Tuesday, 24 October 2017


To begin with no one paid it much attention, literally, for the first three weeks the only views or followers the channel got was bots. Why would anyone pay much attention to a direct-to-camera diary hosted by an individual, a boy in his late-teens1 called 11B-X-1371, especially when the initial videos were between two to seven minutes long and mostly referenced pop culture or personal minutiae?
           The first video of interest was posted on the 18th of January 2017. The video featured a prank2 derivative of the ‘Big Stranger Rodeo’ where the Individual jumped on a stranger’s back, in this case a boy of similar age in an unknown hallway. It was the first video that was not delivered direct to a fixed camera, the first to be recorded by someone other than the Individual (though this person has not been identified) and the first in the manner that would come to define the channel, which was renamed “Fear No Darkness.”
            The immediate result of the video was am uptick in views, more than 100 in 24 hours after posting. This led to the Individual in the following video putting out a call for suggestions for more ‘pranks’3. The video following was posted on the 20th of January 2017, showing the Individual attempting to steal a ball from an informal game of basketball4 (also derivative5). In subsequent weeks the Individual posted videos of himself:

  1. Eating raw cinnamon
  2. Dropping a cola-bomb in a busy supermarket
  3. Giving a nazi salute at a Rememberance Day service
  4. Egging a woman pushing a pram from what appeared to be the back of a moped.

The last episode was posted on the 7th of February 2017 and got 1,000 unique views in 48 hours. The channel was logged at GCHO three days later and a cursory investigation conducted, indicating that the channel and user were both operating behind multiple proxies, with the ultimate location being a site in Belize. The site then placed under continual surveillance.
By the end of February the site’s output was dedicated almost entirely to self-described pranks. The pranks also changed in content and tone. The Individual (by this point known to followers/viewers as “Eleven”) was filmed:

  1. Attempting (and failing) to ride a moped over a brook
  2. Surfing on a tea tray down a set of stairs
  3. Releasing a pig in a mosque
  4. Using a medical stapler to attach his scrotum to his left leg.

The channel was taken down after the last video, dated the 3rd of March, two days later6. An APB was placed though the Individual was impossible to locate7. The Individual reappeared on March the 24th 2017 on a largely self-constructed site called “Where is the Rider?” The Individual has been subject to numerous denials of service since but for a period was able to return to online broadcasting. The videos made by “Eleven…” became progressively more racist, violent and/or self-destructive, which in turn encouraged more and more outlandish suggestions from viewers. This culminated on the 23rd of May 2017 when the Individual posted two videos in twelve hours, in the first he appeared to amputate his left hand, followed by one where the hand reappeared, the Individual apparently unaffected, recounted news from that day to prove the date and time. There were a combined total of 95,000 individual views for the videos on that day alone8. The case was handed to a specialist unit, called the Special and Metaphysical Crime Squad. A D-Notice was imposed on the media and denial of service re-established.
After this point no site directly hosted videos of the Individual however a train of videos emerged on a number of forums9 and formats, shared widely10. Known examples include the Individual:

  1. inserting a chili in their anus
  2. deliberately crashing into a brick wall riding a moped
  3. having a swastika branded onto their thigh
  4. shooting themselves in the foot then sticking the foot into boiling vinegar.

As before the Individual, AKA “Eleven”, would reappear unharmed however no such person was identified or apprehended in real life. By July 2017 however, after reverse engineering the share-route the videos took, the source of the videos was eventually narrowed down to a university campus in Central London.
Though a search of the campus, students and staff did not turn up an “Eleven…” a scan of the IT mainframe found a rogue subroutine, called 11B-X-1371, that had been entered into the university’s intranet on the 1st of January. No one knows who entered it but the programme was designed to create the ultimate YouTube star, a completely fictional entity based on a composite of internet celebrities. While the phenomenon itself has been successfully contained online there has been a proliferation of actually existing devotees of 11B-X-1371, fans committed to bigotry, violence and self-abuse until the ‘Mad Rider’ returns. So far there have been twenty-three known casualties. The case continues.

1 Slim-to-medium build, short sandy hair, blue eyes, the Individual speaks with a mostly non-regional English accent.
2 It was listed as a ‘prank’ in the video description.
3 To be left in the comment section. The Individual specifically requested viewers not “DM” him.
4 The court was later found to be just off the Camden High Road, between Camden and Holloway.
5 And not one of the archived suggestions left in the comment box.
6 In which time it accrued over 4,000 unique views.
7 The suggestion for the staple video came from a site user known as “Tokyo Fist.” The user was put under surveillance but found to have no connection to the Individual.
8 The prank was suggested by a viewer called “Jimmy Vespa” who also apparently won an unknown prize. The Individual said “this time you can DM me.”
9 Including a members-only sub-reddit called “The Mad Rider…” a later nickname for the Individual.

10 An average of about two hundred thousand shares for each video.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Eddie Versus Dangerous Dave

A stupid smile spread across his face. “Are you OK, Dave?” I asked. He leaned back in his chair, slowly, and I realised he was more than alright. Still, I tried: “Dave…? Dave…?” It was no good. He pushed the chair back, stood up and spread his arms, stretching very slowly. It was all too familiar. Lara noticed; then Ali, Evan and Steve. Dave started walking. I realised he got up half-an-hour before, mentioned something about being bored and went missing for a bit. He came back and sat down not saying anything, very quiet. He must have taken it somewhere then.

‘It’ went by a few names, Quark, Timewarp, Drop, 3AM Eternal. Dave was the first of our group to try. He had a sixth-sense for scoring, where to go who to ask; also when to go clean. He was forever getting patted down in nightclubs but I don’t remember him ever getting caught – good old ‘Dangerous Dave.’

He wanted to share the latest buzz with his friends. “You have to take it to know” he’d say. “There’s no contact high with this.” We eventually turned on one afternoon in our house in the second year of university. Dave had already persuaded the others, Lara, Ali, Evan, Steve. I came home from a morning lecture and found them in the kitchen. He was telling the others, “run your hands under the tap… hold them up… now watch the drops fall.” He'd been trying with me for months. I didn’t want to be stuck in my room dodging bliss-zombies so I gave in and it was good. People wouldn’t take it if it wasn’t I suppose.

I was a typical first-timer apparently. I got caught up staring at the railway line down beyond the bottom of our garden. The trains flowed like fluid metal singing in a clear pipe. The sky was fascinating too, watching the banks of clouds like waves dragged along by an invisible force. This gave way to night and the small dusting of planets and stars tracking light across the sky. It all happened in what seemed like twenty minutes. Stargazing, I felt Dave plant a hand on my shoulder. He looked at me with a patronising grin:

“Come inside. You’ll get cold.”

Forty-eight hours of normal time sped by before the effects wore off. It helped that my first experience was at home. If we had taken it somewhere else we could have caused trouble. One of the side effects is people living through normal time cannot physically touch the user. There are lots of theories as to how it works. Most of them involve misinterpreting Einstein. Back then it was a legal high. Users were merely a nuisance to the sober. When Dave got up at the reception and drifted slowly through the crowd to the dance floor it was illegal. A ripple of embarrassed laughter billowed over the room, followed by gasps and angry stares.

“I’m sorry” I said to our silent accusers, “I don’t know what’s going on.” It was Lara’s Sister’s wedding. We hardly knew anyone there. We were practically crashers. One of Lara’s Aunts referred to our table as the ‘ravers from university.’ Unfair but it was the consensus, probably why someone shouted:

“Yeah, you do!”

I stood up, as if that would help, and followed. “Dave” I said, “knock it off, it’s not funny.” I tried to grab his arm but my hand glanced off him. He was definitely on. The hubbub reached the top table.

“I’ve had enough” said the Voice. It was the Best Man, a human spud called Eddie. He was bowling toward us in anger. I also knew him from university, a sport science student who turned top-heavy steroid abusing personal trainer. He had wanted to ‘have enough’ for years. He hated us ‘druggies.’

Evan lived with him for a bit after university in a flat-share-of-convenience. Though our group went separate ways we always stayed in touch, Dave made sure of it. One evening, after a reunion night out, we crashed round Evan's place. Eddie often prowled around the house at night, eating a chicken or drinking a shake. He usually wore a silver dressing gown. This time though it seemed he was asleep. We tried to be quiet, sat around the front room, but it seemed we woke the beast. Eddie almost fell down the stairs, yelling in unintelligible fury. We all stared at him, silently, waiting for him to peter out or hit someone. Eventually he looked at Dave and asked “are you high?”

We were only drunk but he squinted at Eddie and eventually said: “Hang on… you’re a massive Dairy Lea.” Everyone laughed, except for Eddie of course, mostly because it was true. Standing there top heavy in his silver dressing gown Eddie was a massive Dairy Lea. If we hadn’t laughed Eddie might have torn Dave to bits like a chicken.

Back at the wedding, Eddie started bellowing and pointing at Dave though it had no effect. He still retreated in the face of Dangerous Dave’s silent serene smugness and the protestations of his girlfriend, I assumed, grabbing his arm and insisting it wasn’t ‘worth it.’ Dave stopped in the middle of the dance floor. Eddie snorted, shook off his girlfriend and drew back to punch Dave. He hit him. 

There was a colossal clanging sound. Eddie howled in pain and recoiled. His blow rebounded like bone on steel. There was general pandemonium. Eddie fell back, slowly, slowly. Everything was slowing. The pandemonium faded. The whole room practically stopped but the six of us, our table, we were moving through normal time. I think Ali said something like:

“What's going on?”

For a moment Dave did not answer. He seemed awestruck. He looked our table, then at me and eventually said:

“Wow, so there is a contact high.”