Z is for Zaphod Beeblebrox

ZZaphod Beeblebrox. Now that is one hoopy frood. Of Douglas Adams’ crazy creations in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Zaphod works out as one of the more normal and acceptable. He is the self-involved politician, who holds no real power but is just a figurehead. Is he a parody of all politicians? A metaphor? Is he just the perfect politician – able to draw attention away from those with real power? 

Who knows, but for some reason, this over-the-top character with two heads and three arms is an acceptable part of the universe. And he puts his position and situation to good use, stealing the Heart of Gold and allowing Adams to do literally whatever he wanted with these stories – thanks to the Infinite Improbability Drive. Ah, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If you haven’t read it, I do recommend it, and the second book, in particular. And if you like those, the whole series. But for now, a couple of great parts about Zaphod Beeblebrox!

A Piece of Fairy Cake

One of my favorite parts in the whole series is the idea of the Total Perspective Vortex – a machine which lets you see the whole of the universe, all of infinity, in relation to yourself. And as the Guide points out elsewhere, infinity divided by any finite number is close enough to zero as to be a moot point. 

So in other words, something really, really big compared to something really, really small. In metaphor to a piece of fairy cake. It tends to break brains.

For everyone except Zaphod Beeblebrox. He goes in and finds out he is the most important thing in the universe.

And yes, he was sent into the machine in an alternate universe built for his purposes, so he was in fact the most important thing in that universe… nonetheless, when he finds out he is the most important thing in the universe, he is TOTALLY UNPHASED. He just accepts it. And that, really, is the definition of his character.

The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster

Zaphod Beeblebrox is also credited with inventing the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, the most potent drink in creation. Wikipedia has a lot of great information on this drink, and since it’s there, I thought I would share a bit with you. The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster “is like having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.”

And they include the full recipe on Wikipedia:

“Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol’ Janx Spirit.

Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V.

Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).

Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it (in memory of all those happy Hikers who have died of pleasure in the Marshes of Fallia).

Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin Hypermint extract, redolent of all the heady odours of the dark Qualactin Zones.

Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian suns deep into the heart of the drink.

Sprinkle Zamphour.

Add an olive.

Drink…but very carefully.

And with that, we’ve hit the whole alphabet! One A to Z Challenge down!


4 responses to “Z is for Zaphod Beeblebrox

  1. Zaphod is definitely one of my favourite characters from Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy. I wasn’t such a fan of how he was portrayed in the movie, not due to the characterisation, that was fine. It’s just that I always pictured him as having two heads side by side, instead of the weird kind of swapping implementation they went for.

    The man gave us the the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster though, and for that he gets my undying love and respect. I remember at my 19th birthday cocktail party (my 19th was the big party, since my 18th was the same day we buried a friend of mine… no one felt like partying that day), one of my friends took over the bar for a while, and said he’d make me the real life version of the drink… can’t remember everything that’s in it, but one of the ingredients is meant to be Bacardi… took a sip, nearly did a spit-take. Turns out he’d used Bacardi 151. Turned around, asked why he used 151. Conversation went something like this:

    Me: Is that 151? Why the hell didn’t you use normal Bacardi?
    Mate: We didn’t have any…
    Me: Oh, fair enough then… hey, wait a second. That’s a full bottle right there!
    Mate: Hehe, yeah, I know.

    Ah true friendship…


    • Well, if you ended up feeling like you had been hit in the head by a slice of lemon wrapped around a gold brick…

      And yeah, the heads and arms seemed more like they were always out and in play… but that is not the easiest thing for a movie to do well, I’m sure. Ah well.


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