“… two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls.” (Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
…and that’s exactly what Hunter S. Thompson and his writing were: one never sober (but always damn brilliant) montagne russe. He hated to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for him. In fact, he once even said that if you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up. And he certainly did get paid for his brilliant insanity.
(Next to Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote) Hunter S. Thompson is one of my favourite journalists/writers. As you well know, he is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of writing similar to a trip through a journalistic fun house, where you didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. You knew you had better learn enough about the subject at hand to know when the riff began and reality ended. Hunter was a stickler for numbers, for details like gross weight and model numbers, for lyrics and caliber, and there was no faking it. Of course, he is known also for his love of firearms; his long-standing hatred of Richard Nixon; and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism.
“So why did you remember him just now?”, you’ll ask. Truth be told, I don’t know. Maybe because I saw around his “Hell’s Angels”, an angry, fascinating and excitedly written book, that crackles like motorcycle exhaust. Or maybe I remembered him just because he died more or less about 6 years ago, in February. His legend ended with a Smith&Wesson, along with these words:
“Football season is over. No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”
His ex-wife used to say that he was born with an incredible talent and with a hyper-brilliant mind, but also with a “tormented soul”. What did she mean? Well, I don’t really know. All I know is that he was one incredible talented writer who – in the end – just couldn’t take the fact that “the football season” was over. And “if you wonder if he’s gone to Heaven or Hell, rest assured he will check out them both, find out which one Richard Milhous Nixon went to — and go there. He could never stand being bored. But there must be Football too — and Peacocks…” (Ralph Steadman)
And now please allow me to go back to my vacation. (;