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A Bit of Fry and Lorry

Published September 1, 2022

In our next installment of “My Favorite Round,” we dive into a round all about Stephen Fry… and trucks. We called it “A Bit of Fry and Lorry” and filled it with questions about the U.S. trucking industry, Brexit customs checks, and, uh, Stephen Fry. Our round asked about Mac sales in the U.K. The second one was bought by Fry (allegedly) and the first one by today’s subject. Read on!

In a post written for his website, multi-hyphenate author, actor and comedian Stephen Fry said that he bought the second-ever Mac computer that was sold in Europe. “My friend and hero Douglas Adams was in the queue ahead of me,” he wrote. “For all I know someone somewhere had bought one ten minutes earlier, but these were the first two that the only shop selling them in London had in stock on the 24th January 1984, so I’m sticking to my story.” 

Adams, the late author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, was deeply into technology, the newest Big Things and, of course, anything released by Apple. The brief biography that appeared on his book jackets in the 1980s simply said that he “lives in Islington with a lady barrister and an Apple Macintosh.” (At least his wife, the late Jane Belson, was mentioned before the computer.) 

“I’ve been a Macintosh user for as long as there have been Macintoshes, right from the very first one,” he said. “It was elegantly thought out, intuitive, and it was such a pleasure to use that you wanted to hug it. It was also ludicrously slow and underpowered, of course, but that was a small price, as Butch Cassidy said in the movie, to pay for beauty.”

Adams died in 2001 at age 49, and it’s probably safe to say that he would’ve been absolutely delighted by the iPhone, the iPad, and everything that the computer company has created in the years since. (In an August 2000 interview with MacWorld, Adams said that, if he were an Apple developer, he would create “a palmtop Mac, with always-on Internet and GPS.”) 

It also seems fitting that his final post on the message board on was about how excited he was to install the Mac OS X operating system. “I was going to wait till the summer to install it, but I succumbed and installed it last week,” he wrote. “ It takes a little getting used to, old habits are hard to reform, and it’s not quite finished (what software ever is), and much of the software that’s out to run on it is Beta. But…I think it’s brilliant. I’ve fallen completely in love with it.”