Where the Dreamland Festival had been semi-academic and familial, my fieldwork at Icke’s London Wembley Arena presentation on Saturday, 27th of October 2012, could hardly have been more different in terms of atmosphere and setting. Rather than 120 attendees, there were close to 6000, and instead of a leafy Gothic retreat in southern USA, we were in London’s cavernous Wembley Arena. What’s more, it was bitterly cold, and it turned out that the queue I was in was not getting into the venue, due to a broken ticket scanner. It did give me a chance to listen in to some of the conversations going on around me.
A group of young men immediately behind me got talking to an older couple about Icke. This was their first time seeing him live, they said, although they had all watched his previous presentations online. Their friend had got them into it, they said, “he’s the real nutter”. The chap from the older couple laughed; “well, we’re all nutters here.”
“I’m surprised to see so many couples here,” he then opined. “Women don’t tend to be so awake.”
Eventually we were told to go to one of the other entrances, so we marched round to the front, and arrived at our seats just in time to catch the closing seconds of Gareth Icke’s opening set. Although I had a clear view of the stage, the steep and already almost full arena made getting to my seat awkward. I tried to get a bit of chat going with the others around me, but unlike Dreamland, people were keeping themselves to themselves.
The choice to have his son’s band play at the gig was criticised later by a few people; they thought it was “selling out”. The situation is certainly more complex than this, however; as already noted, Gareth is a director of Icke’s estate, and it cannot be coincidental that he released the single “Remember Who You Are” at the same time as his father’s book of the same title. Whatever his other faults (open to debate), Icke has always been a proud and attentive parent, promoting his children’s activities through his website, and his Ryde flat is adorned with soft toys for his grandchildren’s amusement. What is perhaps more surprising is that Gareth is prepared to throw his lot in with his father’s ideas quite so much.
Other than that, however, the show was typical of his later presentations; three sections, beginning with the “spiritworld – holographic universe” material, through the Illuminati, into Reptilians and then back to the real world, with practical applications. The first section moved extremely slowly. As has been the case since his earliest books, we got a potted history of Icke’s personal history, and a lot of speculative physics about how the universe is a hologram. One of the two women on my right dozed off, and latecomers trickled in throughout the first hour. The room was vast. Someone had brought a baby, which cried throughout.
In the second section, Icke started talking about the Illuminati. I was very interested in how the reptilian material was received; was this, as several reporters have suggested, something which put people off Icke’s other idea? Well, my experience suggests otherwise. The room fell quieter than would be possible through random means. The two ladies who had slept through the first section suddenly woke up; I saw several of the couples around me cuddling up. Two solutions suggested themselves; 1) the couples had bonded over the reptilian thesis, and the fact that they shared something dangerous was part of their shared identity, or 2) the reptilian thesis provided a meeting point between the conspiracist and New Age people. Nor can this really be explained by the suggestion that people are drawn to the more outlandish material for entertainment; given that you could watch any of his previous presentations on the internet for free, it would be an expensive night out, even if you lived in London to start with.
I was surprised, however, that he didn’t milk the Jimmy Savile aspect more. Given that it was the main story in the popular press at that time, including the more conservative (small c) outlets like the BBC and the Daily Mail, it would have seemed an obvious opportunity for Icke to argue that the mainstream media had caught up with him; yet he showed unusual restraint.
Towards the end of this section, he added some new material. Human Race, Get Off Your Knees had introduced the idea of the hollow Moon, and Remember Who You Are had added Saturn into the mix; Icke claims that Saturn is not only the origins of the term “Satan” and “Satanism”, but also of the idea of the Black Sun. The Reptilian frequencies are broadcast from Saturn and amplified by the Moon, and this Saturn-Moon matrix is an important aspect of the control mechanism through which we are controlled. I could not but think of Gurdjieff during this section; he wrote that most humans were unconscious, and that their emotions were “food for the moon”.
Perhaps as interesting, although less obvious, was his increasing use of terms taken from gnosticism. In particular, he several times referred to the highest powers of the Illuminati as “Archons”, rather than reptilians. Was this a way of distancing himself from the reptilian thesis without abandoning it altogether?
After a second break, (I retired to the bar), the third section proceeded as it has since 2003 or so; how these ideas might be taken into the real world. This particular performance added a new coda, however. A number of musicians were brought out, and Icke led a sing-along. Not only that, but he performed his “non-complidance”, and invited anyone in the audience to join him if they wanted to. I was frankly surprised at his energy, given that he’s in his fifties, suffering from arthritis and in no way slender. Moreover, it was a brave move given that this was his highest profile performance to date.
So; still talking about reptilians; still surprisingly New Age; moving noticeably towards gnostic terminology; still very energetic and a skilled orator. And, need I point it out; ETs, conspiracies and New Age…