Inside his fastidiously clean Isle Of Wight flat, the world’s most celebrated conspiracy theorist is making ShortList a cup of tea. Clutching the teaspoon in his gnarled hands – a legacy of the arthritis that wrecked his career as a Coventry City goalkeeper in the Seventies – David Icke gazes out of an egg-stained window.
“They keyed my car,” he announces, cheerfully. “I had ‘U R DEAD’ scratched down it. I just left it on, couldn’t give a sh*t. It’s only a frickin’ car.”
It’s 25 years since Icke – who became a household name in the Eighties co-hosting the BBC’s flagship sports programme, Grandstand – announced on Terry Wogan’s chat show that “evil was in control of the world” and that he was “a son of God”. “I couldn’t walk down the street,” says Icke of the ridicule/outrage/belly laughs that followed.
Since then, Icke has won millions of supporters, and when he’s not writing books or making journalists tea, he’s expounding his theories to audiences across the globe. This weekend sees him rubbing shoulders with the likes of Django Django and Bastille at The Secret Garden Party festival.
Even if you don’t recognise his ghostly mullet, you’ll have heard his most famous theory: that the Queen, George W Bush and almost everyone else who has held public office, is a satanic, shape-shifting lizard.
“I’ve seen it,” says Icke. “Their eyes flicker, revealing a pair of lizard eyes. It’s chilling.” We ask if Justin Bieber is a shape-shifting lizard, too: “Not sure,” muses Icke. “But Britney Spears is.”
“David,” we interject, keen to address the elephant in the room, “do you care that people think you’re mad?” “Don’t give a sh*t,” shrugs Icke. “All I think about is what I’m going to write about next.”
Icke’s books – bearing titles such as The Biggest Secret – and public speeches are wildly popular. Last year, he sold out Wembley Arena and spoke for 10 hours. “You are a hologram,” says Icke as we eye his quasi-mystic Native Indian trinkets. “You are a hologram and they implant thoughts into your mind.”
This goes on for three hours. He’s patient, charming and not shy with the tea bags, while outlining the secret totalitarian state he believes is operated by a cabal of ancient families. “They want a world where a tiny few at the top of the pyramid are super-mega-grotesquely rich, living in hi-tech luxury isolation, while the rest of us serve them.”
It’s around this point Icke breaks off to wave goodbye to his cleaner. “Have you seen The Hunger Games? That was telling you what’s coming.”
Icke’s rasping voice is now giving out, but he ends on a classic conspiracy: “Osama Bin Laden died 10 years ago from liver failure – that’s why there are no pictures of the body.” When we bring up some pictures on Google, Icke is briefly stumped.
“Photoshopped,” he grumbles.
The Secret Garden Party runs from 25-28 July; secretgardenparty.com
(Image: Rex Features)