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Just watched The Rum Diary, based on the book of the same title by one of my idols, Hunter S Thompson. The book itself, for those who don’t know, was written when Hunter was 22, and was finally and thankfully published in 1998, thanks to the increasing level of fame and notoriety that he had cultivated and achieved in the intermittent decades.

The book is hard work, and as many will point out, so different to Hunters well known works. It has a solid narrative but is low and crazy in mood, like something played out under a rain cloud.

The film I think was an achievement, given its fraught production history, riddled with failings and setbacks, for Johnny Depp, who I feel wanted to get the film made for Hunter, not really for anyone else. A last goodbye from a faithful acolyte, and he deserves a pat on the back and a shot of Jack for getting it done.

But what about Hunter?

Let me say this for my part.

Hunter the writer, was a ten story, hammer fisted T Rex.

A thinly stretched genius, held, tensed to breaking point between the twin extremes of blessed oracle and poison tongued bastard.

One of the few people in a position to be heard, who had a battle axe to grind, not always against individuals but institutions and government, the voice that such institutions never wanted to hear, and they did hear, along with everyone else in those two prominent decades during which Hunter trounced over every contender with the single-minded ferocity of a rabid pit-bull, fed exclusively for the role on a diet of drugs, alcohol and blistering rage.

Human society needs these voices if the dream of freedom is ever to remain in the human consciousness.

But for me, forgetting about the big picture, for me Hunter continues to make me want to write better.

To invest my writing with a visceral element, something of me, something I feel….to paraphrase, to write like me.


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