Songs of the Doomed [Audiobook]

Songs of the Doomed [Audiobook]
Songs of the Doomed [Audiobook] by Hunter S Thompson
1999 | MP3 VBR V2 | 3 hrs 31 mins | 284.36MB

Doomed is another compilation of HST's writing. It spans four decades - 1950 to 1990 - with fond memories of Jersey Shore, the assasination of JFK, and his rise as gonzo journalist, almost a sort of prelude to TPH. There is a lot of unpublished material - excerpts from The Rum Diary, Prince Jellyfish, "The Iguana Project", letters and memos to famous people, (my favourite) Via Certified Mail - "intercepted mail from the last time HST moved down the mountain", as well as long lost goodies "Bad Craziness in Palm Beach" (Roxanne Pulitzer trial), interviews from Viet Nam, snippets from The Curse Of Lono and FLLV. The last chapter, the nineties, details his infamous lifestyle bust, trial documents and proceedings. While Doomed did not reach the bestseller list, and Thompson admits he wrote it only to fulfill a two book contract (Whitmer, pxx), it is a valuable Thompson reader and is more palatable for the first time HST fan than, say, the crazy quilt that Shark is.

There are two cassettes, with a total running time of 180 minutes. Listening to various parts of the book can be labourous - for some reason I found myself paying more attention to the words than I would in the book. Oddly, Doc's words seem funnier in print than out loud. Still, I have to admit that I like the tapes more than the FLLV CD. Unlike the CD, the Doomed tapes are very serious. The cartoonish quality is gone as HST's friends read his work. Of course, HST is on there too. He happily reads a press release from Owl Farm and makes commentary on the other pieces. If anyone thought Johnny Depp was incoherent, I didn't catch most of what HST was saying. He chuckles and drawls and you can hear him eating and drinking as those around him prod him with questions. The part proceeding the "War Junkies" bit is probably where he is the most understandable.

All the segments were recorded in Woody Creek. Plus, there is the added bonus of Ralph Steadman singing - that's right, singing - "Those Weird and Twisted Nights". In order, the pieces read were:

Owl Farm Press Release

Prince Jellyfish/Cherokee Park, First Visit with Mescalito - Semmes Luckett

High Water Mark - David McCumber

Whooping it Up with the War Junkies - Loren Jenkinss

Sugar Loaf Key/Tales of the Swine Family - Bob Rafelson

Everything else - Patrick Cadell

The parts, in order, go like this:

Tape One, Side A: Owl Farm Press release, Let the Trials Begin

Tape One, Side B: Prince Jellyfish/Cherokee Park, First Visit with Mescalito

Tape Two, Side A: The Iguana Project, High Water Mark, Whooping it Up with the War Junkies

Tape Two, Side B: Sugar Loaf Key, Bad Craziness in Palm Beach

The song is played in the breaks.

The Doomed tapes are much more heartfelt than the FLLV CD. HST's grizzled voice rattles in the manner of William S. Burroughs, his friend Semmes Luckett, a "good ol' boy from Mississippi" reads with great conviction. Loren Jenkins does an imitation of HST while reading the Vietnam war piece, and you can feel the panic in Bob Rafelson's voice as he tells of a joke gone wrong and the need to flee. In a sense, this is what HST's writing truly deserves - to be read out loud by the people he trusts. It's not something you can listen to all in one sitting, but it is very pleasant to listen to while loafing around the house.