Cursed with obscene weather, widespread inequality, a crippled health system, crooked politicians, a corrupt economy, steep taxes, alcohol dependency, paedophile priests, untreated depression, a suicide epidemic and an increasingly subservient target population, Ireland is a hideous place to live at the best of times … and, as we find ourselves criminally stripped of our most basic liberties, clearly these are not the best of times. Slidhr mastermind Joseph Deegan – whose compelling art (manifested both visually and sonically) explores the bottomless chasm of darkness lurking at the heart of man – recognises pure evil when he sees it. Thus, the straight-talking Dublin-based musician is enraged by the reckless and unforgivable state-imposed destruction of lives and livelihoods perpetrated in his forsaken homeland in 2020. Shockingly, it’s part of a coordinated imposition of global oppression that has been inflicted simultaneously on citizens all over the world, allegedly in our best interests, yet the vast majority of people are still failing to think for themselves and realise that this has never been about safeguarding public health. On the contrary, something sinister is afoot.

I’m going to remember 2020 as the year the music died. It’s the first calendar year in more than three decades where I haven’t attended a concert and that’s clearly not going to change now with restrictions and the widespread loss / theft of personal freedom having become part and parcel of everyday life. The entire year has been one huge write-off in terms of art and culture (and any kind of socialising or fun). We’ve effectively been asked – or commanded, to be accurate – to stop living and desist from enjoying ourselves. It’s both bitterly disappointing and hugely frustrating. I’m sure it’s the same from the artist’s point of view – not being permitted to perform at gigs or festivals represents a severe blow to any band or musician’s art and raison d’être. The 2020 Ascension Fest in Iceland was scrapped / postponed (same thing really) and I’m guessing there were others that Slidhr was booked to perform at, too… From the perspective of the performing artist firstly, how infuriating has the indefinite cessation of live hostilities been?
“This year has been intense on many levels and, while I hold music in high regard personally, it’s really just a tiny part of the seizing of our liberties. We aren’t a very active live band anyway, but that’s besides the point. Our freedom shouldn’t be theirs to take at the drop of a hat. If you are someone who has built their whole life around a musical career, well, you must be enduring a fairly extreme existential crisis right now. Not just musicians, though. I feel like people have gotten a glimpse of the knock-on effect of the gagged music scene.”

Of course, there’s so much more than the entertainment industry in the crosshairs here. The halting of gigs all over the world to allegedly prevent the spread of this virus is only the tip of one vast, shit-coloured iceberg. Jobs and careers are being lost, livelihoods wrecked, hope destroyed, self-esteem smashed to smithereens as people are imprisoned in their own homes – I’m convinced they’d put us in concentration camps if they could. All to stop the spread of a virus that is clearly nowhere near as lethal as we are led to believe. Assuming for a moment there even is a new virus in our midst with the potential to kill millions, how would hiding in our houses stop it? I’m not an epidemiologist, virologist or immunologist – but a virus isn’t just going to disappear, so lockdowns are pointless without an exit strategy. There was none in Ireland for either of the two large-scale imprisonments we were subjected to, so what the fuck were we doing? And how patently unscientific is it to tell us that the best way to prevent a virus from circulating is to not circulate ourselves? A five-year-old could come up with that…
“When we think back to February and March and recall the images coming from China of people dead in the streets from this ‘killer’ virus, it all looks pretty fake now, huh? Like you say, if this were a real virus we wouldn’t have to be threatened by the police to stay at home; we would be too worried to leave our homes. This has been a massive push for globalism. In the blink of an eye we had our livelihoods taken from us, entertainment has been halted, we are being forced to adhere to ludicrous regulations that make no sense when going about our daily business. Not to mention the hugely-increased censorship online from the big tech monopolies. Highly respected health professionals around the world are being silenced and fired for questioning the narrative. Who knows, maybe this very conversation could cause legal problems for us in time. We are living in a very dangerous time. The worst part is that it could all end tomorrow if people opened their eyes. However, a lifetime of media and government brainwashing has come to fruition when they needed it most.”

Obviously I wouldn’t mind stepping back from everyday stuff and my own indulgences (i.e. living my life) for a while (weeks maybe but not months or years…) if there was a real plague sweeping through society and genuinely leaving large swathes of the population belly-up – but this isn’t it. As far as I’m aware, there is no solid evidence of any significant excess mortality rate anywhere in the world and anybody with a brain cell can see that many if not most of the deaths being attributed to Covid-19 were not actually caused by the virus or the disease linked to it. People are dying of other causes but for whatever reason are being designated as Covid victims. The books are being cooked and that alone suggests that something sinister is going on. Why would anybody want (or need) to manipulate the numbers and exaggerate the strike-rate of an illness that is truly deadly to the population at large?
“Even our own prime minister tweeted as such a while ago, they are including all kinds of deaths in the Covid numbers. What happened? It was forgotten about. This Kafka-esque scenario is beyond baffling. Of course, we all know that the majority of people are complete morons (just look at what democracy has done to us) but even still, I’m in disbelief to an extent as to just how blind and willing people are to accept and perpetuate this madness.”

Testing is an absolute farce as well. First of all, the PCR test does not appear to be fit for purpose as the process whereby it amplifies genetic material is leading to a very high percentage of false positives. Not much point in the dubious WHO ‘test. test, test’ mantra if we can’t get the test right! However, of course, if you have a guaranteed percentage of false positives and you test more and more people, then it can be claimed that cases are rising… Cases of what, though? Another obvious flaw or contradiction with the test is this: if we are dealing with a killer virus, why would anybody need to be tested? Surely you would know if you had a killer disease because you would be dying? And does it even matter how many people have the virus or are apparently carrying it if the survival rate is somewhere around 99.7% and most of those who die have at least one comorbidity?
“I’ve looked into the PCR test quite a bit, actually. Basically, you can use it to engineer any kind of result you want. Sounds like the perfect tool to reinforce a narrative, right? Not to mention the fact that this super contagious virus will spread unless you wear your pink daisy-patterned mask but in order to detect it you must have a swab driven up your nose to the brain barrier, twice! You only need to look up the test’s inventor to see what he had to say about it.”

An alarm bell should go off in everybody’s heads once governments and authorities claim that they care about us or that anything is being done in the interest of public health. Governments do not care about the health or wellbeing of their subjects and this is an irrefutable fact. Very little if anything is ever done to educate or help people with their physical or mental health. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the treatment of people with mental health problems here in Ireland is a national scandal – absolutely outrageous. Our health system is beyond pathetic and has been on the verge of total collapse for decades and there is fuck all done for anybody. Obesity and sedentary lifestyles abound, bad diets with processed food shovelled into people’s mouths and no efforts by the government or those in power to save anybody from that – perhaps by genuinely trying to eradicate poverty and improve awareness of personal health??? Alcohol, drugs, cigarettes all readily available. ‘Sure, smoke away – it’s a great source of tax revenue for us’. And now – all of a sudden – we are supposed to believe they are taking decisions in the interest of public health!? Not sure whether to laugh or cry. Who would actually believe that? Old people have been treated like tramps for years, dying of cold, loneliness and lack of care with no money for heat and their pensions cut and now they’re trying to save them? Do the masses genuinely believe they have been sitting at home all year feeling like utter shit in their own best interests, that the State is here to protect them?
“If anyone for one minute believes that the government has the slightest interest in their health, their cognitive ability should immediately be taken into question. I think it’s sometimes hard for people from the rest of Europe to really grasp just how bad the Irish health service is. Even traditionally poorer countries have a superior health service to Ireland. On the very few occasions I’ve visited hospital with relatives or whatever, it has been an interesting experience. I work as a tattooer so I’m very aware of cross contamination issues and such. Irish hospitals are absolutely filthy. You don’t need to take my word for it, though. Just take a look at the number of staph infections such as MRSA in Irish hospitals. People routinely die on trolleys after days waiting for medical assistance. You really believe these people have your health in mind? Not to mention the fact that you have to pay for this privilege, too.”

The plan going forward is for rolling lockdowns and varying degrees of restrictions, invariably tilted towards the severe end of the spectrum. Each time the case numbers (and these can be manipulated) rise, we’ll be locked away again. Apart from being a crime against humanity and a clear infringement of our basic human rights, aren’t lockdowns – which have been denounced by countless scientific and medical personnel- going to kill more people and cause more misery than the virus ever would? Undiagnosed illnesses, heart attacks and strokes caused by stress, suicides – on top of all the time being lost doing nothing, cooped up like chickens. Why are people tolerating this? How long can it continue before there are revolts all over the world as more victims become desperately unhappy and disenfranchised and realise that there is probably a hidden agenda behind it all?
“It doesn’t take a medical professional to see that this is the case. This is very basic common sense. And Gerald, as an Irishman you can certainly attest to the fact that we have an already huge suicide problem here. So what do they do? Stop registering the deaths as suicide of course! Problem solved… My only hope is that despair turns to anger, which in turn spurs people on to resist this tyranny. The Irish people generally take it up the arse without a fight; why, I do not know. We might complain to each other ‘but sure what can you do?’. Fortunately, this is a global issue and many other nations don’t roll over and take it so readily. My hope is that Ireland will at least benefit from the rebellious spirit of stronger nations. Just take a look at the massive protests around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people in attendance, but if you look at the Irish protests in comparison we have a dozen or so people praying, it’s quite a contrast.”

There are so many holes in the official narrative at this stage that it has become frankly comical. Governments are ‘following the science’ except they only follow certain scientists and ignore those who disagree with the fear-mongering ones. The disgraceful mainstream media has been completely complicit in spreading fear and terrifying the population. Journalists everywhere have failed in their duties to ask real questions and to challenge the official line and the inaccurate projections / impositions of so-called, carefully-chosen scientists. The dereliction of these journalistic duties is shameful but hardly surprising. Never a hard question asked or any of the anomalies pointed out. Are journalists in the mainstream media working to a script? Have none of them noticed that the reaction to this has been disproportionate and over the top? I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised as the media is essentially a bodyguard of the permanent government…
“Our mainstream media is nothing more than state-sponsored propaganda. We are forced under threat of violence to pay a TV license. This money is collected by the state and given to the so-called impartial media. If someone were to tell you this in relation to North Korea you would expect as much, but this is Western Europe and here we are. If anyone dares to speak out on social media they’ll be censored and threatened with account deletion. In this day and age, if someone loses their online presence, well, then they may as well no longer exist as everything is now geared toward internet presence. Even more so now than ever before.”

And then you have the censorship, silencing and discrediting of those who speak out or offer any resistance. Scientists, doctors, broadcasters on alternative media spreading invaluable information but being shut down. The brilliant Dr Vernon Coleman, for example, has posted a series of amazing videos and has been on to them since the very beginning. His Wikipedia page was altered to make him look like a fool / conspiracy theorist even though everything he says appears to be honest and true. YouTube kept removing his videos. Anybody who speaks out is struck off or sacked or deplatformed, ridiculed and labelled a conspiracy theorist. Accused of spreading misinformation, which has become the new no-no in this obscene new normal. Misinformation? Is that the thing we used to call freedom of speech? Who decides what is and isn’t misinformation? If the threat was real, it would be self-evident by now, so why the need to completely shut down one entire side of the debate? Again, there can only be one reason for this, unfortunately – and, again, it is surely not to protect us?
“We are certainly in the middle of an information war. Who is pulling the strings? Why are previously revered leaders of their fields now reduced to tinfoil-hat-wearing lunatics? Of course it’s to discredit the message. Most people clearly don’t think for themselves, they believe what they’re told by the mainstream media, others like to think of themselves as slightly more intellectual so they turn to the fake liberal online media which essentially pushes the same narrative, albeit with a Degree in gender studies and some white guilt thrown in for added ‘woke’ appeal. So what we get is a so-called opposition who reinforce the government’s narrative and attack anyone who dares question it.”

Computer models, outlandish projections and worst-case scenarios aside, aren’t viruses part of nature? Always have been and always will be? The global population is increasing by more than 80,000,000 per annum and only 1.5 million have succumbed to Covid-19 thus far (a grossly exaggerated figure). There have been over 54 million deaths worldwide so far in 2020 – people die all the time. I’m really at a loss as to how anybody believes this is a pandemic. Life is full of risk – from driving a car to riding a bicycle – and death is everywhere. Would you agree that not letting people go out and live their lives and enjoy the short time they have on earth is the real pandemic?
“Driving a car is considerably more dangerous than Covid-19 so maybe we should all stay home just in case? That’s life, people die. It’s not nice when we are affected by it personally but it’s the only certainty in life. I like to cycle quite a bit, almost every time I go to the city there is a near miss with a car but I still cycle… So even if the numbers were accurate (they’re not) it wouldn’t be a justification for what they are doing now.”

What do you think of virtually everybody going around wearing masks? While I’m all for masks and face coverings as a Black Metal prop, I’m not sure I like to see practically the entire population walking around looking like Shergar. I can to an extent understand why people are wearing them: because they are being told they offer some form of protection – but alas they don’t. Numerous scientific papers have been published stating that masks are essentially useless in preventing the spread of viruses, yet governments are fining those who refuse to wear them – another tell-tale sign that something nefarious is going on. Personally, I believe they want us to wear them so that we never forget that the plague is apparently here, that we are all in grave danger. When you are looking at masks all day long everywhere you go, it’s hard to forget about the killer virus…
“The mask mandate is there to create a climate of fear and to visually single out those who don’t believe the bullshit narrative. The white knights amongst the public who want to feel like they’re ‘doing their bit’ by policing it are nothing more than brainwashed Stasi rats. See where this is going? But, yeah, they don’t work either. Viral particles are far smaller than the gaps in the fabric of your novelty mask.”

While I’m convinced there is some sort of hoax or scam being perpetrated, I’m not sure what the end game might be – who is behind it and what are they up to… I’m probably not devious, sinister or educated enough to work that one out. One theory is that it’s all part of a plan for a global reset and a new world order. Whatever is going on, it’s unlikely to just blow over. It feels like there are very dark forces at work here. It’s difficult not to be deeply concerned about the future. For example, when the fast-tracked vaccines inevitably appear, and they are imminent, surely there isn’t going to be a campaign to vaccinate the entire planet over a virus that’s nowhere near as deadly as it first appeared? The fun will really start then…
“The things that were considered conspiracy theory a year ago are now daily life. Even subjects such as the Great Reset are STILL being called conspiracy theories despite the fact that they’re now openly spoken about in the mainstream media. But the brainwashed masses choose not to see it. What can you do? To answer your question: we should look to history. Why did some countries want to expand and conquer others? These deeds were ordered by already vastly-wealthy elites, so what was the thinking behind it? Power, of course. These people have all the money in the world, they have the means to print it and determine its value. They can simply add some zeros to a number on a screen and nobody would be any the wiser. So I can only deduce that it’s purely about power.”

The idea of taking a vaccine for a virus that a lot of us could be naturally immune / asymptomatic to is ludicrous. Dr Mike Yeadon is one of many immunologists who points out that around one-third of us are likely to be already immune to Covid-19 from previous exposure to other coronaviruses, while he also insists that anyone who does contract this novel virus will have lifelong immunity. Of course, we’re not going to be hearing any of that on the BBC or RTE! And how about advising / educating us on how to strengthen our immune systems naturally using diet, minerals, vitamins and exercise? The fact that gyms have been closed here while off-licences and chippers remained open speaks for itself. Surely the objective of humans in the face of this threat should be to become naturally stronger rather than to depend on a vaccine funded by a eugenicist?
“Recently I spoke to a friend who grew up in Communist Poland. He recalled how you were given a set amount of rations for groceries. If you wanted a washing machine or something you would queue for days, different family members taking shifts in the queue because you would have to wait so long. BUT you could have as much alcohol as you wanted. Apply that to our own scenario where you can’t go to the gym but you can buy as much alcohol as you want. You can’t buy a book but McDonalds is considered essential. They are censoring health professionals but Bill Gates has somehow become the spokesperson for all of this? Really? Nobody sees an issue here?”

It’s all very depressing and demoralising. Can you see this coming to an end any time soon or is it set to rumble on indefinitely? Is there any way ordinary people can make a difference? I feel like everybody should come together and resist the lockdowns and other unproven measures but there appears to be too many apologists for the governments and people who still believe the hoax – and their conformity is a stumbling block. The world has changed so much it’s getting hard to envisage the return of the old normal, with gigs and festivals and social gatherings. But surely it’s going to happen eventually? As things are, we are not alive at all…
“I was thinking about this quite a bit, actually. Many people have accepted this new world scenario already. If they manage to keep this going for a few years then we will almost have a whole new younger generation coming of age who will have never experienced socialising or live gigs. If that happens then it is a very bleak outlook. I am far from a social person, but that’s not the point. It’s not theirs to steal from us. I miss travelling mostly. It’s times like this that living on an island proves to be a huge disadvantage. It really feels like a prison at times.”

They can’t take away our music, though, surely. One possible positive from all of this, without meaning to sound flippant about something so serious, is that musicians have been afforded more time to spend at home and many will have been fuelled by more rage and inspiration to record new music. I’m anticipating an avalanche of interesting new Black Metal and Death Metal albums materialising in the not-too-distant future. A new Slidhr record would be welcome. While I’m guessing it has been difficult to focus, have you been active yourself? Are you working on new material and, if so, what stage are you at with this?
“That’s just it, though – look at what they have already taken from us. Just a year ago nobody would have believed they could take from us what they have. So to me nothing seems off limits or too far-fetched anymore. I have been somewhat active, yes. I had some unfinished work from last year that I was able to finish off as well as some other artistic endeavours. For a band like Slidhr who didn’t often play live, it’s close to business as usual but for a lot of bands their driving purpose is to tour and play live. I can see this situation being extremely disheartening in that case; I’m sure they feel it a pointless endeavour.”