“And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?””
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson 1971
There are scenes in this book that are still laugh out loud hilarious. Some things never change over 40 years. This book seemed very provocative when it came out in the 70’s. Of course, Hunter Thompson himself was provocative. But the challenge of taking Joyce’s stream of consciousness and turning it into a drug induced journey through a foreign land (Las Vegas) seemed admirable. This gonzo journalism allowed him to create an unapologetic look at a drug conscious, or unconscious mind. Reading now, it strikes me the same way. This is an amazing book. The altered state of consciousness still resonates in a fantastical way. Having been through a fair amount of experimentation and experience, I love the way Thompson captured the true sense. One night during college, after too many beers, a couple of friends and I decided to drive to Las Vegas. It made sense at the time. Not quite so much when we sobered up in the middle of the Nevada desert. That all changed when we finally made it to the fantasy land. Blame it on Thompson. As I was painting, Steadman’s illustrations were stuck in my mind. I find it a little sad as it suggests an end to the optimism, craziness of the 60s.