"What follows here is a conversation between me and Allen Ginsberg and two police officers." Heh.
I received a review copy of The Gonzo Tapes quite some time ago, but that 6-day power outage put a crimp in my original listening plans. Anyway, I'm getting to them now. Actually, Josh and I have both been listening, but separately -- which has made for some interesting conversations, since we're coming at them from such different places. He's read a ton of Thompson, while I've read only tiny bits and pieces -- not even Fear and Loathing in its entirety. So for Josh, this set is acting as an enhancement to the text, while for me it's acting as an introduction.
After listening to the first disc, he said that while he was finding it fascinating, he thought it would mostly only be serious Thompson junkies who'd be into it... but I didn't agree at all.
I put the first disc on while I was sorting puzzle pieces and I ended up giving up on sorting the pieces. I ended up just sitting and listening. Granted though, I have a tendency to get really interested in, well, anything interesting, and I definitely have that the-more-I-know-about-something-the-more-I want-to-know-about-it personality trait. So there is that.
This first disc is almost all material from 1965, when Thompson was collecting information for his book on the Hell's Angels. I found the interviews really interesting (though I continue to not understand the attraction that Joan Baez's music holds for so many people), but what I especially liked were the parts where Thompson would describe events and conversations on the sly or after the fact -- he seemed so careful about words, there were these long pauses while (it seemed, anyway) he searched for the right one, and sometimes he'd use one but then correct himself a couple of times before continuing on. I liked, too, how much he thought about the Hell's Angels in the context of their relationship with society -- really, he sounded like an anthropologist more than what I think of as a journalist. But then, his version of journalism was different.
The book that came with the set is getting rapidly well-worn because I keep going back to it to leaf through and look at the pictures and attempt to decipher Thompson's handwriting on the reproductions of his tape cases.