Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A Wild New Gig

Hunter S Thompson, 25 March, 1969:
Dear Jim [Silberman, Random House] ...

Are you ready for the death of print, books, and magazines? The whole weird future was laid on me tonight by a professor from UCLA Journalism school. The only missing link, he says, is a process for editing video-tape without computers ... and after that it's a whole new ballgame: No more Hollywood, no more book publishers, no more magazines ... I never paid much attention to Marshall McLuhan, if only because he's basically incoherent & needs about five editors. But the forecast I heard tonight is ominously clear, the underground backstairs line from UCLA ...

The real new journalism. He offered to turn me loose with a sound-sync video-tape machine the next time I get to L.A. No bigger than a typewriter, combining the roles of script-writer, director, editor, producer, and ... yes, even publisher. Tape-cassettes instead of book covers, video-tape receivers instead of magazines or newspapers. Jesus, it boggles the mind. The next time I get to NY I'd like to talk about it; this is a wild new gig. Are you into it? Why not ponder a tape/book experiment? To hell with the undiscovered editing process; that's inevitable anyway. Why not learn to use the tools before they're perfected? Do you have any screening rooms designed into that new building? Send word ...



(This is extracted from Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968-1976, the second volume of HST's collected letters. Which is absolutely golden stuff, a book well worth getting.)


Rossignol said...

"To hell with the undiscovered editing process"

A new motto.

Kosmograd said...

Good find.

I agree with you that Fear and Loathing in America is a great book, as is the first volume - The Proud Highway: 1955-67, Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman v.1: Fear and Loathing Letters: 1955-67

The third volume The Mutineer: Rants, Ravings, and Missives from the Mountaintop 1977-2005 is due out in February 2011, but I'll believe it when I see it. I think a third book of letters was due to come out in 2007 or something, which was then delayed following HST's suicide.