Fear and Loathing

John Minson


What has that incompetent sonuvabitch Laszlo been ranting on about??? I vanish in search of the hottest story of my life and he’s writing my obituary. A shock to the system of my many readers, I’m sure, so let me tell you what happened...

I was wandering round the departure lounge of LA International Airport, waiting for them to announce the flight for Mexico. Normally I wouldn’t have bothered with the bookstore, but one of the airport security guards had started to eye me in a suspicious fashion and it seemed like a good idea to blend into the scenery... which isn’t easy when you’re wearing a green and lilac Hawaian shirt and orange and blue shorts!

Well, what should I find nestling on the racks but the early, international edition of CRASH, which contained the libellous remarks you read in the last issue. Deciding to forego the luxury of the finest chilli known to mankind, I slipped into the queue for the London bound plane. I’d tried to avoid it, but it looked like I was needed at the PCW Show!

The plane touched down at four in the morning, having been struck by lightning several times as it crossed the pond. Even for a seasoned traveller it was a hairy ride, and one or two people got hysterical, but I just charged another Bloody Mary or three to the CRASH account and weathered it. After all, if you’re going to go down you might as well do it with a drink in your hand!

I spent the rest of the morning in a daze. I seem to remember a misunderstanding involving a taxi driver whose parentage I brought into question. Anyhow, the point is that I didn’t roll up at the Hewson lunch till the early afternoon, too late for Andrew’s little speech.

Actually, for once I’m glad I missed this latter-day Churchill. I have my doubts about the Hewson sanity! I mean, they’d bedecked their suite in full Christmas style, tree included. It caused a certain feeling of paranoia as I began to wonder just how long I’d been in that taxi!!!

The point of it all is that anybody who orders a game directly from the big H gets a free Crimbly gift. Quite what gift, they weren’t saying. I’d settle for nothing less than a signed photo of the gorgeous Julia Coombs.

As I wandered out of the Hewson suite, in search of further fun of a more seasonal nature, I was set upon. Now of course I expect to be set upon at PCW, but not quite so early into the affair. And who was my assailant? Why, none other than Mr Flat Top himself, Andy Wright. Apparently he took exception to something I wrote and wanted to stifle the freedom of the press. This he planned to do by unscrewing my nipples!

I dived for cover in the Argus binge, narrowly avoiding the grasp of the bearded bouncer who bore a strange resemblance to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special Envoy, Terry Waite. That could only mean it was Dave Carlos. Unluckily, the stocky one failed to prevent my pursuer diving into the melee after me.

What followed isn’t a pleasant story. Into a room full of earnest young software types, all doing business and showing their latest games to serious journalists, burst Minson, shouting obscenities at the blond bombshell. Peter Holme of ASP was even moved to call Andy a ‘software yob’. Steady there, Peter. This was mild by comparison with what was to follow!

Mindful that discretion is the better part of Valerie, I took refuge behind the skirt of a woman. Only there was something funny about this particular skirt, it was tight. Taut, even. And it was black. Pneumatic. RUBBER!!!

“Hi, Jane,” I smiled, trying to act as cool as any man who has just had his nipples twisted can be. The smile that shone back was the best thing I’d seen since touchdown.

“Hello, darling, would you like to furniture polish my bottom?” asked la dolce Smith. “It has to be done every half hour or I end up with fingermarks all over my behind.” Maybe it was going to be a good PCW after all...

Hunter S is no longer missing... anything other than a Bloody Mary, anyway. He’s back — as this PCW Show snap avec champagne reveals

Finally reaching Olympia itself I met up with my long standing colleague, Leslie B Bunder. Let me say here and now, that L B is a well respected journalist and I’m proud to know him.

His reputation on the Washington Post was second to none... though he never gained quite the same name for his stirling service on the Christmas Post here in London. L B had taken his place on the Beyond stand, waiting for that one big story. It’s not every day you see this sort of devotion to duty. Meanwhile, I decided to roam...

Drunker by the minute, thanks to some classic Baxter hospitality, I wandered in a daze, bumping into a bearded chap who claimed to be Graeme Kidd. Could this really be the same man who once sported a number one crop and DMs? Obviously his position as a responsible publishing executive has done strange things to him.

What else? Mandy Keyho of Piranha invited me for a midnight dip, though as the suggested pool was the piranha infested tank on their stand I made an excuse and left, just in time to bump into Mikro-Gen’s Mike Meek, sporting a new suit every bit as flash as the company’s new logo. Obviously Mike’s been taking my style hints after all!

On seeing my poor, bloodshot eyes, hunky Tom Watson of Odin and Firebird gave me a pair of shades so dark that they were opaque. Then he led me out into the middle of the main road and left me there! Seeking sanctuary I slipped upstairs, to a small side chamber where I found Peter Probert of Micronet cast adrift, without even a phone line to his name. Taking pity on him I sat and sipped a little wine and we got happily horizontal together.

And on it went. On and On. On and on and on and... I was on a beach, the surf washing around my feet. It had all been a nightmare!

And then I woke up, lying in the gutter outside Olympia, and Jane Smith was pouring a bucket of water over my boots. “Come on,” she told me, “we’ve got to get a key cut.” And so we did... but that was quite definitely another story!!!

Yours in fear, loathing and traction

Hunter S Minson