Thursday, December 08, 2005

Gonzo Travelogue


A drug-fuelled road trip to
America's gonzo heart
While loathing Vegas.

You did guess this haikued book, of course?! (The bad poetry's all mine this time, I'm afraid!)

I threatened to read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas a little while back when Hunter S. Thompson's remains got propelled into the upper atmosphere. I felt embarrassingly ignorant because the book had completely slipped beneath my biblioradar. (How sad that it takes a suicide and a rocket-fuelled exit to make some folks aware of your writing.)

It is a book very well worth reading, if you haven't already discovered it - I found parts laugh out loud funny (that hitchhiker! the shortcut across the airport runway!). Thompson is an engaging writer even if you are justifiably horrified at the subject matter (drugs, drugs, drugs and more drugs ... oh, and did I mention drugs?).

Never mind, it's fine to live a little vicariously, and Thompson's prose very quickly intoxicates without the need for illegal substances.

Thompson describes a journey to Las Vegas made with his attorney friend, Dr. Gonzo (pictured above in one of Ralph Steadman's terrific illustrations). In the boot of the convertible they load industrial quantities of just about every illegal substance known to man:
... 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 multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers ... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls ...
and set out to find their own version of the American dream while consuming the lot.

Thompson (travelling under the pseudonym Raoul Duke) is ostensibly on assignment to cover a biker's race in the Nevada desert, but somehow fails to get the story. His attorney then proposes that they should attend a conference for drug-enforcement officers. The irony is, of course, deeply relished.

Thompson's Las Vegas is a million miles from Narayan's Malgudi (also visited this week). How great that reading stamps your passport.

11 comments:

Sharanya said...

"How great that reading stamps your passport."

So very true! And best of all is the all-access pass one gets that allows the exploration of her own heart...

bibliobibuli said...

custom web design - would that i could fire you into the strastophere in a little rocket ... are you really so off your head that you think anyone is going to click this link???

sharanya - very very nicely said!

lil ms d said...

hahahaha

sharon - sorry about today. worked, and sick as dog. flu.

Anisah said...

Poor you Sharon, you've been blog-spammed? I'm very nasty to spammers, hehehe... when I've the free time, I spam them with huge files, really huge ones. It's rubbish to them, but better than killing myself and firing myself like Thompson. Those low-lifes, slimier than moss and having the bravery the size of sesame seeds, and having the marketing skills of sloths. Oh dear, I've insulted the moss, sesame seeds and sloths. :D

bibliobibuli said...

s'okay ms d. i enjoyed talking to ewok and the tiger guy had great stories and pictures to share of lions and other animals - quite jealous of him cuddling up to big cats (but he says cheetahs shred the furniture faster than domestic cats so perhaps i don't envy him that)

anisah - thanks for waxing p-oetic on my behalf ... i do practice "reverse spamming" in my e-mails ... anyone who spams me goes on my receive-everyone-else's-spam list ...

The Visitor said...

i love Fear and Loathing! both the book and the movie!

bibliobibuli said...

visitor - i know! it's partly becasue of your recommendation that i decided i had to read it. many thanks! now do you have the dvd???

The Visitor said...

i have the DVD! will lend it to you of course.

its directed by ex-Monty Python Terry Gilliam. thats why its brilliant.

amir said...

That crazy voice over which sounded like it came from an info-movie in the 60s is also very good.

jennifer erskine said...

Juan Thompson and the Aspen Institute hosted a symposium on July 21, 2007 on the work of the late writer Hunter S. Thompson who created his own genre of writing with Gonzo Journalism and changed American political reporting forever with his book Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.



Thirty-five years later journalists Carl Bernstein, Michael Isikoff of Newsweek, Loren Jenkins of NPR, John Nichols of The Nation and others came together in a symposium moderated by Professor Douglas Brinkley to discuss the effect of Hunter's work on political reporting and American politics.



The hour and half event is exclusively available at www.HunterThompsonFilms.com in nineteen clips of free, streaming video produced by Wayne Ewing.


Jennifer Erskine

Associate Producer

bibliobibuli said...

thanks so much for dropping by to tell me. will go and see.