By: Col. Cody Decker
I had it all figured out when David Pratt asked me to write up a piece on Louisville to publish before GonzoFest. I was going to do something that I’ve always wanted to do: visit Hunter Thompson’s childhood home. It was going to be incredible. In my mind I envisioned myself contacting the current owner, getting the O.K. to stop by, taking some pictures, and maybe chatting with them for a bit. What a damn good story that would have made.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Some might call it a let down but I’d like to call it…well… a let down I guess. So be it. Life gets in the way of doing what we want to do sometimes and shit just doesn’t pan out like we’d hoped.
So here I am, staring down the barrel of a loaded keyboard with no clue of where to go from here. I’m letting it come out the way it wants to and I’m not going to change a damn thing. No outlining here, no sir. I didn’t finish college, that’s too technical for my blood. I did, however, pour myself a drink and read The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved before I sat down at this behemoth of a desk and started rambling. In hopes to get my gears turning in the right direction and get back in touch with the roots of this way of thinking, writing, and living that we all seem to adhere to. Gonzo.
It’s either the reading or the bourbon, but one of them has got me in the mood. So let’s do it.
Louisville, Kentucky is the birthplace of Gonzo, plain and simple, but in so many ways. Louisville is where the Dynamic Duo themselves met for the first time, Ralph and Hunter. Louisville is where a piecing together of random notebook entries at the edge of a deadline broke ground in journalism. Louisville is where a young Hunter Stockton Thompson grew up on Ransdell Avenue and raised ten different kinds of hell until he either took the option out or stayed home and shared a shitter with the rest of the Jefferson County inmates.
Give me a sec…..
I had to go make another drink and have a smoke. All of this is coming out in real time, so you’ll have to bear with me as I push toward the top of this hill and slide down the other side in a blaze of regret tomorrow morning.
Back to Louisville. First and foremost this is by no means a “kiss ass” piece about the place. To be honest, I’m not too fond of the city. I have my reasons, don’t mind those. Though I am hoping that by attending GonzoFest 2015, it will somewhat sway my opinion. I’m simply trying to point out the significance of the place.
I just want everyone, myself included, that’s going to be at GonzoFest to really take it all in while we’re there. To take a stroll through Cherokee Park, where Hunter spent a lot of his time as a trouble making young’n. To stop by The Louisville Free Public Library at Fourth and York downtown, where Hunter’s mother worked till retirement (that Ron Whitehead hopes to get renamed to The Hunter and Virginia Thompson Free Public Library, to which I say, “Hell yes!”). To drive by 2437 Ransdell Avenue and see where our literary, artistic, and life influence grew up. Hell, while you’re at it why not stop by the county jail. Hunter did spend his high school graduation there.
Though, as of right now, it may not be my favorite city, Louisville did and still does play a pivotal role in the life and remembrance and celebration of the life and work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. That’s reason alone to make damn sure that we make the 5th anniversary of GonzoFest in Louisville one hell of a good time!
I’m going to have one more smoke and come back to the keyboard to see if there’s anything else I want to say. I do apologize that I’m not cool enough to smoke as I write but on my desk I have every Hunter book that’s out there and damn near every book that Charles Bukowski ever printed. An open flame around them is a chance that I’m not comfortable taking. Plus, I need to let my dog out to shit.
‘m back. I’m a little more relaxed and my dog is now relieved for those concerned. I don’t think there’s any more to say from my end other than I hope to see you at GonzoFest. And I hope you appreciate being at Ground Zero of Gonzo as much as I will.