The High Water Mark

““If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.”

Hunter S. Thompson

The Day The Music Died

Ah the hippies, they get taken the piss out of a lot don’t they? Luckily I’m not here to add to that particular pile. Instead I’m here to talk Fear and Loathing in Las Vegasa film from 1988 starring Johnny Depp.

The film follows the true (mostly) story of Hunter S. Thompson, a journalist on a trip to Las Vegas to cover the Mint 400 motorbike race. Along the way the two main characters take a truck load of drugs and have many psychedelic experiences. If you haven’t seen the movie I suggest that you do as I’m not here to talk about the film per say. I want to talk about a particular scene.

During one of his more sober moments, Depp’s character sits down at a typewriter and reminisces over the hippy movement of the 60s and it’s downfall. (Transcript below video).

“Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Has it been five years? Six? It seems like a lifetime, the kind of peak that never comes again.

San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.…

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.…

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.…

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

There is just something tremendously sad and beautiful about those words. I know a few old hippies and the feeling seems the same across the board. A deep sadness that the peace and love that they ‘fought’ for never came to pass. The world kept turning without them. A darker, colder place.

This might be one of my favourite clips in all of cinema. Amidst all the chaos and shouting of the drug fuelled rampage that this story is, this scene perhaps serves of a justification of the madness before it and the madness still to come.

Feel free to check out other things I find awesome. If you can be arsed why not leave me a message in the comments.

I’ll see you all next time, take care of yourselves. Peace.


Bonus Video

Hunter S. Thompson’s daily routine (apparently)

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