Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

by B Thornton- Harwood

Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits — a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.

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I first read Fear and Loathing when a friend in year 10 handed me a copy he’d got out of the library at school, Gaz said: “It’s like A Clockwork Orange, just with drugs instead of violence.”

He wasn’t wrong.

Nearly five years later I went on to write my dissertation on Gonzo journalism, but decided against reading or studying Fear and Loathing mainly due to the sheer amount written on the book and the amount of shit I’d have to sift through to get anything decent on it.

So I decided to tip my toe into the Gonzo water once again, free of the constraints of my Dis.

Raoul Duke is Hunter’s semi-fictitious portrayal of himself which allowed him to be as outrageous as he liked in an assignment supposed to be a few hundred words for Sports Illustrated on the Mint 400, a desert Motorbike race.

It since turned into a cult book, measuring 204 pages, spanning one end of Vegas to the other, with more drugs than you can shake a shitty stick at, two near-totaled cars, and one 300 pound Samoan attorney.

It’s still just as enjoyable as the first time I read it. Hunter’s ability to create horrendous, mesmerising dreamscapes of narcotic induced stupors is phenomenal, and something I believe completely impossible to recreate.

Two thumbs up.

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