A Visit With The Doctor
A Visit With The Doctor

"Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Has it been five years? Six? It seems like a lifetime, the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. But no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time in the world. Whatever it meant.

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.

And that, I think, was the handle - that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of old and evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

- HST 1969

In May of 1989, Keith Doyle, Mary Ann Coyle, Dan Lanham and myself went to see Hunter S. Thompson speaking at Bogart's nightclub in Long Beach California. Keith took a tape recorder, I took a 35mm camera with 1000 ASA film. We were pretty certain we wouldn't be allowed to tape and or shoot photographs and there seemed no point in asking in case they said no and confiscated our gear, but this was Hunter Thompson for chrissakes. We were on a mission.

Keiths recording turned out pretty well and I wish I had some clue where those cassettes are now, but, in the days that followed, I transcribed them and posted them to usenet. The Amiga computer I did this on sits now in my barn, with no hope of getting that 20 meg SCSI drive working again; these transcripts were for all intents and purposes lost. If you know of a way to read an Amiga filesystem under Windows please drop me a line, I do still have the drive...

It turns out Henry Spencer at the University of Toronto was archiving all of usenet onto tape and in the early 90's Bruce Jones along with I think transferred all these old creaky dirty tapes onto modern DATs. Much data was lost, and Bruce told me they had to clean the tape heads every 5 minutes or so but they completed the Herculean task and transferred what they could, which was a helluva lot. I don't know who suggested they be sent to Brewster's, but they were and sat there for a while and I kept bugging a friend at dejanews to grab them. At some point they did, but Deja never did anything with them. When Google bought out Dejanews they did the right thing and made these archives available and I was able to find parts 2 and 3 of those transcripts. Part 1 is still MIA although I'm utterly certain it sits on somebody's hard drive someplace, or more likely - and God Forbid, a floppy. If you have part 1 please send it to me.

What follows then is parts 2 and 3 and the photos I shot. They're shitty pictures - the light was dim, and worse, red. Towards the end I got ballsy and used the flash so there's one good picture of him smoking a joint. Yeah, people really did take dope up to him and he really did smoke it on stage. I've seen him a few times on TV and once a while after this gig at the Golden Bear in Redondo, but frankly we walked out - he was hopelessly messed up and the whole thing was really boring. But that night in Long Beach was classic HST; he was as fast, witty, insightful and with a rare clarity of mind and opinion as any political analyst you'll see or hear, ever. It was quite magic.

Here then, are parts two and three of that transcript.