It’s a full ten years since Dr Raoul Duke bade us a buckshot goodbye. Can you believe it? Ten years since the God of Gonzo checked out in the manner of his own choosing, with extreme violence and no doubt prodigious amounts of drugs, drink and artillery.
I hope he’s over there now in some giant Hunter S Thompson Hell-Heaven complex with a pint of tequila, a pint of rum and a pint of raw ether. A dozen amyls. Uppers, downers, screamers and poppers. A bag of grass. 100 pellets of mescaline and a blotter of the finest Heaven-Hell acid.
Sitting naked on the verandah with a constantly-loaded Colt .44 Magnum, shooting at passing Richard Nixons and swigging Wild Turkey.
Samoan attorneys to get him off whenever he kills a random Nixon and prim English cartoonists to record the moment in demented unchristian sketches of decadence and depravity.
Whatever I learned about writing, I learned from the likes of Thompson.
He had no respect for authority figures. He gave us permission to break the rules, to be crazy if we felt like being crazy, but always to be passionate and committed, and if possible, to be funny. From Sonny Barger’s Hell’s Angels stomping him almost dead to Nixon arguing with him about football, from mint juleps at the Kentucky Derby to cocktail-dressed lizards gnawing on the necks of their companions in a revolving sky-scraper bar, Thompson was always a trail-blazer, a man who defined the rules instead of following them.
If anyone wanted to learn how English should be written in an insane world, Hunter S Thompson was the man to show them.
Pump up those tyres to 500 psi, Dr Duke. Crack another amyl. Tear off a corner of the blotter, let loose a volley of .44 slugs, rev up that rumbling V8 and floor that pedal.
May the ride never end.