Letters From Ralph Steadman – April 2005

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these are the buttons that I was selling

I sell a lot of buttons on Ebay. Since buttons of Hunter S. Thompson do so well, I decided to scan some drawings of Hunter S. Thompson from a Ralph Steadman book. Ralph Steadman is the artist who has illustrated a few of Hunter S. Thompson’s books. Just a week after selling my very successful Ralph Steadman buttons, I got an angry email from Ralph Steadman himself! It said…

Do you do not have authority to offer my work for sale.? please remove this item from ebay…..

After checking the Ebay account that this message was written from, I decided that this actually was from the real Ralph Steadman. What an honor, to be chewed out by the famous Ralph Steadman! So I wrote back to him.

Before Hunter died, he said (and I quote), “Brad, you’re welcome to sell that pigfucker’s art in the form of buttons any time you want.” So you see, Hunter would have wanted it this way. You really don’t want to go against a dying man’s wishes, do you?


My response didn’t set well with Ralph. He replied…

He wasn’t dying, you thieving bastard- he shot himself!!

Hunter S. Thompson had shot himself in the head just a month before all of this. I noticed that he sent a carbon copy of that email to his publisher in America. Since I was in contact with the one and only Ralph Steadman, I decided to try and use this to my advantage to maximize my Ebay profits. I wrote back to Ralph, asking for his help.

Hey Ralph, do you think if I sent you a whole bunch of these Ralph Steadman art buttons, could you autograph them for me and send them back so I can make more money on them? Please let me know! Or if not, perhaps you could send me an autographed cease & desist letter? I could probably get mad bids on that too!

Thanks! And I’m sorry to hear about your friend shooting himself.


After a whole day of not hearing from back from Ralph, I started to feel bad for stealing his work, trying to exploit him for more money and then making fun of his dead friend. Call me a softie. So before bed that night, I wrote Ralph the following email.

I was just kidding in my previous emails. The auction ends tomorrow and after it ends I promise not to sell those buttons anymore. I’m actually a big fan of your work – I own all of your books and even a print of The Alchemist.

Your favorite thieving bastard,

The next morning I awoke to find a new email from Ralph. He seemed to be in much better spirits this time.

Oh, shit! Brad

I’ve just sent the Hell’s Angels over to your place to have a little word or two about deep morality issues. Shall I call them off then??

Bless your heart. You made me laugh just in the nick of time…..


GULF WAR - Dangerous Clown

Attached to that email was a picture of some of his artwork which you see above. So it appears that me and Ralph are the best of friends now! Although he never did help me out by autographing any of my buttons. I think I might just send a set of them to Ralph anyway, though, for him to keep and remember me by.

If you’d like to learn a little more about Ralph Steadman and view (or even buy) all of his art, visit www.ralphsteadman.com. If you’d like to purchase a set of the Ralph Steadman Hunter S. Thompson buttons that I was selling on Ebay, send me $19.95 plus $2.50 for shipping and handling to P.O. Box…just kidding, Ralph!


  • Good on ya for getting some Ralph word action! Sometimes you have to be mean to keep ’em keen!

    Keep up the good work, mate!

  • hey i was wondering if you could help me out with something if you could. the picture in ralph steadman’s THE JOKE’S OVER on page 198, would you know the name of it? its a giant wave with surfing bloodsucking creatures. thanks for the help

  • Hi my names jaik and I read your emails exchanged between u and ralph steadman I am a huge fan of him and the late great HST I was wonderin if u could give me ralph’s email. I recently got a gonzo tribute tattoo and want a hst quote to go on with it but want it in ralphs writing and would like to ask him to help me out im not sum obssesive fan but a gonzo tat wouldnt. Be the same without ralphs writing

  • Sorry jaik, but I don’t have his email address anymore. This was in 2004 and I’ve discarded those emails years ago.

  • sounds like ralph steadmins is the tori amos of relatively obscure artsy nitwit hangers on….
    if you so much as even convert one TENTH of a KILOBYTE of a tori amos CD to mp3 or some other bittorrent-able format she immediately comes to your house and starts in with her acappella fave ‘me and a gun’….(because, you see, by potentially providing her music for free and robbing her of her precious royalties you are in essence RAPING her….)

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