“I can tell you how the World Trade Centre came down. I served in the Special Armed Forces, the Secret Service, I know all the world bankers. I know the cure to breast cancer. I could become a very wealthy man.”
The rant’s coming thick and fast, low and sexual, delivered with a prowling gait. It’s surprisingly succinct and coherent, with a bitter little twist.
No, it’s not David Icke, it’s a bloke on the 86 tram. Pacing up and down with straggly hair falling around his face like Jesus. Or Frank from Shameless. Once he’s jumped off, everybody breathes a sigh of relief – so presumably they’re not en route to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre like me.
Today Icke’s talking for nine hours on his The Lion Sleeps No More tour, brought out by a company called Positive Path. You know David Icke – the Pommy goalkeeper-turned-Green-Party-pollie-turned-New-Age-conspiracy-theorist. The one with the lizards. The giant, blood-sucking lizards that are running our governments, our media and our minds. Their number include George Bush, the Queen and Willie Nelson. Yes? Now?
I was expecting something slick and unnerving. like Tom Cruise in Magnolia. Instead I’ve got a pot-bellied, slightly peeved, nutty professor – albeit one with crazy eyes. Icke’s self-deprecating humour (in the sense that he’s decided to laugh at himself before you get a chance to) covers all his humiliations: his cruel dressing down on British talk show Wogan (YouTube it), his “turquoise period” (during which he moved his clairvoyant mistress into the family home, called himself the “son of the godhead” and would only wear turquoise in an effort to attract Universal positivity), his dabblings with psychoactive plants (could he be seeing the same giant lizards Hunter S Thompson saw?), and Richard Dawkins’ persistent poking fun at him. In fact, his motto is “Still crazy after all these years”. You can even get the T-shirt.
As the story goes, Icke lost his mind back in 1990, when a psychic told him he’d say things that would change the world as we knew it. He found himself called to Peru, where he had an awakening atop a mountain, so powerful that he found himself drilled into the ground in a Christ-like pose, with the elements rushing in to baptise him. Ever since, he’s been refining and refining his theory: that the human race is neck-deep in a triple conspiracy to keep us dumb, while giant reptilians from the star system Alpha Draconis manipulate our reality.
As allegories for modern society, some scholars point out, Icke’s theories are brilliant. But, the same scholars concede, he’s probably not talking allegories.
Or is he?
Or is he?
The first third of today’s proceedings, anyway, fucks us gently.
In a seamless flow of rhetoric, Icke pulls apart religion, the monarchy, the CIA, mindless television, the Lord Mayor’s reaction to Occupy in Melbourne and blind adhesion to a rat race existence, overseen by sinister, shadowy overlords. Icke has logical explanations for UFOs, astrology, palmistry, crystal therapy, chakras, numerology and all the New Agery I’m highly dubious about, but explains so fast I have no time to keep filtering back through his claims and cross-referencing. Still, learning physics at school also required a massive suspension of disbelief that I don’t even remember having to hoist. The ‘big bang theory’. Really? Icke laughs in the face of it.
Moving on, Icke paces the stage restlessly and talks of us using our senses to decode vibrations and electromagnetic energy, one minute painting us as computers living in a virtual reality not of our own making (cue plentiful references to The Matrix and examples of how 3D holographic images are increasingly used in the media – implying we can’t be sure of what’s real), the next as slaves to the left side of our brains (New Agers employ the right). “Don’t trust your thoughts; you are not your thoughts,” he’s saying; shouting, actually. But whereas that’s a mantra of modern-day psychologists and mindfulness practitioners, Icke means our thoughts are literally being inserted into our heads – by THEM.
As a slow drip feed of information, it all seems perfectly reasonable, whereas if he’d leapt from “while you’re watching Deal Or No Deal things are happening without your consent” to “we are all holograms projected from the edge of space” in one fell swoop, well, I’d have laughed.
So this is how mind control – the very type he warns us of – works: careful attrition of what you think you’re sure of. No wonder some extra-conspiratorial conspiracy theorists reckon Icke’s a double agent, a right-wing rube – he’s got the tactics down pat.
Three hours in, we broke for lunch and I kept on walking. I felt like I was betraying Icke – and I’ll never know for sure who THEY were – but sitting still for longer than this for any reason makes my head explode, Scanners-style.
And while he may approve of that actuality, I don’t think he’d want me for one of his lions.