Back in the ’70s a young inexperienced promoter named Michael Roberts got the chance to bring Hunter S Thompson out to Australia.**
“Hunter was a chronic consumer of anything and everything, predominately fast drugs and Wild Turkey. From the moment he arrived in the country he didn’t hit the bed for five days. Thompson’s appearance at the National Press Club is now the stuff of legend. He sat at a table covered in a long white cloth beneath which he had placed multiple lines of white powder before the conference began. During the session he’d be asked a question, excuse himself, lean under the table then emerge, rub his nose for an embarrassingly long time then attempt to answer the question.
In another memorable incident, two medical students arrived at his hotel with a cylinder of laughing gas. They were both wearing white hospital smocks and the cylinder was almost as tall as they were. They just wheeled it into the foyer and went up in the lift to Hunter’s room as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
On day five Michael and Hunter were eating in the hotel restaurant. For Michael it was an early lunch but Hunter probably thought it was a late dinner. He ordered some soup and then, mid-conversation, collapsed head first into the bowl and passed out, not waking again for over 24 hours.
Thompson hated the city of Melbourne and was determined to leave it as soon as possible. There was a problem with his flight booking so a small private plane was chartered instead. He had to be dissuaded from smoking marijuana before boarding as the pilot would be able to smell it so he took LSD tabs instead. Checking that he had enough cocaine for the journey (3 grams was deemed sufficient) he stopped at the nearest bottle shop for two large bottles of tequila, 2 dozen bottles of Carlton Draught, glasses and ice.
The 6 seater took off with the party in full swing in the back seats. Thompson demonstrated how to urinate into a vomit bag as the plane had no toilets – then cautioned his fellow passengers to “make sure you tie the bag up tight and put the bastard somewhere where it can’t be ruptured.”
**from Stuart Coupe’s book The Promoters