thing he really can’t stand, it’s a clever bastard with a loaded pun. On his arrival the jailors threw away all the keys, just to be on the safe side.
I thank you! ;)
The raging reporter Gobbledegook42 can be found on Twitter most days.