MATT WELCH REVIEWS 'FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS
WHISKEY AND PEACE SHORE MAKE THINGS
BETTER. DOAN WORRY 'BOUT ME NONE.
IF IT CAN BE USED, THEN
TAKE ALL LICENSE TO SAY WHAT I WANTED TO SAY, AND LEAVE OUT WHAT I
CLEARLY MEANT TO LEAVE OUT. ASK ME SOMETIME ABOUT THE "COBAIN
VERSION." I'LL BE UP FINISHING MY GLASS FOR THE NEXT 30 MINUTES,
SO TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK ...
When I finally met Hunter S. Thompson, at the age of 18, the
first thing I did was inexplicably throw a shoulder into his chest
and knock him into the couch near the keg in the editor's office.
Five minutes later, in an unrelated matter, I collapsed into an
uncontrollable fit of sobbing that lasted more than 90 minutes.
By the time I recovered, Hunter was up in the bell tower,
snorting fresh cocaine off the wristwatch of former Time
magazine cover-boy and perennial would-be Democratic Party svengali
Pat Caddell, who was in town that season laying heavy UC-bankrolled
political muscle on an ambitious but obscure state technocrat named
Gray Davis. Caddell would spend much of that summer and fall in my
chaotic apartment looking for "young pussy" and denying the
overwhelming evidence that he was the one who tipped off reporters
about his former friend and client Gary Hart's affair with Donna
But at the time of Thompson's horrible campus "lecture," I had
only met Caddell once or twice. So when he called two days later at
my girlfriend's apartment, demanding immediate delivery of an IBM
Selectric typewriter and an Apple MacWrite disk at 3:30 a.m. so that
Hunter could finish an overdue San Francisco Examiner column,
I took offense.
"Listen, you swine!" I croaked. "I didn't give you this phone
number, I'm not remotely awake, and I am not in charge of 'fixing'
this man's deadline problems."
I had spent the previous two hours picking up my best friend's
meat & vodka-stained vomit off the bathroom tile with a pair of
yellow rubber gloves while my girlfriend glowered and some crazy
Mexican played "Angie" on the turntable, screeching "Eye-nit good
tah be uhlaheeyaahaaahive!" over and over again. I was in no mood to
be leaned on.
"If you need to call me, call me at a decent hour," I said, and
hung up the phone, feeling 40 years old.
Four hours later, at 7:30 on a Sunday morning, the phone rang
"Hullo, ahhh, this is Dr. Thompson calling for a Mr. Matt Welch.
Would this be the gentleman in question?"
I grinned, and realized distractedly that it was the first
coherent sentence I'd heard him utter after more than three hours in
"Yes, we seem to have reaile in an
overflowing bathtub of your own feces and vomit fairly qualifies as
a "consequence" of eating an LSD-ether cocktail).
The film's fatal flaw in the eyes of its detractors is that, 27
years later, it's the kind of crude flashback we just don't need
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