Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weird to Most








"The word Hunter sounded strange in mothers ears, it sounded like some ferocious beast" Leo Tolstoy
Hunter was born on July 13, 1937, that made him a cancer on the cusp of leo, his father Jack was a insurance engineer, his comely mother Virginia Ray was a housewife.
The Thompson family camped in a brick house in a middle class neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the block bully and bad-boy, 6ft by the age of 15. Everything about him was big. his hands, his head, feet and torso. But his unearthly, otherworldly, totally unconventional nature is what got under peoples skin.
Thompson was ungovernable as long as his friends and family can remember as a teen and into his adult life. He was always in control of the play, the props and the players. He invented the games, and once in gear he would never cool his jets.
HST was a good-looking kid. His looks hardly fit his manner or his unstoppable rebelliousness His mind never stopped to rest. It cranked at high speed even in his dreams.
When he walked into a room as a kid and adult whatever feel there was at the moment was jived up 200 miles. He took great pleasure in blowing convention to bits.
As a kid, the other parents felt sorry for Virginia Ray who had given up early on trying to control the 2888 lb. untamable enigma.
Hunter never put on faces for people, he never tried to hide his thoughts or fit in. His goal from the start was to throw a spanner in and topple the regime.
The Thompson family wasn't affluent. They lived in a white neighborhood in a small stucco house. there was plenty of money in Louisville from, tabacco and thoroughbred horse shireing. Many of the preppies from the moneyed, lived not far fomr Hunters' neighbor-hood. Many of them lived in mansions up the road from the Thompson's modest brick-house.
At 17 Hunter had a BSA. He taped a Swastikas. He had nothing against Jews, the bent cross was shock value, made with orange fluorescent Tuck-Tape on each side of the gas tank. Hunter had a old Nazi helmet that his dad had brought back from the war. He spray painted his blue jeans and t-shirt green. He did wheelies in the preppie neighborhood and revved the engine. When the cops showed, stupefied and muddled as to what to charge Hunter with, other than weirdness in public, it wasn't a hate crime. It was more a statement agaisnt the right wing values of the tright, jejune upper class values of the 50s.
Nonetheless, Hunter as wild animals go, the exotic cougar ready to pounce , with good looks and bad boy image to boot, was like a Wanted Poster for Louisville girls. It's a old standard, good girls are attracted to bad boys, maybe their biology screams to them HE'S A HUNTER. Hell, Hunter was more interested in sowing the seeds of a anti right metamorphosis, than women, but all that would change with time. The boyish hell raiser hadn't discovered his machine gun, his cock or his touchstone, WRITING, BUT WRITING THAT WOULD IMPLODE THE WORLD OF JOURNALISM !
TEARFUL YOUTH IS JAILED AMID BARRAGE OF PLEAS
"The judge asked Hunter's mother, should I give him a medal?" "Even if the victims of the park theft interceded ?"
" Hunter and two other youths were charged by police of robbing Joseph E. Monnin of 175 E. Bonnyside." Rolling him in a park.
Hunter was a junior in High school when his father died. His relationship with his father, a alcoholic was hardly copious. His father never beat him or yelled at him. Hunter the cougar was never home. And when he was, dad was passed out in the den recliner, smashed on Shlitz Beer. All this made Hunter very angry inside witch would latter channel Gonzo. He didn't respect his mother at all either. He would talk shit behind her back.
Aside: Louisville as a big alcoholic place, the two biggest industries are liquor and tobacco". The two industries that have supported redneck Southern Republicanism and the ghost of Jefferson Davis racism for years. This frame of mind, the right wing schmuckta dullards of Louisville were the antithesis that morphed the liberal Frankenstein Hunter S. Thompson.
HST could feel this hypocrisy as a teen and 'it', as the birthplace of the morp of Gonzo. He gave his life fighting 'it' with words and counter behavior, until 'it' bent, squeezed, pleated every drop of juice out of him. He was a warrior for natural law and truth-seeking, fairness of liberal realism, built stone by stone on what is evenhanded and free for all humans, all races, the weird and truth sayers. The Beats, Rappers, Hells Angels, the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Lenny Bruce the SDS, the Black Panthers, the Hippies, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Witches, Stripers and Bums, Just visualize the cover of " Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band" all those folks too. And realize "it" the right wing forces, neutralized, assassinated, brainwashed, intimidated, neutered using networks, threw money to plump up, muted. HUNTERS PEOPLE, THESE WERE THE DOCTORS FOLKS. The folks enemies of Jefferson Davis done proud and fat on KFC, BOOZE AND TOBACCO. The world crusade of Southern Republican Evangelism and Right Wing Conservatism, Bush family doctors all. They did em all in, and will do you in too, if you don't fuck them first, Hunter killed himself HARI KARI, He fought a mighty battle against the hypocrisy and lies of UNITED STATE OF AMERICA, a WHOPPING, GINORMOUS YAKUSA KNIGHT FROM THE SUN, BONZAI GONZO, BONZAI GONZO, BONZAI………………………………………. GONZO!!!!!!!
Hunter was given a ultimatum of going to reform school, (he was 17 but would be 18 in a few months), he only had a few months left in High school. His lawyer plea-bargained with the judge to let him finish High school, and he would have to join the Armed Services upon graduation. Thus redding Louisville of HST, a disruptive affront to the tradition of fatness, exiting the Kentucky Derby as a misapprehended rat.
HEADQUARTERS, ELGIN AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA
23 AUG 57
ATTN: BASE STAFF PERSONNEL OFFICER
PERSONEL REPORT: A/2C HUNTER S. THOMPSON
A/2C Hunter S. Thompson has don so outstanding sports writing, but his Airman, although talented will not be guided by policy. He has little consideration for military bearing or dress and seems to dislike the service and want out as soon as possible. W. S. Evans, Colonel USA
(Printed as a forward to The Great Shark Hunt)
Elgin Air force pass was isolated, 50 miles from Pensacola.
"I played basketball at Elgin when Hunter was the sportswriter for the base paper and he wrote the craziest stories, a little something would happened in the gym and he would make great big story." a Air Force buddy of HST said.
"At one point I was writing variations on the same themes for three competing papers at the same time. Sports columnist for one in the morning for one baby, editor for another in the afternoon. In the evening I worked for a wrestling promoter, writing incredible twisted 'press releases' which I would re- release in the other rags in the morning" HST from Fear and Loathing.
NEWS RELEASE
Elgin, AFB, Florida (Nov 8) 59… A reportedly 'fanatical airman' has received his separation papers and was rumored to set out in the direction of the gate house at high speed in a muffler-less and break-less car. A immediate search was done for Hunter S. Thompson… ( Forward from the Great Shark Hunt)
The kid from Louisville was now ready to take on the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. He had plenty of bullets provided him by the USAF. Not real bullets, but journalistic bullets mixed with booze and ganja at first.
Hunter moved to NYC by the mid to late 50s and got a job as a copy boy at TIME magazine as a result of his USAF stint as a journalist and the recognizable (though twisted) talent of his portfolio.
A fellow copy boy and close friend, George Mc Garr tells a story of a poetry reading in the village by Frank O' Hara and Gregory Gorso. HST says to Mc Garr " You remember Gregory Corso the fucking guy who wrote Boom?" "I (Mc Garr) said " Well said HST he is reading tonight at the Living Theatre let's go?" " I said fucking A let's go!". So the two brought two shopping bags of beer to get in the right pyshcogenic and cognitive space for the reading and headed to 14th Street.
The two eager upstart writers sat like Indians, cross leaked in a Teepee in the middle of floor, popped a couple of bennies, ready for blast off. The reading would start with Frank O'Hara followed by Corso.
Jack Kerouac was setting in the front row. HST and Mc Garr waiting for Corso with great exceptions expecting a guy like "Terry the Tramp" to get up on stage and high rev his chopper, extrapolating his screed.
When Corso got up on stage in the words of Mc Garr, "So up comes the miserable mincing little fag" HST and Mc Gar were wasted by this time and once Corso started reading they began kicking the beer cans they had set in orderly rolls across the wooden floor. The ringing tinny sound of course was very disruptive to Corso. But the two well-oiled lumberjacks were indiferent to Corso and were despondent… crest-fallen. To add insult to the sound of beer cans rolling on the floor, they were shouting one-sided dialogue at Corso. The Beats weren't used to this kind of ill reverence, usually laid before their audiences as deities and worshiped. Corso left the stage. A drunk Kerouac got up on stage, saving the day and began resighting "Dr Sax", unintelligible. This saved the show for the gentle green moss beatniks and the two misfits sitting in the middle of the crowd.
Hunter was living in a basement apartment in the Village. It furnishings were from Goodwill, which HST spray painted black to match the painted black ceiling and walls. Hunter was already scoring coca in the Puerto Rican hood by 58. He was a stranger in a strange land, a alien on a mission from Mars. He would invite people to his pad, bring out the evenings hors d'oeuvres, a huge mountain of coca on a tray. Most people never heard of coca in the late 50s. Too be frank HST scared the living shit out of most everyone, except for his friend Mc Garr was the only one who would set foot in his black coca cave. This was a pattern he would continue through his life, his writing space was always bizarre, latter in Aspen he lined his writing pad in the basement with pink polyester mohair and covered the floor with fluorescent green shag carpet.
By the 60s Hunter left NYC for the West, GO WEST YOUNG MAN, GO WEST. With the coming of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones the times were catching up with HST. His star was beginning to shine as a syndicated columnist, submitting articles to Popular Mechanics, Esquire, Agrosy and the Observer. He wrote straight enough to get published, but always, as was his way, with subtle and subliminal twisted weirdness between the lines. About 15% of his work found publication at this time, not enough to support himself as a writer.
Hunter headed to Big Sur, he had read about in a Henry Miller novel. Hunter was writing like crazy. Like a great writer does he was working everyday, very disciplined. It was at Big Sur he meant Sandra Dawn Thompson Tarlo, she was from a wealthy family that disinherited her for her liberal values. Sandra looked like Edie Sedgwick, with long legs that wouldn't quit, perky pair shaped tits, looked great in a bikini, always tanned with brown and blond streaked hair. She had studied English Literature at Stephens College, and could see that Hunter was bound for glory as a writer early on. She was a sucker for bad boys as well, and loved the most downright and thorough bad boy of the 20th Century. She was the only women in the world that could stick it out with HST through all the acid, booze, madness, uproar, turmoil, fucking around, driving at 200 miles a hour 24/7.
They stayed on the collective that would become Esalen eventually, but during Hunter's and Sandra's stay it was more of a artist community, started by the sculptress Jo Hudson. Joan Baez was there, Dennis Murphy, the writer of " The Sergeant" and other early Aguarians. Sandra worked as a maid in San Francisco to bring in money so Hunter could write. Joan Baez loathed Hunter, he would hunt at night for small pray with lights to put meat on the table, he was always hungry. Baez found this to be barbaric and not in line with hippie values. Baez was into peaceful sort of things and that wasn't what Hunter was about, he always carried a gun and hunted. Like Bukowski he was no hippy. The two stayed in the servants quarters and the Murphy's tolerated Hunter because they could see he had talent as a writer. Hunter didn't like gay people much and he would sit in caretakers shack and fire guns at gays who would climb the fence to get into the springs and fuck. Sandra and Hunter were asked to leave what would become Esalen.
" Writers of the greatest influence, Conrad, Hemingway, Twain, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Mailer, Kerouac in a political sense, they were allies. Dos Passos , Henry Miller, Edmund Wilson and Thomas Jefferson." --- "Hunter S. Thompson" as quoted from the book of the same name by William McKeen.
Hunter had by the mid to late 60s was a full time writer for the Observer, sent out on assignments to South America to write articles. It was during these times that what is known as Gonzo Journalism was born.
During this time Hunter eloped to Indiana of all places, with Sandra and got married. Driving day and night in a 58 white buffalo Cadillac convertible V8. The marriage was consummated in the back seat of the Cadillac between Texas and Arkansas in a State Park.
HST began his famous his chemical regimen about this time in earnest and created the Gonzo look. Acid, coca, Kentucky Club, Bloody Mary's, ganja, and Dun-hills always smoked in cigarette holder. He was wearing aviator glasses, baseball caps or hunter caps. Looking like Douglas Macarther or FDR, but the look was distinctly Gonzo. He had a obsession with low top Converse All-Stars as well, natural color and would buy them by the gross.
Hunter and Sandra moved to Haight Asbury at the apogee of the golden age of Aguarious and was drinking and doing acid, constantly.
He began work on his first novel, "The Hells Angels". As usual the novel was researched on the scene, so this met riding with the Angels on his fucking BSA of all things, a odious portent of what was to come. No Hells Angel would get on a British bike for nothin.
"At any rate he (Hunter) wanted to write a book and I thought I could put up with it.
"I didn't think he was no more odd than any of us. He rode with us for a year. He wore a plaid type shirt and a pair of genes, and a knitted cap at times. And those brown lace up boots that you might wear as a hunter. He dressed like a hunter. He didn't ride and live like a Hells Angel. He would show up on weekends in his Nash and take a few notes."
He always like to pack a big Magnum gun and he like to shoot it off. One time we went to Bass Lake there was some kind of big scene that they didn't want us at the lake. The police showed up and formed a line to stop us from moving foreword. We began to move on the Police, and Hunter went and hid in the trunk of his car" Ralph " Sonny" Barger.
Back in San Francisco things were weird. Sandra had a new baby, Juan, and Hunter couldn't get a advance for his book so they were broke most the time. Then Hunter got a letter from the Nation offering $100 for a article for the Nation. The editor of the Nation read Hunter's book in progress and thought it was great stuff.
" Hunter wrote a article about us (Hells Angels) in the Nation. It wasn't a bad article the guy is a hell of a writer. He is one of the greatest writers I have ever read, that doesn't mean I like the guy. He asked us if he could write a book about us and I said yes. The cost would be a keg of beer at the end of the book. We never got our keg." Ralph "Sonny" Barger, interviewed in Federal Prison.
The Angels beat Hunter up because they thought he was a mouthy . It doesn't take much to dis them. But HST did put up a good fight and held his own, he was a good fighter. So that garnered some respect for him with the Angels, at least enough to finish his book, and hang with them longer.
" I don't think we affected Hunter's philosophy at all. I saw him shoot his guns out the window of his house in San Francisco. He had his whiskey and his speed, he had his bike before he met us. He was a wide open rider, that means he got on turned it open, would go till it stopped and got off. He didn't have any control, he was sitting way up in the air to begin with. A BSA doesn't sit like a Harley. The bottom line is I bought my wife a BSA for her first bike. After a month she traded it for a Harley. She sold the BSA to a attorney (Attorneys are big pussys in the Hells Angels)" Ralph "Sonny" Barger.
Hunters book "The Hells Angels" was finally printed. It looked like a pulp fiction novel and cost $4.95. He showed it to the Angels and Terry the Tramp said, " $4.95, where's our share?" Hunter said some bullshit like "it takes a long time to write a book" and "you don't get no share" WRONG ANSWER! Terry the Tramp punched him in the face with a right hand as big as a basketball, full of skull rings. As Hunter ran back to his car, Terry the Tramp even cracked HST a few times with his bullwhip. Hunter had balls though, he never paid the Hell's Angels penny and didn't even give them the promised keg.
"Hunter is still making money off that book about us, it is required reading in English 101 in California" Ralph "Sonny" Barger
No one will ever know why they didn't put a contract out to kill Hunter. The Book was printed on Viking Press and sold well. The royalties allowed Sandra, Juan and Hunter enough space to live life without worrying about money all the time.
By 68 HST was high and mad literati contributor to Rolling Stone Magazine full blown Gonzo. It is known that he was a constant pain in the ass and prima dona for Jan Werner the publisher and editor. Hunter knew he was at the top of his game and made the most outrages demands on Werner ( who turned out to be gay). The Rolling Stone spent allot of time trying to fool Hunter and massage him. They knew his articles meant big circulation. But he was a pain in the ass for them to deal with, and they found other burnt out, fringe writers to fill his place.
The money he made from the Rolling Stone allowed Hunter, Juan and Sandra to buy HSTs famous house in Aspen. The house were he would write his major titles such as, "The Great Shark Hunt" ,"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"
"Generation of Swine" and comite suicide.
Aside uno: It is my belief that HST was truly a great patriot, he loved the UNITED STATES, he read Thomas Jefferson profusely. I think to look upon Hunter as merely a weird and angry young man turned into a weird and angry man puking out words like Jackson Pollack puked paint on canvass is a big mistake.. I think everything he did was a attempt to topple the hypocrisy of the Louisville Southern Republican and Southern Democrat tabacco and booze mafia. I don't think Hunter had deep feelings for black people and their plight, but he never really could be identified as being racist in any of of books or articles. He just wasn't interested much in the Black collective politica (except as a left wing political voice). But he liked meeting famous Black people like Jimi Hendrix or something.
Aside deuce: I myself have such deep feelings and love for Black America, that go way back to my childhood. I was married twice to sisters. I am in no way trying to say that my deep love of Black America makes me anything in comparison to the Hunter, who is my big league hero. But he is dead now, if I could pick off were he left off, in my small way I would love to do it. He wrote all his life and I have been writing 5 months, and have no were near the freedom of "on sight" research that he had. I also don't drink, am a vegan, but do smoke some pot every 2 months like a Indian would smoke Kinickinic for spiritual connection. I don't ever expect to fill his size 13 Converse All-Stars natural low cuts, although I wear them all the time.
Hunters house in Aspen was the source of so many sterling and off the wall stories about the "scandalous"eccentricity of his daily life. Truly, someone, somewhere has coupled Hunter with strangeness, freakiness or pecurularity. Well HST was kooky in SPADES.
SHERIFF CANDIDATE
HUNTER THOMPSON
DISCUSSES LAW
AND ORDER (in Aspen)
_______________________________
1. Sod the streets at once.
2. Change the name of Aspen by public referendum to "Fat City"
3. … Install, on the courthouse lawn, a bastinado
platform to punish dishonest dope dealers in public.
The Aspen Times Political Ad 1970
The platform may seem like a joke to some but is exemplar of the Jeffersonian influence on Hunter. What might seem as absurdum at first bite, really reflects the possibility of taking a big bite out of the apple, which with the perils we face at present with carbon greed network destroying our environment, perhaps, maybe, Hunter should have been running for President, not merely Sherif of Pitkin County. Of course the United States of America governed of and by Clowns is losing it's hutzpah real fast, Chavez, Putin and China will it it alive this century, particularly if the Right wing Nazis are elected in in 2012, Obama and Clinton are dumb enough.
The following is a perfect example that makes my point on the right wing or "it". It is really everything that I write about, it is all my stories collaring and standing up to "it' rolled up into one as a single press release.
NATIONAL PRESS
GAWKS AT LOCAL RACE
_____________________________
National newsmen, like the craven crowd around
a geek at a circus side-show are gawking at the
independent candidacy of writer Hunter S. Thompson
for Pitkin County Sherif. And amongst law abiding local citizens there are those
who, silent majority mouths agape, fear that Thompson
is a half-mad a cross between a hermit and a wolverine.
The Aspen Times, 70
"Well right from the start we had our troubles. First of all, those aresol cans full of these ball bearing in there stir up the a paint and they clatter when you shake the can up to get it operative…Well, as Ralph (Steadman Hunters wacky brit illustrated for most his books) shook the can, things began to happen. All the lights went on….time for a diversion. I sit of a parachute flare….whoosh….[it] it {the can of spray} popped open aboard the Gretal [the Australian Boat]. The flare and the spray paint let up the whole scene."
Hunter Thompson talking to George Plimpton
"Cause we really went write at the establishment! Right at their teeth! We weren't thinking of our effect nationally. Our reasons were selfish because we wanted to keep our town the way it was. We didn't see it as a national thing, but when you look back on it, enthusiasm for freak power was coming from all over the country"
Michael Solhiem
In the end the results were as follows Carol Wilmer 1533 votes, Hunter 1065. That is how close HST came to being elected Sherif of Pitkin County….WHAT A TOWN FAT CITY WOULD HAVE BEEN IF HUNTER HAD WON, EVERY HIPPY IN THE US WOULD HAVE BEEN CAMPING OUT IN A TEEPEE IN FAT CITY.
As far as those who were thought would die any minute Hunter was listed with Keith Richards, Truman Capote, Burroughs, and Tennessee Williams. Williams was first to pop off, then Capote, then Hunter and finally Burroughs, Richards the resilient sod is still with us THANK THE SUN, still making great Music.
Hunter wasted one night was setting off J 26 explosive putty in his yard, a sound his neighbors never got used to, but Sherif Wilmer, a cowboy would just come over to the house and have a few shots with him. Well this night he set the charge backwards throwing him backwards and breaking booth his legs. From then on HST had to get around in his Aspen home in a wheelchair or on crutches. For a mans man this was too much and he started telling friends he was sick of writing about the Doctor and that if they heard a big explosion in the yard again it was going to be him imploding. The chemical bag of tricks seemed to be depressing him and not working anymore. No body ever knew what to believe when Hunter was talking so no one took him seriously. One night that charge went off and Hunter blew himself into peices, going out like a real man would I guess. Even rigging a Chinesse star cluster of fireworks, to the J26, a dragon tail to man handle angels with in the heavans.
Of course the ending of this story could be a multiplicity of ace preeminent about the man, but I will end with one single sentence, a quote from the good Doctor that makes perfect sense too me.
" I haven't found a drug yet that can get you near as high as sitting at a desk and writing"
~FL~ 2010
The source of my quotes was "The Strange Life of Hunter S Thompson" by E. Jean Carroll

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