For instance, at the very moment that Arthur said, 'I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle,' a freak wormhole opened up in the fabric of the space-time continuum and carried his words far far back in time across almost infinite reaches of space to a distant galaxy where strange and warlike beings were poised on the brink of a frightful interstellar battle.
The two opposing leaders were meeting for the last time.
A dreadful silence fell across the conference table as the commander of the Vl'hurgs, resplendent in his black jewelled battle shorts, gazed levelly at the G'Gugvuntt leader squatting opposite him in a cloud of green sweet-smelling steam, and, with a million sleek and horribly beweaponed star cruisers poised to unleash electric death at his single word of command, challenged the vile creature to take back what it had said about his mother.
The creature stirred in his sickly broiling vapour, and at that very moment the words, 'I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle' drifted across the conference table.
Unfortunately, in the Vl'hurg tongue this was the most dreadful insult imaginable, and there was nothing for it but to wage terrible war for centuries.
Eventually, of course, after their galaxy had been decimated over a few thousand years, it was realised that the whole thing had been a ghastly mistake, and so the two opposing battle fleets settled their few remaining differences in order to launch a joint attack on our own galaxy---now positively identified as the source of the offending remark.
For thousands more years the mighty ships tore across the empty wastes of space and finally dived screaming on to the first planet they came across---which happened to be Earth---where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog.
Those who study the complex interplay of cause and effect in the history of the universe say that this sort of thing is going on all the time, but that we are powerless to prevent it.
'It's just life,' they say.
--- Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Chapter 31.
Going off on crazy tangents like this is something that Douglas Adams did brilliantly. So brilliantly in fact that when I was a graduate student in Oxford in 1983, I founded a club based on the Vl'hurgs. DNA was invited on a number of occasions but never came. I think that he seriously doubted our sanity (funny, that).
Gilly Filsner (the least ugly one on the right), a.k.a. Vl'hurg Admiral J'Lee, was the one who came closest to the whole Science Fiction scene in the UK. She did some acting and was friends with Neil Gaiman. Gilly was sure that she was Trillian, a situation that as far as I know was never exploited. The others in the picture are Danny Henrey (top right), Raymond Paretzky (bottom left) and me, the Emperor, in dark glasses.
Some of the stuff that we wrote for Vl'hurg events still makes me chuckle, in particular:
There are more photos here.