The Hitchhiker's Guide to Holidays

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Holidays


Summer flings on Bethselamin, camping holidays in pissing Southport, the Holiday Theory of Relativity, and the inevitable books that followed on from Veet Voojagig's classic about Biros.

[00:00:00] Mark: This is beware of the leopard episode two 10. Holidays

[00:00:05] I'm Mark Steadman and I'm so cool. I have to take a holiday in a fridge just to warm up.

[00:00:26] Jon H: I'm Jon Hickman. And I'm the guy in the office who tells you needs a holiday to get over his holiday.

[00:00:31] Danny: I'm Danny Smith and I'm telling you why not have a drink, have a drive, go out and see what you can find.

[00:00:35] Jon B: I'm Bounder of adventure. I've been on one of your package tours many times before. So vault really caught my eye. What's the point of gonna abroad? If you just end up being treated like a, she carted around in Busey, surrounded by sweaty mindless oafs from Kettering and Coventry, their blotted backs and their cardigans their transistor radios depending about the tea, ooh they don't make it properly, do they?

[00:00:58] And stopping at endless Majorcan bodega selling fishing chips and Watney's red Barrel and Calamaris And two veg, and sitting in their cotton sun frocks spurting Timothy white sun cream of their puffy, raw swollen pur for swollen period flresh. Rosie stop it. They

[00:01:15] Mark: Keep going

[00:01:16] Jon B: overdid it on the first day. Being heard into their countless hotel, Mira, Mars, and Bellevue and Continentals, their international luxury modern roomettes, and swimming falls full of Red Barrel and fat German businessmen pertaining to be acrobats, forming, pyramids and frightening the children and barging into queues, and if you are on table spot on seven, you miss your bowl of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, the first item in the menu of international cuisine. Every Thursday night, there's a bloody cabaret in the bar featuring some tiny macerated


[00:01:50] Mark: Welcome to beware of the leopard or what's left of it. This used to be a podcast about the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. Uh If we were a popular open world PlayStation game, we'd have completed the main quest. So we're basically now just spending our time doing weird side quests and waiting for new downloadable content

[00:02:08] Jon H: Platinum. The Hitchhiker Guide.

[00:02:10] Mark: Absolutely.

[00:02:10] In a bit we'll each add our own entries to the guide on the topic of holidays, but first we have some long awaited follow up to get to.

[00:02:19] Listener Gemma wrote to us back in October last year. It was a bit of a long email, but there was quite a bit to address first off gentlemen. She was right about the radio series. She was right that the radio series is the canonical thing, and everything else is merely a poor invitation

[00:02:36] Jon H: Well, until the Netflix show drops,

[00:02:37] Danny: I mean, I mean, I mean, poor imitation?

[00:02:41] Mark: An imitation, I'll grant you that it doesn't have to be poor imitation.

[00:02:44] Danny: A shadow on the cave, perhaps if you wanna go platonic. But yeah. Okay. I will sit Still for that, but I have my grievances because the first one I encountered was the TV series. No, the book, the books are far better than the radio play easily.

[00:02:58] Mark: Nope.

[00:02:58] Danny: Yep. Yeah. Easily.

[00:03:00] Mark: Uh she's right that Rooster is the worst. Well, I say actually, I don't know. I think in the, in the radio series, he's perhaps the worst. But in the book he doesn't have much of a

[00:03:08] Jon H: Oh, so we are building fallacies in here from the first one. So, because we said the radio show's the worst then therefore the next worst character has to be, because it's worse in that. Okay. That's fine.

[00:03:18] Jon B: Which one's Rooster?

[00:03:19] Mark: He's the one who presents Zhar with the towel that has the different stripes on it. So you can suck one end that has an antidepressant. I think what makes him most annoying is that the voice actor was a little bit annoying.

[00:03:30] Zayd is a sexist bully who never gets his comeuppance

[00:03:34] Danny: I like to defend Zaphod because I identify with AFAD, not because of his sexism, which is apparent. I think it's not that he's a sexist character. I think he's a product of a sexist time. And I think that he is a extrovert written by an introvert.

[00:03:51] Mark: So when you say the time, you mean the time that Douglas Adams was writing it?

[00:03:54] Danny: Yeah a hundred percent. Like uh he He

[00:03:57] was seeing

[00:03:58] Mark: in the galaxy.

[00:03:58] Danny: No, he was seeing extroverted men that he considered mentally inferior, maybe in some ways getting women when he

[00:04:06] couldn't Yeah.

[00:04:09] So he's a, he's an extrovert written by an introvert. And I think he's callous, but I don't think he's specifically sexist. I won't defend his sexism because it's apparent and it's real. And he is a, I don't think he's a bully, but I do think he's very self center and a narcissist.

[00:04:24] Jon H: His place in the story, isn't at risk, but his characterization as a sexist is the thing we're talking about. So we're not like we, we are not saying the thing that. Some people say oh, you can't have a sexist character because X or Y yeah, you're right. Like sexist characters exist. here's sexist that's just it. So I think you've just agreed with the point

[00:04:43] Jon B: He's pretty much every ist.

[00:04:44] Mark: A counterpoint to that is that there is an insult that, which is also a point that Gemma made or he has in cell tendencies.

[00:04:50] Jon B: When Danny said extrovert written by an introvert, I was thinking that comes from Adam's being the sort of person who could be radicalized to being in cell, perhaps in the sense that he's feels unconfident, feels overtaken by the John Lloyds of this world.

[00:05:07] Danny: I I think I think that when Adam sat down to write Zaphod, he wasn't gonna, he didn't sit down and go, right. I'm gonna make him, uh obnoxious to women specifically. So to say he's a sexist is

[00:05:21] Mark: Oh, cuz we're grading on a curve

[00:05:22] Danny: I mean, as, I mean, women don't do well

[00:05:25] Mark: in, in in that time and also in Douglas Adams' work. Yeah.

[00:05:29] Danny: So, yeah he does sexist things, but I don't think he was ever intended to written as a misogynist. Yes. Specifically a misogynist.

[00:05:36] Jon H: No I think he was, I think he was, but I don't think, I don't think Douglas is necessarily celebrating it and saying we should find that cool.

[00:05:44] Mark: Could Ford be gay or asexual? And that's not one or the other could, you know could Ford be gay or asexual?

[00:05:51] Danny: I think that it is tempting to make any character that is purposely an outsider queer. Because queer people will identify with any outsider character because especially anyone born within Section 28, when you had to grow up at school, not knowing what was going on, you just knew you wasn't normal, you know air quotes. So I'd love him to be queer in some way. I'd love him to be part of our lovely LGBTQ community. So yes

[00:06:18] Jon H: I assume the reason for the question is, and I'm just thinking back now I don't think he's ever involved in any romantic B plots or anything like that you don't think he ever expresses a preference

[00:06:31] Danny: and he does allude to like good times with the triple breasted hall, like I think, but rather rather as a passenger, rather than a perpetrator,

[00:06:40] Mark: Unlike Arthur who wants it too much I don't think Ford's that bothered if he gets it, but I think if he does get it, he's not gonna be fussy about from once it comes.

[00:06:48] Danny: I would love him to be asexual I'd love him to be kind of cuz that's the ultimate outside because a lot of society and our responses are driven by desire and like sexual desire especially is all the way through the book. So I love the idea of Ford being even an outsider to all of that. Like an observer, the ultimate hitchhiker where it's just observing these weird rituals that all these creatures go through.

[00:07:12] Jon H: Like, he, we meet him in this kind of mentor role in terms of the narrative where he's world. Well, not worldly he's galaxy. But he whereas Arthur is very I want a girlfriend and a nice job and I've got a house and isn't that all pleasant, Ford is a little bit more yeah. I'm just coasting around having experiences. And what happens to me happens to me, he's quite groovy like Right.

[00:07:38] Mark: And some castings for the Netflix series we have from Gemma. Hugh Skinner as Arthur.

[00:07:44] Jon H: He was a bit young for Arthur when he was in W1A, but like COVID's happened and years have passed, and I think he's probably about 27 right now.

[00:07:52] Mark: Julian Ryan's Tut as forward. I like this. I think Julian re Tut is very sweeping and graceful. he is otherworldly. And then we've got Paul Ruay Ford.

[00:08:03] Jon B: Doesn't work he's to every man doesn't work at all.

[00:08:06] Mark: Could you not, one man, him, I dunno what the opposite of every man is, but could you not, you know de-everyman him?

[00:08:11] Danny: I think he's slightly too likable though. He does arrogance really well. And you kind of like let him off.

[00:08:16] Jon H: You keep your Rockwell.

[00:08:18] Mark: Yeah

[00:08:19] Jon H: your Rockwell as Zaphod and put Rudd into the Prefect spot. Now you got a stew going

[00:08:23] Mark: Uh, thank you, Gemma for for your contribution. And yes, to socialism and 10% more kindness. Completely agree. Thank you very much for your wonderful email. Gemma has a couple of podcasts of her own, uh one on dreams and the science of sleep and a rewatch podcast of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. Links to both of those are in the show notes.


[00:08:42] Jon B: I once wrote a book for an worldwide audience mainly in America, and I forgot that they don't use the word holidays in the same way that we do. So I wrote this whole, and this whole chapter about doing a film of your holidays. It was a book about videoing

[00:08:58] Jon H: and they thought it was about Christmas

[00:08:59] Mark: Or the 4th of July or Halloween, they call lots of weird things a holiday..

[00:09:04] Jon B: I wanted you to make sure that you told our listeners that we were essentially talking about vacay as well as hollybobs.

[00:09:11] Mark: Right. Yes No, that's a good point. Cause we don't know. Thank you for bringing it back on track. John you make a good point. Yes. When we are referring to holidays, we are referring to what people well I was gonna say wrongly call, but that's not fair, but you know, vacations, yes.

[00:09:24] Jon H: Can this episode, therefore be called holidays brackets disambiguation, vacay?

[00:09:30] Mark: You go. Well, can you also then explain why the American song, singular artist Madonna very famously, grip it and rip it, very famously recorded a song called holiday, which was definitely about vacations. It

[00:09:40] Jon H: she said holidays celebrate because she was celebrating the holiday of Halloween.

[00:09:44] Mark: Ah that's what

[00:09:45] Danny: Yeah She doesn't specify

[00:09:46] Jon H: She's gonna celebrate and have a good time.

[00:09:48] Jon B: She was on a lot of coke.

[00:09:49] Mark: There you are. Um Jon Hickman, what would the Hitchhiker's Guide say about holidays?

[00:09:56] Emma: A listless woman from Betelgeuse tries to break out of her funk by visiting the beaches of Ursa Minor Beta, where she falls in love with a swarthy young Aldebaran waiter.

[00:10:10] During the festival season, a teaser from Betelgeuse V hooks up with an editorial assistant from the Megadodo Corporation on Saquo Pilia Hensha, where they play Hunt the Wocket during the Assumption of St Antwelm.

[00:10:25] And at an exclusive Lakeside resort on Bethselamin, a naive and awkward Threechi child becomes a Threechi woman, when a rebellious Dentrassis camp employee teaches her how to dance the Arkun Seven Legged Two Step, but sexually.

[00:10:44] Yes, the holiday romance truly spans all species and all of space and time and therein lies the problem, the problem of time.

[00:10:55] When two sexy young things meet at a moons party on Vimia Delta, the heat, cheap wine, abundant drugs, lack of clothes and thrum thrum of the 4D sound stage inevitably leads to fewer clothes, damp heat, and a lot of thrum thrumming. Night turns to day, turns to breakfast, a walk an afternoon thrum perhaps, then two strangers in our lovers and a back beneath the moons once. They dance drink and laugh. Days and nights pass the moons wax, feelings grow, but then a ticket, a ship, a promise made and a departure.

[00:11:34] And what of that promise? I'll see you soon. We'll meet again. Come and visit me soon. But it never works out.

[00:11:42] One ship streaks out beyond the Vixeron belt and onto the far fingers of the spindliest spiral arm of the galaxy. Another cruises sedately towards the old light of planet Nieuw-Vennep. With every second that passes for one a minute passes for another. Science puts its arm around both these lovers and says to them, your heart is but a pump, at the center of a complex system of pipes and tubes. And yet you will feel it ache when I tell you about time dilation, relativity, and just a fuck-ton of maths.

[00:12:15] Young love has no need for physics, but its resilience is stretched. The first time, one place, an exorbitantly expensive call through subetha, whereupon they connect with a frail shadow of their beau. Hair thin upon the head, but thick in the nose, only their eyes maintain a sparkle of youth and are full of love. They whisper across the stars, I waited.

[00:12:37] Some have tried to mitigate this through the use of suspended animation, but it often ends in tears when after a few weeks their holiday lover gives them the cold shoulder. Time travel has proven one of the more effective ways to keep holiday romances alive. But time travel of course, is fraught with dangers, not least of all realizing that you've just spent two weeks sharing, big drinks with sparkles, as well as other fluids with your own grandson.

[00:13:04] Well known killjoys, the Campaign for Real Time have been working for some time to outlaw holiday romances. They say summer flings at a galactic scale are creating time paradoxes, wormholes, and eddies in the space time continuum. As a counterpoint, the Free Love Organisation of the Calabrian Kappa Epsilon Regulators say that's just the sort of thing the Campaign for Real Time would say as they don't know how to talk to girls.

[00:13:32] Recently, both sides met up on Roubus Minor to hash out a code of practice for summer loving. It happened so fast. A simple plan drawn up to allow free love to prevail while keeping the timelines clear. In fact, it happened so fast that they all had a lot of time to kill, and Roubus minor happens to have a lot of moon parties. This presented a perfect opportunity to test the strength of the new rules. All holiday flings are to be sex only nobody can trade numbers or make plans. Or as one Real Timer who really doesn't know how to talk to girls said what happens on Alpha Centauri stays on Alpha Centauri.

[00:14:09] This is actually in a new era of guilt-free holiday romping across most of the galaxy and brought with it a lot of interesting and amusing Vene diseases. And the moon parties are fantastic with lots of thrumming.

[00:14:22] There are of course, a few planets where the rules have yet to be properly codified. One planet yet to observe this simple rule is earth where holiday flings continue to lead to complications, emotional and temporal, as so brilliantly captured by the middle-aged teenagers in the movie, Greece.

[00:14:37] Danny: Strong start. We're going back

[00:14:42] Mark: My word

[00:14:43] Danny: we're going back in

[00:14:44] Mark: missed a beat Have we?

[00:14:46] Danny: Oh, he's been saving that up. Hasn't he's been

[00:14:48] Mark: Has he just he's had podcast blue balls for the last year.

[00:14:54] Jon B: he hasn't needed any way written that on the train back from

[00:14:57] Mark: No my God man. That's I mean, there's poetry in there. I mean you know there's There's beautiful imagery and then and then it's very sharply undercut by having sex with your own grandson. But apart from that um

[00:15:08] Jon H: will undercut a lot of things.

[00:15:10] Mark: It will undercut

[00:15:11] Jon B: Well a dRB check for a start, but the

[00:15:13] Danny: Even in the most debauched of the upper classes that is a faux par like

[00:15:17] Mark: it's still fr it's

[00:15:18] frowned upon

[00:15:19] Danny: at Eaton, that's a faux, that's saying something.

[00:15:23] Jon B: So, Jon, is that written from experience anyway.

[00:15:26] Mark: Have you had a summer love to whom you have had to say farewell?

[00:15:29] Jon H: not really, no, but it's just a nice trope to kind of go trudging

[00:15:33] along with

[00:15:33] Mark: Don't break the mood

[00:15:34] Jon H: no. Yeah, no, I think it's it's supposed to be hard. isn't it?

[00:15:39] Jon B: Well yeah if you don't want it happen too fast,

[00:15:41] Mark: Absolutely.

[00:15:43] Jon H: I actually owe a debt for that piece to the first Red Dwarf novel, cuz the first Red Dwarf novel has a bit in it about stasis and how so? So stasis is the is the tech in red dwarf that allows people to begin suspended animation. And that's the nucleus of the bit. So, Rob Grant and Doug Naylor wrote this lovely bit about how the first out of soda system missions led to problems because they used suspended animation, so people came back and they were younger than their own grandchildren. And their really good line was it was a great opportunity for Hallmark cards. And that was where I started actually with that with that bit,

[00:16:22] Danny: So has anyone ever had a summer romance here? Like Is that, is that in the realm of anybody's experience?

[00:16:28] Mark: Apart from the girl that I tried to hit on um who I wrote my number on a piece of paper, and then while she was, she worked behind the bar at this holiday camp and while she was mopping the tables I came and, I, I went over to her I dropped, thank you, I dropped my piece of paper into her bucket and I hadn't realized that the bucket was full of liquid.

[00:16:52] Danny: So from her point of view, you just came over, dropped a piece of litter into a mot bucket. And then I presumably just walked off?

[00:16:59] Mark: Oh, Danny. No no. I made a speech beforehand

[00:17:01] Danny: worse

[00:17:02] Mark: then dropped a piece of oh oh Danny. It's one of the things that keeps me awake at night.

[00:17:06] Danny: Oh no

[00:17:07] Mark: it's one of the demons that haunts me.

[00:17:09] Danny: you have no reason to be haunted by that

[00:17:11] Mark: no not at all

[00:17:12] Jon B: mark this doesn't end this piece doesn't end, unless recreate that speech for us now.

[00:17:17] Mark: Oh God. No, I can't. I can't. I've I've got a fairly high embarrassment threshold with you people, but we are, we're in danger. No, I can't. I it's so sincere and I just I can't do it.

[00:17:30] Danny: It my cringe level is in empathy for you, not for her.

[00:17:35] Mark: Thank you

[00:17:35] Danny: She experienced something quite sweet.

[00:17:38] Mark: I won her a Teddy bear. I won her. I went to one of those grabbers and I spent, I dunno, maybe four pound on the grabber things to, to grab her a Teddy bear.

[00:17:46] Danny: You experienced something horribly mortify, and I understand way it plays on your mind, but she experienced something quite sweet.

[00:17:52] Mark: Near you are

[00:17:52] Danny: shouldn't feel bad about it,

[00:17:54] Mark: Thanks buddy. Jon Bounds have you ever had a summer romance?

[00:17:57] Jon B: No.

[00:17:59] Danny: Did I tell you about the crazy person that I was seeing while I was doing Camp America? That all went horribly bad?

[00:18:07] Mark: Go on.

[00:18:08] Danny: So I did Camp America the year before I went to university and I was going out with somebody. And I'm gonna put this out there, I cheated on that person and I am incredibly sorry for doing that. There, there are no excuses for it. There are circumstances, but there are no excuses for it. And I'm gonna put that out there. I am a terrible person for doing that. And yeah, well, I did I'm not asking for sympathy in this situation whatsoever. Cause I know that I was in the wrong.

[00:18:34] So that out the way I was going out with someone it was towards the end of the relationship. It should have been the end of the relationship. It ended up not being, but it should have been. And while I was in Camp America, I was persistently hounded, pursued courted by a young lady while I was there. the end I relented several times

[00:18:53] Mark: Dan.

[00:18:53] Danny: Again, terrible person. But because I was going to university and I was stopping in halls and stuff and I was literally getting off the plane and going next day to check into halls so I could actually sign in and do all the things, um the only person that I trusted with my email was then girlfriend.

[00:19:12] Jon H: When you say trusted with your email, like she had the password?

[00:19:16] Danny: She had the password and she was fielding emails from my halls and arranging it.

[00:19:22] So camp finishes and apparently this girl is emailing me constantly. In the meantime, I'm traveling around after camp, seeing people, having a good time, I immediately get back to Birmingham. While I am sitting down with my family and girlfriend, the moment that I walk through the door, this girl phones my mobile number. and has a conversation with me and I apparently go Ash and white.

[00:19:48] And then it gets worse. I go to university. I don't check email at that time, cuz I've completely forgotten I even have an email account because it was that point. This girl says that she's in England and she wants to come see me. I don't know about this. My current girlfriend does though. I end up answering my mobile number and meet her for a drink and explain the situation that I have a girlfriend, and this is all a misunderstanding and I've been a terrible person. My girlfriend, English girlfriend happens to call me up while we're having that conversation. I answer it in my pocket.

[00:20:24] Mark: oh,

[00:20:26] Danny: My current girlfriend at the time. I, so this is what happens to me. I'm having an incredibly awful conversation with this girl that yeah I lied to and. I look at my phone and it's an hour and a half into a call to my girlfriend.

[00:20:42] Jon H: What is happening. This is

[00:20:45] Mark: No no

[00:20:47] Jon H: I can't imagine this happening on tele. This is mad.

[00:20:51] Danny: Yeah no no no no. None of these circumstances if if it happened in this fiction, I'd be like, nope. Too many

[00:20:56] Jon H: And and and for context for people who dunno you, this is happening in like 98?

[00:21:02] Danny: 2003, 2002,

[00:21:04] Jon H: A little bit later Okay

[00:21:05] Emma: I went to Bristol for a year and then I jacked that in, and then I went to I went to Birmingham uni much, much, much later, so.

[00:21:11] Mark: so Dan, please take me to the moment where you look at your phone and you realize that this call has been going on for an hour and a half. Let's really slow down time and get into what are you thinking? What are you feeling what's coming up for you?

[00:21:27] Danny: So I look at my phone and it's hour and half hand and it was one of them old the knockers were the stretched ones. It doesn't have who it was on the call, but I'm pretty sure cuz God's not kind. So I know who's on the call. So I don't hang up. I, you know you know the adrenaline squirts into your body and you go cold? That happens. I immediately stand up and run outside so I can hear, and I put the phone next to my head and I'm like, hello? And then I hear crying and I hang up. And then I check the call records and yep. So the American girl says, look, I planned on stopping with you tonight. So I've got nowhere to go. Can I stop at your place? And I'm like, well, that's the very least that I can do. so I spend the rest of the night kind of in this horrible kind of not knowing what's going on. And then in the morning I got on three trains and. Went to the door of this girlfriend in Wales and basically just stood on the step and was like, look, here's what happened, and she was like, right, I don't wanna talk about it right now. And so I got on a train back to Bristol.


[00:22:49] Jon H: So when I was trying to write this and I was trying to come up with I was thinking about movies that people might know where I could like sci-fi it up and make a reference to it. And I was looking through like holiday romance

[00:23:10] Mark: puts bleat bloop in the corner.

[00:23:11] Jon H: Nobody puts play ball, put the coin, right. So I don't like dirty dancing as a film. Because I don't see it as a happy film. I see it as a horrible film about backstreet abortions and like on the internet, everyone's going, oh, it's a lovely, it's a lovely film about having sex in a holiday park. It's not a lovely film about that. It's literally about the things that the American Supreme Court have literally just made happen. but like All the synopsis of Dirty Dancing are like girl goes to holiday park meets Patrick Swayze and has fun.

[00:23:48] Jon B: It's really difficult to translate that to happening at Pontins, isn't it? They did do the Hokey Cokey at some point.

[00:23:57] Jon H: That's what it's all about though

[00:23:59] Mark: Danny. Uh you are up next. What have you got for us uh In the realm of holidays?

[00:24:05] Danny: I decided to talk about camping holidays because the majority of holidays that I have had have been in tents and also intense.

[00:24:14] Jon H: Hey that's a great pun. I love that. Thank you

[00:24:18] Danny: but yeah, like I, I never had a foreign holiday until I was able to kind of pay for the flights myself. I like we so yeah, camping was the thing that we did. And even though I've spent literally hundreds of nights under canvas, I still don't see why people make the choice to do it. Like voluntarily. Like I had to do it as a scout, cuz like, that's what you do as a scout. They didn't go, all right, we're going on a camp, but you know, there's the option of the BMB as well. If you wanna pay a bit extra, like it was always Nope, straight in the tent.

[00:24:54] Jon B: You Get your uh three star badge

[00:24:56] Jon H: I've been in some BMBs that I deserve to batch for going into I'm serious, man.

[00:25:02] Danny: I spent a very pleasant night in double bed with Jon Bounds in a B&B, and it was it was luxurious.

[00:25:09] Mark: mean Dude, we've all we've all done it, we've all done it. There's no need to,

[00:25:12] Jon B: I've only I've mark, actually, mark. You're the only one out of this podcast. I haven't shared a hotel room with.

[00:25:16] Jon H: I mean what I will say about when Jon and I shared a room is I did making go for a jog in the morning. So sorry, Jon.

[00:25:21] Mark: You arsehole.

[00:25:22] Danny: It is convention season. After the new series of Hitchhiker's guide comes out on Netflix. And I imagine that our podcast will get so popular that uh we will be invited. So uh

[00:25:33] Mark: be cosplaying as us it'll be that popular.

[00:25:37] Danny: Would you be insulted by somebody cosplayed as you like, by what people perceive as you, you imagine they perceive as you as fancy dress if you saw it I would kind of love it

[00:25:47] Emma: Earth humans are dumb, dim, stupid thickies, card carrying poops, pearl handled prats of the highest order, and gormless witless morons to a person. This is science.

[00:26:05] For a while, the subject was hotly contested amongst the learned community of fringe ethnocultural anthropologists and consumers of earth culture. But the evidence was too overwhelming to deny. Reality television, treating corporations like people, then giving them more rights than actual people, and golf being just a few. But what really swung it was recreational, camping. Even to this day, if you want to give any being in the galaxy a chuckle, from the Glurvian Ice Maidens to the stoic Mineral Daddies and Rock Bottoms of Granite Granite, so stone they named it twice, remind them that humans spent thousands of years painfully developing housing technology only to sack it off for a week in a tent in Evesham.

[00:26:54] Well, goes the typical counter argument, if they enjoy sleeping on the floor, being cold and uncomfortable and risking all sorts of diseases on poorly cooked food, who are we to judge? After all, Zaphod Beeblebrox himself, Galaxian president with the highest approval rating of all time ran on a platform of not only getting rid of kink shaming, but the eradication of the concept of shame altogether, and letting it all hang out. So what a person does for pleasure is between. Their eye doctor and a willing cephalopod. Let humans have their miserable, uncomfortable, boring fun.

[00:27:29] But on closer inspection with camp beds, inflatable sofas, portable fridges, speaker systems, bug zappers, travel carpets, and solar lighting. It was evident that a lot of camping energy was spent trying to achieve the minimum standards of comfort the campers left at home. And with this, the dam broke. The earth humans became a laughing stock. Species jokes sprang up such as, why did the earth human cross the transport corridor? Literally no reason, the facilities were the same either side.

[00:28:04] Around the turn of Earth's second millennium, from which point they started actually counting camping was rebranded as glamping, which is interesting. The word comes from glamor, an old human word for the fairy magic of changing the appearance of something without actually changing the thing itself. So you could appear to be living in fairly luxurious surroundings, but the fields still smell of shit, and the chances of tripping over a temp, peg and landing in an ants' nest, not zero. This only added to the derision.

[00:28:34] Of course, there was a spirited defense from the socially conscious and noted space Communist, Jonbeepboop Spacenamebounds. They pointed out that camping was an affordable way the worker drones of the earth species could get a holiday, which they deserve and often needed. It was then pointed out that the very existence of an entire class whose lives revolve around a bone crushing disparing job for which the only relief is two weeks in a wet tent in pissing Southport. Isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for the intelligence of a species in the first place. To which Jonbeepboop muttered something about Space Gramsci and shuffled off.

[00:29:13] Before its demolition and subsequent rebuilding, the galactic council saw fit to construct a huge sign to be read on the Ethernet on a planet near earth. It read rather and kindly this author notees, slow species ahead. And in the middle, a picture of a tent. Luckily, no earth technology was developed enough to pick this up. And the humans themselves were very far away from this sort of Interstella travel where they would encounter it. The adults.

[00:29:42] Mark: Beautiful

[00:29:43] Jon B: I may I mainly didn't like it.

[00:29:48] Danny: Jon what

[00:29:49] Jon B: roast?

[00:29:50] Danny: What makes you think it's what makes you think it referenced you?

[00:29:52] Mark: I have uh, a memory of trying to put up a tent in the pitch black in Gigglesworth? Up in the north. Giggleswick I believe it's Giggleswick. We went there because me and my friend from t'Egypt, we were supposed to go to the New Forest, and the trains weren't going that way. So, we, because there was, you know works, there were works on. And so we ended up going elsewhere and ended up in, in Giggleswick trying to pitch a tent at midnight in the pitch black, and wondering why it was so difficult. And it wasn't until the morning that we, when we woke up and we realized we were trying to pitch our end on a path, which was, concreted.

[00:30:30] Jon B: I once um I once took tent to the Redding festival and I didn't have a tent or we borrowed a and there were three of us and we went to the Redding festival tried to pitch our tent. We didn't know how to pitch the tent. So we got a space and then we looked at it and then uh we walked around the Redding festival site looking for someone else who had a tent that looked a little bit like it, who might know how to put it up, persuaded them to come back and put the tent up, which they did. Great. And about um three o'clock in the morning, it fell down.

[00:31:06] So, um we we hoisted it back up for that first night and then we hoisted it back up when it fell down again for the second night, the Redding festival on the third nights at the Redding festival, we did not hoist the fucker back up. We just slept under it like a quilt. And with our heads out in the flap, in the pissing rain, with our heads in a ditch.

[00:31:27] And then we decided the tent was fucking useless. Although pack the tent back up, carried it all the way back to Birmingham and then put it in a skip.

[00:31:35] Jon H: Well you know leave nothing but footprints Jon..

[00:31:39] Danny: When I was a scout, I had the most badges.

[00:31:44] Jon H: You're the baddest

[00:31:45] Danny: I'd literally had the most badges there and

[00:31:47] because my parents badge because my parents were scout leaders, I had to earn my badges twice because they wouldn't cook corners

[00:31:55] Mark: prove against nepotism?

[00:31:56] Danny: Yeah. I earned the chief scout award, which is the equivalent, the gold D of E Like I was,

[00:32:01] Mark: What happened, Dan?

[00:32:03] Danny: Oh we were drinking back then. Like we were 15 year old. We were drinking like. But back then the leaders were drinking as well. So you could put you could put your empties in the same bin as the leaders and because they were so pissed, they don't remember what they were drinking and how much they drank, like you never got caught.

[00:32:19] Jon H: And of course you had to drink twice as much as that.

[00:32:21] Danny: I used to have to drink twice as much as the other Scouts, to prove that it wasn't nepotism.

[00:32:28] Jon H: just to make sure it wasn't your dad drinking all your beer.

[00:32:30] Mark: You'd do some more interior and you salute the flag. Go and have a quick ciggie round the back and then uh crack on those were the days.

[00:32:36] Jon H: Nice for the days

[00:32:37] Mark: Right. Next up. Mr. Bounds, please. Uh what do you yeah, it's you my

[00:32:45] Jon H: Jon.

[00:32:45] Mark: What can you bring to us on the subject of holidays,

[00:32:47] Jon B: Well, I was gonna get a little bit more mature, to be honest. I was thinking about

[00:32:52] Danny: Saga holiday

[00:32:54] Jon B: Yeah not far off.

[00:32:57] Danny: Still Got it.

[00:32:57] Mark: He's like a scout. He's always prepared

[00:32:59] Jon B: I was gonna talk about how difficult um holidays involving your extended family. No, not your family that you like.

[00:33:06] Not your family that you chosen, married and loved because of the spawn of your own

[00:33:11] Mark: best ones.

[00:33:13] Jon B: but those family that you didn't get any choice over. And I was gonna talk about um, how we can think about that scientifically. And you might understand that and you might not. And it is quite difficult physics. So do keep up.

[00:33:25] Mark: paying very close attention.

[00:33:26] Emma: Vacations are pointless, says the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Due to the infinite nature of space, there's always a reality in which you were already where you are going. In a multiverse, you can't get away from it all. It all is everywhere, and due probability wise are everywhere too. And every when and every will. You may as well just stay at home.

[00:33:53] Or to put it another way, wherever you go there you are.

[00:33:58] Astrophysics departments at some of the universe's more neoliberal universities have used this theory to reduce paid leave for staff, particularly casual staff whose union responded huh, meh, and lent back sipping a Brownsey motion generator and wearing flip flops.

[00:34:16] Earth travelers may be at the mercy of dodgy deals, and it's difficult to choose exactly where or when, or will to go. Plan carefully or unbeknownst to you, the red tape cutting of environmental laws on planet Jacob three, extending back into the past may already have been going to lead to a dense gas cloud. The haunting Jacob Three smog, blocking out the twin suns you are going to bask under.

[00:34:42] But there is a larger problem, which is literally homegrown, and it's one where Einstein's theories on the space time concept of holidaying are needed to reflect the gravity of the situation. As Albert said, relativity shouldn't mean you go on holiday with your family. And he did not just say this because his mom wouldn't let him go out with his hair like that.

[00:35:04] This problem is not because of mass debates on where to stay or the position of the sun, or if you're at Butlins, the sheer speed of light entertainment, it's just that they are a colossal pain and you just won't have the energy.

[00:35:19] Holiday relativity theory is that going on holiday with a large group of family will not be any more relaxing than being at home with them. As Einstein said, if you take a clock, traveling away from your family at the speed of light against one that stays with them, it won't take up any more time, but it will seem longer. Much longer if they insist on playing car games.

[00:35:43] Holiday relativity theory proposes an addendum to the three phase concept of civilization. As we know, the first phase is characterized by the question how can we eat? The second by the question why do we eat? And the third by the question where shall we have lunch? On holiday with your family? You will need all the time in the universe to come to a conclusion that satisfies everyone.

[00:36:09] The theory can only be squared with quantum physics. When we assume that space time is curved and essentially people who can't decide which place is best for a holiday can get bent and shove their singularity up their black hole.

[00:36:24] This is all worse. If any of your family hold positions greater than Briga deer in the British army, this is known as the general theory of relativity. If your family member is in the USs army, they have to hold a rank greater than Colonel for this to apply. But at least you could eventually write a family comedy film about how they eventually learned to be softer to their kids, and everyone else learn to be more tolerant of their strict ways. And you don't have to go to Butlins Minehead.

[00:36:54] You can't choose your family, but you can choose not to go on holiday with them. The guide's advice is to do that. Or at least go hitchhiking without telling them.

[00:37:05] Or to put it another way, wherever you go, there they bloody are.

[00:37:11] Danny: That very much speaks to the only the type of holiday I had, which was um holiday camp holidays with extended family. So you'd get your grandparents. You'd get your aunts and uncles or your uncles mates in one chalet, don't tell anyone you're not supposed to have. You're not supposed to have them.

[00:37:29] Mark: Cuz they, they haven't got a card to get into the clubhouse.

[00:37:31] Danny: Yeah the aunties and the uncles and their kids that you don't get on with. And everybody's trying to decide whether we do stuff as a group, whether it be selfish to go off and do stuff on your own, whether we whether we go to go to the bingo, like it it absolutely speaks to that maneuvering of a a ocean liner that is deciding what you're gonna do as a group.

[00:37:56] Mark: but it's an ocean liner that has engines at six different parts that all want to go in the same direction at the same time. That also then takes a millennia to turn around, to, to figure out which direction to go in. It is the worst, as anyone who like Danny perhaps has some form of attention uh issue, the standing around for what seems like days on end waiting for someone to make a fucking decision about where they're going to go is the worst.

[00:38:23] Danny: Especially because everybody is going well I don't mind well I don't mind well, I don't mind well I don't mind. If nobody fucking minds then let's just go to one.

[00:38:32] Mark: Oh no I don't I you know what I don't feel like that one today. I just, I don't feel like Chinese food tonight.

[00:38:37] Jon H: I don't mind, but not that one

[00:38:38] Danny: You know what Emma gets like with a ballet you just said you didn't mind.

[00:38:42] Jon B: and if you're at holy camp, there only two choices anyway,

[00:38:44] Mark: And most of it's Warman red barrel.

[00:38:46] Jon B: I didn't start off trying to write that. I was trying to be nice to I'd like to point out that I didn't notice, I didn't mention communism once

[00:38:54] Mark: neoliberalism Which yeah Which is not communism, but at least, you know you you were in, if not the ballpark, then at least playing the same game.

[00:39:01] Jon H: Absolutely Absolutely Like If you mention the opposite of something, you're mentioning the thing, so.

[00:39:05] Jon B: I thought by essentially doing a Michael MacIntyre space associational comedy thing, or

[00:39:12] Mark: You know when you're on holiday right And you are there and you're on a holiday?

[00:39:15] Jon H: Right? And and you you're trying to choose restaurants right?

[00:39:18] Mark: Right? And everybody's trying to decide where they're going relatable

[00:39:22] Jon B: Everybody's got this special draw where they continually squash their bollocks into it because the existence pointless.

[00:39:28] Danny: I would listen to a nihilist thingy. Like he would be amazing.

[00:39:33] Mark: Do you know do nothing matters?

[00:39:34] Danny: Remember when you, you make a choice that it doesn't ultimately matter because we're all gonna die. Anyway.

[00:39:39] Mark: Entropy turns out

[00:39:41] Danny: all systems point to even restaurants?

[00:39:57] Mark: what are our favorite car games then? I quite like yellow car I just like the simplicity of yellow car

[00:40:02] Jon B: that's quite violent

[00:40:03] Danny: My girlfriend is called Lucy, so we play yellow car quite a lot. And so the rules are, if you see a look, I, you hit the other person and. So I thought I was really, I thought I was brilliant at yellow car. I thought it's like, she never gets the yellow cars before me and she's paying attention to the road. So I must be brilliant at yellow car cuz I have ADHD. And I'm thinking about all sorts as we're

[00:40:23] going

[00:40:24] Jon H: she's driving right

[00:40:25] Danny: No no. no yeah

[00:40:27] Mark: She's just propelling both human bodies safely at multiple uh miles an hour

[00:40:31] Danny: hour So I I I thought I was brilliant at yellow. I bang bang right in the leg bang. She's like oh, don't hit me in the same spot. Cause it really hurts. like shut up, bang.

[00:40:39] Jon H: that's my break foot Ah

[00:40:41] Danny: I can't drive you for my legs numb. I'm like, it's yellow car. We've gotta play.

[00:40:43] Mark: It's not how you play yellow car

[00:40:44] Danny: I thought I was, I thought I was brilliant at it. And so Lucy goes for an eye test and gets a new prescription on our glasses and we go on a car journey and I get absolutely destroyed at yellow car. Like all the way to the point where I'm like, ow, no, not in the same spy really hurts. And like no, fuck you no mercy Yeah. She's like no mercy for the week. Like Fuck you. And it turns out I'm not good at yellow car because I have no attention uh to pay. Uh I'm not good at yellow car. Lucy was just pretty much legally blind for the entire first half of our relationship.

[00:41:21] Jon B: Well, no right at the start. I can definitely say that. Yeah,

[00:41:25] Danny: Fuck off, uh which was a little worrying, but then I forgot about it.

[00:41:29] Mark: But it's all fine now.

[00:41:29] Jon H: I don't like car games because I drive the car.

[00:41:32] Mark: Yeah.

[00:41:33] Jon H: So everyone else in the car do do whatever the fuck it is you're doing. And just fuck off.

[00:41:39] Mark: And

[00:41:39] Jon H: And let me drive this car. As you say, Mark, let me drive these tons of metal at high speed.

[00:41:46] And just fuck off. And no, I don't care if you want a piss, because right now I'm driving.

[00:41:51] Mark: It's my job to keep you all alive

[00:41:53] Jon H: I will want a piss and then we will have a piss.

[00:41:55] Mark: Then the piss will be had

[00:42:05] Well it now befalls upon me to uh to present to you, behooves?

[00:42:13] Danny: You bailed on it while it was happening

[00:42:16] Mark: it will Haven't been Uh my duty

[00:42:20] Danny: you

[00:42:20] Mark: Beheaven, uh, beheaven with you, to, uh to present to you my piece on working holidays.

[00:42:28] Jon H: hello.


[00:42:30] Emma: The success of his first book came as something of a shock to Veet Voojagig, the humorist who became fascinated with what happened to all the Biros that went missing over the years. Round Biroland With a Pencil Case spawned a number of copycat, including Are You a Cheap Green Retractable? Playing the Galumbitzes at Arcturan Mega-Tennis, and Mallory Fallas, Journeys Inside My Own Butthole.

[00:43:00] An entire industry was spun up to develop machine learning algorithms that could generate fake scenarios that sounded just plausible enough to have been drunken bar bets.

[00:43:10] The popularity of the format enabled recent graduates and board baristas to fund elaborate holidays to far flung corners of the galaxy. The sheer number of works exploded when it was discovered that a traveler could fund their entire gap year by hopping forwards in time to a period when the book's residuals rolled in, then zipping back to cash the cheque.

[00:43:32] This caused alarm at the Campaign for Real Time, who were less concerned about the paradoxical financial structure of this new publishing paradigm and more with the grammatical and syntactical nightmares that arose as author tried to grapple with describing their hijinks in the past tense when they technically hadn't yet happened.

[00:43:51] Eventually the fad faded as fad so foften do, yet one largely obscure and unsung title still remains as an exemplar of the genre and something of a cult hit.

[00:44:03] The Hole Picture told the story of two friends, Jankom Frimp and Womble Frown, who bet themselves they could travel to and photograph each known wormhole in the Western spiral arm of the galaxy in two cosmic weeks. The deadline was set by their ship's pilot, Blodge, who had to be in court the next day to contest a speeding ticket.

[00:44:26] There, then followed a quick Ja to three years in the future. When the books advance was paid out, then back to begin their journey.

[00:44:34] A popular highlight of the book tells of how Frimp struggled pegging in the ground sheet of their backpacker's pocket universe, while Frown looked on delivering lines of Vogon poetry to the uncaring forest beyond. Despite the critics' plaudits and the fact that one of the co-authors was the cousin of noted space communists Jonbeepboop Spacenamebounds, sales were less than all had hoped.

[00:44:59] It remains notable. However, for having one of the least appealing front cover quotes of all time. From Bowerick Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, the quote merely reads, wholly shit.

[00:45:12] Danny: It's a bit inside, mate.

[00:45:14] Mark: Little bit little bit inside baseball Isn't it

[00:45:18] Jon B: it encourages people to explore deeper, that would be

[00:45:22] Jon H: It's basically an ARG at this point. You need to take this as the rabbit hole and find Peer Review by, what's the publisher?

[00:45:29] Danny: uh Summerdale

[00:45:30] Jon H: from Summerdale books available in all good bookshops. Danny Smith, Jon Bounds.

[00:45:33] Danny: It's at print

[00:45:34] Mark: Sold out

[00:45:35] Jon H: Well That's depressing.

[00:45:36] Mark: out

[00:45:37] Jon H: that bit.

[00:45:38] Danny: no, it's fine. It it's It's sold. It's sold. Well, it's

[00:45:41] Jon B: enough I think filled its

[00:45:45] Danny: I did recently uh hand a copy into uh, Library of Birmingham because they didn't have it. It was really awkward cuz it was like, I uh hi, I wrote a book. Do you want It? Was like, like given like an note, someone that you fancy, like it was was there was a lot of a lot

[00:46:01] Jon B: dropped it in

[00:46:02] a

[00:46:02] Mark: it in a wet bucket?

[00:46:03] Jon H: I'll tell you what though. If someone came up to me with who I didn't really, who I'd never really noticed before with a note and it had an ISBN number in it, I'd be impressed.

[00:46:13] The first time I read peer review, I I I can literally remember sending the text to you two about this. Just going, wait, Danny's the practical one? And And so the stuff about Danny going on a camping holiday earlier on is just, oh, absolute catnip to me. Like I I I love I love that Danny has these two personas, one, one of which is this like frivolous, Artie goth. And the other one is he's the most practical person I know other than my dad.

[00:46:46] Mark: It's annoying isn't it just wanted to just stick in a fucking lane

[00:46:49] Jon H: yeah Ex exactly

[00:46:51] Danny: I love the fact that somebody could invite me over to kind of help them decorate and they never know what they're gonna get. Like somebody that turns up drunk with a bottle of wine, shouting things that they're neighbors or somebody criticizing the fact that their wallpaper's not straight. Like it's tension.

[00:47:06] Jon B: I've seen you do both

[00:47:07] Jon H: But Jon has the demeanor of someone who knows how to pitch a tent.

[00:47:10] Jon B: Oh I know how to pitch a tent, I just can't be arsed.

[00:47:17] Mark: You have been listening to Jon Bounds, Jon Hickman, Danny Smith, and me, Mark Steadman. We are Beware of the Leopard, and our voice of the guide is the notorious Emma Wright.

[00:47:28] You'll find links to all of our stuff along with our back catalog at That's where you can also sign up to be informed when our next episode drops, as well as some other occasional goodies.

[00:47:42] If you have any followup for us is where you can send it.

[00:47:48] I hope you like the new music. I thought it might be time for a change since we're now five years old. Although, uh, we look a lot, a lot older. Anyway, we will be back in a few weeks with our next episode, all about books. I know, two whole episodes in a year. We're spoiling you.

[00:48:05] Until then, share and enjoy.

[00:48:09] Jon B: And once a week, an excursion to a local room and ruin where you can buy cherry aid and melted ice creamer bleeding Watney's red barrel. And one night they take you to a typical restaurant with local atmosphere and color, and you sit next to a party from room and they keep thinking, I love the Costa Brava. And you get corded by some drunken green goat from Luton with an Instamatic camera and last Tuesday's Daily Express, and he's going on and on those running the country, many languages Marrie Powell can speak, but she throws up all over the Cuba Libras.

[00:48:39] And spending four days on the tarmc at Luton airport on a five day package tour with nothing to eat but dry British Airway sandwiches, and you can't even get a glass of Watney's red barrel cause he's in England and the bloody bar closed every time of your thirsty. And the kids are crying and vomiting and breaking the plastic ashtrays, and they keep telling you, they won't be another hour, but you know, damn well, the plane is still in Iceland because it had to turn back to a part of your squeeze to Yugoslavia.

[00:49:03] Of course it loads. It ends up here three in the morning. You sit the time over four hours cuz of unforeseen difficulties, i.e. the permanent strike of air traffic control over Paris. And you finally get to mall airport Everybody's curing for that bloody toilet and skewing for the bloody customs offices and queuing for their bloody buses and they're waiting to take you to the hotel which hasn't been built. And when you finally get the Ave built Algerian ruining called the hotel Limisol, while paying the after holiday money to licensed Spanish bastard in a taxi, there's no water in the pool. There's no water in the bath. There's no water in the tap. And there's only a bleeding lizard in the bedet, and the room's a double booked, and you can't sleep anyway, cuz the permanent are in the judges in the hotel next door Wayne while the Spanish natural tourist board promises that the rag color epidemic is merely a minor outbreak of the Spanish than the previous outbreak in 1616, which even though bloody rats died from. Anyway, sorry.

[00:50:09] It's not mine. The work of Eric, I

[00:50:11] Mark: Mr Eric idol.

[00:50:12] Jon H: FX clapping

[00:50:13] Mark: boundary of adventure. Or what was it or would you like a blow job? That's the uh that was that was the live version. That's not what they did on the uh Yeah

[00:50:21] Jon H: What can you make out these outtakes mark? Well, I can make a tactile oh, looks like I picked a wrong day to stop spilling booze on my lap.

[00:50:34] Jon B: I can make a hat.

Creators and Guests

Danny Smith
Danny Smith
Writer and malcontent. Co-wrote Pier Review with Jon Bounds. His new book is Staring Death in the Face.
Jon Bounds
Jon Bounds
Marxist with ‘70s sitcom fixation. Edits Paradise Circus, writes books on Birmingham and piers.
Jon Hickman
Jon Hickman
Author of 101 Things Birmingham Gave the World, and Birmingham: It’s Not Shit: 50 Things That Delight About Brum.
Mark Steadman
Mark Steadman
Mark makes podcasts, music, books, and things to help creative people get out of their own way.