Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Anticipation of a Gonzo holiday down by the seaside

By Steve Evans

Along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, on the outlying island of Manteo, there is a wonderful bookstore near the waterfront on the north side of Sir Walter Raleigh Street. Sunny and spacious it is, with comfortable chairs and stocked to the rafters with a fine assortment of classic, contemporary and regional books, impeccably organized. It was in this bookstore 40 years ago this summer that I first came to know the works of classical composer Haydn, as his Symphonie 9 in C Major thrumming on the stereo through the bookstore’s open door did lure me off the hot sidewalk and into this new sanctuary. I know it was Haydn’s 9th because I made a point of asking the shop owner, whose knowledge of classical music turned out to be as erudite as her grasp of local lore and fine literature. I bought two books that day, one a collection of essays by Hunter S. Thompson, who I had never heard of (but was curiously drawn to the cover of the book), and the other a biography of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard the pirate, who haunted the Outer Banks when he wasn’t pillaging on the high seas. I plopped down in one of the thickly padded chairs and read the Thompson book for an hour, during which time I became a lifelong fan, both of Hunter and Haydn. I've returned to that bookstore every summer that I could make it back to the Outer Banks. Like surf fishing, climbing the dunes at Jockey's Ridge and grilling fresh seafood outdoors the way it was meant to be prepared, rolling into Manteo Booksellers remains a cherished tradition.

I mention these memories because when life gets too heavy and I’m inclined to kick random strangers in the ass as I stroll down the street, I know it’s high time that I get myself down to the seaside and breathe some salty air and listen to Haydn and re-read Thompson’s The Great Shark Hunt, which my goofy 14-year-old self had assumed was a seafaring adventure with killer fish (Jaws had been released just two summers before). Instead, it turned out to be a pirate’s story not unlike that of old Blackbeard, with heavy infusions of drugs and alcohol. The die was cast. From that moment forward I was a troublemaker, too, damn you Dr. Gonzo.

If it was not already hot enough on the Outer Banks in August, I've raised enough hell on those beaches through the years to make the mercury bleed from the thermometer. I am proud of such things and would do them again. On the downside, the cost of a week on the coast has spiked precipitously since I first went roaming around Manteo and Nag's Head, buying books and guzzling beers, but a beach vacation is in at least one respect like divorce: Why so expensive? Because it's worth it.

These thoughts of endless summers long gone also spring to mind today because I saw a survey that shows more than 20 percent of small business owners, of which I am one, would rather forego a day of vacation than go without their smartphones for a week. Ridiculous. Always bucking the trend, I tell you with conviction that I will smash my smartphone – and yours, too – if it gets me an extra day of vacation.

Ah, but these are the idle speculations of a man in desperate need of a tech-free holiday. So into the trunk goes the fishing pole and a canvas bag of books, the old leather duffel and a spritz bottle of tanning solution. And maybe my laptop, because it has a DVD drive for movies, which ostensibly is what this blog is supposed to be about. First stop: the cold beverage section of the nearest grocer for essential provisions. Fuck all this landlocked inertia. Hi-diddle-de-dee, a pirate's life for me.

Baby, it’s time for lime. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Cinema Uprising values comments and feedback from readers. Although we cannot reply to every message, we do read comments and take your thoughts into consideration as we continuously produce fresh content.