It wouldn't be possible to finish the week without a moment's respect for the passing of Hunter S Thompson. An inspiration to many and a shocking warning to thousands more, he burned enough blim holes in the stultifying corporate authoritarian blanket that beds down ever more snugly over our culture to let in some light amid a great cloud of smoke.
Unfortunately, he inspired more than just respect and awe in some IT journalists. At a previous American-owned company for whom I worked, we were used to the occasional secondment turning up from the US: one chap in particular wasn't just here for the Tower of London and the postcards home. A senior figure, he was smart, energetic and approachable and appeared utterly unfazed by the curious collection of journalists he'd been bequeathed. However, our contacts back at World HQ let slip a few intriguing glimpses into his past.
It soon transpired here was the equivalent of a talented, rabble-rousing and troublesome son from one of the great Colonial families who ran the British Empire. After various disgraces involving many of the activities you can explore for yourself in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, he'd been sent to run a minor colony on the far side of the world where temptations were few and the opportunity to knuckle down was very apparent. He certainly led an abstemious life in our company, but the fire was far from out: he'd ask everyone at lunch what their favourite drugs were and why, which could occasionally stymie those wearing the more expensive ties.
I'm glad to say that the chap in question served his term with distinction and was rewarded by a recall to set up a brand new magazine back in the digital homeland. Not that we'd have minded some real fireworks and a spectacular psychedelic explosion or two, but there's only room for one Hunter S Thompson on the planet, and the job had already been taken. The job's vacant now, though...
I would close with a quotation from HST himself on the subject of journalism - the one that starts "The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for f..." but the rest is unprintable in a family journal such as this. Just follow this link and search for 'chimp' on that page.
Next week, it's Fear and Loathing in San Francisco as your correspondent hares off to the Intel Developer Forum. Altogether now: "We were somewhere around Haight, on the edge of the Mission, when the PowerPoint began to take hold..."