HST: Oh yeah, it’s too busy during the day. There are too many plumbers and salesmen driving around. It’s like writing in a crowd, in the street.
Has it always been like that for you?
HST: As a matter of function, yeah. I wasn’t born a vampire bat. As a matter of, take a look around you. I can’t handle it. There’s no way I can work as a writer during the day. There’s just too much happening.
— From an unpublished interview with Hunter Thompson conducted in 1998. Hunter died six years ago this week.
Did Hunter Thompson get the word “gonzo” from a recording of New Orleans jazz pianist James Booker, and not from a former Boston Globe editor? Douglas Brinkley says yes. SCANDAL. Well, only to a very small subset of us who care about this sort of thing.
The first issue of Rolling Stone hit newsstands 43 years ago this week. This seems like a perfectly reasonable time to complain about how the magazine has become a parody of itself, a neverending parade of celebrity skin and alternately fawning coverage of trifling new acts and hagiographical reminiscences of The Good Old days, while still intermittently producing interesting reportage as well as stories that actually effect change and have real world consequences (and then there’s this DFW story on John McCain circa 2000 that I can’t find online for some reason, but it’s great). And there’s a lot of angry Matt Taibbi, if you’re into that sort of thing.
But I’m just not feeling that right now. This was a magazine of substance, once upon a time. This was an important magazine, once upon a time. It is still occasionally important, as this summer showed. Obviously its most famous luminary was Hunter Thompson, gone five years now. The next time you spot it in a bookstore and the cover screams “THE 73 BEST GUITAR SOLOS, 1973-1976,” at least you’ll know how long they’ve been doing that.
By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand. And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.
— It’s pretty much the best cover letter I’ve ever seen.