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Jon Ronson's most memorable interviews

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It’s fair to say that Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test has met some odd folk in his time. As his latest collection of interviews Lost At Sea is released, he talks us through his maddest meetings…

(Images: Rex Features)

The citizen crime fighter (Phoenix Jones)

“He's completely addicted to fighting crime, and therefore gets p*ssed off when he patrols Seattle and doesn't find any crime. Nothing was happening, so he took me to Belltown at 3am. Some scary armed crack dealers said to us, ‘If you don’t get off our block right away we’re getting our burner.‘ I just whispered, ‘What’s a burner?‘ I thought they meant a phone.”

The UFO-obsessed pop star (Robbie Williams)

“Robbie and I went UFO hunting in Nevada on Robbie’s private plane. Robbie massively empathises with alien abductees because he says that when he joined Take That, it was like being abducted because nobody treated him normally any more. He told me he had invited Derek Acorah for dinner and that the next week the papers ran a story saying ‘I helped Robbie contact his dead gran!’ To escape his life, Robbie took a journey into the paranormal world – only for them to rip him off there as well.”

The quiz show cheat (Charles Ingram)

“His great fear in life was being made to look stupid. It was pathological – a guiding force in his life. When I met him in court he was wearing Mensa badges. I felt that he wanted to try to prove he was the sort of person who was clever enough to legitimately win a million pounds.”

The hardcore hip-hop band (Insane Clown Posse)

“They were America’s nastiest band, and for 20 years they sang about shooting sluts in the head. Then they announced that they were actually evangelical Christians and had been putting hidden religious messages in their songs. They explained their song Miracles to me: ‘Have you ever seen an elephant? A f*cking elephant is a miracle, you f*cking idiot.’ I think they’re quite confused.”

The reclusive director (The ghost of Stanley Kubrick)

“Kubrick [below] was a hoarder. When I was invited to his house in 2001, two years after he died, I discovered that he had kept every fan letter. Each ‘fan box‘ contains perhaps 50 orange folders marked with the name of a town or city, and arranged alphabetically. Kubrick wrote F-P on the positive ones, F-N on the negative ones and F-C on the crazy ones. He kept them in a crank box in case he was killed.”

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