In summary, the basic hallmarks of Gonzo journalism are:
- First-person narration.
- Dialogue complete with vernacular.
- Lots and lots and lots of detail.
Scenario 1 – You’re standing on a busy street corner. A car runs a red light, hitting a cyclist crossing the intersection.
It was pouring that night. I don’t know why I’d bothered with an umbrella. One gust of wind and it was gone – into the road and mangled by the rush hour traffic. Jeff ran up, desperately trying to keep hold of his hood.
“Finally! I’m bloody soaked.”
“What happened to your umbrella?” he demanded.
I pointed at the gutter where the tattered remains lay. “Down goes another one. Let’s go,” I said turning just a cyclist raced round the corner, spraying us with mud as he braked at the edge of the curb.
“Thanks mate,” Jeff growled.
“Yeh, ‘cause it makes a difference,” I laughed, holding my arms out. “We’re already drenched.”
“That’s not the point… rude bastard!”
I chuckled, shaking my head. Jeff’s got a right temper. I stepped forward as the lights turn red.
“Wait…” he said grabbing my hood, “You never go ‘til they’ve stopped round here.”
“Alright, alright. I got ya,” I said snatching my hood.
But it was too late for our cyclist-friend. We watched as a blue blur overtook the queue of traffic. Next thing, the cyclist was in the air and the bike disappeared under the car as it screeched to a standstill.
“He ain’t gonna have survived that,” said Jeff as a wave of people ran into the road – to help or just see what was going on.
I dialled 999, but waited back with Jeff. “There’s nothing we can do mate,” he said putting his hand on my shoulder.
An ambulance arrived shortly after and took the cyclist away. The crowd cleared and we all knew he was dead. He must be. He’d flown through the air like a rag doll. We waited as the police came and cordoned off the area. The driver was still sat in his car in a neck brace.
An officer walked over and asked if we’d seen anything. “Yeh, we saw the whole thing. He was right next to us,” I said, looking at the space where he’d been standing less than 20 minutes ago, “…He was right there.”
The officer turned to Jeff. “You never go until they’ve stopped round here,” Jeff said, shaking his head. “I said it just now, red light or not.”