It is no secret that, like my Swampland brother in arms James Calemine, I am a long time reader and die hard fan of the late Hunter S. Thompson. I was first introduced to Thompson’s writings during the seventies via Rolling Stone, and after seeing the Bill Murray film Where The Buffalo Roam, my fate was sealed.
I read Hells Angels, Hunter’s account of life in and around the most famous motorcycle club of all time. I read Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and all of the other great Thompson writings. I read his sports columns and just about anything I could get my hands on.
I romanticized a life as a carefree gonzo journalist. If I could be like Hunter, I would often think, my life would be perfect. I would be a rock and roll star with a laptop computer.
As it turned out, I am not exactly the drug and booze fueled genius like Thompson was, but I do write, and I do enjoy my work. A lot.
I remain a huge fan of Hunter, and for Valentine's Day I gave myself a great gift. I got my hands on the DVD, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, which James wrote about last summer. Took me a while, but hey, I've been waist deep in Southern Rock, guys.
The film, by Alex Gibney, is just amazing. Not only is it a fitting tribute to the iconic writer, it is also a fantastic reliving of the war torn sixties, full of film footage from the Vietnam war era, the political state of America, McGovern, Nixon, Humphrey, Wallace. It's Tim Leary, the hippies, the acid tests, and the music. Oh yes, the movie soundtrack is in and of itself a much appreciated flashback, with music from Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and so many others.
There are clips from Hunter’s many work tapes (which is another collection on my wish list, the matching Gonzo audio collection), and great narration by friend Johnny Depp. Lots of commentary from Hunter’s old boss, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner. Many interview clips with Hunter’s first and second wives, his son and friends like George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Jimmy Buffett and many others, help to paint a clear picture of this complicated, entertaining, Southern born writer.
Also included on the DVD are extended interviews, deleted scenes, drawings by Ralph Steadman, photo galleries and much more.
These were two of the best hours I have spent in front of the boob tube in quite a while. Just a fine tribute to one of my all time heroes.
Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.