It's nearly the end of September, and there's something seriously stirring in the Galaxy. The countdown (10 days, 12 hours, 42 minutes) is, well, still counting down, towards the much anticipated publication of 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Part Six of Three...And Another Thing' by Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer, published to mark the 30th anniversary of the publication of the Douglas Adams' first book.
And to celebrate publication of quite possibly the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor (probably), a red hot team of Penguins from the unfashionable end of the Penguin corridor, are currently putting the final touches to Hitchcon '09, a day of events celebrating all things Hitch at the Royal Festival Hall on the 11th October.
Special guests will include Clive Anderson, Andrew Sachs, Simon Jones, Harry Shearer, Dirk Maggs, Hotblack Desiato (depending on his ongoing tax situation) and the original Hitchhiker cast. Not a Vogon poet in sight. And at 11.30am on the Southbank we're assembling the largest group of dressing-gown-wearing Hitchhiker's fans ever in the whole world for a photocall, and possibly for some mattress racing afterwards ...
Sadly there hasn't been enough contact with silver foil, glue, glitter and buckets of jewelled crabs to prepare for Hitchcon for my liking, but I'm still hopeful that one of these days my to do list will read (in big friendly letters) 'To Do Today Please and Quickly: Cover the Festival Hall and the length of the South Bank with tea and Chesterfield sofas'. No tea and sofas so far, but we have been handstitching dozens of dressing gowns, plenty of branded towels, and the odd pair of slippers (some of that may or may not be true) and I can now claim a nearly unrivalled office competence with a needle and thread.
It feels like everyone's gone completely bonkers over this book and for Hitchhiker's. And from all parts of the galaxy to boot, not just the literary bits. Fritz Hansen, super famous Danish furniture designer, most famous for his iconic Egg chair has created 42 individually numbered chairs, featuring a unique embroidered exploding earth on the back, and Eoin will be carrying one as hand luggage across the country for the book signing tour.
Multi-platinum selling Irish band The Blizzards have recorded 'And Another Thing', a single inspired by the book, which will be released in October. And the band will be very thrillingly appearing at Hitchcon alongside Eoin on stage. Penguin also put out a call to find the Greatest Hitchhiker Fans in the Galaxy in 42 seconds, and, after many brilliant competition entries - this one has to take the biscuit, surely? He jumps into an actual freezing Swedish lake in September! That's one hoopy frood.
Eoin will be touring all over the country transported in a Bistromath spaceship and carrying the aforementioned Egg chair across his back, signing copies of 'And Another Thing...' talking about the book, and possibly sharing God's Final Message to His Creation. We couldn't fit in a visit to the Maximegalon University, but he will be appearing at Cambridge University on the 14th October instead, alongside visits to Glasgow, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Manchester and Forbidden Planet in London.
And after all of this excitement our little team of red hot Penguins from the unfashionable end of the Penguin corridor, will probably enter something resembling that much discussed long dark tea time of the soul ...