While Adams is known to have disapproved of the establishment of societies in his name (he allegedly referred in conversation to the Oxford University DougSoc as "a bunch of wankers), in reality the activities of such groups focus very little on the author, and more on getting drunk, writing and performing revues, role playing pub crawls, and other somewhat creative activities.
The original Douglas Adams Society was founded at Oxford University in 1990, and continued as a university institution until 2000. While the early termly programmes tended to focus on Adams and his works, as the society grew the focus shifted towards more generalised social activities themed around science fiction and comedy.
Nevertheless, the Oxford DougSoc maintained a popular image as a specifically Adams-themed society, finding this particularly useful in recruitment of new members. The society became well-known for its presence at Freshers' Fair, where members would typically wear dressing gowns and hand out teabags. Freshers' recruitment events invariably involved home-mixed pan-galactic gargle blasters and two different types of cheese. At its height, the Oxford society boasted some 50 members and enjoyed considerable notoriety among the Oxford student community.
As well as more traditional posts, the DougSoc committee included a Society Poet and a Small Furry Creatures Rep.
Typical DougSoc activities included:
A termly magazine, Zarking Fardwarks (named after an oath used by Ford Prefect in Life, the Universe and Everything), was published consisting of members' creative writing. Members also formed a successful sketch comedy troupe known as Cruel and Unusual Punishment, later Square Pegs, which performed revues in Oxford and on the Edinburgh Fringe.
Alumni of Oxford DougSoc went on to found the York and Exeter branches of the society.
Currently the only active DougSoc in the United Kingdom, the York society bears many similarities to Oxford's, including childhood regression parties (taking the form of young children's birthday parties) and scavenger hunts, but also some considerable differences; the greatest of these is a complete ban of gratuitous references to Douglas Adams, and also the words 'crazy', 'zany', 'wacky' and 'random' due to a review of the society by a disliked campus newspaper, which used exactly those words. The York branch also produces a DougInfo sheet once a week, a satirical news-sheet based on current campus news stories.
The York committee also includes some interestingly-titled posts, including that of the Shape Rep (whose duty it is to determine each term's shape) and the Toastmaster General, who must propose a toast at the start of every meeting to whatever he/she feels appropriate.
Typical York DougSoc activities include:
A Newcastle branch of DougSoc is currently in the process of being set up, following a Newcastle student's trip to a York DougSoc meeting.
A TALL TALE ON A MAINE ISLAND, THEY STILL TALK ABOUT TALL BARNEY BEAL, A 19TH-CENTURY STRONGMAN WITH A PENCHANT FOR HEAVY-LIFTING. THAT LEGENDARY PHYSICAL PROWESS HAS SURVIVED TO A NEW GENERATION OF ATHLETIC BEALS.
Apr 16, 2000; BEALS ISLAND, Maine - Tricia Carver, a 6-foot-tall girls basketball phenomenon, is more than familiar with the Tall Barney...