Fear and Loathing


John Minson

It is with a certain amount of regret that I inform you, Hunter S Minson is missing. Regret tinged with relief, I confess, because CRASH’s very own gonzo hack can also be a prime pain in the posterior. But mainly regret, because for all his failings, life is never dull when Minson is around.

But we are currently Mins-less. He has gone AWOL before, vanishing for days on beastly binges of the most hedonistic kind. I have no doubt that he will turn up again soon. Let’s just hope that he does nothing criminal. And God save those sober citizens who come into contact with him.

I have known Minson for years, acting as his personal assistant. Many’s the time he has handed me a garbled cassette tape with a curt instruction to “Make sense of this goddamn crap!” I’ve edited his most recent ramblings in an attempt to explain his disappearance.

I pick up the story with Minson continuing his quest for for sherbert. Once he’s on a sherbert binge there is little one can do but humour him. But let Minson tell the story...

“There is nothing remotely Swiss about Llamas, but then again there is nothing remotely Swiss about Swiss Cottage in North London, so it was probably a logical place for the lig to launch the Hewson/Jeff Minter marriage.

“Minter, you mumble, equals Commie-unist. Quite right. And what was I doing in such unsalubrious circles, other than watching the fleshy white, wobbly bits of overweight Holiday Inn-habitants as they used the exercise bikes in the pool next door? Well, I’d heard rumours that this was a likely source of sweet satisfaction.

“I quickly cornered the very blonde and very beautiful Julia Coombs and quizzed her about the Fizz Connection, but all she would talk about was forthcoming Hewson releases.

“One of these goes by the name of City Slicker. It allows you to roam round all my favourite London haunts in search of the bomb disposal kit that will stop a latter day Guy Fawkes blowing up the Houses of Parliament — though why you’d want to hinder a public benefactor is beyond me!

“You can actually enter some of the London landmarks, though the Holsten No 1, home of so many great Hewson launches, is sadly not among them. Pity as a game of grab-the-free-food-and-avoid-the-drunken-hack could have been most amusing!

“The Swiss Cottage nosh was great though, and the blue cheese and grape sandwiches were powerful enough to melt your socks (in fact, socks is what they smelt like!) but not powerful enough for me. My system craved a greater stimulant and, good ol’ Hewson... my prayer was granted.

“As is usual on Hewson ligs, all of us hacks were handed our own little press packs containing a plastic toy and something to munch on during the long journey back to town... rather like Santa’s grotto!

“Well, this being a Minter extravaganza, we all got plastic sheep or rams (cue RAM pack wobble jokes). Then, as I dived down to scrape the bottom of the sack, what other fitting souvenir did I find? None other than the required white powder; encased in candy flying saucers that tasted like expanded polystyrene. My joy was complete. I guzzled the lot before Baker Street.”

Amanda Barry, who looks rather like she would make a worthy competitor in a Hunter S Minson eating competition, gets her teeth into her new job as Ariolasoft’s Press Officer. Press Officer? Dangerous thing to be when Hunter S is about...

At this stage Minson’s ramblings become incomprehensible. Under the influence of the deadly sherbert he dictated the following. I have made no attempt to translate into anything resembling English.

“Right... get this. I’m going to King’s College in London, berk. No, Berk. BERK!!! Hero of a new TV show, Trapdoor. Launching it all today. I’m on my way.”

(There is a break in the tape as he steps into a taxi.)

“King’s College. Great Hall of some sort, full of cuddly toys and kiddies’ wellies, with a big TV screen at one end and what do we have here? Mandy! Hi!”

(At this stage Mandy Keyho of Piranha can be heard talking to an unidentified companion.)

“Oh no! Look who it is. Yes, the one we digitised ... Well, show him the game then.”

(Dialogue, mostly indistinct, as Minson examines the Trapdoor game.)

“Jeesus! This is great. Are you getting all of this. This is the best animation I’ve ever seen on the Spectrum. This is brilliant. I just can’t believe it...

“Try to explain. .. make some sense of this, Laszlo ... cut that last bit ... and that too ... you know what I mean. Right ... go again. You have to control Berk, a BIG sprite. BIIIG! Make him follow the orders of the master upstairs. Things like getting some eyeball crush.

“Eyeball crush. Reminds me... I’m thirsty. See you later, Mandy.”

(An audible sigh of relief.)

“Hey Cookie. Come here. Isn’t this going to be big. BIIIIGG! Hey what’s the food like?”

Once again the tape becomes virtually incomprehensible, but using the latest scientific techniques I managed to deduce the following. The food was excellent, in particular a walnut meringue gateau. Minson and his companion entered upon an eating competition.

“Five pieces. I’ve never seen anything like it. They should call you Trapdoor...”

At this point the tape ran out and so did Minson, into the traffic of the Strand, totally deranged on a deadly mix of meringue and the lingering effects of sherbert.

And that has been all, apart from a garbled phone call at 4.07am last Tuesday.

“Hey Laszlo, you old crud. How are ya? You’ll never guess. Hawaii. Wild times, I can tell you. Surfers everywhere. And the waves. Wild...

“But let me tell you. Somebody just shipped me a copy of some other Commie publication. ZZAP or KKRAP or something. Have you seen it. HAVE YOU SEEN IT? Take a look then! Some squid called The Shadow tries to slag me off.

“No, of course I’m not going to sue. I might do them physical harm, but sue... no way! I could slag myself off better than that. They’ve missed out on everything. Been reduced to fabricating stories. It’s pathetic!

“And hiding behind that pseudonym. Well, I knows that the Shadow’s nose is just in front of his Thalamus, but I can keep the Lid-on.

“Laszlo, listen. Gotta go. Going harpoon fishing. Caught a Californian kid on a surfboard yesterday. Cooked him myself. Had him for dinner.”

Whether Minson was actually in Hawaii remains unclear. However it is expected that he will reappear in time for that spectacle that makes the decline of Rome look like a vicarage tea party, the PCW show!

Laszlo Sandow