The Gonzo New Year

Editor’s Note: The following was recieved this evening from an undisclosed location in the postal code of Zurich, Switzerland. The return address was scrowlled with GONZO and sent C.O.D. We accepted the charge, of course, for our man in Zurich has always come through on deadline, but this may be his last submission to the magazine. Our fact checkers are working overtime to track down the details, but it appears as though our correspondant in Europe has taken a vacation from his mind after the first day back in the office after the start of the New Year. Any information you can provide may prove invaluable to his safe return as a regular contributer to this fine publication.


The first work day of 2007 – I woke with some sort of deep hatred for the notion of any industrious or worthwhile pursuits in life. Why did I get out of bed? I should have hid there under the covers, locked the door and pulled the blinds and ridden out the first waves of fear and madness as the Hell of the New Year began to loom right straight in front of me.

Recoil…throw the demon back into its pit and board up the door to its lair. But this won’t do, trying to skip the New Year is like trying to ignore your birthday. We invented the concept of time – but God Dammit, why can’t we just turn the clocks off and stay in bed? This is the year of paradox and regret, you see – the culmination of my PhD nightmare is set for a finishing date in July of 2007 and I’m responsible for getting myself into it. How will it all play out? How will the beast develop?

You dropped my fool soul on this Earth dear Lord, and now I have to deal with it. Now there’s my mistakes to account for – July, Oh dear Lord, why did I tell them I’d have my PhD finished by July!!!! Nothing is quite so difficult and revolting to the mind and nerves than trying to smile at 8 a.m. and say "Frohes neues Jahr" to everyone at the office. Why yes, "a Happy New Year to you as well." You fall in love and everything is going great, that’s the time to freak out you see – that’s when the hammer comes cracking down and splits the fool head all across your white wall.

No padding on these, no sir – I haven’t’ been committed yet and am still allowed to roam free with all the healthy heads though rooms with solid walls and door frames. Yes…Happy fucking New Year. I’m screwed and making a B-line for the responsiblility-free environment of the nearest asylum, what’s your resolution? I know a phychiatrist you see, she’ll check me into a fine Swiss Head-Hospital, no questions asked.

The Great Shark Hunt – The Death of Ruben SalazarAztlan – and the ’72 Campaign Trail. Oh, why God, why did I read those fool articles. Thompson’s (Hunter S.) words fill your head with violent musings of vile words and aggressive sentence structures. A cookbook for bleak outlooks and depressive premonitions.

There’s no guarantee you see, no real concrete words are on any books anywhere saying that anything will work out in 2007. And why – Oh why God did I complicate matters by putting in that application for the research stay in Japan? A two month stay in Japan, and the dissertation is supposed to be finished and submitted before stepping on the plane. What if I’m actually accepted and sent to Tokyo? I’m too crazy to turn down a trip like that. Let’s not face the Bastard, let’s jump off the ship before the iceberg and airlift ourselves away to Greece.

Dude, Who Brought the Tear Gas?

So, the World Cup seems like a big deal over here in Europe. Especially so if you’re a Swiss soccer (excuse me, football) fan and you were in Zurich last Friday watching the Swiss team beat South Korea. I watched the game on an open air screen just off the Limmat river, the same one that flows through Zurich. In the summer it’s fun to take your clothes off and go swimming there at 2am after the bars get boring. After the game I felt tired, but also felt like checking out the city so I took my bike down to Bellevue, a popular location where a small soccer stadium was set up for devoted fans to watch the game in. For some reason it made me think of my college days at Michigan State University. In particular, the 1999 Final Four when folks took to the streets and started fires on Grand River, Bogue street, and various locales in East Lansing.

The crowds in Zurich
The crowd seemed happy enough. I was running around with a $1000 camera in my right hand and snapped off some shots of the crowd. Things seemed to be taking a turn for the more interesting when the crowd surged towards me and I could catch hints of fumes in the air. The police were gassing the crowd near the bridge and there seemed to be an exodus in the works. I started running as well, but got distracted by the guy in a cow suit.

 The cow suit guy

The police must have left because I couldn’t see any shooting tear gas stars floating through the night sky. But there were fools who were crazy enough to try and drive through the city. I was a bit worried when some spirited youths began rocking a van back and forth. I thought about getting in close for some photos, but I didn’t want the thing to tip over on me.

 Van rocking

For some reason though, I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe it was because the game didn’t mean anything to me. Or maybe I was just tired inside. Ah, so this is what getting old feels like. They call that maturity some would say. I just had no desire to view the riot and instead took the long refreshing bike ride home.

Zurich Soccer World Cup