Monday, 26 April 2010

2 hours with Johnny Depp or a good book?

The incorrigible geek that I am, I’d already read the required reading for the Easter break, Tom Wolfe’s ‘The New Journalism’ and so set about working my way through the work of writers featured in Wolfe’s epilogue.
I started perhaps naively with the work of Hunter. S. Thompson.
This was a bit like a teetolleer downing a bottle of tequila and frankly I’m still hungover.
My prejudicial opinion of Thompson was inspired by the mumbling yank portrayed by Depp in the film of his epic novel/non-fiction ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’.
I presumed from the film that his journalistic writing would be a torrent of incoherent musings, only impressive by the scale of Thompson’s excess.

I decided to push aside my prudence however and delve into ‘Fear and Loathing’ myself.
I have to say I now understand why his writing was and still is so revered.
At a time when novelistic techniques were being used to such poignant effect, when Wolfe and Talease were breaking the seal of journalistic convention; Thompson stood out.
His writing doesn’t make you say ‘ohh this is different’ it simply take you by the scruff of the neck and nuts you in the head!

I’m currently half way through a biography entitled ‘Outlaw journalist: The life and Times of Hunter S Thompson in which his abusive persona and doubtless talent are laid next to one another.

Like someone playing a fantastic practical joke, his genius and his cruelty is exposed.

Rumour has it that our first lecture is a screening of ‘Fear and Loathing’.
My advice would be to bypass the eye candy and read the book which has pace and vigour. In fact the book is more exciting than 2 hours of Johnny Depp….

WOW big words. If Johnny would like to come round to my place and challenge that, he’s more than welcome.