- Politics and Social Issues»
- Social Issues
God's Goalkeeper: An interview with David Icke
The following interview was conducted early in 1994 at various locations, starting on the site of the Big Breakfast, which was Channel 4s flagship breakfast programme at the time. The programme was shot in a set of lock-keepers cottages in the East End, which is where the photographer, Dave Hendley, and I met our interviewee, David Icke. It was being conducted on a freelance basis, but with a degree of encouragement from the Guardian, who I was writing a column for. Unfortunately they didn’t like the result, and the interview was never published.
There were several reasons why I wanted to do the interview. Firstly that my friend Steve (the Bard of Ely) was a great Icke fan, and I’m always interested in what Steve has to say. Then that a young woman who I had a crush on at the time was also a fan. (I remember telling David this, and his eyes lit up.) Thirdly, that I had recently become aware of the road protest movement, which had suddenly catapulted itself into the national consciousness that year, with a major road protest on Solsbury Hill near Bath, which I had written about in my column. Icke’s world-view and that of the road-protest movement seemed very similar: the same conspiracy theories, the same belief in dark, magical forces at work, the same identification of a Masonic elite working in secret for their own nefarious ends. On the back of this, in fact, I managed to get Icke an invitation to speak at the first Criminal Justice Bill rally in May that year, a speech which many people acknowledged was by far the best.
However, that was the last time that Icke spoke at such a high-profile public event, and it wasn’t long before his own public speaking venues were being picketed by left wing groups, including the Anti-Nazi League.
The clues as to why this should have happened are here in this interview. I even warned him about it. It was his adoption of a piece of Nazi propaganda as “evidence” of his developing theory. This is the famous book, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which has several times been shown to be a forgery.
This is the problem with David Icke. Is he a Nazi? No, he is not. Is he a racist? Emphatically not. But he is naïve, and he has – accidentally or otherwise – adopted a peculiarly right-wing view of history, the so-called Illuminati Conspiracy. Look at the history of this particular conspiracy theory and you will see from the very earliest times that it has had a reactionary mark upon it. It is essentially a variation on the Jewish-Communist Conspiracy espoused by the Nazis and their followers.
The measure of his naïveté can be deduced from the fact that the Protocols only came into his possession a few weeks before the publication of the book, and that he clearly had not heard of them before. And yet he incorporated them into the book as if he was dealing with a verifiable historical source. And it makes you wonder, too, exactly who the people were who were busy funnelling this kind of material in his direction? David is certainly not a Nazi, but some of his informants might easily be.
There were a couple of incidents during the interview which for some reason are stored in my head. One was that as we were walking by the canal by the lock, he gestured towards all the detritus which had accumulated on the surface. “That’s a metaphor for what has happened to our mind,” he said. “All that rubbish clogging it up.”
The next was an example of a particularly huge leap of logic of the kind which illustrates the basic weakness of his argument.
“Marx was a member of the Illuminati,” he told me at one point.
“Pardon?” I asked, startled. This is the Jewish/Communist conspiracy writ large of course, Marx being both a Jew AND a Communist.
“Yes,” he said. “He belonged to a group called the Communist Brotherhood. ‘Brotherhood’ see? Like the Masons. The Masons call themselves The Brotherhood too.”
Anyway, the reason I am putting this interview up here now, is that I met Dave Hendley, the photographer, on the train up to London recently, and he told me that he had just rediscovered the portrait he took of David at the time, so we both agreed that the whole package should be aired at last.
I think both the picture, and the article, may shed some useful light on the spirit working within David Icke.
The Icke Factor
Driving up to conduct the interview, Dave and Jill asked what the new book was about. "What it is, there's black magicians trying to take over the world and turning us all into Robots using drugs." They laughed. Maybe I didn't put that quite right. Or maybe it's just that David Icke is at it again.
Dave (the photographer) and I were to meet him at the Big Breakfast where he was doing a promotional. Jill lives in the East End so we stopped off at her flat to ring Channel 4 for directions. While Dave was on the phone I switched on the TV. And there he was, draped comfortably across a settee, being interviewed by Paula Yates. This was the first in a series of coincidences that characterized our day and which we began to refer to as "The Icke Factor". The Icke Factor is a strange sense of inevitablity, of synchronicity, as if some unseen force was guiding the moments like the conductor an orchestra. Around David Icke -it's true- things just seem to fall into place.
David was talking about his new book. He had a grand total of six minutes on the programme. The interview was almost over when the inevitable question -delivered with a faint smirk from Paula- was cast. "Don't you feel you are being reeled out as the token nutter?" He answered that if it is considered sanity to plunder the earth in order to make things we don't need in order to throw them away again as pollution, then he'd rather be called insane. We left as the interview concluded and arrived within a minute of the agreed time.
The first thing you notice about David Icke is how big he is: over six foot, broad-shouldered, big-boned, with a loping, casual air about him, a huge, warm-hearted bear of a man. The next thing you notice is how relaxed. He gave me the thumbs up as I knocked on the window of his car. Someone came up as he got out to compliment him on the things he'd been saying, and he seemed to embrace them with his ease. There's an aura about him - not, perhaps, a mystical one - a lightness of character that makes you warm to him immediately. You are drawn to him, washed over by his personality in a way that makes it extremely difficult to question him or disbelieve him. Several times I had to shake myself to stop simply agreeing with every word he said. He might be talking about Extra-Terrestrials or Atlantis or crop-circles and you'd be nodding in agreement as if this was the most normal conversation in the world, as if the woman serving the coffee in the Nissan-hut passing for a canteen at the Big Breakfast might easily turn out to be a reincarnated Atlantean and begin levitating as she passed you the milk and asked whether you wanted sugar or not.
Mind you, the setting was entirely appropriate for conversations about Aliens. The Big Breakfast is the strangest blend of levity and pap, awash with primary colours and tabloid humour, as if the people responsible for it really imagine that the world is a cartoon. A one minute news break about death, disease and world decay, and then it's on with the Snap, Cackle and Pop, "Where are you Keith?" and red herrings on washing lines. Icke's theories of black magicians and mind-control take on an even more sinister air with a backdrop of blow-up bouncy toys and scantily clad girls being pushed into swimming pools. As they say: "Don't phone, it's just for fun."
Let's get something sorted out early on in the story. David Icke is not mad. Or rather: if it is madness it's clearly not a dis-ease. What he does is to bring into question the whole concept of madness. There are people who are distressed by what is going on in their heads, or who distress others by the consequence of their actions. There are people who cannot cope with the complexities of daily life, or even the complexities of their own thoughts and feelings. There are people whose whole concept of themselves leads them to do damage on a daily basis. Many of these people are considered sane. David Icke is none of these. His views, it's true, are at odds with our conception of the world, not to say decidedly "odd" in themselves. But in challenging our view of ourselves and the world around us, in promoting a whole variety of lost causes (such as the existence of Atlantis or of ET activity in our world) he is certainly not doing any harm, least of all to himself.
A harmless loony then? Not even that. Icke's world-view -like any ideology- is entirely consistent within its own frames of reference and is shared by a hell of a lot of people. Any one who has had any dealings with Jehovah's Witnesses or Class-warrior Marxists will know that belief structures based on particular readings of the Universe have their own internal logic and feed off themselves. The difference is that the Ickian Universe goes back a lot further (to before the beginning of time) and is essentially light and optimistic. Deep in the heart of it is a core-being he calls The Source, whose aim is Universal Love. David Icke is, you feel, one of the Good Guys. You can ridicule his turquoise period -indeed he laughs at it himself- but you can't deny that his message is a positive one. Not least that, as electro-magnetic beings only partially emersed in a body, we live forever. As he puts it: "we are eternal beings of light and love on an endless journey of evolution through experience." I may not know exactly what he is talking about, but I certainly want to listen to the person saying this.
We talked about his latest book, The Robot's Rebellion, whose central tenet is indeed that there are dark forces at work, owning and controlling the world. These are The Illuminati who work through a pyramidic system of secret societies where no one level knows what the next level's agenda is. Those in control sit astride the highest point of the pyramid directing world affairs to fundamentally evil ends, themselves in thrall to a higher intelligence he refers to as Luciferic Consciousness. A struggle between good and evil, in other words. Or between balance and inbalance as he himself would put it. Of course the Illuminati theory is not new, nor -unfortunately - are some of the sources he cites. The one he quotes the most is a work he calls "The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion." I have a faint shiver of apprehension at the mention of this. Is it the same as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion on which much of Hitler's work was based, and which - as I remember - is a proven forgery? Are we talking Jewish/Communist conspiracy here? It may be the same, he admits. But his thoughts are not entirely dependant on these documents: he only discovered them two weeks before he went to publication. And in any case it is typical of the machinations of the Illuminati that they would release fake documents based on real documents as a form of disinformation, just as the title itself misinforms by its reference to Zion. The Illuminati conspiracy has nothing to do with the Jewish people, though there are certain powerful families involved.
We talked about mind-control. This is central to his argument. I find this a little hard to swallow, but he insists that the behind-the-scenes manipulators are incredibly adept at planting ideas and that the human mind is highly susceptible to suggestion. All of a sudden something popped into my head, and I knew that he was right.
I remembered the first time I'd gone to see him. It was with a person I was fascinated by at the time. She mentioned that she was going to see David Icke and I immediately responded: "Is he still mad and does he still wear turquoise?" She said turquiose was the high-vibrational colour of light and love and I answered, "Yes, but it shows a naff dress-sense." I was pleased at the joke as if I'd just said something incisive and new. Later we went to see him and I discovered that he was a great public performer and an entertaining speaker with a definite, urgent message. Not a trace of turquoise. Every time I've spoken of him to any one else the joke is always the same: "Does he still wear turquoise?" followed by a little self-congratulatory laugh, as if they've just scored a point. What none of us realise in making the joke -the same one, over and over- is that it was planted in our minds by Wogan all those years ago, and that it has stayed there ever since. A whole nation. One joke.
We lounged around by the Lock basking in the warm sunshine while David basked in the Camera's eye, clearly at home there, and talked about this and that. Drugs: he believes that the whole world of drug-production is controlled by the Illuminati through the CIA and the Mafia (just two more of their factotums) - personally I have no problems with this idea, knowing just how prevalent they are- as part of a two-pronged conspiracy: 1) to amass black money for their covert actions; and 2) as a war on the young. And on: naming names, as he does in the book, telling stories on such a massive historical scale that it takes your breath away. He points out the effrontery of the system, how they like to hint at their existence; such as, for example, placing their symbol (the eye in the pyramid) on the back of the dollar bill; or in getting governments to adopt their own terminology, as in The New World Order.
He also tells me the most extraordinary story about George Bush, one of their stooges it appears, if not actually a member of the elite. This is all on public record and in any case -if I'm worried about printing it- he's happy that the words be put into his mouth. David Icke is simply not afraid. George Bush is, he tells me, a member of a secret society called the Skull and Bones, the admission ceremony for which involves the acolyte lying naked in a coffin with his genitals tied while he recites his sexual experiences to the assembled company. Imagine it: the future President of the United States of America, one day to become the most powerful man in the world, with an awesome armoury at his disposal, naked, in a coffin, with his genitals tied. Maybe this explains the Gulf War. It's as good an explanation as any. George Bush is also, he tells us, a drug-runner, and the invasion of Panama was little more than a skirmish between drug-associates.
Suddenly David announced that he had to to go and do an interview at the BBC. Dave the photographer knew the way and went ahead while David and I followed. This was the most unnerving part of the whole experience, David keeping tags on the illusive vehical in front as it darted in and out of the traffic, while he continued his dark tales of treachery and deceit, or answered the phone to some fan or business associate about the availability of the book. I can't say why, but it was at this point in particular that I sensed the Icke Factor. In a strange way he seemed not quite there. Yes, he was talking. Yes, he was driving. Yes, he was answering the phone. But it was like he was on automatic pilot, like the real David Icke was somewhere else: very, very far away; very, very safe. There was no anxiety when the car we were following wasn't to be seen, when traffic lights cut us off, or when Dave did a sudden, surprising turn. David just kept going, kept talking, kept answering the phone, and soon enough we would be following again. It was uncanny. The timetable was strictly limited, and yet nothing phased him, nothing perturbed him, nothing stopped him talking. I can't prove any of this, but it really did seem as if we were being guided by an unseen being, another, larger David Icke, somewhere between here and Alpha Centauri, with an overview of the big picture. Or perhaps it was - as I said earlier - that any time spent in his presence meant being washed over by his charisma, absorbed into his world. In the end I just sat back and accepted that this was all how it was meant to be. We arrived at the BBC, precisely on time, to an empty parking space.
After the BBC we went over to Regent's Park where the interview proper was to take place. I'd mentioned to him earlier that, in order to get his message across, in order that people did not dismiss him as a crank, we had to talk about his experiences in 1991, since it was this image - David Icke arriving at Gatwick airport and declaring himself the son of God dressed head-to-toe in turquoise - that was the abiding picture in people's minds. I said I wanted to know what it felt like, that I was into the human element in all this, something that people could identify with. He paused - I have to say this - theatrically. And then he launched himself into what can only be described as a performance.
He said that he'd felt for some time that some kind of force was guiding him, was opening and shutting doors for him. He spoke broadly about his various careers: as a goalkeeper (cut short by Rheumatoid Arthritis), as a TV personality, as a potential candidate for the Liberal Party (of which he was particularly scathing) and the Greens. How he'd discovered Spiritualism through members of the Green Party, and of Betty Shine, the medium, and the variety of mystical or "odd" experiences that had led him to a hilltop in Peru where some supernatural force had anchored him to the ground with his arms outstretched for well over an hour until he was released by a thunderstorm. How this experience had fundamentally changed him. All of which you can read in his autobiography.
One thing I'd noticed about him already was his tendency to talk in stock phrases, like lines from a book. It was if the act of putting something into words the first time encapsulated the experience, so that when the question was asked again he had only to reel off the particular reply. I felt sure that the story I was hearing now was one that he'd constructed years before, and that I was getting no nearer the truth. The real David Icke remained hidden.
I don't blame him. A man who has led his whole life in the public arena is bound to paint scenery to hide behind. I felt that the real David Icke belonged to his family, not to me or the world, and that it was simply voyeuristic of me to want to strip away the veil.
I'm not sure what I wanted from it all in any case. I think I was hoping that he might admit that he'd been mad, that he'd had a psychotic episode. Maybe by persuading him to give it a name I understood, I'd be able to tuck the whole singular episode away in a box and not have to think about it any more. There was one poignant moment in the conversation. He'd repeated this phrase about feeling that something was guiding him several times. And then he spoke about an evening in a hotel room, when he was still working for the BBC, when this sense of a presence had been so strong that he'd actually addressed it. "For Christ's sake, if there's something guiding me, whatever the bloody hell it is, will you make yourself known, this is driving me round the... round the..." He was going to say "round the twist" but amended the phrase. "This is driving me up the wall." I feel sure - whether what he experienced in Peru and during the turquoise period was insanity or not - that at certain points during the build-up to it he must have felt that he was going mad and that he had certainly been distressed by it.
We spoke specifically about the turquoise period. Had he been aware, I asked, that the whole nation was laughing at him? He had. But he couldn't help it. It was as if those powerful forces were filling him up, creating turbulence in his system. "It was as if the personality that was David Icke -which is now fully integrated into this new thing, as you can see- was sitting at the back of the bus, while other levels of me were at the wheel, and I was trying to make sense of where the driver was going..." But, typically, he put a positive gloss on the situation. The experience had given him notoriety; enough, for instance, to have secured him that interview on the Big Breakfast this morning, thus enabling him to get his message across. It had also released him from fear, ridicule being his greatest fear up to that point. It was like shedding a skin, he said. He was made stronger by it.
Icke on Wogan
I asked about Terry Wogan's role. It must have been a terrible experience, to have had literally millions of people falling off their chairs laughing at him. I must admit, reading through the transcripts gives me a peculiar sense of anxiety. Icke: "Do you know the best way to remove negativity is to laugh and be joyous? So I'm delighted there is so much laughter in the audience." Wogan: "No, they're all laughing at you." Cheers and claps.
There are moments when I feel that I'm dealing with two people. The man we seemed to be seeing on the TV that evening: someone some of us felt desperately sorry for, lonely, shaken to his very core by forces he was not able to understand, and doing it all in the public gaze. A man simultaneously ridiculed by his public and (half-begrudgingly) sympathised with; and, as contemporary photographs show, completely exhausted, drained. That's the impression, in any case. And this relaxed, easy going person I have sitting in front of me now, who really doesn't give a damn what people think about him, who clearly believes in what he is saying, but without any urge to want to make you believe it too. Take it or leave it, he seems to be saying. I'm only telling you what I feel to be true.
This is what he says about Wogan: "I feel sorry for Terry Wogan, I really do. I don't know how long he's going to be around, but in a few years he's going to regret that interview more than anything he's done in his life, because he's going to realise he ridiculed the truth; or he ridiculed someone genuinely trying to bring truth, from the heart." David Icke bears no grudges.
In fact he had been deeply hurt by it. As he says now: "I would have given serious money to have run a teashop in Ventnor and changed the shape of my face." For six months he was in a state of, as he describes it, "blackness: the black of the black of the black." There was no street in Britain that would not have everyone laughing at him. What hurt more than anything, he says, is that his whole motivation had been to help, to make whatever contribution he could to alerting the world to what was really going on. The fact that it caused ridicule at the time seemed to be undermining his message more effectively than anything else. "I felt I'd blown it," he says. But he wants now to be thought of as an example. To have survived that onslaught, to have remained positive, to have taken the worst that could be thrown at him, and to have gained from the experience, this in itself should give hope to people. The mind-manipulators of the Illuminati Brotherhood work on fear. Icke's message is: "be bold, be yourself, in the end they can't hurt you."
At a certain point a woman with a heavy Eastern European accent broke into the conversation. David had just been standing up with his arms outstretched to demonstrate how the media manipulated his image at the time. "And you think I'm a looney?" he'd said, opening his arms questioningly, as the flash went off. "That's the one you'll use tomorrow." Which they did.
The woman must have been attracted by this stance. She came bustling into the conversation, smiling very broadly, and telling David that he was going to be very successful and asking him what his birthsign was, and telling him that he was very independent, very loyal, very stubborn. She was the classic representation of a gypsy fortune teller. The Icke Factor again. Electro-magnetic forces drawing like to like. Except they seemed to be talking at cross-purposes most of the time. She was born on the second of March, she told us. "Second March people dreaming people. I'm a dreaming. I love dreams. March people dreaming." "What do April people do then?" asked David. He was an April person. "I don't like April people. April people sadistic people. John Major. Hitler. You look Taurus, Sir, you don' look like Aries." "I am Taurus." "I can see, you very lovely Taurus, very kind, very lucky, very independent, very loyal, very soon go travelling you." She held his hand to read his palm. "If you wan't I teach you," she said. "Go on then," said David, abruptly thrusting his hand forward. "Tough in'ee? Tough. I don' read any more. Bit bossy in'ee?" she said, and walked away.
After this he drew the interview to a close. He had another appointment with the BBC. Dave and I remained in the park. Dave's mobile went. The person at the other end asked what he was up to. "Just finished photographing David Icke," said Dave. "What for? He's barking mad," said the person on the other end.
I've been reading the book. Very strange. I told someone about it, about the Atlanteans and the ETs and the Brotherhoods and the Luciferic Consciousness, and the Photon Beam, complete with illustration, that is about to transform us, and they said, "He should have been a novelist."
At any point in human history it is likely to be ET activity that he finds as an explanation. Moses saw ETs. As did Mohammed. And Isaac Newton was a member of the Illuminati. And Marx was a member of a Brotherhood society. And Lenin was one of their creations, as was Bolshevism and Christianity and Science. This is conspiracy theory on the grandest of scales, going back to the very inception of the Universe.
The first few chapters set up a mythology which has distinct resonances of William Blake's, another man considered mad in his own lifetime:
"Lo, a shadow of horror is risen
In Eternity! Unknown, unprolific,
Self-clos'd, all-repelling: what Demon
Hath form'd this abominable void,
This soul-shuddering vacuum? Some said
'It is Urizen.' But unknown, abstracted,
Brooding, secret, the dark power hid."
(Wm Blake: The First Book Of Urizen.)
Compare this to Icke's version: "A very long time ago, an aspect of consciousness became highly imbalanced and decided to challenge the laws of Creation..." Lucifer is... "a disrupting, disharmonious aspect of consciousness... Disharmony creates disharmony and, once the Luciferic consciousness had begun to disrupt the balance and flow of the energies, it started a roll which would gather pace on an ever-steepening curve." For "Luciferic Consciousness" read "Urizen". The story they tell is remarkably similar. It is also interesting that Blake shows his Urizen, in the famous print The Ancient Of Days, measuring out the Universe with a compass. Blake is clearly signifying Freemasonry in this. Both men appeal to the same kind of visionary consciousness: Blake to the Imagination, and Icke to what he calls "Channelling". Having accepted - well after his death - Blake into our National life (we even sing one of his poems as an alternative National Anthem) I suspect we would be advised not to dismiss Icke out of hand.
At the dense heart of the book is one of the most devestating attacks on the Capitalist System I have ever read, pinpointing every ludicrous contradiction with incisive scorn, and a call for a massive campaign of passive resistance, of rejection, of rebellion. As someone said to me, there is indeed a Cabal at work in the world: the secret society of the Monied classes. It is this system that David Icke pinpoints with deadly accuracy. And then adds a conspiracy that has wormed its way into the very fabric of consciousness.
Take Science, for instance. The modern Scientific establishment are another Brotherhood creation, an intellectual Cartel whose response to any challenge is exactly the same as that in the earlier days of Christianity: as Heresy. The Illuminati Brotherhood, however, are open to any new idea as long as they control the exclusive rights over it. Thus they experiment with a whole host of things that the blinkered establishment reject. As a consequence Brotherhood science is hundreds of years ahead of conventional science. In fact, they have developed anti-gravity machines, amongst other startling devices, and had visited the Moon long before the Apollo Space Programme.
This is Otto Binder's version of the story, as reported by David Icke. Neil Armstrong (in a suppressed message from the Moon): "These babies are huge, sir... enormous. Oh God, you wouldn't believe it. I'm telling you, there are other spacecraft out there, lined up on the far side of the crater's edge... they're on the Moon watching us." According to Icke it's the Brotherhood again. Which leaves me with the ludicrous picture of all these Brotherhood Spacemen bouncing about the Moon, complete with aprons and regalia and with one leg of their space-suit trousers rolled up to the knee.
I've puzzled long and hard what to make of the book because, as it happens, I have no knowledge of secret societies or ETs or Electro-magnetic forces and the rest. Mine has been a prosaic world. What I do know, however, is that many people feel that something is terribly wrong, something we label "Capitalism". So does David Icke. And he comes to the same conclusions, too, about what should be done about it. Resist it. He talks of a raising of consciousness due to this Photon beam that the Solar System is about to pass through, while others might talk about raising political consciousness. And as for the grand historical conspiracy theory: maybe it exists and maybe it doesn't. That doesn't alter the urgency of the moment, the requirement for change.
In the end, I decided, all the strange Spiritualist baggage is irrelevant. It's like we've reached a crossroads. It's really not important how we got here, and a complete waste of time arguing whether one approach was better than another (Spiritualist, Socialist, Green, Anarchist) what matters now is to decide where we go next. David Icke's book will appeal to David Icke's readers, and many others too, interested in the paranormal. It is not up to me to judge how much of it is true.
Take away the ETs and the Brotherhood and the Luciferic Consciousness, and some of the stranger aspects of his thinking, and what do you have left? A scorn for religion and all dogma; an appeal for open thinking; an appeal for love, wisdom and compassion; an optimism about the future; a rebellious spirit; a genuine humanitarian with a clear critique of an absurd and dangerous system of human relations; anti-racist, anti-sexist, a belief in the rights of individuals and all humanity, to love however and whomever they choose. A decent man.
David Icke links
- David Icke Website
David Icke - Exposing the dreamworld we believe to be real
Dave Hendley's blog
Ideas about photography and life
© 2011 CJStone