Every year, the Bilderberg Group – a collection of the world's most powerful people – get together to discuss how to keep on being powerful. Now, considering that the past fortnight hasn't been a great one for democracy (shouts to Turkey and the NSA), I wouldn't blame you if the prospect of heads of state covertly meeting with the financial elite far from the media's watchful gaze gets your goat a little. Especially as all the while unemployment continues to rise, cities continue to burn and things are so bad in Syria that Nick Griffin just went there in an attempt to score political capital.
The thing is, the average conspiracy theorist will look at this information, and not just see a horrible mess that we've arrived at through basic human weakness and error. Conspiracy theorists see the word "Bilderberg" and immediately start joining the dots: they're poisoning the water supply, they're enslaving your mind – this isn't the result of human weakness or error at all, but a malicious plan being orchestrated against humans by a New World Order of aliens from space. With a guestlist including David Cameron, IMF chief Christine Lagarde (one of 14 women among 134 delegates), David Petraeus and the heads of BP, Goldman Sachs and Shell, the public surely does have a right to know what they're discussing. Unfortunately, that legitimate demand for media clearance gets discredited by the swarms of conspiracy theorists who show up at the event each year to stand outside the gate and scream stuff about secret occult societies.
Sure enough, when the Bilderbergers arrived at the five-star Grove hotel in Watford last weekend, they were joined by the biggest crowd of conspiracists to date. They'd decided to turn it into an event and so the inaugural Bilderberg Fringe Festival was born, complete with campsite, makeshift press tent, citizen security and the biggest names in the conspiracy world, including David Icke and Alex Jones. So what's the latest in secret truths dreamt up by the powerful to fuck us? I went down to the Grove to test the (fluoride saturated) water.
When I arrived, the police were operating a one-in, one-out policy. "The event has already exceeded capacity," they shouted. "We intended to have 1,000 people there; there are now 2,000. Please keep off the grass." "Keep off the grass? Is that what we're paying our taxes for?" one guy shouted, to whoops and cheers from the crowd. I waited patiently for my turn to get closer to the fringe festival, along with a bunch of totally legit media organisations, like InfoWars, WeAreChange and Truthjuice. Everyone seemed nervous and the air smelled of Cannabis Cup-winning weed. I wondered whether these two phenomena might be connected in some way.
After watching journalists peel off and away all around me, I finally got through. Alex Jones, the keynote speaker, hadn't begun his speech yet, so I started making friends.
"What's your name?" I asked a guy in a brown robe.
"Indie Meds. That's my enlightened name since I started to wake up."
"When did you wake up?"
"I started to wake up about a year ago, when I had a stroke on the left side of my brain. Afterwards, my aware side woke up and I started to notice that the news was a load of rubbish. I started doing my own research into Egyptian pyramids, the Mayans, sacred geometry, the whole package – and aliens. They all sort of came together in a package and I put the pieces together myself."
"What ties all those things together?"
"The message is the same – back to the Mayans, back to the Egyptians and back to the Atlantians even before that: You are God; you are one."
Right at the back there is The Grove Hotel, where the Bilderberg Meeting was being held.
"What does this have to do with Bilderberg?"
"Bilderberg's just part of the power game," Indie Meds told me. "All the wars, all the media, all the politics, all the religions. I'm sure they're tied in with the Vatican, too. Once you start doing research, you find you can link everything together, and once you've linked it together it changes your outlook on life."
"Okay. What's the costume for?"
"Because I like dressing up as a Jedi." After speaking to Indie Meds, I was still confused. What did it mean to be "awake"? Do I need to have a stroke in order to wake up? And how did sacred geometry have anything to do with a load of powerful people who meet once a year without any cameras present? I asked some more people for help.
Phillis (left) and Jud Charlton. Maybe Jud Charlton and his ventriloquist dummy, Philis, could help me wake up.
"The idea with Ventriloquism Against Conspiracy (VAC) is that we come together," Jud said.
"If I came on my own, it'd be no good," chuckled Phillis.
"Fair enough," I replied. "What's the conspiracy?" "It's all about: let's get the information out. Let's get all the stuff that they're doing out."
Many of the "awake" people seemed to spend a lot of time sleeping.
"What are they doing?"
"Well, that's the issue, isn't it?" I stared blankly at him for a few seconds. "Yes. Wait – what's the issue again?" Before I could enquire any further, a wave of hollers and people shouting the Star Wars "Imperial March" song told me that Alex Jones had taken to the podium. The show was about to begin.
I'm sure by now you're aware of who Alex Jones is. If not, he's kind of like a wrestler, if the WWE scriptwriters forced that wrestler to assume the persona of an extremely paranoid person every time he entered the ring. He seems to have mastered the debating technique of overwhelming you with such a torrent of falsehoods that you couldn't possibly address them all in real time.
"If you think hundreds of raped children and necrophilia is anything, that again is only the surface," he began, gently feeling his way into the swing of things.
There was a lot of weird electrode shit going on.
"They might kill me for getting up here and telling you this, but they have been putting out cancer viruses – that's why there are hundreds of new bizarre cancers that never existed. That's why, 30 years ago – I've talked to medical doctors – doctors would fly across the country to see a child with cancer. Now I can walk out my front door and see children with cancer playing in the playground any time I go there, with their chemotherapy roach poison injectors hooked up to them!" The crowd cheered.
"These cops. Every one of these cops. Within six years, 40 percent of them will have cancer."
The crowd laughed and cheered. Haha! Cancer. A little girl breaks through the police line, presumably to join the Illuminati.
"Seriously. By 2030, it'll be more like 70 percent, so these cops will remember when they're burying their young child of cancer and they'll say, 'Oh, this cancer never existed 20 years ago, but all the kids are getting it. Now, let's not discuss why it's happening, let's discuss donating money to find the cure.' It's like if Jack the Ripper was stabbing people and we looked for a way to heal them instead of finding Jack the Ripper!"
In case you didn't catch that, because it makes literally no sense, what Jones is essentially saying is: "Instead of giving money to cancer research to find out where new cancers come from and how to treat them, let's stop that and just continue accusing businessmen and politicians of wanting to invent new, impossibly inconspicuous ways to make our genes mutate."
He then led the crowd in a chant of, "We know you are killers!" Presumably this was aimed towards the Grove Hotel, a good 600 metres away.
Towards the end of the speech, a lone provocateur jumped up and began accusing Jones of being part of the New World Order himself, infuriating the loyal crowd, who yelled "Police! Arrest him!" The level of undetected irony in the air was suffocating me. I couldn't help but imagine the provocateur preaching to his own devoted legion of bedraggled conspiracy theorists: The Bilderberg Fringe Festival Fringe Festival.
There, among the deranged masses, we can be sure that there will be yet another provocateur interrupting the first one's speech with passionate cries for the truth (the real truth). Hundreds of years from now, when everything is exposed to history, it will come to surface that that guy – the conspiracy theorist who dared to doubt the conspiracy theorists, who dared to doubt the conspiracy theorists, who dared to doubt the Bilderberg New World Order – was right.
Trevor AKA Noisy Parrot.
Despite being buried beneath an avalanche of new information, I still didn't really come away from Jones' speech with any proper understanding of what was going on. So I asked some people if they could dumb it down for me. "What do you think the main point of Alex's speech was?" I asked Trevor, AKA Noisy Parrot.
"Trying to enlighten us to what's going on behind the scenes."
"What is going on behind the scenes?"
"Well, it's the Bilderberg meeting."
I sighed. "Why do you have elf ears on?"
"Oh, they're actually fairy ears. I roll with a group of fairies."
Janet (left) and Valerie.
I turned to two of those fairies, Janet and Valerie, to ask, "What do you guys think the main point of Alex's speech was?"
"Just to spread awareness, I think," said Janet. "To see so many like-minded people come together, it makes me think that there is a shift happening." "Yeah," Valerie agreed.
"A shift in what?" I asked. "Please can you explain to me what I'm supposed to be aware of?"
"So many people I know are finding things so incredibly different in the past few years. I think people are starting to wake up," said Janet, before prancing away with Valerie. I'm guessing they were off in search of better vibes and people who weren't asking them questions about why they were asking questions.
But I had every right to be frustrated. I'd come to figure out what was going on inside Bilderberg – or, at least, what these people thought was going on inside Bilderberg – and no one could give me a straight answer. It was around this time that I began to notice a worrying number of children playing around the "spiritual healing zone", which had apparently been set up to counteract whatever dark ceremonies were going on at Bilderberg. I couldn't help but wonder how many of these kids were being ushered into a life of paranoia and strange looks every time they tried to strike up conversations about what "really matters" in school science lessons.
But maybe I was just being cynical. Maybe they regularly contribute much-lauded op-eds to InfoWars and were here of their own accord? Maybe, with their naive, uncomplicated take on the event, they could help me to finally wake up?
I asked a little girl what she thought about the Bilderberg Conference.
"Ummm. Very fun!" she said, to my surprise. Very fun? Did she have a part to play in the New World Order, too? Was this all some kind of game to her?
"What do you think is going on over in that hotel?" I probed.
"I'm not sure," she said. I wasn't convinced.
"Is it where the New World Order meets to discuss eugenics programs?"
I got out of there as fast as I could before she injected cancer into my blood. This lady's shirt reads, "I went to Bilderberg 2013 and all I got was this lousy New World Order."
By now, I'd met lots of very opinionated people who didn't seem to want to disclose any opinions other than the fact that the Bilderbergers were the guys behind cancer. But I didn't quite feel awake yet. However, I've been to enough of these things to know that you can always find hot girls at the hula hoop circle, and thought that maybe the hot girls could help wake me up.
Francesca had a killer smile. If auras are real, she definitely had one, and I could totally feel its energy. I think she could feel mine, too. "What brings you here today?" I asked.
"I've come here to spread as much unconditional love as I can. To everyone. And I think it's working – I can feel it."
"Me too, I think it's working. What do you think was the main point of Alex's speech?"
Citizen security guards escorting someone away with the force of their non-existent arrest powers.
"They're just making people aware, which is great. I love the fact that they're here doing the right thing and speaking the truth."
"What are they making people aware of, specifically?"
"Of what exactly is going on in the world. We're not listening to the media and all that. This is actual, y'know, important stuff."
I was a little upset that Francesca didn't have any answers for me, either, until she told me that she loved me and hugged me goodbye.
"What brings you here today?" I asked a girl named Bryony, who was in the midst of a hooping.
"People, everyone, connecting and information," she replied.
"What information, specifically?"
"Uh, about the… people in there. What are they called?"
"The Bilderberg, yes. We shall not surrender to these people who are trying to control us and oppress us. And poison us."
"How are they poisoning us?"
"They're poisoning us by putting fluoride in the water and genetically modifying nature."
"So does everyone in there support water fluoridation?"
"Like, here's the thing – I came here with an open mind. I know there are people in there who are trying to do the right thing. I came here to connect with people and to love."
Well, whatever. The Bilderberg Fringe Festival was weird. I expected conspiracy theorists to jump me from every angle while they tried to explain the "truth", but instead they just got flustered and couldn't really tell me what they or anyone else believed. The only thing everyone seemed to agree on was that Bilderberg is somehow controlling/killing us through water fluoridation. If that was the case, would they really need to meet for more than five minutes to discuss how to do that ("Let's put some more fluoride in the water supply")? It's no wonder that in times of economic hardship people want someone to blame, but if the hippies and shock jocks at the Bilderberg Fringe can't channel their anger into something useful, it discredits everyone else who's genuinely fighting for change. We all know that when you take drugs everything seems connected in some giant cosmic conspiracy, but the solutions to the world's problems aren't as simple as trying to expose a secret cabal of lizard people intent on ruling the world. You'd think that solving the world's problems takes a lot more hard work and dedication – and less scapegoating of non-existent entities – than that.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @Matt_A_Shea
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