“EVERYWHERE you go, silence is being imposed,” warns famed conspiracy theorist David Icke approximately three hours into his 12-hour lecture, one of around 20 that make up his Worldwide Wake Up tour.
An hour later and I wish that were the case.
The event, filled with wide-eyed 30- and 40-somethings who chuckle and cheer and murmur “so true!” every few minutes, is not unlike being trapped at a party with that guy who seems kind of hot in a kind of earthy, crumpled way when he first sits down, only to leave you clawing at your own eyeballs 20 minutes later when he asks whether you’ve seen “the 9/11 truth documentary”. The whole thing is like a terrible Facebook post come to life.
Icke, a former football player and BBC sports presenter who has been pedalling his laboured theories for 26 years, is most famous for his belief that the world is controlled by hordes of reptilian humanoids. But he doesn’t get to that stuff until at least six hours in.
First, he lays into education.
“Schools are all about control,” he scoffs with his affable northern chuckle. “Algebra? Who’s ever used that since they left school?”
I flick my eyes to the majestic art deco ceilings of Sydney’s Town Hall and think, “the guy who designed this place, for starters.”
But the audience, who have each paid between $60 and $105 to be here, whoops their agreement, especially when Icke reassures them that just because they mightn’t have done well in school, doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
In fact they’re probably smarter than the kids who were top of the class, because those kids ended up enslaved to indignities like “having a job”, whereas those in the audience, the conscious ones with an expanded awareness, know that the earth is the holographic computer game being controlled by lizard-like devil worshippers who live on Saturn.
Once Icke’s dismissed education, scientists, doctors and the media, he ticks off the A-Z of new-age from the evils of vaccinations (fascism), fluoride (rots the pituitary gland) and homoeopathy (which works because water has its own consciousness).
He urges his audience to become “knowers” not “thinkers” — a directive they seem to have no trouble obeying.
Things get a touch confusing when Icke declares that global warming is a hoax, mass migration is destroying culture and that teaching gender fluidity in schools is all about — you guessed it — “control”.
Another ranting demagogue springs instantly to mind — Donald Trump — and I notice a few dreadlocked heads cocking sideways in confusion but overall the audience seems content to pick and choose the bits that speak to them.
Keen on the lizards but not so sure about tarot cards? Take what works for you.
“A lot of dots have been joined for me,” says Ronan Kelly, 34, during one of the three breaks in the marathon seminar.
“It’s so important to expand your consciousness.”
Barbara, 21, is also learning a lot but wishes there was a stronger focus on veganism.
“We’re ingesting so much fear from animals — veganism would solve everything he’s talking about,” she says.
By the time we make it to the lizard stuff (Icke’s evidence that Queen Elizabeth II is a lizard consists of a drawing where she looks a bit like a lizard), I’m struggling to decide whether I’m more angry that a crank like this is allowed to charge money for this lunacy, or simply exhausted.
I look around and wonder what the rest of the audience is going to do with their brand-new expanded consciousness. Start a charity? Help the underprivileged? Run for government to try and legislate for good? But deep down I know.
They’re going to bore people at parties.
– Alexandra Carlton is the Acting News Editor for Kidspot. Follow her on Twitter @Alex_Carlton