Last night saw an interview styled evening with Jon Ronson and hosted by Michael Bradley (The Undertones) at Sandino’s in Derry. Jon Ronson, journalist, non-fiction author, humorist and documentary maker had the audience laughing from beginning to end!

Ronson opened the night with a story from 6 years ago which tells how he told his then 8 year old son the ‘worst swear word there is, is fuck’. His son Joel was adamant that there was a worse swear word. On returning home one day from a father/son day out, Joel asked his father again about the worst swear word. Jon spied a bottle of lemonade in the car and told Joel that there was a worse swear word and that it was ‘lemonee’. He warned the child never to repeat it! Joel went straight home and told his mother and then some friends. Jon felt guilty about lying to the child as time went on and considered owning up. One day Joel came into his father’s office and left saying only one word, ‘cunt’. Jon was speechless! Hearing Jon read this story brought tears to my eyes. It had such humour but also such love and affection for his child.

Ronson then proceeded to talk about his book The Psychopath Test and read some pieces from it, but was more inclined to tell the stories in his own words. He told us the story of Tony, a man who feigned madness to escape a prison sentence and was instead imprisoned at Broadmoor for 14 years. His plan failed! Jon met with Tony in prison and was intrigued by him. Jon was so taken in by Tony and many others that he set about learning just what a psychopath is really comprised off. This book compiles a list of what makes a psychopath!

Michael Bradley then introduced Ronson’s lastest work, Lost at Sea, a collection of stories which represent articles written by him about his adventures in interviewing eccentric personalities and meeting extraordinary people. The stories range from ones of madness, strange behaviour and mysterious events on the fringe of normality in western society. We hear about his travels in Cameroon with Ian Paisely, his time in LA with Robbie Williams and how Paul McKenna cured a personal fear of Ronson’s.

Each story is told with a love and vitality for life and a real interest in our fellow human being.

Jon Ronson had his audience on the edge of their seats with intrigue and laughing constantly at his compulsive humour. He says ‘I want to tell the truth about people’ and perhaps this is what makes his writing so compelling to read. His philosophy on life is ‘other than family, great adventures is what life’s all about’.

Jon Ronson left the Derry audience last night wondering just what we’re really capable of. He gave us a real thirst for more knowledge and insight into the human psyche. Definitely one of the finest comic writers and speakers today!