Sunday 26 June 2011

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - surprisingly me

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (Random House: 1971). A tour through Las Vegas fuelled by a car load of an impressive variety of drugs. Seen through the eyes of a journalist and his unstable Samoan lawyer.

I'm back after a week long hiatus. I'm sure you missed me. I certainly missed you. And this week's post comes from a hotel room in Lincoln in the middle of a wedding/christening double header of a weekend. Fast times.

And to ease me back in, the story of an altogether different weekend.

I don't mind admitting that this one scared me a little. I've had it in the back of my mind for a while as one that I wanted to read. But I was worried I wouldn't get it. This is, after all, the granddaddy of Gonzo journalism. I worried it would be just a little too off the wall for me. I worried that, frankly, it would be way too psychedelic for me. I'm not exactly (let's face it) cool. And this book is. So, odd as it sounds, I was a little concerned that it would sit there in my hands, staring back up at me screaming "come on now, who are you kidding, square?"

But, turns out, I'm more hip than I thought. (That's right, isn't it? The kids still say "hip"?)

Some of my expectations were, of course, met. There were a lot of drugs going on. The story took more than a handful of violent left turns. There were sections where I wasn't quite sure what was real and what was in the imagination of the narrator. The book and the trip it details takes you right to the edge of comprehension in places, but it never entirely leaves you behind. It's mad, and it's crazy, and it's disjointed, but it's also readable and entertaining and (in places) incredibly enlightening.

That was one of the pleasant surprises in fact. This book had some genuine "hmm, really makes you think" moments. It wasn't all just furious, fast paced drug trip. There was some thought folded in with the insanity. Quite a lot of it in fact.

All of which actually left me a little disappointed. Like finding out that the big bad wolf is a ninny. This incredibly cool book that I always thought would simply be on another plane to me was, in fact, not quite the mind bending odyssey I thought it would be. It was, instead, a bloomin good read.

And that's the conflict I'm dealing with here. The whole thing has been demystified for me a little now. I've joined the club and suddenly found out that it's not quite as exclusive as I thought it was.

Can I mark down a book for being enjoyable? Can I give it a low score just because it actually succeeded in connecting with me?


No, of course I can't. This book surprised me. I enjoyed it. I think it's a great book. Just not quite as cool as I used to think. But still, go read it.

I, however, may very well be way cooler than I gave myself credit for.

No, I don't think so either.


Anonymous said...

I don't think you're any cooler than you thouight you were.

The giveaway? The use of the word ninny. Who are you? Beatrix Potter?

Gav Collins said...

I think you may have underestimated just how uncool I thought I was in the first place.

And don't try to tell me Beatrix Potter is not cool.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the interesting information