Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Douglas Adams Virtual 60th Party : my review

Imagine... An all star cast giving a stirring homage to a long-time dead writer in front of 3.000 enthusiastic fans.

Imagine dancing rhinos, some scientists doing one man shows, Terry Jones explaining how he almost got killed with other Pythons by a drunk Adams, impressions of Tom Baker (Dr Who) and of famous scientists, forgotten sketches written or co-written by Douglas almost forty years ago, feelings and situations for which no words exist (till now), a Dalek who may have killed Marvin, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) playing the solo part on "Whiter Shade Of Pale" voiced by the still mighty Gary Brooker (Procol Harum),... Yes, all that happened olive during a three hour long show the 11th March 2012 for the from now on legendary Douglas Adams Virtual 60th Party.

Such an enthusiasm for Douglas Adams 60th anniversary is an incredible thing. We owe a lot to Dirk Maggs (the guy who among other things directed the last three Hitchhiker radio series) and James Thrift (Douglas' brother) who decided to bring this dream to reality.

It was really thrilling to be in front of the Hammersmith Apollo, with hundreds of people, waiting for the doors to open. Doors on the top on which you could read in large and friendly letters the words "Save the Rhino presents Douglas Adams - the party".

And an incredible party it was indeed. Even if there were parts that were less good than expected (I was a slightly disappointed by the Hitchhiker sketch without Marvin but with a Dalek - it should have been funnier -, and by Terry Jones' interview - it should have been deeper), it was a high quality top notch event. One of great moments was John Lloyd quoting passages of "The Meaning of Liff", and also other feelings and situations that were unnamed till this evening and have been written by fans for the event. "The Meaning of Liff" concept was surprisingly irresistible on stage.

There was also great moment involving Will Adams and Martin Smith (Douglas Adams’s Cambridge-era writing partners) performing a sketch (the Hole in the Wall Club) that they had co-written with Douglas.

Of course maybe best moment came at the end, with David Gilmour, who stayed during all the show in the audience with his family (three rows behind me!), finally climbing on stage to play "Wish you were here" on an acoustic guitar. An event that I dreamt to listen one day since I watched the video were he sang "Wish You Were Here" during the Service of Celebration held for Douglas at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, on 17th September 2001. Gilmour stayed on stage to play guitar on two other songs with an all star band including Gary Brooker and other musicians loved by Douglas (Robbie McIntosh, Margo Buchanan, Paul Wix Wickens,...).

It was also great to see Douglas' family on stage at the end looking the screen an extract of the Hitchhiker TV series where Douglas get naked and go away into the sea.

The Show ended quite logically on "What a Wonderful World" sung by Louis Armstrong. Thank you Douglas!

Douglas Adams' family with the band on stage (photo Dr Sinister)

A scene from the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy TV series (Picture Dr. Sinister) 

I am now waiting with great impatience for the other big event of 2012: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show Live!" which will tour in UK from beginning of June to the end of July.

Other reviews or pages about the event you might like to read :




Friday, March 9, 2012

Shada by Gareth Roberts : Is it worth reading ? Yes says SFX

2012 will be obviously a great year for all Douglas Adams fans and particularly march 2012 with not less than the Douglas Adams 60th Birthday Party (the 11th March), the broadcast of the new TV episodes of Dirk Gently (from the 5th March) and... the publication of "Shada" the 15th March !

Shada is a famous Dr Who story that Douglas Adams wrote but whose filming was never completed due to a strike at the BBC.

"Numerous attempts have been made to “finish it off” over the years. A 1992 video release edited together the existing footage with linking narration; Big Finish produced a webcast starring Paul McGann’s Doctor in 2003; there’ve also been a couple of fan-written novelisations. This officially-sanctioned adaptation by new series scribe Gareth Roberts attempts to create a definitive version" writes SFX.

According to SFX, the book is quite good : http://www.sfx.co.uk/2012/03/02/doctor-who-shada-book-review/

I'll try to post a review on my site as soon as i can get a copy.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Douglas Adams' virtual 60th birthday party : the events

As you know Sunday 11th March will be a great day for all Douglas Adams'fans. ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha also organizes several meetings during the week end.

Here is the program as we know it for the Virtutal Birthday party will take place at the Hammersmith Apollo in London :

Science: Prof. Brian Cox, Robin Ince and Jon Culshaw on life, the universe and everything

Interviews: Clive Anderson talks to Terry Jones about Douglas’ comedy legacy and his influences, including Monty Python.

Comedy: The Meaning of Liff, featuring John Lloyd, Stephen Mangan, Sanjeev Bhaskar and many more, plus special guests from ‘Radio Active’

Music: the band that played at many of Douglas’ infamous parties – including members of Paul McCartney’s band.

Last chance to see: Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine have recorded a special introduction about Douglas’ passion for conservation.

More names to be announced. Line-up subject to change.

For special announcements, please see www.douglasadamstheparty.com

PLEASE NOTE - Doors open at 4pm and show starts 5pm.

ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, The Official Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy Appreciation Society, will organize a few events for fans

Cambridge Tour (Saturday 10th March from 13h to 17h)
Facebook Event:

Captain's Cabin Fan Gathering (Saturday 10th March, from 19h to 23h)
Facebook Event:

Islington Tour (Sunday 11th March) Facebook Event: