May I add a tempering word to the tributes being paid to the late
Hunter S Thompson, who is seen by many as some sort of journalistic god
(for example Bill Borrows’ piece in Press Gazette , 4 March).
few years ago I interviewed one of the founders of the Hell’s Angels,
Ralph “Sonny” Barger, who had a somewhat different view of the
grandaddy of “gonzo journalism”.
Thompson was invited to hang out
with the Angels in California in 1965 after Barger was impressed by one
of his magazine articles on bikers. In return for such unprecedented
access, he apparently promised them a couple of kegs of beer.
But in Barger’s autobiography he wrote: “As time went by, Hunter turned out to be a real weenie and a stone ****ing coward.
read about how he walks around his house now with his pistols, shooting
them out of his windows to impress writers who show up to interview
him. He’s all show and no go.
When he tried to act tough with us, no matter what happened, Hunter Thompson got scared… he was a total fake.”
one occasion, he writes: “As at most Angels gatherings, a fight was
brewing with the cops, so Hunter jumped into the trunk of his car,
pulled down the hatch, and hid.”
Thompson later wrote a book about his time with the Angels.
claimed it was exaggerated “junk”. But what angered him more was the
fact that Thompson apparently never delivered the two kegs of beer.
Sadly Thompson is not around to defend himself, but perhaps he was not quite the fearless wild man he liked to portray.
Chris Summers BBC News Online