Wednesday, September 02, 2009

80s Flashbacks

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I'm short on time. Deadlines looming. Trying to squeeze a month of freelance writing into two days? Didn't happen. But I know that I can do it in four days if I really hustle and more like five days. That's fine. I'll accept that considering I need the rest of the month for edits. Edits. And more edits.

I'm exhausted and mentally drained at the end of the day every since I returned to Los Angeles. Nicky thinks it's the brutal heat. I think it's that along with the pressure of getting the book complete. Writing is easy for me. Editing and promoting? Not my strongest suits but I'm plugging through.

I finished the bathroom book that had me occupied in the mornings. Benjo gave me an out-of-print special edition book commemorating Rolling Stone's 20th anniversary. The book had plenty of photography of 60s, 70s, and 80s icons and plenty of one-on-one interviews. Two interviews that stood out? John Lennon and Bob Dylan. Both were extremely hard and critical of their fan base, somewhat on the verge of disdain and contempt.

A couple of articles stood out... one on Sly and the Family Stone. The other was about Kent State.

Two of my favorite authors who wrote about 80s decadence were featured including a clip from Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities. The other was a piece on Roxanne Pulitizer by Hunter Thompson. Former Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner said that was one of Hunter greatest pieces of writing. Usually I disagree with Jann, but he's dead on there.

My favorite book that Hunter wrote was the first one I read... Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail. The Vegas book was epic, but it didn't affect me as a writer and as a student (at the time I read it my Freshman year in college as a teenager with a deep interest in politics and a future pre-law candidate).

One of my favorite Hunter articles were the Kentucky Derby piece where he was teamed up with illustrator Ralph Steadman for the first time. Steadman had never done psychedelics before he met Hunter and he was spun pretty hard for most of his assignment. His drawings and sketches from that assignments were influenced by the mind-altering substances he had ingest for the first time. His dark and twisted and perverse drawings accurately captured the depravity of the Kentucky Derby that Hunter eloquently described in his piece.

The other favorite of mine was about Roxanne Pulitzer. I had been desperately looking for a copy and was happy to find it one morning during a bowel movement. I flipped the page and there it was. Hunter was perfect for the assignment. Since it was the 1980s, I wonder how much blow he consumed while covering the trial and writing the piece. In many ways, it might have been one of his last great pieces of journalism and writing. He hit a few home runs with some of his ESPN articles, but most of those were smaller gems like his reaction to 9/11 and his rules to changing baseball.

Anyway, now I'm onto a new bathroom book that the Human Head sent to me about Jack Herer and the conspiracy against marijuana. Should be an awesome read.

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