“Even without being sure of ‘history’, it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened…”
This line, Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, sums up why the legendary ‘gonzo journalist’ is regarded as one of art’s great mavericks – part social commentator, part uncompromising yarn-spinner.
And has history has taught us, always print the legend.
Thompson took his own life on this day 15 years ago (20th February 2005), at the age of 67, at his home in Woody Creek, Colorado – leaving a legacy of work that deserves pride of place in the glorious pantheon of degenerate literature.
Even his suicide note, subtitled Football Season Is Over, is a work of art.
“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 age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”
Last February, NTS Radio compiled six hours of Thompson’s favourite tracks – from Jefferson Airplane To Cream, and from The Rolling Stones to Captain Beefheart – interspersed with commentary, movie snippets and news reports about the great man himself.
As a musical tribute to mark the 15th anniversary of his passing, we can think of nothing better.
Or… if you’re looking for a more direct form of stimulation, the good doctor suggests “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…” 🙂
RIP Hunter Stockton Thompson, July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005.
[Main photo by Lynn Goldsmith, from Morrison Hotel Gallery]