In May 1998, I was handed a copy of Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 by my new boyfriend. 22 years later, my love affair with both is still going strong.
Thompson’s writing lit my brain up in a way I’d never really experienced before. Savagely funny and incredibly astute, especially when taking aim at the assassins of the American Dream, he even managed to make me understand American politics for a while (although this only ever lasts for as long as I’m reading the book).
Since then I’ve devoured everything the man ever wrote (Campaign Trail still holds a special place in my heart) and spent a LOT of time wondering what on earth he’d make of the situation we now find ourselves in. I don’t always agree with him (I detest guns for a start and am far too anxious a person to really live life on the edge), but I’m never, ever not entertained.
Gonzo was gifted to me this Christmas by that same boyfriend and is definitely one for the fans – a gorgeously laid out ‘visual biography’ comprising photographs and memorabilia from the archives of the man himself – that won’t mean much to anyone without a firm foundation of knowledge of his work and life, but that’s a must for those in the know.
I’m far more word-driven than visual, so my favourite bits were the reproductions of snippets of notes and letters, but I also loved the candid photographs and pamphlets picked up on his travels.
As an added bonus, Gonzo has stoked my appetite to go back and re-read all of my favourites. Double gift!