The Joke’s Over by Ralph Steadman

November 29th, 2007 at 3:59 pm

I’m pretty obsessed with the life and work of Hunter S. Thompson. The most recent stop on my fascination train was Ralph Steadman’s memoir.

It’s subtitled “Bruised Memories: Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson, and Me” so I was expecting the revelations of some puffy, purple contusion-memories. I wasn’t entirely disappointed. Steadman shares an interesting story with biting, unforgiving opinions to match. Five highlights:

1. “…and then there was Hunter, this magnificent outlaw, with jangling silver spurs on a pair of Converse Low basketball sneakers, whose prose style was peerless, but whose ability to write a novel eluded him to the end. He was his own best story.”

2. One of the many, many abrasive and unpleasant qualities that Hunter S. Thompson harbored was that he never wore socks, so his feet always smelled really, really bad.

3. WHERE AND HOW DID HE GET ALL THOSE DRUGS?!?!?!?!?!!??? Am I the only one who wants Hunter S. Thompson’s drug dealer to write a memoir????? Though Hunter himself became a dealer in Africa, supplying all the other journalists with “medicine” during the drawn out debacle of the Ali v. Foreman bout.

4. And evidently his son, Juan, becomes a Buddhist. Of course! It makes perfect sense!

5. “Gonzo is a strange kind of magic that appeals to the beast that lurks in the dark heart of most of us.”


And if your appetite for Hunter, like mine, is still not sated there is his wife’s The Gonzo Way: A Celebration of Hunter S. Thompson and the recently published Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson.

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