Monday, September 12, 2011

Douglas Adams Rewired My Brain

If you were to remove the top of my head and look inside, I'd probably die from shock and blood loss. So don't do that. But if you were to do it metaphorically, and chose to picture my formative creative influences as a series of geographical features, then you would find a pretty big mountain range named 'Douglas Adams'. Probably with a dead whale lying next to it.

I was ten years old when I saw the Hitchhiker's television series. On a family holiday in the same year, I found the first two Hitchhiker's books sitting on a spinner in the caravan site shop. Their influence on my tiny forming mush-like brain was seismic. Ideas that were funny. Jokes that made you think. Concepts pursued to their illogical conclusion. Dry British stoicism in the face of interplanetary insanity. Arthur. Ford. Zaphod. Trillian. Marvin. Slartibartfast.

Much of where I am now, who I am now, what I do for a living now, I owe to the worlds he created.

And now I find myself, thirty one years later, writing an episode of Dirk Gently for the BBC. My seasoned forty one year old self is calmly typing the words, building the episode, structuring the jokes. This is what I do for a living. It's just another gig.

But somewhere deep inside my ten year old self just did a little wee and passed out.

However tangentially, I am adding to the legacy of Douglas Adams. I am putting words in the mouths of characters he helped create. But more than that, the reason I am able to, the reason I got the gig in the first place, the reason that working in this world feels so damn natural to me, is that Douglas Adams rewired my brain as a child. I am simply putting into practice what he taught me.

Thanks for everything, Douglas. I hope you enjoy the episode.