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Home > Media

Hunter S. Thompson: the weird gets going

Just over a month ago, The Friday Thing's Associate Editor penned a review of Hunter S. Thompson's autobiography, 'Kingdom of Fear'. He didn't like it. In fact he hated it so much that he said it was 'a shame [Thompson] didn't die before he got round to it.'

Following today's news of Dr. Thompson's death, Graham Pond thinks long and hard about what he's done.

21 February 2005

Well, as I rather feared-cum-hoped he might, Hunter S Thompson finally came across my review (below) and decided to act upon it.

There are suspicions floating around that he may have shot himself in the head because he had been diagnosed with cancer. No. It wasnít cancer. It was me.

It wouldnít be fair to reveal my sources, as Hunterís family need their privacy at this terrifically (kind of) sad time, but I have it on good authority that shortly before they left him alone to do the deed, Hunter spoke to his wife, Anita Thompson, and his son, Juan, and he explained: ĎItís time. I always said that the moment I started producing toothless horseshit would be barrel-time. This otherwise meaningless blog has Ė thankfully Ė shown me what I was in danger of becoming: a freakshow of fallen grandeur, forever harking back to the past and trading on forgotten glories. I have a myth to preserve. I must go out as I came in: in a blaze of twisted glory. I must do the indecent thing.í

And so he did. Sad in a way. But in a way not. I'm sure he knew exactly what he was doing.

So long, Hunter. And thanks for all the myths.


Hunter S. Thompson has jumped the shark

13 January 2005

Graham Pond

Iím very sorry to say it but Iíve just finished reading Kingdom of Fear Ė his canít-be-bothered-to-try-particularly-hard autobiography Ė and Iím afraid itís true. And it's a terrible thing to say, but I can't be the only one to think that really, it's a bit of a shame he didn't die before he got round to it.

I used to idolize him too. Somewhere between 10 and 15 years ago, I reread Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and was blown away by it, much more so than the first time. From there, I read most of everything else heíd written, as well as the rash of biographies, or hagiographies, as most of them were. I also upped my drug intake in that period in a rather pathetic act of adolescent emulation, despite the fact that my adolescence was long-gone, at least in physical terms. One long weekend I learned how quickly you become immune to acid. I was saddened by it at the time, but it was probably an important lesson. And I thanked Hunter, and revered him as one might a dangerous but highly articulate and intelligent absentee uncle.

Anyway, the reason Iíve turned against him at this late hour is quite simply that he has disappeared up his own arse. This from Kingdom of Fear:

'Öa stunning happy ending to what began as just another tragic rock and roll story, as if Bob Dylan had been arrested in Miami for jacking off in a seedy little XXX theatre while stroking the spine of a fat young boy.

Jesus! That is so horrible that I hate to see myself actually writing it. What is wrong with me? Why would I even think of a scene like that?Ö Well, shucks, folks. I guess Iím just lucky. Itís just amazing, isnít it?

Right. And Ted Williams was lucky, too.

Whoops. So much for hubris, eh? I was never able to swing a baseball bat like Ted Williams, and I will never be able to write a song like ďMr. Tambourine ManĒ. But what the hell? Neither one of those Yo-yos could write Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas eitherÖ. At the top of the mountain, we are all Snow Leopards.í

And so on. Iíve always been a fan of arrogance, donít get me wrong. But there has to be an overriding sense of... whatever it is - some self-awareness that pulls you back from the lips of your own rectum. And it seems to me that in the above quote and frequently throughout the entire book, Hunter has lost it. Look:

'I am the one who speaks for the spirit of freedom and decency in you. Shit. Somebody has to do it.'

Yeah yeah. So long, Hunter.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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