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Hunter S Thompson: 1937-2005
It is difficult to be a writer or a journalist and not have some form of admiration for Hunter, born on 18/07/1937 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA; known for his novel, ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, later turned into a popular film starring Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke. He is also the creator of Gonzo Journalism, a style of reporting and journalism where reporters submerse themselves into the story and everything that goes with it whether it’s legal or not in a way that they almost become characters themselves and a central ingredient to the story.
Hunter achieved a lot during his time on earth from the 1972 presidential campaign, running for Sherriff of Aspen, riding with the ‘notorious’ Hell’s Angels, befriending Senator McGovern to writing for Rolling Stone magazine and much more. He was someone who submersed himself into his work and believed in what he was doing, he had a power to change things and to influence people and more importantly he had a unique style of writing and the courage to do something other journalists wouldn’t. He would drink and take drugs, fire arms, take part in dangerous and illegal activities all in the name of journalism and being a writer, he wasn’t afraid to take the next step and to push the boundaries.
It’s difficult to discuss Hunter S. Thompson without treading on some difficult ground, he himself often ventured into dangerous territory and so it seems appropriate to mention his death and bring up an RIP; floating through the already uncomfortable subject of September 11th and suicide. On 20th February 2005 his grandson and daughter-in-law heard a gunshot at his home ‘Owl Farm’ in Woody Creek, Colorado. There was a gun by him, he’d shot himself believed not to be out of desperation after-all Hunter often said that was how he wanted to go, it had been well thought out but there was a note by his typewriter saying “Feb 22 ‘05’ and ‘counsellor’ after it. I wonder what it meant, whether it was a message for family, for followers or for politicians. We know he’d gotten involved in writing about and researching the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre there was speculation from fans that he found out too much…A ‘suicide note’ was found 4 days later, published by Rolling Stone it read:
“No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”
Personally if the great legend were alive today a lot of people would love to hear what he has to say about the state of the world, Barack Obama and even the upcoming elections in the UK. That is why I wrote this piece, to remind people of him and in a cliché way to remind people to write about and do what they believe in and not to be afraid to try something new, Hunter would have!