Hotblack Desiato, rock keyboardist
Hotblack Desiato, made it megabig
Hotblack Desiato, wearer of a platinum suit, seated at a platinum table in a restaurant of the future
Hotblack Desiato… temporarily deceased


“Who’s he supposed to be?” asks Trillian, an Earthling in Douglas Adams’ novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe – book two of the “increasingly inaccurately named Trilogy of Five” Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books.

Restaurant At The End Of The Universe book cover

She’s answered by characters Zaphod Beeblebrox and Ford Prefect:

“Hotblack Desiato?” said Zaphid in astonishment, “you don’t know? You never heard of Disaster Area?”
“No,” said Trillian, who hadn’t.
“The biggest,” said Ford, “loudest…”
“Richest…” suggested Zaphod.
“… rock band in the history of…” he searched for the word.
“… history itself,” said Zaphod.
“No,” said Trillian.
“Zowee,” said Zaphod….

Speaking of giant rock bands, let’s digress for a bit and introduce Pink Floyd. It’s okay. Hotblack only occupies a few pages in the entire five-book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy.” He’s currently dead and ain’t going anywhere.


Digression: Hotblack Desiato, Douglas Adams and Pink Floyd – study of connections and coincidence

  1. As a finale for Hotblack’s band, Disaster Area’s shows, the band arranges for a spaceship to automatically fly into a sun: “They do this terrible song you know which ends with a stuntship crashing into the sun.” Pink Floyd has an early song called Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.
  2. Douglas Adams’ friend produced a show that the wife of Nick Mason, drummer for Pink Floyd, worked on.
  3. Polly Samson, the wife of Dave Gilmour, Pink Floyd’s guitarist, knew Jane Belson, Adams’ wife.
  4. Douglas Adams’ official biography by Nick Webb (2003) is called Wish You Were Here. Pink Floyd has a well-known song from 1975 called Wish You Were Here.
  5. Adams is best known for his space-based “trilogy.” Pink Floyd was so concerned about being typecast as a space rock band that they set their 23-minute 1970 opus Echoes underwater.
  6. On October 28, 1994, Dave Gilmour let Douglas Adams play a guitar solo at a show in Earl’s Court as a forty-second birthday present.
  7. The English design group Hipgnosis designed the book cover to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Hipgnosis also designed the following Pink Floyd album covers: A Saucerfull of Secrets (the record that Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun is on), More, Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother, Meddle, Obscured by Clouds, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here (again, also the title of Douglas Adams’ official biography) and Animals.Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book cover
  8. And finally, I mentioned Hotblack’s current medical condition as being dead. As indicated by his bodyguard to Ford Prefect, both standing over the lifeless, platinum-suited Hotblack sitting motionless at a platinum table in a swanky restaurant, he is required to spend a year dead for tax reasons. Pink Floyd, because of English tax laws, had to live outside England for a year in 1979 to avoid financial disaster. A real disaster area, that.

Okay, digression over. I want to end this post on the story of how Douglas Adams came up with Hotblack Desiato’s character name. The following is from the third appendix of Don’t Panic by Neil Gaiman, a collection of comments by Adams:

“I had this appalling overblown rockstar character, and I couldn’t come up with a name for him. Then I saw an estate agent’s board up outside a house. Well, I nearly crashed my car with delight! I couldn’t get the name out of my mind. Eventually I phoned them up and said, ‘Can I use your name? I can’t come up with anything nearly as good!’ They said fine. It hasn’t done them any harm, except it’s terribly unfair, as people keep phoning them up and saying, ‘Come on, it’s a bit cheeky, nicking a name from Hitchhiker’s to call your estate agents by, isn’t it?’ And they were a bit upset, when I moved back to England, that I didn’t buy my house from them.”

Here’s the real estate Hotblack Desiato’s website today, nodding to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: