Celebrating the Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

This year on July 18th would have been one of the most infamous writers of the 20th century’s 78th birthday. The man and legend that is Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. That’s right, Dr. Gonzo himself would have turned the clock to 78 (28 years more than he originally wanted, too). This comes only a few months away from the 10 year anniversary of Hunter’s death. So for this momentous occasion, Rainbow Bazooka and I thought we’d share thoughts on some of the Dr’s work. Here’s 5 of the most interesting pieces:

5. First up we’re going back to the very beginning: Hell’s Angels. This book brought to the public’s attention a writer who they did not quite understand. But they sure as hell did afterwards. This ‘no truth withheld’ account of an experience with the most notorious biker gang in the world, reset the bar of writing. For everyone from Tom Wolfe too the wit and whimsy of the chief of the Angels at the time, Ralph “Sonny” Barger. It is said that ‘Sonny’ only was able to write his recollections of the events of this time, because of Hunter’s “Brilliant writing” There is no doubt that this book deserves a spot in the top 5.

4. It’s very hard to place Hunter’s work in any specific order so this order (in my mind) may change from day to day. So up in 4th place we’ve got The Rum Diary. This was Hunter’s first attempt at writing fiction, which only got published many years after he originally wrote it. What many people don’t see is, while this story is largely fictional, that the main character is based on himself from his time at the very same San Juan newspaper.

3. Now we come to what is probably most people’s list topper, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Now I’d love to sit and talk for hours about the importance of this book. But life is too short and Hunter himself wouldn’t even put this at the forefront. This book is indeed an industry changer but because something is brilliant does that mean that this is all the writer has to give? Absolutely not!

2. Because it’s almost impossible to choose just one part of Hunter’s ‘Gonzo Papers’ essays and letters. I decided the number 2 spot should be the entire Gonzo Papers Anthology. Hunter cannot be set down in a list, so here at the penultimate spot is the entire Gonzo papers. This is probably the best insight in to this man’s brilliant mind. Make no doubt about it, this mammoth book contains a gigantic wormhole into the Dr’s soul.

1. We’re here at the helm folks. And there are very few exceptions to Hunter at his most brilliant, than in his own personal memoirs. That’s right, Kingdom of Fear is leading this race. This is Hunter’s own personal autobiography, and who better to teach the legacy of a genius than the man himself. This book offers many twists and turns and keeps you captivated from bow to stern. This is one of the greatest pieces of published works since Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby in 1925.

So here it is. Some of the most interesting pieces of the father of Gonzo Journalism. To really understand this man, you should read and watch almost everything that even remotely has some connection with him. He was the most imaginative and yet truthful artist. Yes I’m saying artist. Because in writing if you can compose words like Hunter did, you are indeed a creator of art.

So rest in piece, Dr. Thompson. You will never be forgotten. I’m handing this article in too late to be released on your birthday, with a glass of whiskey on the side of the keyboard and Jefferson Airplane blasting out of my speakers. All in homage to you. I hope you’re proud of one of your literary son’s. Here’s to you, Hunter Stockton Thompson, you beautiful bastard!

Image © Rolling Stone

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World Peace is None of Your Business

Morrissey is renowned for creating bucket loads of controversy through out his whole career and since this albums release on July 15th there has been no change. Perhaps this is because Morrissey’s fans and lots of critics are saying this is his best album since his 1988 solo debut “Viva Hate”. This always seems to be the case with his more successful works. Morrissey’s anti-fans (of which their seems to be many) have never been as vocal on the lesser successful albums. So maybe this album will bring Morrissey back to the forefront of the music scene once again for a while. So here is our insight into the album.

Instead of a typical top five (from best to worst) this will be a little different. More like a ‘five things you need to know about’ article. So here it is, 5 songs off of the new 18 song deluxe album:

  1. World Peace Is None Of Your Business: This is the title track of the album. Now by personal opinion it isn’t the best but it is probably the most relevant of our times. This track addresses the troubles between the public and government/parliament and tells us that voting is a ‘support [of the] process’. He goes on to mention a few countries that we have been shown almost everyday for the past few months on the news and the internet, two mainly being Ukraine and Brazil.

  2. The Bullfighter Dies: This song is somewhat hard-hitting to most first listeners but on further absorption this song makes perfect sense. Morrissey is basically fighting for animal rights in the name of the defenceless bull against the vicious bullfighter. This is a pretty simple concept to grasp and that is the sole basis of the song. Because in our modern world should these acts of vicious and cruel animal based “sports” exist?

  3. I’m Not A Man: This song holds person relevance for me as a Vegan, but that shouldn’t deter you from ever listening to this lyrics of this beautifully composed piece of musical poetry. From start to finish, Morrissey delivers hit after hit at anyone around the world that either eats the deceased or kills them themselves. He his though, predominantly talking about the male/masculine need to kill or destroy and ruin things E.g. killing/hunting and motor sport/crash derby’s for instance ruining the planet. And how these types of things are seen as a sign of power in a mans eye’s. And this prompts him to say “[he’s] not a man, I’m something much bigger and better than…!”

  4. Neal Cassady Drops Dead: This song deserves to be in the rock 100 charts. It’s very hard hitting and in your face from both a lyrical and musical standpoint. Rocking from start to finish with some excellent guitar work. And this is most definitely a track for all you ‘Beat Generation’ literature fans without a doubt. This draws to works from Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Whom are the masters of the ‘Beat Generation’ many (and I) say.

  5. Earth Is The Loneliest Planet: This song seems to bring to mind the general loneliness of the single human on a planet of nothing but dispair and turmoil, with only a faint hope and implication of a better world, somewhere.

There it is then. Morrissey’s new album. No matter your love or hatred of this man (however strong either way), there will definitely be at least one song out of the 18 that you will relate to on a personal level. Lyrically Morrissey is at the forefront of his generation (regardless of what the NME says). And if the 18 track album wasn’t enough he has released a spoken word renditions of the first singles off the album with accompanying videos.

As the famous Noel Gallagher once said about the Mozz:
“No matter what you do. He’ll do one better.”

Though the brilliance of this album is visible from the fans responses, the record label didn’t seem to think so. As only a few weeks after it’s release, the record label Capitol dropped Morrissey’s contract. It’s speculated that his happened after a small spat between label and artist about the lack of promotion on the labels part of the album.

This article was originally going to be an article praising the brilliance of Morrissey’s lyrics and it ended up being an attack on the cowardliness nature of the music industry. And this is justified because it really feels that if a singer or a band flexes a muscle in the music business; a muscle that needed to be flexed too, but doesn’t make the billions like the puppets from MR COWELL and the boss’ at the terrible excuses of record companies like Virgin or Warner makes then you’re destined for failure regardless of your talent.

If you really think about it you can see it in the charts, daily.
Morrissey’s track record with record labels is terrible from a business standpoint but, how popular is he? Very! In hip hop, A$AP ROCKY did it himself in POP, Katy Perry did it her self at first and in Indie music/rock and perhaps more popular; one of the most popular bands of all times, OASIS did it themselves! And now recently there has been an influx of bands and artists creating their own labels and producing their own music (Blink 182 and Motley Crue to name a couple); completely taking out the middle money man.

So maybe this is one route that Morrissey should consider.

By Liam Anthony