Thursday, March 25, 2010


I was fifteen when I first heard of Hitchhiker's. My best friend at the time, Mark (I'll use his first name as (a) we haven't seen one another in twenty years, so I feel his anonymity is safe with this much "exposure", and (b) it's not as if Mark is an exceptionally rare name; shoot, the boys born within four years to either side of my own age were contractually obligated to be named either David, Jason, Justin, Mark, or Mike - as were girls legally requred to be Lauras, Kimberlys, Kellys, Karens, or Jennifers - my parents, clearly, were A-number-one weirdos ...), was the first real smart, pop-cultural guy I'd really spent time with. He was also a redhead - we had three in the general gang, two were sort of our hippies, and Mark was the younger one, and more strawberry blond.

I heard once that he became a republican after highschool. I suppose it's just as well we lost touch. (Though some do acknowledge being able to look past that sort of "difference" - ahem.)

Anyway. Mark and H2G2.

He had one of those apartment spaces in the lower level of his family's ranch house. Sitting on a hill, he had his own door, his own den area, a bedroom off it, and I'm pretty sure his own bathroom. I could not tell you what "his parents' house" looked like, except from the outside, because - dude - fourteen, he was, and he had *his own place*! Awesome! We used to sit there listening to his (dizzying, to me) album collection, with the "party light" hooked to the stereo, pretending we were deep. I have to say, even the memory is seriously cool even now. Mark was one of the more hilarious people I'd ever met, and because he was a litte younger than I, I didn't have to be all intimidated by how smart he was too. I styled myself pretty smart even then, of course, but with a pack of friends like mine this was 100% bravado.

He pulled out the radio shows, once, incredibly excited about this find, and wanting so badly to share.

I have to confess, that first listen, as much as I was ready to be impressed on instruction, it took me a WHILE to get Hitchhiker's at all. I mean, I definitely sat there laughing. But let's just say it: thank GOODNESS I had hip friends to guide me around (yeah, I see what I did there - apologies), because girl is a total waste of cool stuff to know about without other people's direction.

Marvin is the sum total of my memory of that day - and of, as I must assume there were, the subsequent days of listening to the shows. I know a lot of people attach to one character or another (duh), and so many to Marvin of course, but Marvin's voice, even now, defines the experience of the Guide.

I have owned the eighties TV shows since 1993, but only in the past year was I able to actually SEE it, to experience it with anything like objectivity. I cling to my beloved entertainments, to the forgiveness and inclusiveness of my wild SUBjectivity. I've talked before about how I'm the ideal consumer of movies etc., with my incredible ability for accepting entertainment on its terms, if I'm up for it at all. Having been able to "see" the BBC TV version at last, I can attest, it really is cr*p. The sound design, in particular, appears to have been designed by sadists of the first order. Oh, but it's HITCHHIKER'S crap! It's MY crap! It's crap Adams doesn't seem to have complained about extensively; and, if he can accept it as part of his "universe", why on Earth would I ruin his fun *or mine* and go all snotty about it?? I love Mark Wing-Davey, I love David Dixon, and Peter Jones (dude, Peter Jones! Woo!), I've never even managed to hate the TV version of Trillian - and that's significant, if not downright mad of me.

I loved the movie, too. Cried at the dolphins. Cried at the end, too. Held my best friend TEO's hand and squee'd quietly through the whole first time we ever saw it. And, inevitably, we gave it to one another for Hannumas, of course. Still do - those opening credits do it to me faster even than "Babe" does, at least as surely as - insanely, with my *hatred* of musicals generally - "The Prince of Egypt" does when they sing "Deliverance".

H2G2 is deeeeeeeeeeep in me, is what I'm saying. An ex I hadn't seen in thirteen years reappeared some time back, and surprised me by making lots of Guide references at me, in memory. I'd made him a convert, and his fervency was strong. I still have my first copies of the books, including the copy of the "more than complete guide" my mom gave me, a gorgeous leatherbound edition with gold leaf ... and, inexplicably, clearly non-acid-free paper which has aged attractively over the years.

My dad and I used to share the physicist jokes, and 42-jokes. When I TURNED 42 this year, it wasn't only my brother who referenced the number. I just re-read my Dirk Gently, too, not too long back (excellent fun, goshdarnit).

Wow, and my headache is better. That is the power of the Adams, y'all.

I think I should go, then, and walk my old good dog.

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