Hell’s Angels

In authors and stuff, Books on December 31, 2010 by Sukrit Tagged: , , ,


Well. Hmm. A cigarette does a person a world of good. No generalities. It does me a world of good. Clears up the head a little. Focuses ones mind. I find it hard to distinguish whether this mind clearing effect is narcotic or rather a play of my own psyche. But that is secondary. Whats important is that it does me good. Didnt i just start out with this. Focuses the mind ! yeah sure sure.

So anyways just finished reading Hell’s Angels , a chronicle of the marauding losers outlaws jokers petty criminals etc. written by the wild man of American Journalism Hunter S. Thompson. Well that guy does live upto his reputation. The book is as good as promised- frank, real, un-prejudiced and with depth. You see what makes Thompson different from other writers is a set of two things :

1. He doesnt go into anything with pre-nomination or rather a pre formed opinion. Like Holmes used to say , its futile to theorize before you have the facts.

2. Unlike other journalists who tend to stay away from the action and take a bird eye view, Thompson jumps in the pot.

How do you chronicle a gang of killer biker outlaws notoriously famous (or infamous) for their notoriety ? Well its simple. buy a big fuckin bike. Fill it up with gas and spend a year on the road with them partying pleasuring eating drugs. Thats Gonzo Journalism. Hunter S. Thompson founded it in Hell’s Angels. What ends in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas begins in this book. Its the freewheelin journey of a man out to document the most awesome and shocking phenomenon of the American 60s- The Hell’s Angels.  It takes a man as crazy as the Angels themselves in order to be able to successfully document them.

Well Hell’s Angels are the elite of the motorcycle outlaws the one percenters, outlaws whose Harley 74 is all they own in the world and all they care about.  Living on the bike from one run to another, booze and drugs and occasional visits to the mamas and huge tattoos and the winged skull on the back of their jackets and the mix of human semen grease and sweat characterizing them and with chains as belts holding up the crumpled levis and orgies and scuffles with the police and shows for the ‘squares’ and breaking up peace marches and constant pondering about the world and the feeling of alienation and constant worrying, worrying that the person sitting next to them might just turn around and stick it in their guts and devotion to their president and a healthy contempt about all middle class upper class and all other classes and the protection of their dominion and to being called losers and being seen with awe and shock by the so called citizens and LSD and marijuana and more sex and week long parties with stupors long enough only to sustain the human body and Harleys and road accidents and road rash and characterized by California and beating up the niggers and being petty criminals showcased by the press as professional thugs and being forced to live up to their image and drinking beer instead of water and knowing nothing or no one except their angel brothers and with no money or property or corrections and showing respect for Ginsberg but hatred for the screwed up beatniks and generally inhuman (or human- depending on which side you are on) and the mystic element and beer brawls and then some more beer followed by sex.

The above is  my understanding of Hell’s Angels written out in incomprehensible gibberish which bodes well with the complex enigma they are.  With the reference to 50s or 60s Hell’s Angels would come across as a cross hybrid between the beatniks and hippies, social outlaws with the aim of changing the society. One couldn’t be further from the truth. Hell’s Angels don’t stand for any patriotic american tradition ; not part of the upper class intellectual beat generation or the hippie movement. These movements were a form of rebellion by people, a rebellion against the status quo of the society. Hell’s angels were just a bunch of bums knowing nothing with no skills and no jobs sticking together cauz that was the safest way for them to survive. They didnt want salvation didnt give a damn about the Vietnam war knowing only their other angel brothers. They are bums. That’s the end of that. Ginsberg loved them. Called them misguided. Angels liked the fellow and hence let him live. They coudnt understand a word he said though. They were like the Robin Hood gang of yesteryears only that in the Robin Hood sense they were not heroes.

There is an important difference between the word loser and outlaw. One is passive and the other is active, and the mean reasons that the angels are such good copy is that they are acting out the day dreams of millions of losers who dont wear any defiant insignia and who dont know how to be outlaws. The streets of every city are thronged with men who would pay all the money they could get their hands on to be transformed-even for a day-into hairy hard fisted brutes who walk over cops, extort free drinks from terrified bartenders and then thunder out of town on big motorcycles after raping the banker’s daughter. They command a fascination however reluctant, that borders on psychic masturbation. The Angels dont like being called losers, but they have learned to live with it. ‘yeah, i guess i am one,’ said one. ‘but you’re looking at one loser who is going to make a hell of scene on the way out.’

Hell’s Angels were the acidic side effect of the society they inhabited , a society without any meaning,purpose or central tenets , primarily after the second world war and left free to drift on its own. A society in which the American Dream and american way of life has ceased to mean anything ; a society where the sense of alienation is likely to be popular- especially among people young enough to shrug off the guilt they’re supposed to feel for deviating from a goal or purpose they never understood in the first place.

He wore black denim trousers and motorcycle boots
And a balck leather jacket with an eagle on the back.
he had a hopped-up cycle that took off like a gun,
The fool was the terror of Highway 101-
It’s better to reign in Hell than serve in heaven. — John Milton, Paradise Lost
He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man. — Samuel johnson
The edge is still out there. Or maybe it’s In. The association of motorcycles with LSD is no accident of publicity. They are both a means to an end, to the place of definitions.  — Hunter S. Thompson

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