Saturday, 12 October 2013

Being dumped by a dear old friend

Growing up in Northern Ireland in the 80s I was used to disappointment. Every week I would scan through the tour lists in the back of Smash Hits and see if any of my favourites were about to tour. By in large when I scanned the list of dates there was often one omission:

It wasn't because of a lack of suitable venue, we had that it was bands being scared to come here.

Thankfully in recent years things here have gotten better. Bands do come here and we have an even better and more accessible stadium venue that they can perform in now.

As many of my close friends will know for 35 years of my life I have had an obsession with a radio show, that became a TV series, then a computer game, then an online font of knowledge B.W.* (Before Wikipedia) and then a film, before becoming a touring production. Rather an odd progression, but then it is rather fitting for an extraordinary tale which is the story of a rather remarkable book.

You see last Summer the Hitchhiker's  Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show Live Tour took place in June and July, it was only a short run and Northern Ireland was no included, and I couldn't consider going anywhere else to see it. 

This year when the dates were announced I was trying to work out my itinery to see if it would be best to see it in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dunfermline or somewhere else. But then I ended up back in Northern Ireland so Belfast it was. A friend of mine, a fellow fan and contributor to was going to celebrate her birthday with a trip to see it and invited me along on the same night. So tickets booked we were starting to look forward to it next Wednesday.

Then on Friday, not Thursday, but then I never did get the hang of Thursday's I received the following email, from the Royal Opera House in Belfast.
Thank you for booking tickets with us for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show Live - unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, this production has now been cancelled. Please contact our Box Office on 028 9024 1919 to obtain a full refund for your tickets.

Please accept our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment caused by this cancellation.
Inconvenience! Disappointment! The only thing worse would have been if my planet had been demolished to make way for an intergalactic bypass. 

Later on the Facebook page for the live show said the following:

The producers of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Live are very sorry that they will be unable to present the tour in Belfast at this time. They sincerely apologise for the disappointment and inconvenience caused and hope that they will be able to bring the production to the many fans in the North of Ireland at some stage in the future.

If you had bought a ticket we'd like to offer you a free audio download of one of our other shows. Before you return your ticket for a refund, just send a scan or photo of it to and we'll contact you within a few days.

Now if I really want to listen to a recording of the original radio scripts I can do that, by pulling out my tapes or CDs of them. And the first two series have the bonus of having actual Peter Jones as The Book. Although I was rather looking forward to having Rula Lenska (Lintilla for series two) filling that role.

I hope that they do rearrange dates for Belfast. And I hope that they contact all of us who have bought tickets for something a little special, maybe a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster after the show with the cast or something. Reading some of the comments yesterday on the page and from friends it is rather a disappointment. But also the not knowing why is even worse.

You see we do wonder if having eleven security alerts and two fatal shootings might just have had a little something to do with the sudden cancellation of this shows. We all hope it does not, but being Northern Irish in the back of your mind that sort of thing always does cause concern.

As it is next Wednesday I may be pouring Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters by myself, raising a glass to absent friends not just Douglas Adams but most of the original cast who should have been there in front of me.

I may not know where, or if I'll ever get to see the show, but I know where my towel is.

* Indeed so much so that I was one of the first two researchers to write 100 solo entries for the Guide.

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