more on HST's gonzo sendoff

Posted on: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 16:29 By: Tom Swiss

Rolling Stone has more on the death of, and memorial service for, Hunter S. Thompson:

"Fuck you, Hunter," [Johnny Depp] joked one afternoon not long after Hunter died. "You want a Gonzo Cannon? We'll give you a Gonzo Cannon."

Following Hunter's thirty-year-old blueprints, the Colonel commissioned a construction crew to build the cannon. Cost was not a factor. So what if the price tag was $2 million or $3 million? Depp's recent hits Pirates of the Caribbean and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were financial grand slams, earning the forty-two-year-old actor enough money to buy his own island near the Bahamas. Doing it right for Hunter was all that mattered. "I loved him and wanted to make sure his last wish was fulfilled," Depp says. "It's that simple." He galvanized Hunter's inner circle to share his vision of building the most spectacularly weird monument ever erected for a writer.

My respect for Johnny Depp just went up several notches.

As for Doctor Thompson himself...I first encountered his work in 1992, when I picked up Generation of Swine and Songs of the Doomed at a book sale. It was a year later that I started writing and performing poetry, and the power of Thompson's language was a definite influence on my work. (For example "A Bizarre Act of Kindness", which I almost titled "Fear and Loathing in a Strip Joint", or the untitled piece that starts, "The phone awakened me at 4 a.m.", which was got its start in an observation of Thompson's that early morning phone calls always mean bad craziness.) Indeed, I would sometimes read from HST's works on slow nights at the open mics at Planet X and Java Heads, the College Park venues where I got my start, just to feel language with real power coming out of my mouth.

Some may object to me citing the influence of a journalist on my poetry. Fuck them. Language either has power or doesn't, and that with power is poetry. Hunter S. Thompson was a poet.

What more is there to say? Res Ipsa Loquitur: Let the Good Times Roll.