Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Out of nowhere at work last night, the name "Hotblack Desiato" popped into my head.

That's how bored I was.

He was the lead singer of "Disaster Area" seen in the fifth episode of 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'. Douglas Adams was stuck on a name for the character and when he saw a sign for an estate agency in Islington named "Hotblack Desiato", he nearly crashed his car.

Here's what the late Mr. Adams once had to say on the subject:

I came across the name Hotlblack Desiato when I was driving along Upper Street in Islington, and there it was on a house For Sale sign. It was the name of a new (real) estate agent . I thought it was the most wonderful name I'd ever seen, and wished I could come up with names as good as that.

I couldn't get the name out of my mind, and when I was trying to figure out the name for the rockstar who was spending a year dead for tax reasons, every name I thought of was not nearly as good as Hotblack Desiato. So in the end I gave up and phoned the agency and spoke - as it happened - to Geoff Hotblack. I asked him if I could use their name and he was, as you might imagine, quite surprised but said I certainly could.

And so I did. I spoke to Geoff quite often after that, in his capacity as an estate agent. And one day he told me that they had had quite a few calls from people saying hadn't they got a bit of a nerve naming their agency after a
character in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

The same kind of thing happened when the first "Lord Of The Rings" movie came out. There were kids who never read the Tolkien trilogy who thought Gandalf was a ripoff of Dumbledore!

Toby OB

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