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Telephone number of a flat in Islington....

  • 07-01-2011 7:14pm
    Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭

    Hello all....

    This is my first venture into this forum, and I hope someone out there can answer (insofar as it can be answered) a question for me.

    Back in the late '80's I happened to be in a very drunken state downstairs in Bruxelles bar on Harry Street in Dublin. Being a big fan of the Hitchhikers Guide, I ended up in conversation with some random stranger who also happened to be a fan.

    I recall him telling me to try ringing the telephone number of the flat in Islington (the one Arthur attended a party in). He would not tell me what I would hear if I rang it, but he was very insistent that I should. He even had the number written down in his wallet!

    A couple of nights later (over even more beers!) I remembered his enthusiasm on the subject, so I assembled a line of 50p pieces for the public 'phone and rang the number......


    Not even a message or a ringing sound. Just dead.

    I've often wondered, was there ever anything to be heard or did I just mis-dial the number? Should I have used the English prefix before the number?

    Anyone got any idea or information on this?

    Regards - Dan


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 22,584 CMod ✭✭✭✭Steve

    I never heard of this - and spent plenty a drunken night in Bruxelles in the 80's :D

    I would assume that you do indeed have to use +44 in front of the number.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭danpatjoe

    Years later I eventually find something!! :D

    "...Stop 2 - 29 Arlington Avenue, Islington N1

    Douglas Adams shared a house at 29 Arlington Avenue (below) with several people including comedy writer Jon Canter, whose memories of that time are recorded in a recent book:

    “We were slightly wary of each other but then came the great fall. He had to leave university, he had to find something to do, and we both struggled and through the struggle we were brought together. I mean, he was just a guy living on the floor of the house in which I was living. We weren’t close friends at university. We became friends later and that was to do with this house we rented in London – in Arlington Avenue, Islington – which is immortalised in Hitchhiker. The phone number of that house is in the book as 2 to the power of 267 709, and the phone number there was 226 7709, hilariously. That was a little code for all of us that lived in the house because he used to some and sleep on the floor when he was script-editing Doctor Who and when he was working on the radio series of Hitchhiker, and that’s when we became friends. (I Was Douglas Adams’s Flatmate: and Other Encounters With Legends, Andrew McGibbon 2011, p. 13).

    Another resident was Clare Gorst:

    People used to ring us up and ask for various characters in the book, especially Marvin, and I always treated them respectfully. I’d say, “Sorry, I’m afraid Marvin isn’t in at the moment.” But they continued after we’d moved out. The person who moved in after us had no idea why he was getting these strange phone calls until one day he was flying to New York and was reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide. He read the telephone number, the light dawned and he leapt out of his seat shouting, “Now I understand!”" (McGibbon, p. 13).