Far out in the inland expanses of the unfashionable side of the eastern region of the city of Los Angeles lies a small unregarded engineering college.
Visiting this college at a probability of roughly one in ninety-two million was an extraordinarily significant blue-eyed author whose seminal work was so amazingly influential that it still being reproduced in various media long after these particular media have become obsolete.
This college has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the students at the college were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with letters that represented numbers that corresponded to the students’ performance on exams administered in their classes, which is odd because on the whole these letters had no effect whatsoever on the students’ lives after they had graduated from this college.
And so the problem remained; lots of the students were drunk, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with good grades.
Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming to this particular college in the first place. And some said that even college itself had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left their parents’ basements.
And then, one Wednesday, nearly fifty years after one mining engineer had been honored for having an enthusiastic interest in a college that taught mathematics and engineering with a particular focus on humanities and social sciences, this author walking on a treadmill in Montecito suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and he finally knew how this college could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get hammered or anything.
Sadly, however, before he could get to a podium to tell anyone about it, a terribly stupid tragedy occurred, and the idea was lost forever.
This is not his story.
But it is the story of that terribly stupid tragedy and some of its consequences.
It is also the story of a mixtape, a mixtape called The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Mixtape — not an Earth mixtape, never published on Earth, and until ten years after the terrible tragedy occurred, never seen or heard of by any Earthman.
Nevertheless, a wholly remarkable mixtape.
In fact it was probably the most remarkable mixtape ever to come out of the great webservers of the WiredTree network — of which no Earthman had ever heard either.
Not only is it a wholly remarkable mixtape, it is also a highly successful one — more enlightening than the Celestial Helmsmanship Mix Six, more sensual than Fifty Tracks to Freak to in Zero Gravity, more sophisticated than the How to Drink on a Dozen Dimes a Day in Dublin, and more inspiring than Jack Feerick’s trilogy of excursionary compositions Lights Out for the Territories, Brother Where You Bound?, and Long Way Home.
In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the World Wide Web, the Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide Mixtape has already supplanted My Awesome Mixtape #6 as the standard repository of the finest music and audio clips, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is esoteric, or at least wildly irrelevant, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.
First, it contains a considerably larger number of songs; and secondly it has the words Don’t Panic inscribed in large friendly letters as part of the header.
But the story of that terrible, stupid Wednesday, the story of its extraordinary consequences, and the story of how these consequences are inextricably intertwined with this remarkable mixtape begins very simply.
It begins with a voice.
Be sure to check out the contest we’re hosting to go along with this mixtape – you can win a free iPad cover! Also, to give credit where credit is due, all of the stellar artwork for this post (except for the frontpage photo) was put together by DwDunphy.
BOOK 1: THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
1. “Introduction” – Peter Jones
2. “Journey of the Sorcerer” – The Eagles
3. “Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled” – Porcupine Tree
4. “Don’t Panic” – Ford Prefect & Arthur Dent
5. “Don’t Panic” – Coldplay
6. “Against All Odds” – Postal Service
7. “Heart of Gold” – Johnny Cash
8. Personality Prototype – Marvin the Android
9. “Paranoid Android” – Radiohead
10. “Citizens of Tomorrow” – Tokyo Police Club
11. “Computer World” – Kraftwerk
12. “The Answer” – Deep Thought
13. “42” – Disco Biscuits
14. “Mike’s Blowin’ in the Wind” – Bob Dylan vs. Air
BOOK 2: THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE
1. “Grand Hotel” – Procol Harum
2. “Ouija Board, Ouija Board” – Morrissey
3. “Bombed” – Zaphod and Marvin
4. “First Wave Intact” – Secret Machines
5. “Out the Window” – Violent Femmes
6. “Insignificant” – Counting Crows
7. “Max Quordlepleen” – Max Quordlepleen
8. “End of the Universe” – Screaming Trees
9. “Rockstar” – Margo Buchannan
10. “Sing For Your Meat” – Guided By Voices
11. “It’s Just So…” – Zaphod and Ford
12. “Paint It Black” – Dirty Heads
13. “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” – Pink Floyd
14. “Fool on the Hill” – The Beatles
15. “Colonists” – Golgafrinchan Ship’s Captain
16. “Ship of Fools” – The Grateful Dead
BOOK 3: LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING
1. “Cricket” – The Kinks
2. “Somebody Else’s Problem” – Ford Prefect
3. “You Won’t See Me” – The Beatles
4. “Sloop John B” – The Beach Boys
5. “For No One” – The Beatles
6. “Tactless” – Agrajag
7. “Cathedral” – Robyn Hitchcock
8. “Learning to Fly” – Pink Floyd
9. “World Party” – Waterboys
10. “Night on Krikkit” – The Narrator
11. “Late in the Evening” – Paul Simon
12. “Near the End” – David Gilmour
13. “Ashes” – Arthur and Ford
14. “Ashes to Ashes” – David Bowie
15. “Nothing But The Truth” – Procol Harum
16. “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” – Pink Floyd