I knew Hunter S Thompson was a major counter-cultural figure, and I liked what he represented, but I'd never got very far with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and that was the extent of my knowledge of his work.
I also held the mistaken view that he'd shot and killed his first wife in a William Tell-style game that went horribly wrong. No idea where that came from as there she was, bright as life, giving interviews for the film I saw on Tuesday.
It's a 2 hour documentary, narrated (very well) by Johnny Depp, who played Thompson in the Terry Gilliam movie of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and who also payed for Thompson's spectacular funeral.
The movie isn't out until December, and I'm probably not meant to be talking about it in any way that could be considered a review, but it certainly joined the dots for me in terms of linking up his association with Tom Wolfe, Ken Kesey and the whole Haight Ashbury movement. And it is extraordinary to see the affection in which he is still held by the people he very publicly hated.
The real shame is that Thompson didn't really produce anything of note for the last 25 years of his life. By the end his alcohol consumption had made him incapable of writing anything useful, and he took his life before he had a chance to see the Obama/McCain tussle, which a lucid Thompson would have relished.