I went with two friends to see Jon Ronson speak at the IFI last Saturday morning. I had little expectation of his appearance – I knew that he was working on a film about George Exoo (want to die early? I’ll help ya!) and has a new collection of essays coming out, based on his column. He said that he couldn’t show the clip from his new film about the US suicide-assister because he had had a strained conversation with Channel 4 (who commissioned the film) about this clip beforehand. You see Exoo is wanted here in Scary Eire – the subject of an extradition warrant for helping to kill some citizens of Eire. The Government doesn’t like this and slapped a warrant on his arse. (Lots of ass and arse here right now, I apologise.)
Jon felt that showing the film would get Channel 4 into trouble and feared that the Irish Government would get legal given the attempt at extraditing the American. The audience pleaded but to no avail. Fair enough but surely he may have foreseen this before the session on Saturday? Then he tried to show a clip from a film he had made about the archives that Stanley Kubrick kept at his home near St Alban’s in London. He told a good tale about how he came to get to making this documentary and this was enjoyable. This clip was on DVD and when played, skipped all over the place and so remained unwatchable. This was more disappointing. I am a big fan of Kubrick and Ronson told the story that after he made a documentary on the Holocaust back in the mid-1990s, Kubrick’s assistant had asked Ronson to come and talk with the great man. This was also about the first time I heard about Jon Ronson. See? Me, Stanley and Jon.
He was also really wary that Warner Bros were going to take him to the cleaners for using footage from this documentary. They own the archive after all and he remains – it seems in perpetuity – their artist. Ronson was also wary – he gets wary a lot – that bloggers would get hold of the whole Exoo thing and create a big fuss. He even asked if anyone in the hundred strong audience had a ‘blog. I remained with both hands by my side. He is a funny writer but I was disappointed that he still has a problem with bloggers and had not really done any preparation for this visit to the IFI.