Life! Don’t talk to me about life!
Before The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was a novel, film or video game, it was an original radio series and, to my mind, it was better than any of the subsequent adaptations. No-one ever came close to surpassing Peter Jones’ radio narration as The Book or to Stephen Moore’s depressive voicing of Marvin the paranoid android.
Stephen Moore died earlier this month. As someone who remembers the original series and its phenomenal impact, I think his Marvin was the most quotable of characters. I’ve often used the robot’s phrase “Why stop now just when I’m hating it” and occasionally wished I’d had the courage to tell someone “It gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level” or “I wish you’d just tell me instead of trying to engage my enthusiasm”.
(For those that don’t know the Hitchhiker storyline, a human, Arthur Dent, is saved by Ford Prefect, an alien researcher for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, just before the earth is demolished to make way for an intergalactic highway. In escaping, they become stowaways aboard a Vogon spacecraft. When they are found they are subjected to a recital of Vogon poetry, a form of torture, before being cast into the void, which is where their adventures really start.)
Anyway, to misquote Marvin: “Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to write a limerick. Call that job satisfaction, ’cause I don’t”.
Farewell to the paranoid android
And the actor that firstly deployed
A robotically aesthetic
Now they’re cast to a dark cosmic void!