Louis Theroux – The Call of the Weird

Have just finished reading Louis Theroux – The Call of the Weird. Very odd book. The basic premise is that he goes back and revists some of the people he met and filmed in America during his various tv shows, and finds out what has happened to them. A varied and disperate bunch, UFOlogists, prostitutes, porn stars, rappers, white supremacists, and Ike Turner.


What he seems to find is that not much has changed. Perhaps each persons beliefs and world views have mellowed slightly with age. And that his “attraction” to them has lessened as well. His documentaries always tried to find an angle of what was likeable about a person, away from, even despite of what they believed in. The impression that is left overall, and he admits as much, is that he just isn’t as drawn to the weird as he once was. He states this in his epilogue, but it maybe didn’t even need saying.

I was a big fan of his tv work, and whilst the book itself covers the same ground, and adds detail, I think it lacks the sharpness of the verbal exchanges he would often have with his subjects. Often he would dare to ask them to their faces what you would be thinking, but not in a manner that instantly suggested to them he was just telling them they were wrong. In print, he has to admit to those misgivings in much more depth immediately, and I think this is where it doesn’t work as well.

It was an interesting read, I charged through it in a couple of evenings, but I just didn’t quite get into it. Dirt cheap now on Amazon though if you fancy a look for yourself.