Disaster Area

From the “Disaster Area” entry in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, probably the the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing houses of Ursa Minor:

A plutonium rock band from the Gagrakacka Mind Zones, they are generally held to be not only the loudest rock band in the Galaxy, but in fact the loudest noise of any kind at all. Regular concert goers judge that the best sound balance is usually to be heard from within large concrete bunkers some thirty-seven miles from the stage, while the musicians themselves play their instruments by remote control from within a heavily insulated spaceship which stays in orbit around the planet—or more frequently around a completely different planet. Their songs are on the whole very simple and mostly follow the familiar theme of boy-being meets girl-being beneath a silvery moon, which then explodes for no adequately explored reason. Many worlds have now banned their act altogether, sometimes for artistic reasons, but most commonly because the band’s public address system contravenes local strategic arms limitations treaties. This has not, however, stopped their earnings from pushing back the boundaries of pure hypermathematics, and their chief research accountant has recently been appointed Professor of Neomathematics at the University of Maximegalon, in recognition of both his General and Specific Theories of Disaster Area Tax Returns, in which he proves that the whole fabric of the space-time continuum is not merely curved, it is in fact totally bent.

Disaster Area was originally conceived for the BBC radio series Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, written by the Douglas Adams and first aired in 1978. In the series, Ford Prefect, a roving reporter for the Guide, encounters old friend Hotblack Desiato at the Restaurant at the end of the Universe. He soon learns that Desiato, frontman for the band Disaster Area, is spending the year dead for tax reasons. (In 2017, NME explored the links between Disaster Area and space rock band Pink Floyd, of whom Adams was a great fan: both were tax exiles, both “set the controls for the heart of the sun,” etc.)

The group’s only real-world release came in late 1980, in advance of the BBC television adaptation of Hitchhiker’s, which was transmitted in January and February of 1981. The B side of the 7″ “The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV Theme Music” offered a single song attributed to Disaster Area. “It’s Only the End of the World Again” was written by Peter Godwin and Colin Wight of the new wave band Metro while the recording featured Godwin on vocals; Glen Matlock and Rusty Egan of the new wave band Rich Kids on bass and drums, respectively (Matlock is perhaps better known as the original bassist for the Sex Pistols); and Adams himself on guitar.


“The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV Theme Music”  (1980)