birthdays, the universe, and everything
September 7, 2016 2:07 PM   Subscribe

What are some Douglas Adams-inspired destinations for a 42nd birthday? (Due to budget constraints, travel is limited to Earth, otherwise I'd be downing Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters on Eroticon VI.)

For example: a home being demolished for a highway seems a little grim, but perhaps there's a particularly interesting towel factory out there? No need to limit yourself to Hitchhiker's – I am strongly considering locations from Last Chance to See, and am also thinking about significant places from DA's life. But let's keep ideas a little more specific than "England."

Thanks, hoopy froods.
posted by roger ackroyd to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You could always get drunk in a field near Innsbruck, as Douglas Adams supposedly was when he came up with the idea.
posted by mayhap at 2:12 PM on September 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

There must be some safari-like excursion with signs that say "Beware of the Leopard."
posted by Melismata at 2:14 PM on September 7, 2016

Islington, obviously. Lord's Cricket Ground. Highgate Cemetery. Cambridge. Then go to Innsbruck, Austria and lie in a field, drunk (they are probably less approving of this now than they were in 1974, but try anyway).

I may have started planning this vacation many years ago.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:16 PM on September 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

This guy might welcome a visit if you wanted to meet a Ford Prefect in person.
posted by phunniemee at 2:16 PM on September 7, 2016

See also.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:17 PM on September 7, 2016

A small cafe in Rickmansworth.
posted by pompomtom at 2:42 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

See also.
posted by pompomtom at 2:44 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Go to Highgate Cemetary and leave a small item on his grave with the other things people have left there? Also it's a beautiful cemetary and will reward extensive wandering (although his grave is very easy to find and close to the entrance.)
posted by MsMolly at 2:47 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

St John's College, Cambridge. Try to get a sofa lodged somewhere.
posted by Leon at 2:57 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

The apartment where he used to live, overlooking Islington Green with the entrance in St Albans's Place. It's over what is now XOXO Bar but used to be over a pet shop. The last time I walked past, it was up for rent, so maybe the agent would give you a tour if you pretended to be interested and very rich. It is also the place where the fictional programmer guy lived in Dirk Gently, complete with entry staircase that has a bend halfway up where a sofa could get stuck. You can see Hotblack Desiato out of the side window, whose name he stole for a fictional rockstar.
He seemed to have Fenchurch living near here too in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, like elsewhere on St Albans Place. The Pizza Express across the green is mentioned in that.
Also I believe that dealing with the famously incompetent Barclays Branch on the green inspired his adventure game, Bureaucracy. I know I spent a leisurely afternoon arguing with them only this summer, so they have maintained their form.

After that he moved to a nice house on Duncan Terrace around the corner. Can't remember the number and wouldn't give it out in case his family still live there.
posted by w0mbat at 3:01 PM on September 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

The place that inspired the rudest word in the universe: Belgium
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:06 PM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

A local student society here has cocktail nights once or twice a year and they serve Pangalactic Gargleblasters with Earth-equivalent ingredients. I'll see if I can get the recipe from them.

Yonks ago I had two of them, and you probably wouldn't want more even if you were a thirty ton elephant with bronchial pneumonia.
posted by farlukar at 3:33 PM on September 7, 2016

Go to Norway and visit some fjords!
posted by Mizu at 7:01 PM on September 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

In an homage to Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, you could perhaps make an odyssey to Chapel Market, down Pentonville Road, and then on to King's Cross and St Pancras railway stations at 1am in search of cigarettes.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:04 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

That's a great map Lyn Never. It is missing a couple of locations off the top of my head (such as Isleworth and Richmond, where Fenchurch's underwear ended up, counting from top to bottom)

You could goto the Plough near Taunton railway station, drink a pint of yellow water with gas in and then win a record of some bagpipe music in a raffle?
With some accomplices this could be staged quite entertainingly.
Perhaps you could also eat a stranger's biscuits and then be indignant about it. (also fully stageable with accomplices)

Go to the Douglas Adams memorial lecture?
Or really any of the Save the Rhino events, a charity that he was very keen on supporting. See if you can run the marathon in one of their rhino costumes or climb Kilimanjaro to raise money for them (Something Adams did, in a full Rhino costume)

Attempt to hook up a doctor who assistant to a prominent public intellectual of your acquaintance?

Oh how about you tour britain with a camera and attempt to illustrate the appropriate meaning of Liff definition of various towns you pas s through.
i.e. go to Garvock and put your finger in your cheek and then flick it out with a 'pock' noise.

Maybe just find someone else who looks like they know where they're going and follow them.
You may not end up where you wanted to go, but I bet you'd end up where you need to be.

Go somewhere snowy. Take a large black poodle. Encourage it to stott. This is apparently essential to do before you die.

Let us impose a deadline on you to come up with birthday plans. Recklessly and flagrantly disregard that deadline.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:26 AM on September 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Have lunch at the Big Bang Burger Bar and wear nothing but a towel
posted by james33 at 4:29 AM on September 8, 2016

I also found this set of Google Maps bookmarks that would be relevant.
posted by w0mbat at 3:56 PM on September 9, 2016

You could make a pilgrimage to Zaphod Beeblebrox, "The Nightclub at the Edge of the Universe" in Ottawa, Canada. It's been open for almost 25 years and they will indeed serve you a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster (or a Life, the Universe, and Everything beer).
posted by ilana at 6:48 PM on September 10, 2016

These are brilliant suggestions. As a die-hard Infocom fan I am especially pleased w0mbat mentioned Bureaucracy. Through a cosmic quirk of fate, I have recently been drunk near Innsbruck (in the mountains, not a field) so that one is off the list. But I am inspired by all the possibilities.
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:11 PM on September 11, 2016

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