“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” ― Hunter S. Thompson
There are some figures of contemporary popular culture that operate somewhere between the mainstream media and certain countercultures that offer an alternative, creative and somewhat unusual lifestyle. Hunter S. Thompson, the acclaimed journalist and founder of the gonzo journalism movement, is a figure that epitomises that thin slither of life with an unnerving eccentricity.
Thompson, famed for works such as Hell’s Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and more, developed a prolific reputation for his mindbending routine of drug and alcohol consumption while creating some of his most thought-provoking pieces. “The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy—five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high—powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-coloured uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls,” Thompson wrote in the opening lines of Fear and Loathing.
He continued in an eye-opening representation of his mind: “All this had been rounded up the night before, in a frenzy of high—speed driving all over Los Angeles County—from Topanga to Watts, we picked up everything we could get our hands on. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.”
While the book, which is rooted in autobiographical incidents, offered an insight into the thought process of a creative genius who often managed to bizarrely blend fact and fiction with bleary results. Having triumphed the legalisation of drugs for large portions of his life, saying that drugs should be decriminalised “across the board.”
He added: “It might be a little rough on some people for a while, but I think it’s the only way to deal with drugs. Look at Prohibition: all it did was make a lot of criminals rich.”
Given his desires to approach the world of drugs in an entirely different viewpoint, it should come as little surprise that the iconic writer operated on a totally different level when it came to consumption. E. Jean Carroll, the journalist and columnist who wrote the 1993 memoir of Hunter S. Thompson along with the biography book Hunter: the strange and savage life of Hunter S. Thompson, once tapped into Thompson’s simply maddening routine intake of drugs.
Carroll opens the memoir with the following lines (no pun intended): “I have heard the biographers of Harry S. Truman, Catherine the Great, etc., etc., say they would give anything if their subjects were alive so they could ask them some questions. I, on the other hand, would give anything if my subject were dead.”
He should be. Oh, yes. Look at his daily routine:
- 3:00pm – Rise
- 3:05 – Chivas Regal with the morning papers, Dunhills
- 3:45 – Cocaine
- 3:50 – Another glass of Chivas, Dunhill
- 4:05 – First cup of coffee, Dunhill
- 4:15 – Cocaine
- 4:16 – Orange juice, Dunhill
- 4:30 – Cocaine
- 4:54 – Cocaine
- 5:05 – Cocaine
- 5:11 – Coffee, Dunhills
- 5:30 – More ice in the Chivas
- 5:45 – Cocaine, etc., etc.
- 6:00 – Grass to take the edge off the day
- 7:05 – Woody Creek Tavern for lunch. Heineken, two margaritas, coleslaw, a taco salad, a double order of fried onion rings, carrot cake, ice cream, a bean fritter, Dunhills, another Heineken, cocaine, and for the ride home, a snow cone (a glass of shredded ice over which is poured three or four jiggers of Chivas.)
- 9:00 – Starts snorting cocaine seriously
- 10:00 – Drops acid
- 11:00 – Chartreuse, cocaine, grass
- 11:30 – Cocaine, etc, etc.
- 12:00 (midnight) – Hunter S. Thompson is ready to write
- 12:05 – 6:00am – Chartreuse, cocaine, grass, Chivas, coffee, Heineken, clove cigarettes, grapefruit, Dunhills, orange juice, gin, continuous pornographic movies.
- 6:00 – The hot tub-champagne, Dove Bars, fettuccine Alfredo
- 8:00 – Halcyon
- 8:20 – Sleep