Sunday, 11 March 2012
Don't panic and remember your towel: On the sidewalk with Douglas Adams
If writer Douglas Adams were still alive, today would've been his 60th birthday.
There's even a virtual birthday party.
The creator of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy died in 2001 at age 49 (not 42).
In the early '90s, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin, in the US where I went to college.
I was walking on the pavement when this very tall middle-aged white guy with a big nose blocking my way.
We were both trying to sidestep a puddle and did this little tango where we were trying to let the other pass but ended up accomplishing the opposite.
And the whole time we didn't say a word and avoided eye contact.
I think we were both mildly irritated with each other, but we eventually extricated ourselves from the dance-off.
Walking away, I suddenly realised that was Douglas Adams!
I couldn't believe it. What was the probability that in the infinite vastness of space and time, that a writer whom I had obsessed about and I would be on the same sidewalk at the same time?
The Brit was in town to promote his new book Mostly Harmless, "the fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy".
I was even planning to go see him do a reading later that evening.
I stopped in my tracks and turned around, wondering whether I should run back to him and shake his hand. But the pavement was icy and I didn't want to hurt myself.
And so I missed the opportunity of a lifetime. I didn't even make it for the reading.
But at least I can say I once went toe-to-toe with the great Douglas Adams.
One small consolation is that I have the autograph of Arthur Dent, the "hero" of the Hitchhiker's Guide series.
In 2005, actor Simon Jones was in Singapore to be in a play. Jones had played Arthur Dent in the original Hitchhiker's Guide BBC radio series as well as the TV series.
He was going to MediaCorp to promote his play and I was working at MediaCorp at the time. I stopped him at the MediaCorp reception and asked him to sign the cover of my DVD boxed set of the TV series.
And here it is:
I should've let him use a marker pen with a finer tip. Belgium!
Below is the 1981 TV series on YouTube.
TRENDING POSTS OF THE WEEK
A week ago, The Straits Times reported that middle-aged men are getting testosterone injections to boost their sex drive. This confused...
By now, even non-movie buffs should know who Harvey Weinstein is. But did you know Weinstein has a Singapore connection? Back in ...
Another major MRT disruption, another call for the SMRT CEO to resign . In the wake of tonight's massive MRT fiasco, will SMRT CEO Des...
It’s like 1996 all over again. Only instead of the Macarena , we’re dancing Gangnam Style . Instead of watching the White House get bl...
A few days ago, my former employer, MediaCorp, announced the surprise resignation of its chief executive officer, Lucas Chow. So what ...
It’s like 2008 all over again. But infinitely bigger. But not quite. In November 2008, Burger King introduced the BK Quad Stacker, a b...
First, the species confusion over Hello Kitty , and now this. Online registration opened at noon today for the Hello Kitty Run and the ...
Two years ago, when celebrity radio deejay Glenn Ong revealed that he was dating fellow MediaCorp deejay Jean Danker after splitting fro...
There will be no Today tomorrow. At least in print form. On Friday, Mediacorp published the final print edition of Today newspaper and S...
When I learnt that Vernetta Lopez ’s autobiography Memoirs Of A DJ: Life In Progress was published last week, I rushed to the nearest major...