It’s hard to keep track of perpetual man-in-motion, Hugh Gallagher. Where is he now? Who is he now? We know he is no longer Von Von Von the entertainer from Antwerp who once nailed his Apollo Theatre appearance. He’s no longer True Player the author of Hugh’s previous book, Yo Ching – Ancient Knowledge for Streets Today. Is he still writing ad copy for Nike and Adidas or have his fortunes turned south like much of the rest of world and he now has to smile while talking to executives from Converse and Underarmour? The horror.
I have no idea if Hugh is in Barcelona, Spain or back in Portland, Oregon. The former teenage viral sensation author of the College Application Essay was also a Bangkok keyboard-expat for a good long spell. All I know is, Hugh is worth trying to keep track of and his latest book is worth reading during these novel cornonavirus and riotous times.
Hugh, of course, is best known for his interview which ran in my second book, DIFFERENT DRUMMERS – BANGKOK BEAT REDUX, which you can read later on at this link: Writer and Showman Rolls the Dice. Hugh has also written other stuff under other names, if you are interested in gleaning the net for it. Hugh Gallagher has more distinct personalities than Sybil did in the 1970s. What else can you expect from a branding specialist who I hold personally responsible for me never buying a single item of anything bearing the name or colors of Tommy Hilfiger. Just Say No to Tommy Hilfiger, I say.
Presently, (and isn’t that the time that really matters?) Hugh has a new novel out called Chicken 65, originally published under, Hugh O’Neil but now changed to Hugh O’Neil Gallagher. I have taken the opportunity to post my review of that book below in the hopes of generating enough traffic to sell a book or two of my own. Hey, we are all self-interested in the long run. Enjoy!
Learn Things Only Grasped at High Speeds in Chicken 65
Hugh Gallagher was once a traditionally published novelist with a dust jacket blurb from Gore Vidal. Hugh now writes purely for the fame, fortune, and the chicks that come with being a writer today. His audience is mostly people who have never heard of Gore Vidal. They are not missing much but you will be if you don’t check out this plucky road-race journey in a car named Pablo Cruise, a road-race which dates back to the Vietnam War.
In Chicken 65 Gallagher has written a book about life, death, and all the fun and dangerous stuff that happens in-between. There is plenty of Thailand with its Land of Smiles qualities as well as other groovy parts of Southeast Asia, contrasted nicely with work-life in the Pacific Northwest or as I like to call it, the Land of Microagressions.
The narrative is a transformative one, which the author shares skillfully with his readers. For me the book is about following your curiosity with all the risks and rewards that come from doing that. Upon finishing Chicken 65 in three sittings, the Jefferson Airplane song, White Rabbit was buzzing in my head. Coincidence? No. The White Rabbit and the Chicken in Chicken 65 are brethren or maybe sistren for some Portland folks but they are definitely in the same family of curiosity. There is indeed a Lewis Carroll THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS quality to the novel, complete with equally memorable characters. The protagonist is solidly single Rich Archer on the tail end of his tail-hunting time in Thailand. Chicken 65 is a chaotic fantastical diversion from the chaotic reality of life in 2020.
The story has a Cannoball Run meets Boogie Nights quality to it. If Mark Wahlberg were not pushing 50 I’d cast him in the film version of Chicken 65 but there is probably an unknown to me Generation Y star in Hollywood that would better fit the bill. There is plenty of autobiographical material from the author’s five-year stint living and working in Thailand and I was initially apprehensive about that, but the story arc transforms at warp speed and concludes wisely.
The author is a borderline A-list writer without, so far, all that cumbersome A-list income. The question I have for Hugh O’Neil Gallagher is, why are you still writing novels and not screenplays? Chicken 65 will be a fun read for those who have taken the road less traveled, people who are stuck WFH nowadays or people who just like to text WTF a lot. A hilarious and lengthy Asian journey with no shortcuts taken by the author. Don’t wait for the movie – buy the book today and find your place in the sun along the way. Five Stars.