Sunday 21 June 2020

David Bowie and the Fabric of Existence

I am going to tell you what happened and what is going to happen.

In 1972, an alien rockstar came to Earth from Mars. His name was Ziggy Stardust and he warned us that the world was set to be destroyed by an apocalyptic disaster within five years.

According to the prophecy, Ziggy himself dies, a victim of his fame. But, in real life, Ziggy only died as a concept, and our saviour lived on among us, holding the fabric of existence together. He went by many incarnations but was best known by his human name, David Bowie.

Sadly, by joining the human race, our alien hero also accepted mortality and met his ultimate fate on the 10th of January 2016, his messianic spirit rocketing back to the stars, where he always belonged.

Our reality was affected instantaneously, following the rule of fives as per the divine predictions. For example, the UK voted to leave the EU five months after his death. Trump took power of the United States five months following that. And, as any person living in our current age will attest to, this was only the beginning. Each year has slipped into deeper realms of unfathomable insanity, "unprecedented" becoming the true new normal.

By all accounts, 2020 has obliterated the previous years in terms of what-the-fuckery. Global issues before 2020 appear laughable now. This is because we completed the fourth rotation in January. Remember the threat of World War 3 due to tensions between the US and Iran? That set the higher motion of this revolution, all taking place within a week of Bowie's death anniversary (as well as his birthday). And if you think COVID-19 and the riots are crazy, just keep watching. Because, right now, as we speak, we are spiralling down the fifth and final year of human existence.

The world is going to end on the 10th of January 2021.

Friday 12 June 2020

Worst to Best: Jarexit II

Worst to Best: Jarexit II (July 2019 - December 2019)

On the 9th of June 2019, my celestial contract with Brakishu had come full circle and our deal was terminated on amicable grounds. For six months, a path had been guided by his/her warm embrace and (ignoring a handful of minor mishaps) my mission was an undeniable success! I stole inspiration apples from 10 different countries then returned to the safety of my London nest, unharmed. Thanks, Brakishu! I owe you, bro! It’s right there in the fine print!

Back then, the adventure was dubbed "Jarexit", no sequential numbering required for it was the only thing, so says ye oh Lord Kanye, amen. I hold no reservations of how thrilled I was to be back in the Queen’s England. I practised my intricate tales of risky excursions, stories ready to be passed down to future generations, neatly ordered, a beginning, middle, and end, ample character development, moral lessons learned, twists and turns and crash landings directly into the eager ears of my friends. Imagine my horror, then, as no one wanted to hear about my trip whatsoever.

I have since learned that travelling is much like a dream. For, no matter how gloriously surreal these events may seem in the brain, nobody else cares. Instead, their lives had continued with or without me. London chugged onward and my return signalled nothing profound to anyone but myself. I was merely re-slotted into the machine with polite handshakes and one-worded formalities, an acknowledgement as humbling as it was infinitely frustrating. I had just witnessed lands that no man before me had ever witnessed*! And yet here I was, in my home, without a dime of attention spent on my story?? Unacceptable! Understandable, sure. But unacceptable all the same. In a fluster, I questioned the fabric of existence as well as the termination of my previous deal. Was the plug pulled prematurely? I was having the best time of my entire life back there. Why did I stop? Why didn’t I just... carry on?

Once that thought seed had been planted there was no ceasing the flourishment of insanity. I didn’t even pack my bags for I had never unpacked them in the first place. Instead, I waved goodbye to faces that were bored of my goodbyes and, on the 27th of July 2019, Jarexit became Jarexit I and Jarexit II became the now back then. No protection spells. No rules. No time limit. No set amount of countries. No calorie counting. Total freedom with only one overall goal: I wanna go to Tokyo for my birthday! Did I make it? You know the answer. Read on anyway.

But before that, here’s my offering to you: the list below can serve your wicked ways as much as mine. Use it to test the waters before you explore the oceans. Inspect these regions through my eyes as all of the photos are my own. Read my recommendations of landmarks, heed my advice on the hostels I rested my head, and join a pub crawl or two if you feel like getting fucked up. And, hey, if you and I exchanged communication over my trails of travel then don’t be surprised if you find your name written within these holy texts, exposed for all the world to see. I didn't even ask for permission, lol, soz.

Ultimately, Jarexit II did come to an end and I slid directly into Jarexit III without a break but that’s a story for a later moment. Don’t get greedy, take what you’re given. This is what you’re given. Remember me for the good times only, enjoy.

Worst to Best: Jarexit II: 10. Bangkok, Thailand

10. Bangkok, Thailand

Dates: 2 Nov 19 - 9 Nov 19
Accommodation: Hits Hostel [7/10]

The joke here is that Bangkok effortlessly topped my Jarexit I list, yet plummeted down into the deepest pits of the second round, the worst possible slot on my presentation, how embarrassing. How could this happen? How could the former king of the ladder slip and crash through every rung, ending up as nothing but a crusty stain upon my otherwise immaculate rug? I gave it roughly two seconds of thought and can relay the answer via one word: hype.

My initial visit to the Thailand capital five months previous was an empty vase of obliviousness found balancing on that line between nervousness and excitement, ready to catch the traditions of the land with nothing but respect. And what shone down with the bright Sun was a wonderfully dangerous juxtaposition of calming Buddhism spirituality and the seediest of all adult locations that I have ever exposed my eyeballs to. I last left Bangkok equating it with the exact meeting point between God and the Devil, which is the only flavour I hope for in life. All of the flavours! Let's represent every vibration equally. Let's give the dark and the light the same fighting chance.

This contradictory environment was a blessing once upon a time but in the sequel, it had swiftly mutated into a curse and, what's more, it was my fault entirely. I waltzed into this city a second time as if I owned it. I tossed my luggage into my hostel without caring that it wasn't the greatest accommodation. Because it was the greatest location! Footsteps away from the infamous Khao San Road aka "the centre of the backpacking universe" according to The Beach. And within minutes I was already hitting those streets like the cocky Western tourist I had accidentally become. And the streets hit back.

What played out can only be recalled as a montage of brief snippets. My full intention was to recreate the magic but my strategy wasn't exactly the most refined that I've come up with. I basically just drank and drank and drank for two days until I had leaned too far the devil way. One of the more troubling of my memories flashes by with lightening. I was on the back of a taxi-scooter beneath a full-blown torrential thunderstorm, trying to save my phone but also acutely aware that this could be the end of me. The roads were flooded, my driver looked terrified and each time our tyres slid out of line I heard the voice of death spitting my name. I may have been out of it but this was not fun. It was very bad.

Not that it stopped me. At some point, I found myself at one of those world-renowned Bangkok red-light districts playing pool with ladyboys because that's what I did the last time and so we needed to do that again. Maybe there's something sick inside of me but I adore the attention as these lovely ladies attempt to coerce me into bed with their broken Englishmy predefined sexuality goes haywire! Of course, it was futile on their part, I was long past the drunk where my dick would work but I bought them a million drinks so everybody won in the end. Well, except me. I had some pretty in-depth conversations with the ATMs over this period. I am 99% sure I was robbed at one point. I have this final hazy memory of vomiting into a plastic bag in the back of a taxi this time, nearly filling it to the brim, of which you will find photo evidence among the Instagram Snaps below.

And on the third day, my phone broke. It suddenly decided it didn't like the internet and refused to connect to any wifi no matter where I was. My laptop google told me to put my phone in the freezer which did work for five minutes at a time. Unsustainable. Eventually, I had to get professional help and took my soaking hangover to a massive electronics market where they fixed my baby for £50. That's cheaper than most places, for sure, but still a kick to the bank account following a series of kicks, really damaging a dude who was already lying down in fetal position. If I'm honest, I was riding in debt from my previous two months anyway, which we'll get to in good time.

For now, we can cut a long story/week short and focus on how I shattered to pieces. No surprises that the Depression Monster kicked down the door because I had invited him over. He did this thing like he always does, punching me in my tear ducts then chaining me to the bed, a position I hardly left for around three days. I worked my job from under the covers. I watched cartoons for the rest of the time. It was a low, man. Real rough. But I'm a veteran now, so what do we do? We wait. We ride it out. And that's why my Bangkok photos are all shit.

There were some good fortunes, we must always count those. For example, I found out that the artwork for The Clash's album Combat Rock was shot around these parts and I scouted that out for a while. I also had a private room and the hostel gave us free eggs in the morning so that blessed me with the space to worry about other things. Then again, there was no hot water so my cries in the shower had to be well-planned and efficient. It's funny now, but back then it was bleak to the power of bleakness squared.

The days ticked on by and the serotonin returned just in time for Friday where I met up with two Bangkok legends named Angela and Henry. They did what they're good at and cheered me up over the pass mark again, washing the sour tastes away with yummy vegan food and an acceptable amount of beer. Thank you!

After that, I could step away and examine the experience from an objective distance. I concluded that I had probably frazzled my brain a little too hard. As we'll get in a moment, my previous two months had not been easy. I ran from Dubai to New Delhi to KL to Tokyo and then Bangkok. That's a fucking overload by anyone standards and I was overdue a breakdown if we're being honest with ourselves. Regardless, there was no justification for how smashed up I was. I left the city very aware that this country tickles out a strange version of myself and I must never ever go back.

I’m less convinced now. It’s still one of the coolest places in the world so why cut that off? My third visit will surely be better. I have been put in my place. I have learned my lesson. This would never happen again. Right?

Top Five Recommended Sights
The Grand Palace, Nana Plaza, Top of the King Power MahaNakhon, The Ratchada Night Market, Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan.
(The above was lifted directly from Jarexit I, it's for the best.

Instagram Snaps
Set 1 | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing (from Jarexit I)

Worst to Best: Jarexit II: 9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dates: 5 Oct 2019 - 13 Oct 2019
Accommodation: SS Suites @ Swiss Garden Residences [8.8/10]

Moving on and exposing a suspicious pattern: KL was also a firm contender on my Jarext I list and yet it tumbled from grace upon my second visit. Is it possible that a place will never be as rad as it was the first time? Do repeated visits wear the magic down? Is the surprise factor lost in the sea of familiarity? There's some truth in that. But, as always, it's not that simple.

The problem with this story is that I've told it so many times and it's a sobby job and I'm tired of it. What's more, every time I run over the details online, I get in trouble for it. However, for the completists, here we go again, once more with feeling: I visited KL for the second time within five months because of a girl. Naturally, she is a very very pretty girl with a certain aura so special that I'd never swiped right on anything quite like her before. And during our absence, my brain had convinced me that she might be the one. "Spend all your money on her!" was the instruction. Copy that! And so I set about doing the very best I could do.

If you chart my movements to Tokyo, KL was a weird sidestep, not exactly on the way. The price of this detour flight was not a consideration, my eagerness had taken the wheel. Next up, I paid for some accommodation which was the true budget buster but, damn, you get what you pay for! And this was a full-on apartment, inarguably the lushest place I've stayed in over my entire Jarexit II adventure, quirky decor, central location, gym, swimming pool... perfect to play marriage in! Yesss! I would convince this girl to run away with me in no time! I excitedly broke the news to her and that's when she informed me that she had very recently found another lover sweeter than me, more precious than me.

In my memory, we had a plan, one which we'd conversed about before, I have the documentation. But in her memory, this was not the case. Regardless, what was done was done and I arrived back in Kuala Lumpur with a miniature dose of heartbreak. Melodrama snipped my flowering feelings at the stem and I spent my days staring out of the window from my extra-comfortable accommodation, mourning the fantasies of affection I never had, mourning the money I would never get back. At least it was the rainy season which provided some solidarity as the gods and I cried together. Just kidding, I obviously didn't cry.

This girl and I still hung out (we watched Joker together which was my film of the year!) and that works as further evidence as to how great she is. But I was running on the fumes of insanity and I ruined everything in that special way only the Jared Brand can manage. Hindsight has been torturous and I can see how inappropriately I behaved⁠—not in any physical manner, but emotionally and mentally. I couldn't shake this dark energy of self-importance that I'd been dealt an unfair hand and, boy, did I let her know. Even after I left, I couldn't let her go, sending her loving messages and even a gift from Japan. At the time I thought I was being sweet and romantic but now I see what she saw: I was being manipulative. My full intention was to convince her that I was better than her boy, that I was the solution to her everything. It's taken me a long time to understand that I was in the wrong.

A few months later and she rightfully told me to fuck off. She has even unfollowed me on Instagram since, which is when you know it's serious.

Another conflict of character is that she's a very private person whereas I like to tell everyone everything. I respect her wishes, on the one hand. I've never told anyone her name nor has anyone seen what she looks like (which is a goddamn crime, I assure you). On the other hand, I still betray some of her privacy with articles like this one. I tell myself it's ok because there is literally no social connection between us. No public photos exist where we are seen together. No mutual friends are asked to pick sides.

Regardless, she has expressed immense loathing when I write about her and so I know that if she's reading this, she's probably all kinds of mad with me, the negative perception reinforced even deeper. And that is fair enough. But if these are your eyes, KL female girl, I want you to know that I am deeply regretful for my behaviour. I have an embarrassing history of malfunctioning when people I was once vibing with reject me and that is something I am aware of and working on. Unfortunately, this does you and me no good. The damage is done. I take the blame. I was hurt and I acted from that place of hurt and I was a dick for doing so. That said, I will continue on this mind timeline with the hope that one day we can patch things up and be good friends again because I am a huge fan of yours. We got along really well. I think we can get there.

Now that this section has reached the end of its emo trail, it's obvious why KL didn't return the most impressive scorecard. However, it's just as obvious that this had nothing to do with KL whatsoever. Because Kuala Lumpur still stands strong as one of the (or perhaps the?) most underrated city I’ve ever been to. The fact that people don't talk about it all the time is criminal and I am now doing my part to encourage tourism to that piece of the world because it's got a flow that brings me great peace. If there ever was a capital city to be miserable in, this could be the winner. I guess it's what that ancient prophet said once upon a time. You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well, you just might find you get what you need. Oh, Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey!

Top Five Recommended Sights
The Petronas Towers from KLCC Park, KL Forest Eco Park, Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Museum Of Illusions.
(The above was lifted directly from Jarexit I, it's for the best)

Instagram Snaps
Set 1 | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing (from Jarexit I)

Worst to Best: Jarexit II: 8. New Delhi, India

8. New Delhi, India

Dates: 21 Sep 2019 - 5 Oct 2019
Accommodation: PODSTOP (21 Sep - 29 Sep 2019) [7.9/10]
Bunk Hostel Delhi (29 Sep - 5 Oct 2019) [3/10]

Having spent some time missioning around India with a bunch of mates in 2015, I figured I had a pretty decent grasp on the nation’s capital and I strolled in with confidence. No doubt about it, the next two weeks were going to be as smooth as floating upon a cloud. I pictured myself as some yogi guru who would make a pact with all of the gods, reaching a peak of spiritual calm that only the chosen Hindu people could achieve. I would balance a thousand plates upon my head! Brahman would accept me as its own! I would transcend my physical form! None of this happened.

It went more like this: Every morning I'd greet the day in excitement mode, rushing out the hostel doors to explore this world of potent smells, vibrant visuals and relentless buzzing noises. But the instant I stepped outside, a sledgehammer would pummel my face, my skull cracking down the middle, letting all sorts of stresses inside.

The utter chaos of this city remains unchallenged in my experience as a madness beyond realms of mortals, truly unlike anywhere else in the world. The car horns are like a thousand dicks deep throating your eardrums. The air pollution is so thick that you burn your eyes when you try to see through it. And the street plastic has conglomerated with the human faeces to create trash mountains that the cows love to eat right up, yum yum. It's a lot to take in. The poverty runs so deep that I was never sure if I stepped over a dead person or not. This would normally puncture my heart but you learn to build a shell of protection quick. You especially need to do this as a white person because the harassment is an evergrowing stack of bricks strapped to your back. Everyone wants to chat to you, they want to practice their English with you, they want you to buy their stuff, they want you to get into their taxi, they want to take a selfie with you whether you permit it or not. The people are friendly but are they? You’re never in danger but aren't you? The amount of times you say "no" in one day only ends once you stop saying it. I was shouting it.

And when you finally get back to your hostel, you crash facefirst into your pillow and your brain is upside down, filled with bees, and you swear you can’t survive another day in this sensory overload type of world.

It doesn't matter where I’ve been in my life. You name it, none of it is a speck of dirt in comparison to how gruelling this city is. It's like your spirit is being smothered by an energy turned up to 11 and I cursed myself for forgetting how much I had struggled with all of this last time, angry that I had come back to fight it again. But, as it turns out, I forgot something else too...

There's a curious charm that thrives in the noisy thick of New Delhi and it fuses itself to you. When you leave the kaleidoscopic rollercoaster that is India's capital, everything that comes next falls short. If it's not India, then it's too quiet, it's too easy, it's too boring. The unbearable intensity dries and crumbles out of your mind and you crave the dirt again. In its absence, bright vibrancy shines through the cracks and you recall how much fun you actually had. By Shiva, that was a powerful trip, man! The traffic alone is enough to make you a religious person because you pray for your life! Tinder works so well you become spoilt! And the affordability is absurd. Ubers cost a quid a pop. I had a 90p haircut at one point. I felt guilty about being British the whole time. In fact, I had one girl nearly walk out on a date because of my UK passport. Fair enough, historically speaking. Thankfully, I am a born South African otherwise she may not have fucked me that night.

Another strong flavour left on my tongue was the people I met during this stop. Partying at The Key was genuinely one of the best nightclub experiences of my life. Hey Sheen, wish we got to hang. Sup Jenny, you were a highlight. The Podstop hostel turned out to be a social goldmine and the crew from there still stand out as legends of the highest calibre; humans I'd gladly go out of my way to hang out with again. Shout-out to Eva, to Aneta, to Aakash, to Monty, to PJ and everyone else from that period, you peoples are inside of my mind permanently. Even more so, I extend a separate batch of love to Giacomo and Felix. You two dudes were the soundest of the sound and I properly enjoyed every single moment chilling with you brothers. I wish nothing but the best for both of your paths for the rest of all time.

I made a minor misjudgement when I moved to Bunk Hostel Delhi for my second week. I wanted a private room for some space to myself and it was fucked. An impenetrable language barrier, the noisiest street in India, my private toilet leaked liquid all over the floor. I tore them a new hole on, a review so vicious that they somehow managed to get it deleted from the website, a feat I did not even know was possible. Respect.

Speaking of impossibles, did you know that I am the only tourist from the whole Western world to spend two weeks in his city and not get Delhi Belly? It's true, look it up. Anyway, I wanna go back, I'm serious, let's go back.

Top Five Recommended Sights
The Lotus Temple, Agrasen ki Baoli, Raj Ghat Memorial, Jantar Mantar, The Siddh Hanuman Mandir

Instagram Snaps
Set 1 | Set 2 | Set 3 | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing

Worst to Best: Jarexit II: 7. Glasgow, Scotland, UK

7. Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Dates: 27 July 2019 - 4 August 2019
Accommodation: Giulia's Home [N/A]

When the Jarexit II door was first opened, I didn't explode into the stratosphere like some may have done and, instead, I took the most cautious step out of London I could. This was to be an easy transition, one where I remained in the same country (the UK, even though it was England to Scotland), where everyone spoke the same language (English, even though the thick local accent meant most spoken words were indecipherable), and where the same legal tender was accepted (the Queen’s pound, even though the notes look completely different).

Hold up and let's rewind a decade or so before. This story starts with an online Italian friend of mine. We will call her Giulia because that is her name. We connected over a mutual adoration for Lily Allen and gradually interacted with one another across all social media platforms until we became real friends. This binary code manifested into reality around 2018, when we finally met in person at All Points East festival in London. We reached a mutual agreement that we were both probably ok and she said I could come and visit her in Glasgow one day. Big mistake, Giulia! As I went there and I killed her and then I stole all of her coffee.

The coffee part is true! As are many other lovely factors which I could collect into a long-verse poem and call it Giulia. She let me into her home, gave me a place to sleep, gave me her wifi password, fed me Marmite peanut butter, and then took time out of her busy life to show me around her city. And her city was cool! I mean, very wet and rainy, sure, but that did not deter my mission in the slightest. I was dedicated to the cause! And I spent every lunchtime and whatever other available hours I had to explore these naturally beautiful planes, running around graveyards, hunting down Oor Wullie statues, photographing renowned murals, attending improv shows, admiring famous artwork, eating deep-fried Mars Bars, drinking probably a bit much, and doing all sorts of other stuff, you wouldn't believe it.

But nothing compares to the mini-Trainspotting solo tour I mapped out all by myself. At least two days worth of adventure time was focused on visiting various spots from that classic film, which meant a lot to me. That movie, man. It shifted a fundamental part of my psyche when I watched it, probably because I was faaaar under the recommended age restriction when I did. It was an honour to breathe oxygen in those areas while contemplating giving up everything for heroin. I felt like a teenager all over again!

Looking at this overall list, Glasgow may not have scored high but I think the reasons are fair. One week wasn’t enough. The weather and I had some beef. The UK is as the UK does. But I did get to hang out with my long-running friend Kate and my newer long-running friend Dan and my newest friend of them all, Emma, a baby human that these two legends created. Woohoo! That was very nice. And, of course, there was Giulia. Sweet Giulia. Love of my life, Giulia. Future wife whether she likes it or not, Giulia.

Top Five Recommended Sights
Duke of Wellington Statue, Glasgow Necropolis, The University of Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Ashton Lane

Instagram Snaps
Set 1 (Trainspotting Tour) | Set 2 | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing

Worst to Best: Jarexit II: 6. Barcelona/Madrid, Spain

6. Barcelona/Madrid, Spain

Dates: 24 Nov 2019 - 25 Dec 2019
Accommodation: Primavera Hostel (Barcelona, 24 Nov 2019 - 8 Dec 2019) [8/10]
Sweet BCN Youth Hostel (Barcelona, 8 Dec 2019 – 14 Dec 2019) [7/10]
Hotel Delicias (Zaragoza, 14 Dec 2019 - 15 Dec 2019) [6/10]
I Love Madrid Hostel (Madrid, 15 Dec 2019 - Wed 25 Dec 2019) [7/10]

My month-long stretch in Spain is a difficult one to summarise, stuffed to the breaking point with shimmering highlights and strenuous pitfalls, tales of love and loss, of pains and lessons, of blahs and blahs. In a fairer Jarexit world, the Barcelona-meets-Madrid city clash should have been split out into two separate chapters because the glue that joins them is nothing but a common country. Too late now, here we are.

Rushing right in and observing Barcelona, allow me to loudly state my undying love for this city. I love you, Barcelona! I adore this city so much that I've regularly referred to it as my “second home” without any regard to what my first home might be. It doesn't matter! What matters is that this was my 4th visit to this happy place and, in many ways, my favourite yet.

This elevation was owed, in part, to #ME. Over the last year of Jarexits, I had become an expert explorer, up there with the best, hence why I zipped along this familiar environment as if it was my first time, utilising sharper eyes to uncover an incredible amount of stuff I'd never discovered before. And these joyous findings united with the regular beaches and the religious establishments and the street buzz and the skyline views and the sunshine and the people (sup Alex, sup Carlos, sup Kate) until my problems evaporated and my previous adorations were reaffirmed. Oh, and Antoni Gaudi? The greatest architect that ever lived, surely. A firm fixture of the gawks. The Basílica de la Sagrada Família, my stomach. Oh, and the Montjuïc Cemetery? I’ve scuttled around graveyards all over the world but this was inarguably the craziest one.

There were even higher highs than these above examples. Crying as I watched Kate Tempest live for the first time was certainly one. The On The Rocks Pub Crawl was a goodie. Shout-out to the 8th of December 2019 where I celebrated my one year running with this nomadic lifestyle. I also have a note praising the 5th of December when Primavera Hostel fed us a free vegan meal and I spent an hour chatting to a beautiful Russian girl. Following that, my job (Pencilmation) was announced as the 3rd biggest content creator in 2019 according to YouTube Rewind and then a dorm mate I had never spoken to before handed me a Russian coin out of nowhere and said, "For memories". I feel so warm!

But as appreciated as these Mario Mushrooms were, the complete Barcelona game did not always go according to plan. In fact, when I make a list of the worst things that have happened to me during all of my Jarexit travels, the following story ranks in the top three.

To summarise for time-reasons: after a particularly inspiring day of blissful tourism, I happened upon a magical vegan grocery store at the end of the rainbow. I shredded wads of cash there then skipped home with a bag of goodies. I opted to cook happy burgers right away and separated the patties with a big sharp kitchen knife, promptly sliding the blade so deep into my left palm that is almost poked out the other side. My ring finger lost its entire sense of feeling immediately, I had obviously severed a nerve. The tiny wound flapped open like a vagina and, naturally, it began to bleed. I slapped the burgers onto the frying pan as I sucked on the hole and was then sickened to discover how much of my internal hand-meat had prolapsed out from the cut. My head spun and I knew I was about to faint so I rushed to my room and collapsed into my bed with one thought swirling around my befuddlement: those burgers are still cooking, brother. There's a fire hazard waiting to happen.

Thankfully, that didn't happen. Instead, I spent several hours wobbling around this Spanish terrain, visiting hospitals, conversing about their impossible waiting times and extortionate prices. My frugality and boredom ultimately conquered and I decided to risk it, doing nothing. For a week, the wound remained open and I couldn’t shake the trauma. My head played the VHS over and over. The city’s once flowery aura had turned dark and spoiled. One day in particular I couldn't get out bed I was so down. Thankfully, the injury did eventually heal up and, even though I am still lacking most of that finger’s sensation to this very day, I reflect upon this outcome with gratitude. Thank you, outcome. The number of ways this could have been worse is infinite.

Besides that gigantic hiccup and the fact that the Tories annihilated the 2019 United Kingdom general election (blah!), I think I was just mostly exhausted. Three Barcelona weeks came and went where I had slept in six-to-eight people rooms and I’d heard too many octaves of snores to be comfortable anymore. Don’t get me wrong, the two hostels I stayed at were each excellent in their own rights and I am still the undefeated adventure master. But travel fatigue is a real phenomenon and it was setting in fast. This wasn’t good because my Spain journey was only halfway done...

The next major stop was aimed towards the Spanish capital of Madrid but I decided to embark on a sneaky side manoeuver, tiptoeing through Borja and Zaragoza for one day and one sleeps. There was a singular reason for this and a singular reason only: I wanted to look at the Ecce Homo painting (i.e: Ecce Mono; Potato Jesus). This was the botched Christ art piece which had since become an internet sensation. The mere awareness of its existence had brought so much joy to my life already. I needed to scan its contents in HD!

Getting to this little fella was a different story (5 am Barcelona start, two-hour train to Zaragoza, 1-hour bus to Borja, 6km walk up a steep hill to the Sanctuary of Mercy church) but the smiling sun made for a pleasant trip and the cherry was oh-so-worth-it. The painting is just too funny. I was in hysterics for the rest of the day, I truly love myself for doing this for myself, it was a moment of immense pride. Perhaps even more amusing than the painting is how much tourism money this fuck-up is pumping into Borja’s economy, it's like nothing they've ever seen, truly a miracle from Jesus. Meanwhile, Borja itself was interesting enough in that derelict type of way. Although, with only a 5,000 population, it was eerily quiet and I felt like everyone knew I was there. Let's get out of here! I popped down to Zaragoza to crash out in a private room (finally!), spending only a few hours exploring this (much bigger) city. It was whirring with social activity and I was legit heartbroken to leave so soon. I half-swore I'd cover this place properly at a later date, so let me know if you're keen for that.

Such an exhilaratingly swift adventure done and Madrid finally landed my way. First time ever! And I hit it hard! Multiple spots every day, soaking my eyeballs in some truly magnificent landmarks and works of art. I had spent a fair share of my travel life in Spain but I realised I had been missing a trick. This fresh piece of the puzzle was exploding my skull out! These streets wanna party. I have it in writing that, at the time, I claimed that Madrid was better than Barcelona. Blasphemy! And not a fair statement at all! But the sentiment was made and it means more than I could express here. The cut in my hand healed up. I had a few drinks with my a-grade London pal Javier. My mana bubbled to the rim, fully replenished. I remembered who I was. I was the king.

This ego trip didn’t last. The time came to snip the fun and games to an early demise and hunch over my laptop to honour my self-imposed deadlines. You see, the end of December is always a challenging time of year for me because I have annual projects which require wrapping up. This means days upon days upon days of sitting in my cramped hostel, smashing my fists into my keyboard while everyone around me has the holiday of their life. But did they knock out an entire book titled The Top 250 Albums of the Decade? Or did they write an article which intricately picked apart every detail of the year named Dear 2019? No, they didn’t. Travelling is cool and all but work is my first love, so I look back on it without regrets. We do what we do. I clicked to publish the juices of my labour and then, on the loneliest Christmas day in history, I packed my bags and said goodbye to Spain, with my itinerary list only half satisfied. Something to do next time, I guess.

Jarexit II ended here as I flew to the Americas where the overall game levelled up big time. But that’s a different blog post...

Top Five Recommended Barcelona Sights
Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Montjuïc Cemetery, Park Güell, Cathedral of Barcelona, Bunkers of Carmel

Instagram Barcelona Snaps
Set 1 | Set 2 (Montjuïc Cemetery) | Set 3 | Set 4 | Stabbing (Warning: Random Political Content) | Kate Tempest Review | One Year Jarexit Anniversary | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing (Barcelona)

Instagram Borja/Zaragoza Snaps
Ecce Homo Announcement | Set 1

Top Five Recommended Madrid Sights
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, The Iglesia de San Antonio de los Alemanes, Plaza de Salvador Dalí, Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez (Retiro Park), Madrid Walk of Fame

Instagram Madrid Snaps
Set 1 | Set 2 | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing (Madrid)

Worst to Best: Jarexit II: 5. Gold Coast, Australia

5. Gold Coast, Australia

Dates: 10 Nov 2019 - 23 Nov 2019
Accommodation: Ash's House [N/A]

After feeling like a pinball ricocheting around the craziest locations on the planet (Dubai to New Delhi to KL to Tokyo to Bangkok = deadly!), I had no choice but to desperately dive towards normality, a last-minute save that happened far too late if anything.

Gold Coast has never been claimed as the most action-orientated city in the great country of Australia and you might think this would work in its detriment. The fact that I had been here several months previous normally wouldn't work in its favour either. But this relaxing familiar vibe was everything I needed at that low point, offering various little prizes that most people tend to take for granted. Like friends. And not a hostel. And drinkable tap water. And English.

Wait! Our story truly starts during Jarext I where I ended that entire 6-month tour right here, the Gold Coast never considered a full-fledged chapter but rather a bonus stage after Melbourne. The purpose then was to spend a week with my long lost pal (and fellow Funpowder Plotter) Ash in his natural habitat. What I hadn't accounted for, was that I'd fall in love with the Gold Coast. Because I did. Because the Gold Coast is a fucking paradise set on chill mode. Because no other modes are available. I left with a frowny heart but, as I did so, Ash requested my return for his 40th birthday a few months later. And I said, don’t you worry, my friend. I will be there for that.

We are nothing if not the promises we keep and I fulfilled my brotherly duties right here, on the Jarexit II tour, landing during a substantially warmer season then promptly collapsing with a sickness worse than any I'd tasted during 2019. It makes sense too. No doubt my immune system had taken a beating due to the stress-induced panic that is known generally as Asia. So when my body recognised a safe place, it finally let go, surrendering to the filth and the foreign bacteria I’d exposed myself to over the last months. Not ideal but, also, ideal. If this had to happen, then so be it, this was the perfect place for it to happen in. The feeling of death watering your lungs is never going to be great but when you're on a beach, it's bearable. Glued to the couch from sweat is a pathetic feeling but when Ash hands me some homemade veggie food and a beer, I could hardly justify any self-pity, right? And, gradually, I became human again.

One of the most appreciated of feeding tubes was the one where I ate my friends. A delicious array of old school London peeps made an appearance, most notably Alan, Jock, and the legend Little Ash himself (no relation to larger Ash). Then there was this glorious line-up of newer Australian faces to the likes of Kez, Emily, Beks, Ken, and tons of others, everyone coming together for one reason only... to celebrate the big guy’s birthday. This was done properly, a Mad Max themed party which got reasonably out of control, without a doubt the hardest I've partied over this Jarexit (the competition wasn't high but whatevs). Sadly, the toxins in my system flared my diseases back to the forefront and I fell down sick again with a screaming headache but zero regrets. These are some amazing people, I felt honoured.

The rest of the trip was what truly made it. You'll probably remember the country was on fire around this time and the topic of unrest hung in the air just like the smoke in question. But it's difficult to stress when you're feeding a kangaroo, you know? There was loads of beer, loads of cake, and so much chilling on some of the most beautiful natural terrains I’d seen this year. We all need exercise and I run a lot no matter where I am. But the Palm Beach through Burleigh Head National Park to Burleigh Head Beach? That's my favourite trail in the world thus far. It heals me.

One particular moment I’ll never forget was sitting next to the Palm Beach lagoon beneath the scorching sun, craft tinnie in my hand, marvelling over the fundamentals of existence. I looked over to Little Ash and he looked back at me and we both shook our heads in disbelief. It was that inconceivably nice. Then Luci and I went and jumped off the bridge together into the water. Luci later deleted me off Facebook, which sucks, but what can you do? Anyways, Gold Coast! It melted away the mental gunk that relentless travelling seems to inevitably accumulate over time. I left rejuvenated with my batteries charged to the max, ready to move forward at an alarming speed which is not something I can say about anywhere else on this list, really.

This newfound stamina was more imperative than you'd think. I got on a plane and took a 28h50 flight to Spain which was made easier with a new idea I had just birthed. It went like this: when I'm old and I'm ready to die, the Gold Coast is where I'll live out my last days. It is that serene. It is the full-stop.

We did drink a fuckload though. I must make that abundantly clear.

Top Five Recommended Sights
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Palm Beach, Burleigh Head National Park, Burleigh Head Beach, Springbrook National Park (Jarexit I)

Instagram Snaps
Set 1 | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing (Jarexit I)

Worst to Best: Jarexit II: 4. Bucharest, Romania

4. Bucharest, Romania

Dates: 25 Aug 2019 - 7 Sep 2019
Accommodation: Motor House Unirii [7.5/10]

My decision to slide into Romania's DMs was born from strange and very sudden declarations of love from some of my most respectable travelling pals. Out of nowhere, this country was lauded as the place-to-be, do not miss it, and before I knew what I was doing, I'd purchased my flights to and accommodation inside of the nation's capital. My excitable announcement was met with a baseball bat of resistance. “No, don’t go to Bucharest! That’s not where the cool kids are! Never go to the capital city of anywhere!” Woah, what do you mean? I only go to capital cities! It’s where the best wifi is! And, anyway, it was too late, I'd already paid for everything. I made peace with my choice and pretended I was fine.

As is the nature of Worst to Best lists, the later in the game they appear, the better the time was. Here we find ourselves in the greater half so you already knew that Bucharest rocked my world. The reasons why are tougher to articulate but, my gosh, I will do my best over the next several paragraphs.

One hefty pull was the general prices. I've always welcomed travel stops that don't break the piggy. Beer was half the cost of London and I could afford a private room in a guesthouse. Both of these components are important. The room granted me the mental space to get a fuckton of work done and the workaholic gods were appeased by the sacrificed time. Meanwhile, those cheap beers served me well especially during Bucharest2Night, my favourite pub crawl from this Jarexit II timeline. And with cheeks filled with drunk, I vibrated along these streets, consumed by the wild nightlife that this city offers, a raucous buzz of social activity featuring (no exaggeration) some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, hand's down.

This little intoxicated excursion got me in a speck of bother too. That same night when I was stumbling home with Google Maps as my only ally, some wanker on bicycle attempted to snatch my phone away. He failed like a loser and then I called out to a pair locals passing by. They came to the rescue, instructing me to “run” as they restrained him, super legends. And run, I did! I was lost though so I was forced to continuously hide behind cars every time I heard his slow tires scraping down the street, dashing in the opposite direction once they'd panned away.

By some divine guidance (probably still Google Maps, I can't remember) I eventually found my hostel but I overshot it, my gate key somehow working in the neighbour's lock. When my housekey didn't fit the front door, I had just about bubbled into my limit and I was in a dramatic state. I tearfully phoned the landlord at 3 am but to no avail until I resigned to my fate and lay on the ground, hoping to get some sleep outside. At some point, I realised that I recognised nothing around me so I jumped the fence and fell, collapsing on the sidewalk, lying on the concrete for a few minutes, wallowing in this comedic moment of self-pity. I got up, dusted myself off, strolled two metres to the real gate, entered without a hitch and went to bed. I have never woken up so relieved that I somehow had all my stuff!

The rest of my sober days were spent exploring and, boy, does Bucharest have endless places to explore! I did something every lunchtime and often at the night too, yet I was unable to tick everything off of my list. I could ramble many highlights but one all-encompassing characteristic of Bucarest's appeal was the urban decay. It's unmatched as the best I have ever seen, my heart turned operatic. The sleek modern buildings standing so proud next to these smashed up dens that are crumbling before your eyes is a juxtaposition to the most glorious of orders. It's my favourite thing!

Another favourite thing was the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum which is a massive village of houses that nobody lives in, like a ghost town you can walk around and peer in windows without getting arrested. When I was there not another human was in sight which coated the atmosphere with an eerie blanket of solitude until I bumped into some sheep and I screamed. Maybe it was just my experience but even while I was in those moments, I was acutely aware that this was one of the best travel sites I had ever visited. I still consider it a peak point within every Jarexit ever.

Did I mention the weather was always above 30? So. Good. I ran a lot as a result.

Side note: as time has gone on I have started to associate Bucharest as the place where Ina lives. She is the human representative of the city, she owns it as far as I'm concerned. She is a girl I met very briefly and we became social media friends right there. Since then, we have seriously bonded over many topics and she is super nice to me, far more than I deserve. So, anyway, hi, Ina! You’re so great I would go back to Bucharest just to hang out with her (even though I was planning to go back anyway).

Oh, also, hello Anuita! You are super cool too! :D

The overall summary is that Bucharest solidified into that sweet central spot where everything just seemed to go well. My health was sturdy, my creativity was gushing, my social sack was mended, and the city itself kept on giving me what I wanted, day after day after night after day. It was the third stop on Jarexit II and before this, I was feeling very unsure of myself. My travel life seemed upside down, unsustainable, stupid. Had I made the right decision to resume rolling down the nomadic hill like this? Wasn't I too old to have ripped up all of life's responsibilities? Shouldn't I be establishing some roots rather than disappearing into the ether of global nothingness? Then Bucharest came along and was like, bro, wtf, it’s all good, keep on keeping on, this shit is fucking golden.

I also particularly enjoyed telling everyone from the first paragraph how mistaken they were. Bucharest is underrated and anyone who disses it did it wrong. In fact, I even went to the much-praised Brasov for a day to see what all the fuss was about and I wasn’t mad for it. And you know why? Because capital cities, man. That's where the glory is at.

Top Five Recommended Sights
The Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, Romanian Kitsch Museum, the Romanian Palace of Parliament, The Cișmigiu Garden, Palatul Adevărul

Instagram Snaps
Set 1 | Set 2 (incl Brasov) | Set 3 | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing

Worst to Best: Jarexit II: 3. Florence/Pisa, Italy

3. Florence/Pisa, Italy

Dates: 4 Aug 2019 – 25 Aug 2019
Accommodation: Nirvana House Pisa (Pisa, 4 Aug – 17 Aug) [8.3/10]
My Friends (Florence, 17 Aug – 25 Aug) [7.1/10]

There is no way in any reasonable Universe that this Jarexit chapter should be placed this high up on my list. There were simply far too many glaring faults that nibbled at my legs during this leg and they all wore the same face. My face. It was me, I made mistakes.

The first and biggest mistake was Pisa itself. I prepared a sizeable list of things to do and then I happily skipped out into the wild, accidentally doing everything in a couple of hours. Oops! Nobody told me that Pisa was hardly a city! This was just a bunch of people gathered around a building! A building that is so shit it nearly fell over! Wtf! I seriously can't express this enough and anyone who has been here will tell you the same story: there is nothing to do in Pisa. And, what's more, I had already paid for two weeks of accommodation to do nothing in. D-to-the-fucking-'oh.

However, it must be said that this absence of activities almost maybe worked in the location’s favour. You see, I’m the type of guy who welcomes open hours to dedicate to his craft and, suddenly, I had ample of these hours do so with. I smashed my foot on the gas and made insane headway on my creative projects, zooming far ahead of schedule. Another helpful factor is that I had a super nice private room allowing me to lock the world away and keep my sneaky schemes to myself, hehehe.

Did I mention the Sun? Ah man, the Almighty Sun! Solid pal to me during this section of life, germinating energy within my cells and elbowing me to think outside of the box. Dig, motherfucker, dig! So I dug and unearthed some trippy areas to explore that most casual fans prancing through Pisa's streets may miss. I found a church which claimed ownership of a legit thorn from Jesus’ torture crown. I invented my own pub crawl which included a stop at a shot bar that boasts over 250 strange combinations. I braved the confusing transport to mission down to the charming city of Lucca for a day as well as Bagni Vittorio Emanuele beach another, drinking beers in a hammock watching the sunset. I also went on a walking tour which showed me everything I had already seen, except for one thing: a girl named Ella. She was a super cool person! She still is a super cool person, I imagine! After the tour, we went for vegan ice cream and chatted about how embarrassed we were about being Britsh, hahaha, omg, so embarrassed! The fact that she was 16 years my junior only made me feel a little bit old :(

In the end, total props to Pisa. The Leaning Tower is an undeniably exciting object to see with your own eyes (even if the daily flocking of tourism is insanely impenetrable!). The surrounding buildings may be overshadowed by their reject sibling but they're sick too, the inside of the Pisa Cathedral has its place inside of me. But once you've seen the tower almost every day for 14 days straight you do start to feel like you've been short-changed, you know? Hence why I completely skewed the wheel and decided not to jump the Italian ship just yet. I needed to get a better kick than this! And so, by following literally everyone’s advice, I jumped on a train and chugged my way to the nearby city of Florence.

Florence is the opposite bag with a seemingly infinite amount of historically important spots to check out. Except I had half the time to do it in. One week and one week only, baby! Not a second to waste! I quickly checked into a very cramped but otherwise lovely hostel and got to work immediately, my eyes on the mission, covering as much ground as humanely possible. And, as I do, I did well.

It would be impossible to name everything I achieved here but it'd be blasphemous if I didn't name-drop the Florence Cathedral Square as a location that sucked my breath away. The depth of detail in those architectural masterpieces stuck, carving their name into my heart. No matter where I was going that day, I always gravitated towards that special area first. My mind was also drowned by the bottomless amount of groundbreaking artworks I paid respects to (Michelangelo's David comes to mind, as does Botticelli's The Birth Of Venus) not to mention but to mention the gravesites that rested some of the greatest minds in history (Michelangelo and Galileo are all actually, but still).

On a personal note, my headspace wasn’t its usual cheery self here and I did struggle to connect with anyone on my level despite my best efforts (although, respect Leah, she was the friendliest face Florence had to offer!). Furthermore, I was gutted at how much everything cost! Quite a hefty sum of money for whatever you wanted to do and no two worthwhile things were in the same place. But! But the magic of Florence cuts through all of that and, on a city basis alone, it floored me with its culture and general superior vibrations. This place is truly in a league elsewhere. My artistic inspiration grew so large that it looped on itself and I suddenly knew I was a rubbish artist again. That's an impressive amount of emotion in one motion.

If you count the two weeks in Rome from Jarexit I, a total of five weeks was spent in Italy over 2019. These days were of such a strong quality that they conspired together until I found myself accidentally labelling this as my favourite country to visit in the world thus far. This is still the case. There is something here that whacks everything out of the picture but I’m unsure what it is? The greatest art/artists/architecture in the world? The strong history? The best cuisine the world has ever tasted? Yes yes yes. All of these factors make Jared a swell boy and that's why I'll forever have a plan to go back to this land “very soon”.

Top Five Recommended Pisa Sights
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Cattedrale di Pisa, The Santa Chiara Church (feat. Jesus Thorn), Keith Haring Mural, Chupiteria Shot Bar

Instagram Pisa Snaps
Set 1 | Set 2 | Summary Shot

Top Five Recommended Florence Sights
Florence Cathedral Square, Uffizi Gallery, Michaelangelo's David, The Basilica di Santa Croce, Giardino delle rose

Instagram Florence Snaps
Set 1 | Set 2 | Set 3 | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing

Worst to Best: Jarexit II: 2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dates: 7 Sep 2019 – 21 Sep 2019
Accommodation: Top Dubai Apartment (7 Sep – 18 Sep) [8.3/10]
Leva Hotel and Suites, Mazaya Centre (18 Sep – 21 Sep) [7.9/10]

The more you read my blogs, the deeper you’ll understand how much of a big fat fucking loser I am. Just kidding! I’m not fat :( Do me a favour and stop reading my blogs.

Classic story: my trip to Dubai was because of... a girl! She lives there told me I should come on over. I knew her from High School, 16 odd something years ago and back way when I was crushing on her something fierce! Our communication had been minimal since that point but then, suddenly, there she was, on my Whatsapp screen, saying cool stuff that was by no means explicit enough to guarantee a good time, but just the right amount of liquid to spring my male brain into action. Right! Let’s go to Dubai then!

Of course, the moment I landed, she ghosted me, and I haven’t heard from her since.

This was annoying to no end because I never had any interest in this city whatsoever. Stuff weirded me out about it. Certain laws were set in a past world. The type of people who came here were usually business-orientated, seeking sneaky tax breaks. It’s also worth noting that this one guy I know was very vocal about how immoral it is to visit Dubai after I had already visited. This is due to certain structures reportedly built with slave hands and that really messed with my moral mind too. But if you can take a deep breath and ignore these unpleasantries and ignore how intensely they searched me upon arrival and ignore how on edge I felt for the first several days... Dubai ultimately popped my brain, increasing my knowledge on just how uniquely trippy a city can be.

Even as a concept, Dubai is weird. It may look like a city with all the city parts but the weather won't let you forget that you are in a desert. Especially if you go during the months I went, or so I hear. The borderline 40-degree heat was the name of the game every single day which I loved because I am a creature of the Sun, gimme gimme. Still, this environment is unignorably inhabitable by human beings, hence why an ocean of money had to be pumped into the place just to get it functioning. And it shows. The level of artificialness is a loud factor that puts a lot of people off but, damn, when you look at that skyline at night? Every sci-fi film you’ve ever loved brightens up before your eyes, stretching all the way up to the heavens. Because those buildings are tall, buddy.

In fact, that’s the craziest characteristic of Dubai. The buildings have to be the tallest (and one of them is the tallest tallest). Everything you see forever appears to be suffixed with “in the world”. No matter what it is, it’s the biggest, longest, heaviest, fastest, loudest whatever the fuck in the world. Its entire purpose is to be this record-breaking monster which just screams excess excess excess, the stink of wealth gleaming from every one of its pores. It is so utterly insane that I spent most days in hysterics as I tried to work out what was going on. And best of all, the sheer extravagance of it all meant that I couldn’t afford to do anything. No drink, no cabs, no restaurants, nothing. And so, somehow, I saved a bunch of money just by being here. Go figure.

I also lucked out socially. Tinder girls loved me even though most of them turned out to be hookers. Saily was one of the non-hookers and we got along straight away, she's hilarious and we continue to Like each other's Instagram posts to this very day. I also stayed in a highly impressive hostel (Top Dubai Apartment), emphasis on highly as it's the fourth tallest residential structure in the world, blessing us with a dizzying view of Palm Jumeirah, the largest artificial island in the world. Here, a rotation of interesting cats kept shaking my mind with their lives and I was deep into it. A whole ton of love to SuPing from China, she's a genuine human that has made my life that much better, we've kept in touch. I also met this gorgeous American girl but we forgot to exchange details and that has haunted me ever since. There was a big lesson there. Finally, high-fives all around to Denise, to Ashu, and to Mahlet. Together, we were the crew who went 4X4 dune bashing over endless desert landscapes then rode impoverished camels before eating food in front of a belly dancer. That was a crazy night!

Here’s what it comes down to: when you travel a lot of Europe, the differences can be similar and sometimes it takes a moment for your memory to retrieve which file came from where. With Dubai, every moment was so unmistakably itself, an Arabian sci-fi hallucination, where there was never any question where I was. I was in the freaking future! And, as it stands, no city has managed to 180 my opinion as expertly as this one. I was wrong and I am sorry. Dubai is sick.

It’s a good thing too because at least I’m not mad at that girl who invited me to come over. How could I be? I am grateful! It’s as if her entire existence in my life was to lure me into this experience and, even if she wasn’t part of it, I thank her for the idea. Thank you for the idea!

Top Five Recommended Sights
Burj Khalifa, Jumeirah Beach, View of the Palm Jumeirah, the Dubai Mall, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood.

Instagram Snaps
Set 1 | Set 2 | Set 3 | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing

Worst to Best: Jarexit II: 1. Tokyo, Japan

1. Tokyo, Japan

Dates: 13 Oct - 2 Nov 2019
Accomodation: obi Hostel (13 Oct - 19 Oct 2019) [7/10]
Khaosan Tokyo Origami (19 Oct - 26 Oct 2019) [8.3/10]
HopStepInn (26 Oct - 2 Nov 2019) [6/10]

Plot reveal: the string that ran down the centre of Jarexit II was a guide rope of baby steps, each notch pulling me across the planet until I ultimately arrived at the key destination of Tokyo for my birthday. I made it! Now, I know what you’re wondering... why Tokyo?? Just kidding, no one was wondering that. It’s, like, everyone’s dream to go to Tokyo, as it was mine, hence the plan. I’m a city boi after all and as far as cities go, you’re not going to find a level like this anywhere else on this floating rock of ours. Hence why, when the plane touched down, the excitement made a whistling noise through my teeth and my pupils expanded in response.

What I didn’t tell anyone is that I absolutely hated it. As a self-centred privileged Westernised white prick, I expected some level of English to assist me through my touristic ways. But within minutes of attempting to navigate this land, it became swiftly obvious that I was not going to be cared for. I had become so used to harnessing this exotic flavour of mine in Asia that I was hurt that no one in Japan gave a shit about me. The citizens were polite, sure. Excessively so. But there was this thin aura of superiority where they looked down on me, the caucasian visitor, responsible for all that was wrong in the world. They wouldn't be wrong either.

It got worse. My wires completely crisscrossed because I thought I knew how big cities function. I’m trained in the arts! But this one was set up wrong. Every single minute detail was just slightly different to anywhere I'd ever seen before. It was the first world to the cutting edge but none of it worked in the same fashion that I was used to. Everything was too expensive. Vegetarianism wasn’t communicatable. Tinder was on the hardest setting. The streets were packed with people but they were deadly quiet. And slowly, my mind shrunk inwards and I felt isolated within my own skull. Omg, this was not how this was supposed to be! And I had three weeks left of this! Buddha, help me, please!

Annoying how Worst to Best lists work because, spoiler no spoiler, it got better. Like, immeasurably better. I started to grasp the system. I simply had to click myself a little to the left then let go, allowing the ride to begin. All those confusing quirks turned out to be advancements. Every toilet, every train, every wifi connection operated on a greater plane. I became a cartoon character in a cartoon world and it was hysterical, high def technicolour of robotic surrealism, the package I’d imagined except real without being too real, an illusion of hyper-cuteness. Maybe the locals didn't appear to like me too much, but I liked them. Their fashion sense was cavity-inducing. Their language was like a thousand tiny daggers slicing up my ears in fast forward. And the general standard of female appearance was a tumbling line of heartbreak, a domino of yearning pain per every step. That part never got easier.

My birthday came and went and even though I was all alone, this solo celebration was one for the books (side shout-out to the girls who sent me birthday photos, y'all lit my smile all the way up). I set out with a magnifying glass to explore every corner that this peculiar city had hidden away, injecting the folds of my brain with quick setting jello, causing permanent damage. Or maybe that was the alcohol during the impressive Tokyo Pub Crawl party? Or maybe that was the alcohol my colleague/friend Greg fed me? Or maybe that was the alcohol my former colleague/still friend Bertan fed me too? Whatever, thanks, dudes! My little sister also joined the madness during the last week and it was here that I learned a valuable lesson: the racing-paced travel program I have developed since Jarexit I is not suited for everyone. Our energies didn’t match on the same playing field and we were forced to salvage our separate holidays by following our own paths. It's a shame but one can't blame Tokyo for sibling oppositions. Because Tokyo was all that, each and every day rammed with a frantic rush to fill my backpack with unusual crumbs until I could piece together some sort of a distorted picture of what was actually going on here, so much so that it’s tricky to identify a single event that stands above another. Well, except for one one...

I must confess to you, my readers, that I have been a little less than honest in pretending I was touring Tokyo for my birthday. Yes, this was the dream location, and yes, I was stoked to turn 35 here. But this was just a happy organisational opportunity. What really set this trip in motion was a girl I met randomly at a party two years back and, believe it or not, this wasn't even a romantic story. Truthfully, I never got her name. I wouldn’t recognise her if I passed her on the street. But some people's roles in our lives revolve around different properties and this was one of those. During a conversation that my memory has since deleted, she looked me in the eyes and said, “You have to go to Tokyo for Halloween, it’s like nothing on Earth”. I decided right then that I had to do that. And so here I was. Doing it. And she wasn't wrong. I'm not even going to try to explain this to you. Google "Shibuya Station Halloween". It’s not a normal experience. It’s the craziest shit I’ve ever seen in my life.

One other quick trippy coincidence was that the 2019 Rugby World Cup took place in Tokyo while I was here. What's more, the finals were played between my birth home of South Africa and my home home of England. Cool! I couldn't lose! South Africa won and I was happy about that, for sure. 

Anyways, sadly, all good things must come to an end, and Tokyo came to an end. But I was a changed man, man! I was bowing at everyone, at dogs, at fridges. My mind was fueled to the max on rice and it repeated what I had to do, over and over again. I had to marry a Tokyo girl. That way I could stay here forever. I can’t emphasise this enough: the decision had been made. There was something in this city and whatever it was made a wordless pact with me. There was not an atom in my being which wanted to live anywhere else and I started to make plans. Plan one: learn Japanese! 

I’ve chilled a bit now but vibes that vibe that strong don’t simply fizzle out. Tokyo was a life highlight, the Jarexit II focal point, and, as we stand, still the ultimate goal. Mark my words, I will go back there again as soon as I can, except this time with a greater understanding, a more focused itinerary, and a much longer time period to allow myself to sink into the culture like warm noodle soup, melting away to become the very best Jared I can be. Tokyo Jared.

Top Five Recommended Sights
Akihabara, Takeshita Street in Harajuku, The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, TeamLab Borderless, Shibuya Station (during Halloween!)

Instagram Snaps
Set 1 | Set 2 | Set 3 | Set 4 | Set 5 | Set 6 (TeamLab Exclusive) | Set 7 (Halloween Exclusive) | Set 8 (Halloween Solo Shot) | Summary Shot

Monstrocity Drawing

Sunday 7 June 2020

BREAKING NEWS: New Details Emerge About the Dominic Cummings Lockdown Breach

LONDON. While statements from Dominic Cummings and Mary Wakefield divide a nation on whether his lockdown actions warrant a resignation, there is one central figure to this story that the media has largely overlooked: the couple’s son, Alexander Cedd Cummings.

Recently, investigative journalist Kieran Skieran sat down to interview the four-year-old. Together with renowned language expert, Samuel Crunkbottom (who specialises in the toddler tongue of the silver spoon variety), they uncovered details which may or may not alter the outcome of this narrative.

According to their interpretations, Mr Cummings was struck by a sudden mid-Spring metabolic deficiency and he required his yearly blood-transfusion much earlier than anticipated. However, due to the supply shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic, this procedure could only take place in County Durham at such short notice.

As The Daily Mail reports, Dominic Cummings suffers from a rare hereditary disorder that has run through his interbred ancestry for thousands of years. This medical condition (known as Plasma Occupant Eradication Syndrome but more commonly referred to as “vampire thirsting”) is diagnosed when an individual’s neural tissue becomes dehydrated by their own blood. This results in a myriad of side effects, including the craving for virgin flesh and an inescapable regret towards one’s role in the gradual collapse of Britain.

Little Alexander went on record stating that he feels his daddy’s actions came from a place of good heart. He added that Dominic was much less murderous after the successful transfusion and that the family had a wonderful day celebrating mommy’s birthday at Barnard Castle.

This story was sponsored by the Janthopoyism newsletter. Every month, one lucky subscriber will win a random prize. In May 2020, Kieran won a "200-Word Blog Post on Anything".
His chosen subject was as follows: "As Dominic Cummings and his wife have both wrote separately about their trip to Durham, I'd love to hear from their 4-year-old son who was along for the ride".
It shall be done.
If you'd like to be in the running for future prizes, don't hesitate! Sign up to the mailing list now.

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Does Bill Gates Have Evil Vaccination Intentions?



Who is Bill Gates?

Bill Gates is best known as the co-founder and former CEO of the Microsoft Corporation. This technology company has created various software products (most notable the Windows operating system) and has subsequently remained one of the most valued companies in the world (currently the most valuable, overtaking Apple in 2018[ref]). Microsoft is valued at over $1 trillion since 2019[ref].

With a net worth of $105+ billion[ref], Bill Gates is the second richest man in the world behind only Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder and CEO)[ref]. There were only four years between 1995 and 2017 where Bill was not the richest person on the planet.

Bill Gates largely stepped down from his Microsoft duties in 2008 to devote more time to the private charity he has set up with his wife. It's called the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Their goals are to improve global healthcare and reduce poverty. This is reportedly the world’s largest private charity[ref].

What is the Theory?

There are assorted dots scattered throughout this narrative. Conspiracy theorists tend to believe in different degrees and combinations of these points, but in one general string, it looks something like this:

Bill Gates may have invented COVID-19 himself or at least perpetuated the spread. He has done so to force the world to require a mandatory vaccine otherwise we'll never get back to normal life. This would not only skyrocket Bill Gates’ wealth due to his patent ownership but would also allow him to slip a microchip into every human being, tracking everyone, everywhere, at all times. All of which may be part of a Satanic plot to overthrow Donald Trump, possibly because Gates is part of a paedophile ring. I'll explain everything.

Where Do We Even Begin?

There are three distinct conspiracy timelines which have met up to create this mecha-theory, essentially the culmination of long-speculated anxieties coming to a climax right here. These are anti-vaccinations, microchip implants, and a general distrust for Bill Gates himself.

We will look at each of these separately.

What's the Anti-Vaccination Movement?

The anti-vaxxer (or vaccine hesitancy) community has existed for centuries, initially rooted in religion. In 1772, Reverend Edmund Massey famously dubbed inoculations against smallpox as the work of the devil[ref]. Over time, these arguments against vaccinations have evolved across a wide spectrum. They range from an understandable lack of confidence over the safety of a vaccine’s contents, all the way to linking autism to said vaccinations (a theory which has since been debunked a thousand times over[ref][ref][ref]).

In 2019, The World Health Organization called the vaccine hesitancy movement one of the biggest health threats in the world[ref] due to the outbreaks which have resulted from reduced immunities. This includes the 2004 reappearance of polio in Nigeria[ref]. There has also been a 30% global rise of measle cases/deaths[ref][ref], for example, 600 in Nigeria (Jan - March 2005)[ref] and 83 over the last year in Samoa[ref].

As it stands, the scientific consensus is that vaccines are safe due to the immense safety standards required from a medicine that is administered to millions of humans[ref]. However, people like Heidi J. Larson from WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts takes some of the blame, stating “We've invested in more and more vaccines and much less in bringing the public along with us. We need to pay attention to the public and listen to their concerns much earlier on.”[ref]

When it comes to corona, the war between the anti-vaxxers and the vaccination is nothing but loud words at this point. However, it will continuously gain momentum as we approach the inoculation date.

Microchip Implants: What Are the Concerns?

The long history of VeriChip human implants would take too much time to document but it truly became newsworthy in 2004 when the practice was legally approved by The Food and Drug Administration[ref]. Its current and potential functions include storing identity and medical information, monitoring diseases, tracking criminals, and replacing bank cards. Since then, places like the Epicenter in Stockholm[ref], City Watcher in Cincinnati[ref] and the Baja Beach club in Rotterdam[ref] have experimented with the microchip for allowing personal access into secure or VIP areas. It’s worth noting that, at this time, there are no reported GPS implants available due to issues like device size and battery life[ref][ref].

Questions quickly arose about this irremovable mechanism and its effects on our freedom. The American Medical Association published a report in 2007[ref] which queried privacy issues. Security researcher Jonathan Westhues demonstrated how easy it was to clone such microchips simply by standing next to their person[ref] in 2006.

The Bill Gates story is not the first time the conspiracy mill has spun about microchipping. Back in 2013, an email chain claimed Obamacare was looking to implant every US citizen by 2014 based on the H.R.3590 – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act[ref]. No such wording existed but this did not stop the rumour from updating the deadline every year that passed[ref].

Also in 2014, an almost identical hoax cropped up about the Ebola vaccine[ref][ref] as well as one stating that all EU newborns were set to be chipped[ref]. Perhaps unsurprisingly, no reliable documentation can back up these claims.

As it stands, involuntary microchip implants are illegal in the American states of Arkansas, California, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin[ref][ref] and similar such laws continue to spread quickly. Consent is also required in the UK[ref]. As these notions are fairly new, many nations are yet to establish their laws. Nevertheless, it feels reasonable to suggest that any free country will view forced/undisclosed microchipping as a conflict of basic human rights.

Microchip Implants: The Mark of the Beast?

Much like any good story, we also have a birthplace in the Bible. More specifically, the Book of Revelation, the Bible's final book which deals with the end of the world and the second coming of Christ.

Look at Revelation 13:15–18 which states:

15. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

The Biblical/microchipping connection was made shortly after FDA approval. The Resistance Manifesto in 2005 by Christian conspiracy activist Mark Dice stands as one of the earliest published examples[ref][ref]. Ignoring the controversial author’s racist sexist homophobic[ref][ref][ref] tendencies, he did note some very interesting points with those Revelation lines, such as “rich and poor” (every class getting vaccinated), “receive a mark in their right hand” (an often proposed positioning of the microchipping), and that “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark” (becoming a cashless society where only chips are accepted).

The cashless society branch leads into another recent theory by Oscar-winning Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov[ref] who called attention to a 2020 Microsoft patent. This document registers the idea that a person could earn cryptocurrency by performing certain activities[ref]. It makes no mention of microchips but who is to say? And what really tickled Mikhalkov’s imagination was the patent’s publication number: 060606[ref]. Three sixes! The number of the beast!

Which is to say that if Bill Gates delivers the microchip then he is surely fulfilling the prophecy of the Antichrist, sending whoever accepts the mark to Hell then ushering in the return of Jesus. Could be fun.

Can We Trust Bill Gates?

Bill Gates isn't exactly the poster child for trustworthiness. Most of this stems from criticisms against Microsoft’s business practices including overworking employees[ref] and questionable advertising techniques[ref][ref].

More to the topic, Microsoft and Gates have also come under fire for privacy issues. A leaked NSA document named Microsoft (and many other company giants) as providing non-US citizen data to the American government[ref][ref] which they have denied[ref]. The EU has had some particular concerns about data collections[ref][ref].

Furthermore, there are allegations of monopolising the PC market which has regularly found Microsoft in court. In 2001, there was the United States v. Microsoft Corporation case which accused the company of restricting users from installing competitive software. This was settled with Microsoft opening access to much of its code for third-parties[ref]. In 2007, the EU called for Microsoft Corp. v. Commission, claiming that Microsoft was blocking its competitors unlawfully. The courts agreed, smashing the company with a €497 million fine, the largest the EU had ever seen at the time[ref]. There are many more examples just like this[ref].

Such dubious undertakings are essential roots that feed into the theories. This is due to similar concerns between privacy/tracking microchips as well as Gates’ so-called monopolisation of the medical industry, which we will look at in greater detail later. Many hypothesise that the establishment of the Gates Foundation was merely to transform his public image into someone more likeable, giving him additional leeway for his future projects[ref][ref]. Meanwhile, Gates credits a reading list from Dr. Bill Foege for his interest in global health[ref].

There is already a mistrust for high up figures amongst those who swear by a New World Order social hierarchy, so when one of the richest men in the world has further muddied his name with the previous wrongdoings, then the crosshairs of conspiracy suspicions grow even larger. Hence why COVID-19 is not the first time Bill Gates has come under very similar allegations and, depending on the corona outcome, won’t be the last.

What's the Theory with Bill Gates and the 2015 Zika Virus?

One of the best examples of how this is not Gates’ first conspiracy virus rodeo would be that of the Zika virus.

In early 2015, a Zika outbreak raced across Brazil with 205,578 cases reported in 2016[ref]. This mosquito-spread disease is largely asymptomatic in an estimated 80% of infections and mildly feverish in the rest. However, it did cause severe birth defects[ref]. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation responded by donating $750,000 to the CDC Foundation[ref] and backed the Oxitec project of releasing bacteria-infected mosquitoes into Brazil, spreading their own disease throughout that insect subspecies and limiting their ability to pass Zika to humans[ref].

That’s all the theorists needed and, led by conspiracy YouTuber VM Granmisterio[ref], they concluded that Bill Gates and Oxitec had developed a bioweapon as part of an ethnic cleansing program, one which would also stop people from breeding under the fear of birth defects[ref]. This was reportedly in hopes of reducing the Brazilian population, another component in this tale which we shall address shortly.

How Did Bill Gates Become the COVID Talking Point?

As if bringing anti-vaxxers, Christians, Bill Gates-haters and general conspiracy theorists onto the same playing field wasn’t enough to birth the ripest conspiracy case ever, Gates himself made three additional moves which threw a stronger brand of petrol onto the fire.

The first was that Gates has been warning about a virus outbreak since at least 2010[ref]. Some argue that a man wanting to control the world with a pandemic wouldn’t pre-warn us of its arrival. Others say that’s exactly what he would do if he intended to prepare us mentally for his plans, pushing us to easier accept the process. More on this later.

The second move was where the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have committed at least $250 million[ref] in the fight against COVID-19. This ties into the theory of virus research monopolisation, another topic we will discuss later down the line.

The third and final move happened on the 18th of March 2020. Here, Gates opened an AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread on the relevant subreddit[ref], addressing any queries the public may have about, well, anything. When asked how to keep businesses functioning during times of social distancing, his response ended with:

“Eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.”[ref]

Which leads us to...

What Links This to Global Microchipping?

It took less than a day for the first article to expand this AMA response into the headline “Bill Gates will use microchip implants to fight coronavirus”[ref]. According to this piece, the “digital certificates” Gates was referring to are known as “quantum-dot tattoos” where microchips would be implanted via dissolvable sugar-based microneedles developed in part with a project called ID2020. This would grant Bill Gates greater control over the world like a mad Bond villain.

If we follow that article’s own source links[ref][ref] we quickly discover that no microchip implants are mentioned. Rather, “quantum-dot tattoos” are patches that stick invisible dye patterns under the skin that can be scanned to give digital information such as “this person has been vaccinated”. These patterns reportedly last for five years and can be delivered with the vaccine on one patch. The technology was tested on rats and is yet to be used on humans. The MIT research for this was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Defenders point out that one cannot track your location using ink and that it simply functions like a modern update to the smallpox scar, a simple piece of yes-or-no data, nothing else. Such a program would be additionally useful in developing countries where there is a severe lack of medical recording processes[ref].

Although one could argue this is still the perfect avenue to slip a chip into someone without their knowledge.

Moving on to the aforementioned ID2020 company, and this is far more in tune with what an actual “digital certificate” is. Hint: it has nothing to do with quantum-dot tattoos or microchipping or even injections. This non-profit organisation has one goal: to provide identification for the billion+ people worldwide (such as those in developing countries or refugees) who have no form of identification. According to the ID2020 manifesto, individuals would have full control over their digital identities[ref] which would be stored in a cloud environment using blockchain technology[ref] for privacy reasons. The company is backed in part by Microsoft[ref] but is not directly involved with Gates. It appears data would be collected using biometrics[ref] such a fingerprints and iris scans. This notion is supported by ID2020’s partnership with Simprints[ref] an open-source fingerprint system[ref]. It is only fair to mention that Simprints was founded by students from the Gates-Cambridge Scholarships program who went on to win $210 million from the Gates Foundation in 2017[ref].

Irrespective of the truth or lies, the once-obscure ID2020 is now on the map big time for all the wrong reasons, receiving such vicious threats from conspiracy theorists that they resorted to getting the FBI involved. This was reported by the New Humanitarian, which also receives funding from the Gates Foundation[ref].

The final piece of this crazy collection comes with Bill Gates’ praise[ref] towards South Korea’s corona testing procedure and its very successful decline of infections. When someone tests positive in that country, their movements are traced back using a combination of smartphones, credit card usage and CCTV footage[ref]. This info is then released publicly for other citizens to assess their movements near exposures[ref]. Once again, this brings Gates’ opinions of privacy into question, but it also makes the idea of implant tracking seem redundant. They can track you already if they so choose.

How Did These Theories Spread?

Various mid-to-high profile players have helped to escalate this information early on. They include Trump’s buddy and conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones (more on him later); conspiracy theorist YouTuber James Corbett[ref] (more on him later), anti-vaccine nephew of JFK, Robert Kennedy Jr[ref]; pro-Trump conservative political activist, Candace Owens (more on her later); White House correspondent for conservative website Newsmax, Emerald Robinson[ref]; Italian politician and anti-vaxxer, Sara Cunial; Fox News host, Laura Ingraham[ref]; osteopathic conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxier, Rashid Buttar[ref]; and convicted political consultant, Roger Stone[ref].

Additional props to Florida Pastor Adam Fannin who seems to be making some of the most interesting noise by mashing all of the notes together, including those parallels with the antichrist, microchipping, and depopulation[ref]. His video is close to two million views as I type this[ref]. Full disclosure that Adam Fannin owes much of his notoriety to that time he wished death upon comedian Sarah Silverman[ref].

Combine the above clout with the flammable webs of conspiracy communities and we are now looking at 44% of Republicans who will refuse vaccinations under the belief that Bill Gates is trying to chip us (according to a Yahoo/YouGov poll[ref]).

So... Did Bill Gates Engineer the Virus or What?

This theory is so wild that it is as difficult to disprove as it is to prove. The evidence trail is empty whichever way you look and it feels like the furthest leap one could make with their eyes closed.

Speculators claim that Gates knew about the coronavirus years beforehand because (1) he registered a coronavirus patent before the outbreak; and (2) he hosted a coronavirus simulation before the outbreak[ref]. We will address both of these suggestions shortly.

The official cause of COVID-19 is currently unidentified but experts are relatively convinced that it started at the Chinese wet market in Wuhan known as Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. This is because several of the earliest patients had visited this area[ref] which has been called “unsanitary” by Time magazine[ref] due to its confined space shared with live and dead animals. The virus appears similar to those that originate in pangolin[ref] and bats[ref] (the latter of which is the more common conclusion). Of the 585 environmental samples collected from the market, 33 were found to have traces of the virus according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention[ref].

Did Bill Gates Know About COVID-19 Before It Happened?

Bill Gates has warned about a global pandemic for close to a decade now[ref]. Arguably his most discussed commentary came with his 2015 TED Talk titled “The next outbreak? We’re not ready”[ref].

Gates' supporters use this as evidence against the conspiracies, asking why a man would prewarn us if he intended to inflict a virus on society. The anti-Gates crowd argue that he was softening us to the idea, allowing him to proceed with his plans under the guise of a hero. Both debates have merit but, in truth, Gates was not the first to predict an outbreak in any fashion.

A year before that TED Talk, then-President Obama warned about the lack of preparation we had against such a pademnic[ref].

American molecular biologist, Joshua Lederberg, was quoted saying “The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on the planet is the virus” in 1988[ref]. This was used to open the 1995 film Outbreak[ref] which dealt with similar scenarios.

In fact, Hollywood has been in tune with this idea for longer than any of us[ref]. 12 Monkeys (1995), Contagion (2011), and just about every zombie flick ever made now seem so obvious in hindsight as cautionary tales about the devastating effects of viruses. The Hot Zone miniseries about a deadly outbreak of Ebola was released mere months before the first documented case of COVID-19[ref] and itself was based on the 1994 nonfiction book by Richard Preston[ref]. David Quammen 2013 book Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic warned about wild animals passing destructive diseases to humans[ref]. Laurie Garrett’s 1995 book The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance warned about taking action to avoid further outbreaks[ref]. The goal of the 2008 Pandemic board game is to stop diseases from wiping out regions[ref].

Quick side note: rumours that Netflix’s 2020 documentary series Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak was funded by Gates are wholly unfounded. That said, Gates did personally recommend the series on his blog[ref].

The alarm bells about global viral infections have been going off for years. Bill Gates’ 2015 Ted Talk was speaking about a general epidemic based on the Ebola problem from one year previous, an outbreak his charity was heavily involved with, committing $50 million to the United Nations to help with supplies[ref]. Furthermore, Bill Gates’ TED Talk predicted that the outbreak would start and spread through underdeveloped countries, which was not the case for corona[ref]. In summary, there is no evidence backing that Bill Gates predicted COVID-19 specifically.

But What About the COVID-19 Patent Owned by Bill Gates?

What’s crucial to understand is that coronavirus is a collective term for a group of viruses known to cause disease in birds and mammals. The word “coronavirus” was first published in 1931[ref]. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a coronavirus, and COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2.

A patent was filed for coronavirus (not COVID-19) in 2015 by the Pirbright Institute[ref]. By reading this document, you will notice the term “avian infectious bronchitis virus” (IBV) crops up a lot. IBV is a weaker coronavirus that affects birds[ref]. This patent was about using reverse genetics on an embryonated bird egg. But when you find out that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $5.5 million to the institute in 2019[ref], then the flames rise (even though this happened long after the patent was registered).

Most likely due to these rumours, the Pirbright Institute has gone on record stating that they receive funds from many other sources and the Gates Foundation did not back that specific patent[ref]. The online document itself even comes with a disclaimer at the top informing the public that this is not a COVID-19 nor even a human-related patent[ref].

In conclusion: A scientific research company who owns a patent about a coronavirus that isn’t COVID-19 and primarily infects birds did receive money from Bill Gates’ charity after the fact. Less of a ring to it though, right?

Did Bill Gates Run a COVID-19 Simulation Before the Outbreak?

The more you research this conspiracy, the more the name Alex Jones keeps cropping up over and over again.

Alex Jones is the owner of the notorious conspiracy theorist website InfoWars[ref]. For an interesting yet certainly one-sided view on the man, check out this video where Hilary Clinton used Jones’ relationship with Trump to assist her 2016 presidential campaign[ref]. Regardless, it seems whichever corona direction you turn, this guy is ready to cash-in on the action, be it from encouraging crowds to chant “arrest Bill Gates” at protests[ref] while selling “coronavirus cures" such as gel and toothpaste (which the FDA have warned him to stop doing[ref]).

Nevertheless, Jones’ crowning achievement was “exposing” a simulation that the Gates Foundation ran in October 2019 during what was known as Event 201[ref]. In this tabletop exercise, participants worked to stop the spread of a hypothetical virus and ultimately ended with 65 million hypothetical people dead within 18 months.

This has worked as a strong component of the conspiracy theory. Part of the reason why is that Event 201 did happen just as described above[ref] as a collaboration between The Gates Foundation and The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. We should note that Johns Hopkins University receives funding from the Gates Foundation[ref].

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security responded to the allegations by once again highlighting the broadness of the “coronavirus” term whilst noting that there were severe differences between their fictional coronavirus and COVID-19[ref][ref]. Furthermore, the Johns Hopkins Center has been running similar exercises for close to a decade now, for example, their 2001 and 2005 simulations hypothesising around a smallpox terrorism attack on the United States[ref][ref].

Is Bill Gates a Satanic Paedophile?

For those who like their plots extra dank, here we are.

The rumours appear to have started with the far-right conspiracy theory group behind QAnon. Initiated by a single 4chan poster in 2017, their premise is that Donald Trump has saved the world from assorted Satanic paedophile leaders. This rabbit hole goes deep in the opposite direction, so I must leave you to look at that one yourself. Wikipedia’s article appears fairly thorough to me[ref] as does this article in New York Magazine[ref].

According to some of these threads, Bill Gates created the virus as a desperate move to finally stop Trump[ref]. A lot of this cited evidence weighs upon the Pirbright patent we looked at earlier.

As for the “child sex slave ring,” these are not without some merit and are based on several suspicious factors. There were definite connections between Gates and infamous sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein[ref]. Gates once flew on Epstein's plane from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach[ref] (but never Epstein’s island, contrary to some reports). This has been proven with the release of an official flight manifesto[ref].

Furthermore, an engineer working at Gate’s mansion named Rick Allen Jones was arrested for child pornography in 2014[ref], a case which has appeared to vanish[ref] leading theories of Gate’s involvement. I do not write this off but I also struggle to find any reputable information about Rick Allen Jones, not a photo nor any web presence whatsoever.

Another hugely incriminating headline reads “Bill Gates Sued For Forcing Staff To Watch Child Rape And Murder”[ref] which is crazy misleading. This is about moderators doing their job by flagging inappropriate user-generated content. The filed complaint states that they did not receive adequate psychological support for the task at hand[ref].

The “Satanic” aspect more than likely ties to the Antichrist parallels that we have also already covered above.

Is Bill Gates Monopolising the Health Industry?

Of all the weird and wonderful conspiracy points on our windy trail, very few stand the test as well as this suggestion.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation freely unloads stacks of cash in every medical direction. According to The Guardian, the foundation has granted $3 billion every year to the industry with a total of $32.9 billion by 2015[ref]. This very article of mine has already mentioned many without even scratching the far-reaching surface.

It’s got to the point that you can click the investor/sponsorship button on just about any renowned health organisation's website, and you will likely read the foundation’s name there. You can find an extensive searchable database of these fundings on their website[ref]. The list of recipients is understandably too long to delve into here but does include many very admirable causes. However, for the sake of this article, we will be focusing on two specific organisations that slot in with the conspiracy narrative: GAVI and WHO.

Who Are GAVI?

GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) is a worldwide health partnership aiming to get vaccines to poor countries. Bill Gates helped the founding of this alliance and has given crazy money to their cause with around $4.1 billion to date[ref]. The GAVI name appears in the top 12 list of highest Gates donations five times[ref] including the Gates’ biggest donation to date with $1,543,757,800 in 2016[ref].

Despite saving a projected 13.4 million lives[ref], GAVI’s business tactics have come under some serious questioning. They have been accused of not supporting local healthcare systems as well as older vaccines by always pursuing newer, better, and more expensive options, meaning higher profits for investors[ref]. One example of this is when Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières - MSF) appealed to GAVI to use cheaper pneumonia vaccines developed in India rather than Pfizer/GlaxoSmithKline as those pharma-giants were swallowing up 80% of that project's financing[ref]. As GAVI is privately funded, this also raises concerns over individual motives.

According to an article from the Guardian, GAVI has defended themselves by stating “GAVI wants to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to develop new vaccines for killer diseases in developing countries. Industry would not invest in those diseases unless there was a potential market”[ref]. Regardless, it’s clear to see that in the world of vaccine domination, GAVI and Gates consider it a business.

Who Are WHO?

WHO (the World Health Organization) is a United Nations agency responsible for international health. Trump recently announced the termination of all US funding to WHO[ref] which leaves the Gates Foundation as their biggest contributor[ref]. WHO plays a crucial role in coordinating international responses to diseases and COVID-19 is no exception. For example, it was WHO that declared this coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic[ref]. WHO has also been working with many social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) to flag or even erase misinformation[ref]. While some praise this work, others worry about how much power this gives WHO and, in turn, the Gates Foundation.

Does Gates Control the Media?

Control is a strong word but as a video from the conspiracy theory YouTube channel The Corbett Report[ref][ref] accurately points out, he does sponsor a lot of money towards news sources. These include $1,4 million to the BBC[ref], $1.5 million to the ABC[ref], and $3 million to NPR[ref] as well as standing as the primary supporter of The Guardian website[ref] and Our World in Data[ref].

What Does This All Meaaaaan?

It completely depends on how you want to look on it.

On the one hand, the Gates Foundation has an absurd amount of wealth and could be gifting a decent portion of it to genuinely support organisations that they feel are doing good work. After all, programs like GAVI are saving lives (as we see above and more on this later). Plus, the Gates Foundation’s searchable grant database is transparent with its reasoning behind each and every donation[ref].

On the other hand, the funding could apply pressure. We are looking at a situation where the research data, the international coordination, and the media reporting (including user-driven social media content) are all running on Gates’ pocket, meaning that if he does have an agenda, it wouldn’t be too difficult to nudge the entire health industry in his direction. The concern multiples when you remember we are dealing with a man famous for monopolising industries already[ref].

Of course, there are other factors. Considering the sheer amount of organisations that the Gates fund, how many people would have to keep quiet if blatant manipulation was going on? How far would the blurry line of objectivity have to get molested before professional integrity kicked in for at least some of those involved? If Bill Gates truly had sinister motives, why is he so eager to put his name on everything? And as these conspiracy theories continue to gain momentum, is the Gates Foundation and its reputation becoming more of a kiss of death? Will there come a time where well-meaning organisations refuse sponsorship due to reputation? And will this rejection of funding costs lives? I dunno.

How Can Bill Gates Make Medical Statements Without a Medical Degree?

If there is any scary premise you can freely ignore, this would be it. No, Bill Gates does not have a medical degree. But he has hired many many advisors who do, including an entire medical research institute[ref] to pass on relevant information. Do you have a medical degree?

The Billion Dollar Question: Will Bill Gates Gain or Lose Money From COVID-19?

It’s a difficult query with no definitive answer but we can break it down into smaller variables.

Before It’s News (a website which currently boasts a 0/100 trustworthy score according to News Guard[ref]) posted a viral article[ref] featuring a video by Zed Phoenix[ref]. Together, they stated that the Gates Foundation stood to gain £45 billion from the vaccine in the UK alone. This figure was based on the price of £477 per injection which was reported by the Daily Mail and the Daily Mail only[ref] which, as a resource, is notoriously problematic anyway[ref]. Regardless, the Daily Mail prematurely crowned the biotech company Moderna as the vaccine kings, which comes with many puzzles in itself. First of all, Moderna's COVID work has not reported any funding from the Gates Foundation[ref]. The U.S. Government Agency BARDA is looking after them[ref]. Moderna also told Business Insider that their vaccine would not be priced more than other respiratory vaccines which could be ballpark-estimated to around $200 per shot[ref]. Profit does not take into account how much each shot will cost to manufacture as well as the fact that the vaccine does not even fucking exist yet.

Nevertheless, the race for financial gain with a COVID-19 patent is very real in the pharmaceutical industry[ref][ref] but there is a fight to prevent this. Trump received a letter from 46 Congressional Democrats urging the refusal of any private ownership of the future vaccine[ref]. The EU is proposing a pooling arrangement[ref] where information and patents will be shared to ensure lower prices and wide availability. In an open letter curated by UNAID and Oxfam (which was signed by over 140 world leaders and experts) demanded that all treatments be patent-free and available to everyone everywhere[ref].

But perhaps most interesting of all, is the World Health Organisation’s stance on the matter. On the 24th of April 2020, they released the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator[ref] which is aimed to make COVID-19 treatments available worldwide with a patent pool[ref]. And what’s more, the launch itself was co-hosted by Bill and Melinda Gates[ref]. To simplify: Gates is fighting for a globally accessible vaccine, free of privatisation. Some might consider this the death blow to the entire profiteering conspiracy.

Whether this comes to pass or not is another story but, if so, Bill Gates is looking to lose money from the pandemic. A lot of money. Figures include the initial $100 million donated in February 2020[ref], the $150 million to WHO in hopes of balancing the US withdrawal[ref], and further billions reported to fund seven vaccine factories[ref].

Please Note: According to Americans for Tax Fairness, Bill Gates has, in fact, increased his wealth by 8.2% between March and May 2020, but this is unrelated to the outbreak[ref].

Did Bill Gates Say He Wanted to Reduce the Population?

This bit of excitement started on January 1st 2016 with an article on Your News Wire (now known as NewsPunch, one of the most debunked websites on the internet[ref]). The article was titled "Bill Gates Admits Vaccines Are Best Way To Depopulate”[ref] based on a 2011 interview with CNN’s Sanjay Gupta. Here, Bill Gates stated that vaccines gave the chance to reduce sickness and therefore reduce population growth[ref]. There was also a 2010 Ted Talk where Bill Gates spoke about carbon emission, stating that vaccines could lower our population by 10 - 15% (it's around the 4:30 mark[ref]). These soundbites were enough to convince people that Gates had a plan to create a vaccine that either killed humans or reduced fertility, most likely aimed at developing countries for some ethnic cleansing reason (which we’ll discuss shortly).

What’s interesting is that NewsPunch has since completely backtracked on the article[ref].

In truth, the concept Gates was referring to was this: the smaller the death rate of children, the smaller the chance parents will over-reproduce in hopes of survival. He's made this abundantly clear on several occasions[ref][ref].

A different tangent of interest is the design of an implantable birth-control microchip developed by MIT and funded by the Gates Foundation[ref][ref]. With this, users could turn on and off their fertility at will. This would almost seem like a good idea if we weren’t talking about Gates and microchips again, eek!

Is Bill Gates Using Africa As His Vaccination Guinea Pigs?

The distrust between Africa and Western medicine is complicated but if you’d like to explore the full length of it, Type Investigations has one of the most thorough articles that I’ve found on the matter[ref]. If you do so, pay attention to the history between the Gates Foundation and Ghana[ref].

What matters in context is that tensions were already high. But when it comes to Bill Gates and COVID-19 specifically, the stories appear to take higher flight on March 27 2020 with a Facebook post from acclaimed but controversial French microbiologist Dr Didier Raoult[ref][ref]. The post questioned Bill Gates’ supposed decisions to test Africa with vaccinations then warned the continent to refuse any of the treatments. However, the text was plagued with spelling errors and some grew suspicious until Check News, a French-fact checking organisation, got hold of Raoult’s place of work where the story was confirmed as false[ref]. Unfortunately, the damage was done and the hoax caused all kinds of trouble. South African media outlet News24 published an article perpetuating the claims but have since issued an apology and an investigation into how that got onto their site[ref]. Video bloggers Diamond and Silk joined the bandwagon[ref] and were then fired from Fox News (according to The Daily Beast[ref]). A White House petition demanded an investigation into Gates’ “crimes against humanity”[ref]. And the South African comedian Trevor Noah received death threats after interviewing Gates[ref].

Things slipped deeper in early April where a debate featuring French doctors Jean Paul Mira (head of intensive care at Cochin hospital) and Camille Locht (head of research at the Inserm health research group) discussed potential vaccination experimentation in Africa[ref]. This essentially had nothing to do with anything but served to intensify the anxiety.

Speaking to The Cable, Mark Suzman (CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) explained that these two doctors had nothing to do with their work and assured everyone that they are against using Africa as a guinea pig nation[ref]. The World Health Organisation called the doctors “racist” and went on record that "Africa can't and won't be a testing ground for any vaccine"[ref]. President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, tweeted his support for Bill Gates and thanked him for his medical support over the many years[ref].

What About Candace Owens and Sharmeen Ahmed?

When it comes to this avenue of the conspiracy, no name appears to have spoken louder than that of Candace Owens. A highly controversial political activist, she is known for her stances that are pro-Trump[ref], anti-#metoo[ref], and anti-the Black Lives Matter protests[ref]. Due to her opinions on gun control and Islam, she was named the main influence behind the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand by the shooter himself[ref].

On April 15th 2020, she accused Bill Gates and WHO for testing vaccines in Africa and India for years via Facebook[ref] and Twitter[ref]. To support her claims, she provided a paper by Sharmeen Ahmed published by the Golden Gate University School of Law[ref][ref]. This paper appears to mainly attack three specific vaccination programs (HPV, malaria, and meningitis) run by nonprofit health organisation PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) which took place in India and Africa. This report has come under heavy scrutiny[ref][ref] but let’s analyse the content for ourselves.

Did HPV Vaccinations Kill Children in India?

This is a biggie often quoted by opposers from all backgrounds.

In 2010, a PATH project was set up to reduce HPV infections for countries such as Peru, Uganda, Vietnam, and India. It was funded by the Gates Foundation[ref]. India was a major focus here due to the country's yearly 60,000+ women who die from cervical cancer following HPV infection[ref]. PATH vaccinated around 23,500 females[ref] but the project was halted after news reports claimed seven girls had died from the treatment[ref].

Investigations proved that these deaths were unrelated to the vaccine. Instead, they were caused by factors such as epilepsy, malaria, a snake bite, and two suicides[ref][ref]. The reason why this seems logical is because the vaccines used (Gardasil and Cervarix[ref]) are not new drugs and have been administered worldwide over 200 million times[ref]. The notion that these were untested vaccines has also been debunked as Gardasil was first FDA approved 2006[ref] while Cervarix was approved in 2009[ref].

The Indian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health and Family performed an investigation of their own[ref] and had some interesting speculations (for example, that the vaccinations may have led to suicidal tendencies). In the end, they ultimately ruled that they could not find any connections. However, consent forms were determined to be incorrectly filled out which local newspaper The Hindu called “shockingly unethical”[ref].

Both PATH and the Gates Foundation continue to work in India[ref][ref].

A large theme throughout Sharmeen Ahmed’s paper is one of depopulation which we discussed earlier. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no links between HPV vaccinations and infertility[ref].

Did Malaria Vaccinations Kill Children in Africa?

Another biggie concerns PATH’s 2010 Malaria Vaccine Initiative. Here they used a vaccine by GlaxoSmithKline across seven African countries while receiving a grant from the Gates Foundation[ref]. Ahmed’s paper hinted that of the 15,000+ children inoculated during phase three of the trial, 150 died as a direct result of the vaccine[ref]. This statement loses all credibility when you learn that the number includes all deaths after the vaccine within an 18-to-24-month timeframe for the older category, and a 9-to-17-month timeframe for the younger category[ref]. The list of deaths was always open to the public[ref] and includes causes such as HIV and drowning. 10 deaths were from malaria itself, which was considered low for the area[ref]. According to The Dispatch Fact Check, none of these deaths were related to the vaccine[ref].

Similarly, Ahmed claimed that 1,048 of the children suffered “serious adverse effects, including paralysis and seizure”[ref]. That is incorrect. According to the very same study that Ahmed cites as her reference[ref] only 11 children experienced adverse events (keyword) directly related to the vaccine and the term “paralysis” is nowhere to be found. You can read the full list of adverse events here[ref].

With a 30–50% efficacy[ref], these trials were considered a massive success, potentially saving millions of lives, no ethical concerns were raised, and the program continues to move forward to this day[ref].

Did Meningitis Vaccinations Kill Children in Africa?

Sharmeen Ahmed’s mention of PATH’s Meningitis Vaccine Project is so brief, it’s hardly worth going into. Known as MenAfriVac, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated a ten-year, $70 million grant to establish the project in 2001[ref]. Costing around US$0.40 a dose[ref] and completely eradicating meningitis in 16 countries by 2018[ref] the project could not have been a bigger success. Even Ahmed struggles to negate the achievement, claiming “there were reports of informed consent violations” but “these were unsubstantiated” and “there were reports of adverse health effects in Burkina Faso, but these were deemed by medical researchers as normal and did not warrant safety concerns”[ref].

There were four adverse vaccine-related side effects in Burkina Faso. That's one per three million vaccinated[ref]. This was not a trial run either as the vaccine was already approved[ref]. Nobody died. People would have died but now they live.

Who Is Currently Leading the Vaccine Race? Who Does Bill Gates Sponsor?

According to the man himself, there are 115 COVID-19 vaccine candidates as of April 2020[ref]. Due to this, my information is certainly going to go out of date embarrassingly quickly, but at the time of writing (early June 2020), these are the main players who are already reaching the trial phase of the process:

CanSino Biologics
Where: China
What: Ad5-nCoV[ref]
Human clinical trials have begun, the first vaccine to enter this phase[ref].
The Gates Foundation has invested money towards previous vaccine research (at least $400,000[ref]).

University of Oxford
Where: UK
What: ChAdOx1 nCoV-19[ref]
Already recruited for human clinical trials phase[ref].
The Gates Foundation has invested money towards this vaccine research (at least $7.5 million[ref]).

Where: USA
What: mRNA-1273[ref]
Announcing first participants[ref].
There has been no findable funding from The Gates Foundation towards this vaccine.
The Trump Administration has invested money towards this vaccine research (at least $483 million[ref]).

Where: Germany/USA
What: BNT162 (a1, b1, b2, c2)[ref] 
Recruiting for human clinical trials phase[ref].
The Gates Foundation has invested money towards this vaccine research (at least $55 million[ref]).

Sinovac Biotech
Where: China
What: CoronaVac[ref]
Not yet recruiting for human clinical trials phase[ref].
There has been no findable funding from The Gates Foundation towards this vaccine.
Advantech Capital and Vivo Capital have invested money towards this vaccine research (at least $15 million[ref]).

Inovio Pharmaceuticals
Where: South Korea and USA
What: INO-4800[ref]
Recruiting for human clinical trials phase[ref].
The Gates Foundation has invested money towards this vaccine research (at least $5 million[ref]).

Other big vaccine players to keep an eye on include Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Shenzhen Geno-Immune Medical Institute, Novavax, the University of Washington, the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, Beijing Institute of Biological Products, and the University of Queensland.

Will We Be Forced to Take the Vaccine?

This depends on your country as the world differs on what vaccines should be voluntary, recommended, or mandatory. These decisions often revolve around public schooling and welfare. Furthermore, who knows what types of laws could come as a result of this pandemic. However, we can predict a glimpse of each nation’s potential stance by looking at their current laws. Here are some of those for interest’s sake:

Perhaps the most terrifying law was passed recently (March 2020) in Denmark which allows the government to forcefully COVID-19 vaccinate you once the meds come into existence. This law expires in March 2021[ref]. Considering the country has no other mandatory vaccinations in circulation[ref], this could be some indication of what’s to come globally.

Despite recent rumours[ref], consent must be obtained for all vaccinations in the UK according to section 45E of the Control of Disease Act 1984[ref].

USA laws depend from state to state but children are required to get certain shots if they attend public schooling[ref]. However, 19 states do have medical, religious, and philosophical loopholes[ref].

Australian vaccines are non-compulsory for adults but they will pay you A$129 if you take the plunge[ref].

In the EU; Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia have up to nine compulsory vaccines for children[ref][ref]. 13 EU countries have some form of mandatory vaccinations while 16 have none whatsoever[ref].

Latvia is non-compulsory for adults but one must sign a document to state that they understand the risks[ref].

Despite having the strongest anti-vaxxer population in the world[ref] France require 11 vaccinations for public school kids[ref]. Italy[ref] and Germany[ref] will fine you if you do not vaccinate your children.

Vaccinations are mandatory in Argentina[ref], Brazil[ref] and Indonesia[ref]. Malaysia vaccinates their children as part of the school program[ref].

That said, the majority of countries in the world are voluntary including all of Africa, most of Asia[ref], Canada[ref], and Russia[ref].

Of course, good luck if you want to go on vacation anywhere outside of your own borders. Required travel vaccinations are already an implemented standard in many places[ref] and COVID-19 will most likely join international programs.

Why Are Social Media Videos of Bill Gates Being Deleted?

While many platforms are working with WHO to flag misinformation[ref], I am still able to find many videos which accuse Gates of microchipping or Satanic intentions or potential cashless societies[ref][ref][ref] with millions of collected views to back them up. Yes, this includes ones that feature David Icke[ref] and ones that use the clickbaity “THEY WILL DELETE THIS” title[ref] even though they don't delete this. It appears that most of the erased Gates-related content were the pieces that linked 5G to COVID-19 or disputed the existence of the virus[ref][ref]. These videos were deemed against certain policies as a direct retaliation to the burning of 5G towers[ref]. YouTube also demonetises anti-vaxxer channels[ref].

Has Bill Gates Actually Done Any Good?

That’s somewhat of an understatement.

It would be an unreasonable expectation to list everything that Gates and his foundation has achieved through donations to other organisations over the years. However, here are some of the more impressive examples:

Helping to reduce infant mortality by 50% within 25 years (which equates to an estimated 122 million lives)[ref][ref].

Helping to save an estimated 32 million lives through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria[ref].

Raising nearly $1.5 billion with Rotary to fight polio since 2007[ref], helping to eradicate the disease from India by 2011[ref] and wiping out two of the three wild strains by 2019[ref].

Helping to reduce meningitis infections to an absolute zero in 16 countries[ref].

Helping to reduce measle deaths in Africa by 90% since 2000[ref].

And funding as well as naming the Omni Processor treatment which converts faecal matter into drinkable water for the developing world[ref][ref].

Beyond his global health interest, Gates has also donated $6 billion to 392 universities in 51 countries[ref]. His biggest donation was $1,264,876,898 to the United Negro College Fund, Inc in 1999[ref].

What Does Bill Gates Say About All of This?

"I'd say it's ironic that you take someone who's doing their best to get the world ready and putting, in my case, billions of dollars into these tools for infectious diseases, and really trying to solve broadly infectious diseases — including those that cause pandemics. But we're in a crazy situation, so there's going to be crazy rumours." - Bill Gates[ref]