I’m Loving Aliens Instead
April 19, 2008 5:52 AM   Subscribe

“He'd speak wistfully about some future day when he'd have less work on and could investigate the paranormal for real. And now that day has come.” Jon Ronson attends a UFO conspiracy conference with Robbie Williams. Compare and contrast, Dan Aykroyd.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (31 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I spent a week sending emails: "Dear Lady X, I've read that, if the portrait in your drawing room is moved, a ghost is apparently disturbed and manifests itself. The pop star Robbie Williams would like to spend a night in a haunted house and so I wonder whether he and I can pay a private visit."
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 6:09 AM on April 19, 2008


Apparently, a woman tells Ayda, a number of conference attendees spotted a battle between two giant reptilian beings in the desert outside the hotel the other night .

The Robbie Williams story is awesome.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 6:18 AM on April 19, 2008


Wow. Aliens coming to earth? Not suuuuch a stretch. Aliens coming to earth because Keith Richards is from here??? Dan Akroyd is officially off his rocker. And also: he has webbed toes?!?

Fantastic post, as are all posts that are truly deserving of the batshitinsane tag.
posted by nosila at 6:36 AM on April 19, 2008


All right...I think I should post the quote. And there are so many more gems.

"They may have gelatinous pools and crystal mountains and they've got the technology to flip from planet to planet or dimension to dimension but, you know, Keith Richards didn't come from there."
posted by nosila at 6:38 AM on April 19, 2008


None of you find it likely that the aliens consider Homme a l'héroïne a delightful dessert dish?
posted by Flunkie at 7:00 AM on April 19, 2008


Dan Akroyd is apparently "one of the greatest minds in our world at this time" , and aliens are visiting us because, "they don't dance like Mick Jagger"?


Sorry....Dan has obviously been on a crazy journey of inner discovery since we last saw him.



My favourite celeb alien story has always been about Shaun Ryder, lead singer of the Happy Mondays, who claims that aliens helped him quit heroin. Unfortunately this is a man who can't remember if he once played a concert in front of 200'000 Brazilians or not.
posted by munchbunch at 7:02 AM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


As a long-time Port Vale supporter he's used to putting his faith in the unlikely and downright impossible.
posted by Abiezer at 7:02 AM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Robbie never spoke to Acorah again, but he persevered with psychics for a while. He met one he liked a lot more, but then one night over dinner the man told Robbie that he wasn't only a leading psychic, he was also "one of only eight people outside Japan ever to be awarded a samuraiship". He said if anything were to happen in Japan, he would have to drop his psychic career "and fly over there to protect the emperor". After dinner Robbie did a bit of research and discovered that nobody has been awarded a samuraiship since 1872 and that "samuraiship" isn't even a real word."

Hilarious. Jon Ronson rocks.
posted by afx237vi at 7:24 AM on April 19, 2008


Thank you for this. Following a few links led me to this youtube post, with this gem of a comment:

If i'm not mistaken. They are using Zero G gravity or point Zero Gravity. Thats why it is twirling about like that. this was developed about 60million years ago from studying a black-hole. There may be other facts on this. People pls post them.

I love the internet sometimes.
posted by kisch mokusch at 7:32 AM on April 19, 2008


I once reviewed Dan Akroyd Unplugged on UFOs, and kept my copy around to win any "weirdest DVD" bets that might arise. It is very, very weird. He has all sorts of theories about their propulsion systems and all that.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:55 AM on April 19, 2008


A couple years ago, my wife and sister-in-law and her boyfriend visited Chicago for a long weekend. We hit the Field Museum, the aquarium, the Billy Goat, the Art Institute, all the touristy stuff. Cold as hell, but we had a great time.

The night before we left, we walked over to 10 Pin. Neat place. Anyway, we were having dinner before bowling and watching music videos on the big screens over the bowling lanes. A few of the screens on the far side of the place were showing some strange clips of blurry UFO footage and Dan Aykroyd talking. We didn't really think much of it, and were mainly dividing our focus between our dinner, the videos and a loud domestic dispute between some sleazeball and his phenomenally drunk girlfriend.

We finished dinner and went to get our bowling shoes, and then it happened. Aykroyd was there, ringed by 30 or 40 people and talking animatedly. Someone plugged his mike into the PA system; his voice filled the entire alley, at which point we realized he was talking about "hot rods of the gods". No, seriously; he used that phrase. He went on for a couple more minutes about how the government was going to have to come clean about this because so many people were seeing these thing and the subsequent enlightenment "they" were going to bring us, then thanked his audience and went bowling. The video screen at the end of the alley flashed: "Dan Aykroyd: Unplugged on UFOs."

It was probably the most surreal experience of my life, and totally made our weekend. Thanks for reminding me of it w/this post.
posted by cog_nate at 8:08 AM on April 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Dan thought Ghostbusters was a documentary." - Attributed to Bill Murray
posted by dansdata at 8:25 AM on April 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Dan has obviously been on a crazy journey of inner discovery since we last saw him.

AFAIK, he's always been crazy. I know for sure that I heard this about him at least 10 years ago, possibly longer.

But here's what I don't get: What about projects like Coneheads or, as noted by dansdata, Ghostbusters? If he's serious about aliens and ghosts, why make fun? (Yes, ha ha, he thinks they are documentaries. I don't think so.)

Actually, now that I think about it, neither Coneheads nor Ghostbusters makes fun of believers. If anything, non-believers are the goats. Huh.
posted by DU at 8:43 AM on April 19, 2008


Not all who hold unusual beliefs are so humorless as to be incapable of laughing at themselves/their beliefs. Except maybe Richard Dawkins.
posted by lyam at 8:57 AM on April 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow. That's a really big Twinkie.
posted by loquacious at 9:11 AM on April 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Damn you, loquacious!
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:29 AM on April 19, 2008


What unusual belief does Dawkins hold?
posted by DU at 9:54 AM on April 19, 2008


Jon Ronson's Them: Adventures with Extremists is one of the best books I've ever owned. I keep giving copies away to people...

There are so many great scenes, but I think my favorite is the David Icke section where they have a huge debate about whether "shape shifting blood drinking intergalactic lizards" means "shape shifting blood drinking intergalactic lizards" or is really a codeword for "international Jewish conspiracy." I think a lot of sane people just aren't comfortable with how insane other people can be, so they try to rationalize or make sense of insane beliefs... but no, Icke isn't lying speaking metaphorically: he really believes the entire Bush family has the power to grow a tail as needed.
posted by Kiablokirk at 10:36 AM on April 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I like that Ickes shape shifting lizards go back at least as far as Robert E. Howard - "Ka nama kaa lajerama!"
posted by Artw at 12:24 PM on April 19, 2008


I'm a little suprised that Psi Factor: Psi Factor - Chronicles of the Paranormal, Peter Aykroyds project with each episode presented in over serious fashion by Dan Aykroyd (usually wearing a coat and wandering through the X Files woods) isn't getting a mention.
posted by Artw at 12:30 PM on April 19, 2008


"Gozer the Gozerian... good evening. As a duly designated representative of the City, County and State of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension!"

I probably reference that movie at least a couple times a week.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:24 PM on April 19, 2008


Thanks fearfulsymmetry! I loved the Ronson article. It's also nice to see that Robbie Williams seems fairly sane. Also, Jon Ronson is a major freak magnet. I have weird things happen around me with some reliability but Ronson seems be a gravitational sinkhole for the bizarre.
posted by Kattullus at 1:39 PM on April 19, 2008


Considering the life he's led, "fairly sane" is pretty good. :) This is a wealthy man looking to prove something he wants to be true; a common story. Fortunately for him, that mostly involves flying around the world, talking to whackjobs, con artists, skeptics and scientists, and looking through telescopes, staying up late, viewing the remains of melted aluminum cans, chicken bones, the anodized buckshot pellet a doctor dug out of Billy-Jim's prostate that he insists is a sophisticated tracking device, etc. It needn't be expensive. Robbie could possibly spend as much as $10 million on UFO-chasing if he went all-out, and he's got over $100 million to his name. He seems savvy enough to do as Leonard Nimoy did and make a documentary series to get his money back out of it, too.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:54 PM on April 19, 2008


There should be some kind of generic single for this kind of thing...

Side A: Being a celebrity really sucks!
Side B: He;s a wacky beleif system that helps me deal with it.
posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on April 19, 2008


Great post. Ronson's article is brilliant, as usual. He has an uncanny knack for making you feel for people, in odd situations, that you would normally scoff at. Robbie Williams believes in aliens, yet I actually like him a bit now because of that.
posted by Elmore at 2:35 PM on April 19, 2008



He approaches the table. "Hi, darling," he says, "I'm Rob. Can I buy a book from you? Will you sign it for me? How is Jason these days? Is he happy? Has he got many friends?"

"No," Ann says, "Jason doesn't have many friends at all. In fact, it's been awful, really. He's socially shunned."

"When did this social shunning begin?" Robbie asks. "What age?"

"I suppose it was when my first book about him came out," Ann replies, "when he was 14. He lost all his friends at school. Nobody wanted to know him. And, of course, word got around the small village where we live. It got very nasty."


Of course it did. Why would you do that to your kid, even if you fervently believed everything was true? Her 14 year old son. Christ.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:03 PM on April 19, 2008


DU writes "But here's what I don't get: What about projects like Coneheads or, as noted by dansdata, Ghostbusters? If he's serious about aliens and ghosts, why make fun? (Yes, ha ha, he thinks they are documentaries. I don't think so.) "

Well, I'm guessing they did pay him fairly well, at least by the time he was doing Ghostbusters.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:19 PM on April 19, 2008


Wow, Robbie Williams seems so much more human after having read that article. Human, and not without intelligence.
posted by Locative at 3:01 AM on April 20, 2008


Good post... I always dig that dude, Ronson.

The end of the article mentions a radio version of this story... anyone know where I can find it?
posted by ph00dz at 7:02 AM on April 20, 2008


The end of the article mentions a radio version of this story... anyone know where I can find it

It's not broadcast until May 6... after that I assume it'll be on Radio 4's website via the iplayer (not sure if that's UK only though)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:32 AM on April 21, 2008


I'm very sceptical about the existence of Robbie Williams.
posted by Brian Lux at 10:14 AM on April 21, 2008


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