25

In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, we find our heroes in a stolen spaceship, on a course to crash into a local star as a special effect for the band Disaster Area. This is of course a reference to Pink Floyd, and their song "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun".

But are there any further influences of Pink Floyd in the book? Does the connection run deeper than that?

  • 1
    If I recall correctly, the stage set for On The Run actually involved crashing a large model airplane into the stage. The parallel to Disaster Area should be clear. – Bradd Szonye Sep 30 '14 at 2:38
12

Adams was a big fan of Pink Floyd (as well as the Beatles), especially the experimental albums of those bands and he wanted to achieve something like that. He was really influenced by those bands.

One of Adams's stated goals was to be experimental in the use of sound. Being a fan of Pink Floyd and The Beatles (and especially the experimental concept albums both bands produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s), Adams wanted the programme to have the feel of a "rock album...to convey the idea that you actually were on a spaceship or an alien planet — that sense of a huge aural landscape"

Simpson, Hitchhiker, 108–109

Also, Adams was a personal friend with Gilmour (lead guitarist and singer) of Floyd. The latter even performed in the memorial service of the former.

You can hear them in this clip playing together on Adams's 42nd birthday:

29

I don’t know about the books specifically, but Pink Floyd shows up elsewhere in Douglas Adams’s life.

He was friends with the band, and they were an inspiration for the original radio show. He helped with some of their work, and snippets of Pink Floyd show up in various adaptations of H2G2.

Here are some examples:

  • They were good friends. For Douglas Adam’s 42nd birthday, he played rhythm guitar with the group. The audio can be found on YouTube.

  • According to a history of H2G2 on the BBC website, the production quality of Pink Floyd was a key influence in the original radio show:

    Douglas Adams knew from the start that he wanted to do something very different with the sound of the show. He wanted to apply the kind of production techniques used on, say, a Pink Floyd album to a radio show.

  • From the Wikipedia entry for H2G2:

    A number of scenes from Fit the Third were cut from commercially released recordings of the radio series because they featured copyrighted music. For example, in one scene Marvin “hums” like Pink Floyd, using the opening to Shine on You Crazy Diamond.

    This scene, which includes a mention of Pink Floyd by name, can be heard on YouTube.

  • The connection went both ways. According to The Telegraph, Douglas Adams named one of their albums:

    Some unusual extra hands went into the making of The Division Bell album, their last album [true when the Telegraph article was written] made in 1994: Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, named it, and the scientist Stephen Hawking makes a guest appearance on it.

  • The IMDb trivia page for the H2G2 film mentions another bit of Pink Floyd sound that made it into some of Adams’s work:

    As the emergency escape pod crashes on Vogsphere, the sound made by it is the same as the plane from the end of In the Flesh the first track on Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Douglas Adams was a personal friend of Pink Floyd and even played at one of their shows.

6

The whole band "Disaster Area" is modeled after Pink Floyd, including their tendency to lavish stage designs. "Hotblack Desiato" (the guitar keyboard player of Disaster Area") is dead for a year for tax-reasons. Prior to publishing the book, Pink Floyd members lived outside UK - for tax reasons.

Some more references: In "Life, the Universe and Everything" Arthur Dent is
learning to fly

As a side-note: Roger Waters (bass player of Pink Floyd) discussed the
Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

  • Life, the Universe and Everything predates A Momentary Lapse of Reason by five years, so that's probably not a reference, in either direction. Gilmour is actually a pilot and the song draws on that. I also don't see any evidence of Floyd taking up residence outside the UK for tax reasons — that was famously done by the Rolling Stones (Exile on Main St) but also Rod Stewart, Jethro Tull, Bad Company, Michael Caine, and the Two Ronnies. – hobbs May 20 '16 at 2:33
  • Also, Roger Waters recorded his original demo for The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking at the same time as the demo for The Wall, in late 1977/early 1978. He offered both projects to the rest of Pink Floyd, saying that he thought one could be a Floyd album and he would do the other as a solo project. The majority vote was for The Wall, but Waters didn't get round to working on Pros And Cons until the Wall movie and the album The Final Cut were out of the way. The radio series of Hitchhiker's Guide was first broadcast some time in 1978. – Wallnut Jul 5 '16 at 12:58

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