TPH - More Booksigning Tales

Page added: 1997
Last updated: 2002

Update: This article refers to The Proud Highway, the first volume of letters

Kevin (aka "Lono" in some places) sent in this belated memory:

Well, when the day arrived we drove downtown 3 hours early to get a good spot in line. It worked, I got a great spot. The mail room was decorated with original framed Steadman art. As far as that to bring...I decided my first edition would be best. It's a first edition hardcover Hells Angels, slightly damaged by a Rottweiler (which is in keeping with the spirit of the book so I didn't mind so much when my friend returned it that way).

Well they annouced that Hunter would be late. This of course was standard HST issue do I didn't mind. then about when he was supposed to show the lady announced that Hunter wouldn't speak. Not great, but we dealt with it. Then the lady announced two things that SO offended me I left immediately:

1) hunter would only sign new copies of The Proud Highway, nothing else.

2) Hunter would not be signing anything, but instead would affix a speacial sticker to the book with his initials on it.

These two issues were so lame that we got up and left. Of course the bookstore (Tattered Cover, LoDo Denver CO) had jacked up the prices to these books and that they would not accept my valuable Hell's Angels for a sig was just too insulting. So we walked out.

*** Sidebar, in a spoken word performance in Boulder earlier in the year that I went to... Boulder is a non smoking city. Hunter was smoking on stage and when he left the stage. I found out later that was arrested for assaulting an usher with a fire extinguisher after the show. My only guess is the poor guy was enforcing the city code and Hunter snapped. He had been doing ether all night that someone from the audience gave him.

The following tidbit was first posted on alt.journalism.gonzo by Dave Javier and is used with permission. The signing was held at The Book Soup.

Just thought folks would be interested to hear about HST's appearance in LA on Friday, June 27. He was here to do a sort-of book signing at a store called Book Soup in West Hollywood.

First of all, of course he arrived over an hour late. But, as the rumors in the crowd went, he hadn't shown up at all to the New York signing, so we figured we were pretty lucky he was there at all. They had him behind a desk at the back of the store, with people waiting in line to greet him one at a time. There was some guy with a video camera there, apparently doing a documentary, necessitating the hassle of a release form. But the Doctor was in full form. He was cutting up grapefruit with a small hunting knife, he had his glass of Wild Turkey, and "One Toke Over the Line" was playing on the music system. I'd heard all the horror stories of him screaming and yelling and smashing whiskey bottles, but aside from the occasional ranting demand of the store staff why "Curse of Lono" was out of print, he was actually very pleasant and no weirder than one would expect. Johnny Depp was hanging out in the background with the Doc's handlers, looking very surly, smoking with a very cool crystal cigarette holder.

So when I finally got up to see him, I said something about how "Generation of Swine" had changed my life, and he seemed very pleasantly surprised by that. Warming up, I told him, "You know, Doc, if you're looking for something to do after this, there's an adult video convention going on at the Palladium, just a couple miles further down Sunset." This got him very interested, to the point that he had Johnny and his handlers scrambling to get the information from me. He kept asking me questions about it which for the life of me I couldn't make out through his slurring and muttering. The staffers got the specifics of the where and when, and Hunter was very insistent about not having to wait in line. After assuring him I was sure they'd let him through the line, I got out. I bounced out of the store giggling like a fool, this incident so incredibly typical of Hunter that I had to laugh and laugh.

I don't know if he got to the convention or not, but I get a peculiar form of pleasure out of being the first one to tell him about it.


A similar story comes from a Book Soup employee:

The "booksigning" (if we can call it that) was very interesting. Unfortunately, he didn't sign *anything*, he had presigned bookplates that we gave to people who purchased copies of PROUD HIGHWAY, and even though people tried to get him to sign their memorabilia, he wouldn't. When they pushed it, he would scream :D. Anyways, I couldn't take any pictures of him since I got too busy with the signing. I was kinda disappointed too that I couldn't take any pictures. Johnny Depp was there too, I guess he's touring around with him since he is going to play him in, I think, the movie version of FEAR & LOATHING...

Anyways, HST was drinking his whisky and stabbing into tons of grapefruit while they blasted on some sixties' music...quite a unique experience. Of course, there was also a lot of schmoozers which I could have done without...Oh yeah, he also showed up 1 1/2 hour late to this booksigning which I heard that he did with all of his signings and interviews...but I guess he's allowed.