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.6 / -

4 Continued from page 15

Thompson. During the writing of the book, HST declared himself to be higher than a ‘a two tonne Manta Ray jumping all the way across the Bay Of Bengal!’ How the hell did Steadman even begin the drawings for such a collaboration?

‘I’d already been through some hideous things with him,’ he says. ‘I knew exactly what he was talking about.’

So intrinsic would the artwork become for the book, it’s hard to envisage Fear And Loathing without Steadman’s human reptiles or his hell-fleeing bats. Terry Gilliam’s film, however, eschews most of those images.

‘I would have done a lot more.’ he says, ‘but the thing was so Hollywood. I backed off because it’s Terry’s film. I’ve known him for years. I understand. He didn’t want to make a pastiche. I think Johnny Depp is uncanny. Sometimes I thought it was Hunter, the walk, the mannerisms, everything.’

One scene in the film which does remain true to Steadman’s vision is the infamous Lounge Lizards. It was this picture that provided the impetus for Steadman’s Gonzo The Art, a collection of 30 years of his work.

‘I’ve revisited all those drawings,’ he says, ‘remade them onto canvas. So the bloke who thought he’d got the original for 560 has got a fake.’

Having been paid a measly sum for the original Fear And Loathing artwork, Steadman brought up the subject with HST a few years ago.

‘I was in hospital, really ill. I wrote to him and said I think we ought to do one

.’ I /{§’7 '/

' ask me that question again.”



die. I asked him about the money. He said. “There is no money. Ralph. Never

Not that cash has ever come between\‘ them. Thompson was happy to write a wonderfully bilious introduction to Gonzo The Art, berating Steadman for his fiendishness and comparing him to Hitler. The insult is returned with Faustian interest. ‘One wonders if he is the Devil’s son,’ the artist laughs.

‘I’m pleased with the writing,’

’Guns, that’s Hunter's artistic expression. He blasts things with guns! But with a certain degree of discernment, of delicacy.’ Ralph Steadman

Steadman says, returning to the book. ‘Hunter keeps telling me not to write, that I’ll bring shame on my family. I tread on his toes and he treads on mine. He told me, “It’s not art, Ralph, until it’s sold.” Says he’s learnt all that from me, but he wants more dynamism. Guns, that’s his artistic expression. He blasts things with guns! But with a certain degree of discernment, of delicacy.’

And he recounts the Gonzotic tale of ‘Hunter And The Barbie Doll’, involving a tractor, some propane gas, a shotgun and . . .

Ralph Steadman (Book Festival) Post Office Theatre. Charlotte Square, 624 5050, 23 Aug, 11.30am, £6 (£4). Gonzo - The Art is published by Weidenfeld 8: Nicolson, priced £25. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (Film Festival) ABC Lothian Road, 623 8030, 2S

-\ $.- - x. "it"


more monstrous thing together before we

On meeting Hunter S. Thompson ’My first meet- ing with Hunter was a pretty interesting one. I was up in Aspen around the Christmas of '95 with my girl, and wanted to see snow. We were in this bar called The Woody Creek Tavern, and this friend of ours said, "I've just spoken to Hunter. He’s on his way down.” And I said, "Oh great! I finally get to meet Hunter Thompson,

16 THE lIST 20—27 Aug 1998

one of my all-time heroes".

'About ten minutes later, the front door burst open and there was this hulking brute standing there. In one hand he had an elec- trified stun gun. In the other hand, he had a three foot cattle prod which was fully-elec- trified, sending all kinds of currents through it. Blue lightning all over. He was swinging it around and people were jumping out of the way, running for cover.

'He came over and sat down. He hit me on the

Aug, 8pm, £6.50 (£4).

head with the cattle prod and we had a couple of drinks. Within an hour and a half, we were at his house, which is not far away from there, and we built a bomb in his kitchen. I gingerly took it outside and I fired at it with a twelve-gauge shotgun. There was about an 80 foot fireball. It was a dramatic explosion.

’And that was my first meeting with Hunter Thompson. And it doesn't change. It’s still the same.’

Goin', goin' gonzo: Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson

e wit and wisdom of nter S. Thompson.

CD 2

'Wht is Gonzo? Gonzo is what I do.’

’Fear And Loathing was a weird kind of celebration for an era that I figured was ending. I kind of figured that this was sort of a last fling; that Nixon and all those people would make it very soon impossible for people to behave that way and get away with it. It wouldn’t be a matter of a small fine. Your head would be cut off.’


‘I never advocate the use of drugs for everyone, but they have always worked for me.’

’We took enough speed to keep Hitler awake in the bunker for 50 days and enough acid to make him think he was in the Austrian Alps.’

'Hell’s Angels aren’t intellectuals. They just want to ride bikes, party and fuck.’

'Nixon was a liar and a quitter, and he should have been buried at sea.’

’The things that Clinton has been accused of are prima facie worse than what Nixon was run out of office for . . . selling the Lincoln bedroom at night, trying to hustle little girls in Little Rock. God, what a degenerate town that Is.'

'Objective journalism is one of the main reasons American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so lopg.’

\ \ '. 'The fact that I'm rfist ‘kleat‘ is sort pf puzzling to me.’ \ . .