Hunter S Thompson would have been 75 today, had he not blown his brains out one cold winter’s day in 2005. Thompson was a brilliant and exuberant writer, who may have been the last great journalist to inspire generations of wannabes to follow in his footsteps - perhaps more for the drink, drugs and counter-culture life-style, than a dedication to the solitary toil.
Thompson’s best writing came between 1965 and 1980, with Hell’s Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail and The Great Shark Hunt. These books contain the essays, articles and tales that revolutionized the contents of every editors in-tray, and spawned a flood of Gonzo-lite writers.
Sadly, the life of excess took its toll, and by 2005, Thompson’s writing was read with the affection one has for an old and trusty dog, now too gone to run and hunt through the woods, but one is warmed by a sense of longing for those past adventures shared. The problem for Thompson was he became, or was perceived to be his alter ego Raoul Duke, and a point he raised during a BBC documentary in 1978:
“I’m never sure which one people want me to be [Thompson or Duke], and sometimes they conflict… I am living a normal life, but beside me is this myth, growing larger and getting more and more warped. When I get invited to Universities to speak, I’m not sure who they’re inviting, Duke or Thompson… I suppose that my plans are to figure out some new identity, kill off one life and start another.”
It left Thompson the writer little scope to progress with his literary ambitions. He became cuffed to the drug-addled doctor, firing handguns into the reddening twilight.
Yet, for all that, Thompson has been and still is a major influence on journalism and blogging and literature. How long for, is up to those who can come fresh to his work and see the brilliance of the man and his talents. But today, let’s celebrate the great Gonzo’s 75th anniversary.
Happy Birthday Hunter S Thompson!
Below is Buy the Ticket. Take the Ride a profile of HST, with some fine moments, with rare archive, a selection of interviews (including John Cusack, Johnny Depp, Ed Bradley) and a bizarre opening sequence with the inimitable Gary Busey.
The Thrill Murray Colouring-in Book has a delightful selection of 23 illustrations, by artists including James Burgess, Alice Devine, Logan Fitzpatrick, Hattie Stewart, Brooke Olsen and Bridget Meyne, to paint, crayon, or pencil over. The images are taken from some of Murray’s finest films including, Groundhog Day, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Lost in Translation. What a beautiful way to celebrate the lovely Bill Murray, and I certainly want one.
To ensure he made a return on his investment, Alfred Hitchcock created a set of rules for watching his 1960 classic horror film Psycho.
We won’t allow you to cheat yourself. You must see PSYCHO from the very beginning. Therefore, do not expect to be admitted into the theatre after the start of each performance of the picture. We say no one — and we mean no one — not even the manager’s brother, the President of the United States, or the Queen of England (God bless her)!
In foyer’s across the States, a Pinkerton guard was hired to bar any late comers.
Hitchcock had invested $806,947.55 of his own money, via his company Shamley Productions, into Psycho, after the Hollywood studios denounced it a sick film which would most likely destroy the great director’‘s reputation. It didn’t. Instead it made Hitchcock a lot of money, a generation of younger fans, and inspired a whole range of psychotic slasher movies.
I’m gonna look for a pair of Trim-Jeans, the “amazing space age slenderizer,” on eBay. Man, could I use a pair. Losing nine inches on my waist in three days? I could start wearing skinny black jeans again.