London Gonzo Fans:Missing Hunter S. Thompson Fax!

 

 

THE famous illustrator of Hunter S Thompson’s work had a precious personal letter from the gonzo journalist stolen when he gave a talk to fans in north London.

Ralph Steadman, 72, spoke at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn about the late American writer, after a screening of the new film on his life Gonzo: The Life And Works Of Dr Hunter S Thompson.

While Mr Steadman talked to fans and signed books afterwards, someone stole an original fax which was among the artist’s possessions.

Mr Steadman, who illustrated Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas as well as much more of Thompson’s work, said: “It was a fax he sent me on Christmas day in 1988. It started Merry Christmas! HO! HO! HO! And was handwritten – six pages long.

“I took it along to read out and I just never thought to make a copy of it. I left it on stage while I talked to people and while I was doing that someone just lifted it.

“It is a rotten thing to do. A dirty little trick. I would have been happy to make a copy for the person who took it and I would have signed it for them, done a drawing – anything they wanted.

“I didn’t think that someone would steal it. That is not gonzo it’s bad gonzo – it’s bonzo.”

Mr Steadman is known for his work on Punch, Private Eye and New Statesman, as well as being the long established partner in crime to the writer.

The pair met in Kentucky when Mr Steadman was sent to cover a race meeting for a magazine.

After a week’s drinking they became friends for more than 35 years and started the partnership which is now world-famous.

Mr Steadman was the man who organised the funeral Thompson had been planning for years, after he shot himself in 2005. His ashes were launched into the air with a cannon.

“I’ve got lots of stuff but that’s not the point,” Mr Steadman continued.

“It is part of the gonzo collection. It was a letter in what he would have called his gibberish. It was about an animal he killed – some kind of dog – because it was threatening his peacocks.

“I don’t steal things from people so why should they steal from me?

“I don’t know why people have to be like that but I think that’s the way we are now – we’ve gone down that terrible road of meanness.

“I don’t think people were ever as mean as they are now.”

Mr Steadman travelled from his home in Kent for the talk and has offered to send a signed copy to anyone who returns the original letter.

The theatre is calling on anyone with information to come forward. Tricycle artistic director Nicolas Kent said: “Ralph very generously gave up his time to come and do the Q&A at the Tricycle. I’m very sad that somebody came and took away his treasured possession.

“Maybe they thought it was not important, but I know that it is and I know that he would like it back.

Ok somebody out there knows where this is so please come forward if you have any information. Feel free to email us at totallygonzo@gmail.com and we will pass on any helpful details to Ralph. Nobody is interested in getting anyone in trouble, it was probably unintentional, so just help get this fax back to Ralph where it belongs.

Cheers,

Ron Mexico

Help Out Ralph Steadman!

Just came across this on Ralph’s website and as there are many UK Gonzo fans out there I thought I’d pass this on as it looks like Ralph has had no luck tracking down his letter.

From Ralph:

Last night I did a Q&A session at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn after a showing of GONZO. The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson. I read a FAX letter that Hunter had sent to me dated December 25th, 1988. It was hand -written and started: Merry Christmas! HO! HO! HO! 
and then the letter.  It was six(6) pages long  and it was my only copy.

Somebody accidentally picked it up and nobody can find it at the theatre.  I would very much appreciate its return and have a Merry Christmas. HO! HO! HO!! Please contact joe@joepetro.com 

  Many thanks….

Ralph STEADman

Someone out there might know where this is so any information welcome. Feel free to email the above address or if you want email us here at totallygonzo@gmail.com and we can pass on the message to Ralph.

Cheers,

 Ron

Ralph Steadman – The Whole World’s Watching

From RalphSteadman.com :

I wrote to my soul sister, Anita Thompson recently: From over here the stakes look weird and unexpected.  Many wanted Hillary and it looks like, in the most perverse way, that Palin woman could win for McCain- in spite of 8 years of the most hideous presidency in living memory- a stumbling economy and a divisive Foreign Policy for the dumbest and the silliest. I wouldn’t have known two weeks ago that you could get to here from there.  It is almost like a conjuror’s Illusion and you look twice to see how the transformation took place. Beware the fickle!   It’s as though party strategists have kept Palin’s ass cool on some floating iceberg up there in Alaska and produced her like a rabbit out of  a hat. That’s entertainment and that is exactly the knack she has. It’s a trick but it’s a neat one. And incidentally, has anyone noticed that PALIN is an anagram. LAPIN is the french word for rabbit.

Speaking as a bloke- albeit a Welsh one!  I don’t find it hard to imagine armies of heavy-breathing guys from Maine down to Alabama and west across to Sacramento, ogling, guffawing, letching and already shifting their earlier resolve to get the Republicans out once and for all and instead saying the Hell with it. That’s for me and you can bring the old ‘un along too.  He’s got a couple of years left in him and he can teach her as they go. Politics goes straight out the window- or maybe that IS the new politics. Politics and Sex!   Sex as Patriotism.  American flag as Bikini. The riots in Chicago in 1968 were, I guess, the first inkling in modern times, to the fatuous  lie called ‘the American Dream’, realised only as Vietnam transformed some Americans from Isolationist do-gooders into thinking protesters.  Just a few thoughts as I watch this Capitol Hill Circus regroup and change the shape of what was, up to last weekend, a ruinous Hurricane. There are still over 50 days to go so even more alarming things can happen. I am so sorry that Hillary and Barack wasted so much time and energy on egos.

Surely, it is enough damning evidence to know that while Sarah Palin was Mayor of a town called Wassila, Alaska, she tried to get the local Librarian to remove certain books from the shelves, including The Origin of Species. This is damning dumbness rearing its head as glamour. Courage is toting a gun and invoking God as some patron saint of compassion for the chosen few. God is a private and personal matter and we should be allowed to imagine him, it or her, or not,  in whichever way we choose. God as nature is a mean sonofabitch and all are witness to some of the worst examples of its power and have been victims to it since a life supporting atmosphere allowed organisms to crawl around and feel at home. And man evolved and learned from this meanness and ‘humanity’ was born.  In my book, ‘THE BIG I AM’ I imagine a scenario and course of events to ‘explain’ how it all came about.  But that had to be entertainment just as politics has always been.  Now I am lost and hold no compelling convictions.  America is lost too, but this election is making a theatrical stab at something while carrying along in its baggage some of the worst, most reactionary bullshit from its blinkered past, into this new century.

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The Gonzo Tapes Now Available for Pre-Order

You can now Pre-Order The Gonzo Tapes through Amazon. The five-disc set is priced $59.98 and you can check out the artwork below.

From Amazon : “Recorded by Hunter S. Thompson between 1965 and 1975, these tapes capture his thoughts and descriptions both as they’re happening and in reflection, as he would often go back to rerecord commentary while writing. Filmmaker Alex Gibney, producer Eva Orner and Gonzo archivist Don Fleming were given permission by Thompson’s widow to explore the boxes of tapes stored in the basement of his Owl Farm home in Woody Creek, Colorado, left behind after Thompson’s suicide in 2005. Fleming transferred the audiocassettes and reel-to-reel tapes to digital files, and they made their way to the cutting room for the film Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Now for the first time these previously unreleased recordings are available in a 5-CD set. The Gonzo Tapes features original cover artwork by Gonzo artist Ralph Steadman, an amazing 44-page booklet full of never-before-seen images from Hunter S. Thompson’s estate, along with memorable photos and an introduction by film director Alex Gibney, an essay by journalist and Thompson’s fellow foreign correspondent Loren Jenkins, and notes by The Gonzo Tapes producer Don Fleming, former front man of the Velvet Monkeys and Gumball who has produced Sonic Youth, Alice Cooper, Hole, and more.”

 

I want a copy nowwwwwwwwww!!!!

Ron Mexico

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Warren Hinckle and Ralph Steadman – As Gonzo As Ever

“Dear Ralph…Prepare yourself; I suspect we have struck a very weird & maybe-rich vein…but instead of laboring over details I’ll just enc. a copy (see below) of a suggestion I sent about 2 wks ago to Warren Hinckle …to wit: “…I thought I’d pass on a suggestion that one of my enemies laid on me today: “Why don’t you just travel around the country and shit on everything?” he shouted. “Just go from New York to California and write your venomous bullshit about everything that people respect!” Which sounds like a nice idea…”

Hunter S. Thompson – Fear and Loathing in America

Hehe you have to be careful about what you suggest to certain people and you always have to be prepared that a dare will be accepted, especially when you are dealing with a Gonzo Journalist and their friends. We all know how instrumental Ralph was to Gonzo but I often wonder does Warren Hinckle get the recognition he rightly deserves for being perhaps the most important editor that Hunter ever had. I was thinking about this after stumbling across this great interview with Warren earlier today.

I must be getting forgetful these days because I never mentioned the question that I managed to ask Ralph a few weeks back courtesy of The New York Times website. So here is what I asked and also Ralph’s response.

Q: In Wayne Ewing’s documentary, Breakfast with Hunter, you stated that, in your opinion, readers of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas believed the artist and author to be one and the same. You also stated that without your drawings nobody would have noticed the story. Do you believe this or were you just trying to get a rise out of Hunter?

A: I would say anything to upset Hunter because he used to goad me ferociously and it became a game between us. I believe we treated our friendship as a kind of game, but a mutual admiration for what we both did separately kept alive a kind of delicious disdain. We could use the insult as an expression of love. I believe Wayne used some of my own footage in that film. Was I credited???

I always thought Hunter meant whatever he said. If he was insulting me I think he enjoyed it.

Thanks for that Ralph!

Rory

UPDATE: Check out this interview – Charlie Rose with Jann Wenner & Alex Gibney.

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No Rest For The Wicked

My main luxury in those years-a necessary luxury, in fact-was the ability to work in and out of my home-base fortress in Woody Creek.It was a very important psychic anchor for me, a crucial grounding point where I always knew I had love, friends, & good neighbors.It was like my personal Lighthouse that I could see from anywhere in the world-no matter where I was, or how weird & crazy & dangerous it got, everything would be okay if I could just make it home.When I made that hairpin turn up the hill onto Woody Creek Road, I knew I was safe.”

Hunter S. Thompson – Fear and Loathing in America  

 

I was just settling into a nice dream about George W. Bush being chased out of the White House by a blood thirsty three-headed Hyena called Retirement, when I was rudely awoken by a godawful racket from the van parked in my front drive. The postman round these parts has a rude habit of blasting atrocious music at a deafening volume in the early hours of the morning. I am seriously thinking of stealing the stereo from his car or investing in a pack of vicious dogs. My mood was foul as I collected the post from the front porch but it quickly lifted when I spotted the large white envelope stamped with the Gonzo logo, sent all the way from Woody Creek Colorado. Inside was the latest issue of The Woody Creeker, which I subscribed to many moons ago. Anita sure as hell delivered on her promise to publish it when least expected 😀 The first thing that struck me was the totally cool front cover. Check it out below!

 

So who is the lady on the front cover eh? Well her name is “Jilly” and she appeared in the fourth Aspen Wall Poster, produced by Hunter and Tom Benton between January and March of 1971. It is the Aspen Wall Poster series that featured the now infamous Hunter Thompson for Sheriff poster designed by Tom Benton. There is a great article in this issue by Lynn Burton about the Wall Posters so if you want more details then pick up a copy. There is also a great interview with Tom Wolfe and a nice piece by Ralph. If you haven’t already subscribed then contact the Gonzo Store at gonzowear@gmail.com The Gonzo Store website is being revamped at the moment.

Anyway gotta run, the bats are at the window again… (seriously there is a colony of bats in my garden that appear every night all swooping around the place and driving the women crazy with fear, this is certainly Bat Country)

Ron Mexico

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Gonzo Roundup: A Decadent & Depraved Weekend

“Steadman wanted to see some Kentucky Colonels, but he wasn’t sure what they looked like. I told him to go back to the clubhouse men’s rooms and look for men in white linen suits vomiting in the urinals. “They’ll usually have large brown whiskey stains on the fronts of their suits,” I said. “But watch the shoes, that’s the tip-off. Most of them manage to avoid vomiting on their own clothes, but they never miss their shoes.” 

Hunter S. Thompson – The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved 1970

 

It is that time of the year again folks – Kentucky Derby time!! It is 38yrs since that fateful weekend when the Good Doctor and our favourite artist Ralph Steadman ran amok in a haze of Mint Juleps and Mace – or ‘Chemical Billy’ as Hunter christened it. Why not place a few bets yourself this weekend, down a few drinks and try not to mess up your shoes.

In other news there has been a whole heap of Gonzo related books released recently. Anita is gearing up for the British release of The Gonzo Way and if you haven’t already picked up a copy then get your ass in gear and do it now. You won’t be disappointed. Another highly recommended book is The Kitchen Readings: Untold Stories of Hunter S. Thompson by Sheriff Bob Braudis and Michael Cleverly. Some of the stories in this book are absolutely hilarious! Also the Gonzo book released by Ammobooks is now available in a paperback edition. This is a really gorgeous book full of amazing photos taken by Hunter. There is also some other cool stuff in there such as a photo of his certificate from the National District Attorney’s Convention on Narcotics and his Doctorate in Divinity Certificate 🙂 

There are also some books in the pipeline at the moment. As you may already know, Anita is releasing another book – Hunter S. Thompson: The Selected Interviews. There is also a second interviews book coming out in June from Beef Torrey and Kevin Simonson – Conversations with Hunter S. Thompson. In July there is another biography of the Good Doctor hitting the market, this time by William McKeen who has previously released an excellent biography of Hunter. The new one is called Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson and having received an advance copy I can say it is without a doubt the most accurate biography to date.

That’s about it for now.

Good Luck,

 

Ron Mexico

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