The Everyday Lore Project

25 May 2020 – Towel Day

25 May 2020 – Towel Day

Today I wore a towel because it’s Towel Day. Obvs. Towel Day is celebrated across the world on 25 May as a tribute to the unforgettable author, Douglas Adams. And this year is an extra special one as it’s the 42nd anniversary of when the radio series was first broadcast. 

To say that I’m a fan of Adams is a bit of an understatement. I’ve hoovered up everything Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy ever since I can remember, so much so that Thursdays have always been a bit of a problem, I once bought a table because someone had scribbled 42 on the side of it (it’s still there), I sometimes use Arthur Dent’s flying technique to fall asleep, I was beside myself when Geoffrey McGivern followed me back on Twitter, and I have never, ever forgiven Martin Freeman for not setting me up with Sam Rockwell like he said he would. Admittedly that might be more a Sam Rockwell thing, but who hasn’t fancied Zaphod Beeblebrox? 

So why a towel? I’ll let the animator, Nick Page explain using the original recording of Peter Jones as the Guide:

Now, I have a favourite towel, I’m sure everyone does. It’s a very old blue bath sheet bought in BHS in the 90s (never found a softer one), but as that’s a hefty burden to cart round (plus I’d used it after my shower so it was a little damp), I went with a beige bath towel (or hair towel, as they’re known round here). And not just any old bath towel, this is the towel that’s backpacked all over the world with me, so I thought it very appropriate.

At first I wore my towel in a casual, louche manner, slung across my right shoulder. It didn’t feel right on my left. And it stayed like that for a good while. It was like being a barmaid all over again and very handy for after washing my hands. Then I had a dance break, and it kept sliding off. So I refolded lengthways and wore it around both shoulders, just like Rocky after a workout. But typing with a rolled up towel against the back of my neck got weighty, so I unfurled, draping it across my shoulders and pretended I was at the hairdressers. As the sun crossed over the house and my desk went into shade, I began wrapping it round me like a pashmina to save having to find a chunkier cardigan. And as evening descended, I’ve twisted it like a Yorkshireman’s scarf down my front. Towels are indeed incredibly handy.

Well, so long and thanks for all the fish. Me and my towel are off to mix me one last Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster before bed. But I’ll leave you with the video my friend, Michaela sent from NSW of her son, Charlie practicing for the World Record of throwing a paper plane into a bucket. Happy Towel Day!


Adams, D. (1979). The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. London: Pan Books

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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