Gonzo: Hunter S. Thompson
no one wrote about speed like the godfather of Gonzo
Ten years ago last Friday Hunter S. Thompson went over the edge.
The man who attempted to drag the sceptic pseudo trade of journalism back to radical subjectivity – its age-old defining quality – blew his brains out at his compound in Colorado at the age of 67.
Call what he created ‘Gonzo’ if you like. We won’t.
Thompson was in fact, simply a consummate writer. He was tirelessly, endlessly quotable. As author of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ and ‘The Great Shark Hunt’ as well as a huge body of work shot through with a laser-sharp eye and an uncompromising wit – he was a champion of the freedom of the road and the endless abandon of the wheel.
He wrote a definitive, still controversial book on The Hells Angel and and the man never lost his love for riding motorcycles. Very few writers have, in fact, ever written as eloquently about the elusive and visceral beauty that arises when you sit astride a speeding cycle.
Here’s one of our favourite Hunter Thompson passages. Stay tuned for more vignettes over the coming weeks.
“But with the throttle screwed on there is only the barest margin, and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right and that’s when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You watch the white line and try to lean with it…howling through a turn to the right, then to the left and down the long hill to Pacifica…letting off now, watching for cops, but only until the next dark stretch and another few seconds on the edge. The Edge. There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others – the living – are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down,
or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later.”
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