The Joke's Over

The Joke's Over : Memories of Hunter S. Thompson

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In the spring of 1970, Ralph Steadman went to America in search of work and found more than he bargained for. In Kentucky to cover the Derby, he met a former Hells Angel called Hunter S. Thompson. Their meeting resulted in a working relationship and a friendship that lasted for more than thirty years and spanned the turbulent years of the Civil Rights movement, Nixon and Watergate, and the decay of the American Dream. Few people knew Thompson as well as Ralph Steadman did. In this unique memoir Steadman tells his story for the first time, the story - in words and pictures - of Ralph and Hunter, a great British original on a great American original, Butch and Sundance on more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 130 x 196 x 27mm | 342g
  • Cornerstone
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099502194
  • 9780099502197
  • 189,383

Review quote

"Praise for The Joke's Over: His drawings are the perfect foil for the deranged clarity of Thompson's writings. The Joke's Over, Steadman's memoir of working with Thompson, is full of entertaining anecdotes" Financial Times "Indispensible " GQ "His book is funny, interesting, sad in parts and a valuable insight into the counterculture era of tune in, turn on and drop out. Maybe his weird drawings will outlast Thompson's overwrought prose." Daily Mail "Hilarious" TLS "Fascinating... full of sad charm, and not too full of Hunter - just full enough... This memoir has undeniable depth, thanks to Steadman's willingness to not merely record his life-threatening relationship with Thompson, but to do a bit of collateral detective work of his own" Guardianshow more

About Ralph Steadman

Ralph Steadman is one of the greats of cartooning history, an international cult figure and part of a British tradition that runs from Gillray to Searle. He illustrated Hunter S. Thompson's great classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and is the writer and artist of books ranging from Leonardo (on da Vinci) to The Grapes of Ralph (on wine).show more

Review Text

The original art director of all things gonzo, Steadman recalls 30 years of mythic adventures with the Master.The Welsh graphic artist first encountered Hunter S. Thompson, who greeted him with a shot of Mace, in 1970. Their collaboration on a report about the depravity of the Kentucky Derby (now a collector's item) marked the legendary birth of a special form of journalism. The pair went on to cover the America's Cup, the Ali-Foreman match in Zaire, life in Hawaii and the 1972 political conventions. They produced their masterwork, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in 1971. Steadman had no share in that copyright, an omission he didn't notice then but is plenty mad about now (which might explain his dubious claim that "the book was noticed mainly for the drawings"). Up through Thompson's suicide last year, theirs was not an easy relationship. Hunter's feet stank, his friend reports. He hated Steadman's attempts at writing, and "Hunter's friendship was also a business agreement. . . . He was much more into deals than personal affection." Yet Steadman chronicles three decades of bonhomie: swigging Wild Turkey at Owl Farm, driving dangerously, indulging in lots of dope and not a few guns. (They even do some shooting with William Burroughs.) Much of this memoir consists of letters to and from Thompson. Relying on repetitive, puerile, insult comedy, the correspondence is hardly on par with Bernard Shaw's or even Groucho Marx's missives. Bitching about the state of the world and listing America's faults, the author begins in this text to sound like an old man wandering and cursing, lost in a shopping mall.Retains little of gonzo journalism's original fun and destructive joy. (Kirkus Reviews)show more