Webworm: what a subscription looks like!
What do you get when you pay for Webworm? Here are 15 examples.
I’ve been writing Webworm since April last year.
I started because I applied for some funding to make a documentary about how 5G conspiracy theories combined with COVID-19 conspiracy theories, which saw people lighting cell towers on fire. I didn’t get the funding, so I channeled a lot of my research into Webworm, which has now grown into this community I really like. This is one of the most liberating fun writing experiences I’ve had. It’s a combination of conversation and journalism, and I love it.
But there’s also a paid version, which you never see unless you subscribe. People signing up to that (it’s $6.99 US a month, or $69.69 a year) get additional pieces from me. Paying members make Webworm a feasible project for me. It means I can justify the time I put into it, as well as pay people who contribute.
I wanted to share some examples of what members get. If you like what you see, you can get onboard here. You can cancel anytime if you get sick of me.
Now, what I’ve been writing about…
15 samples of pieces delivered to Webworm members:
When we’d finished making Tickled, we considered making a sequel of sorts. That didn’t happen, but I turned one of our story threads into this piece:
“The thing about making a documentary is that you hear from a lot of people after you’ve made it. People you’d have loved to have known about back when you made the film.
So in August of 2016, I hit the road to go and meet some of them. I met teachers who had worked alongside D’Amato, and students who’d had him as their Guidance Counselor. I learnt that he was prone to telling tall tales (no surprise), and had a penchant for rewarding kids he liked with McDonalds.
But there was another group I met with over the course of a week who had a truly compelling story to tell: Former US Marines who claimed David D’Amato’s tickling empire had infiltrated the United States Armed Forces.”
It gets pretty crazy.
I wrote about how my time living with a parrot turned into a living hell.
“He leaned in close with his giant black beak and screamed. I yelled in surprise, shocked. Keith screamed again. I yelled. He screamed. “Stop it!” I yelled at him, disoriented and angry. He didn’t stop. He’s been screaming like that for 14 months and eight days.
Keith screams when he wakes up at 7.30am, Keith screams when he’s hungry, Keith screams when he doesn’t have 100% of my attention.
Eating with Keith was once cute. Now it’s a nightmare. Whatever I’m eating, Keith must be eating it, too. He sits on the edge of my plate, chewing on toast. Bored, with a twist of his head, he flings it to the floor. Then he’s swimming in my cereal, milk splashing onto my glasses…”
There’s also an update on what Keith’s up to now.
Why the killer from Netflix’s Don’t Fuck With Cats starting writing me letters from prison.
He’s a New Zealander, and I like basketball — so why wouldn’t I call Steven Adams for Webworm?
In this piece, I break down how QAnon followers are starting to fall apart — and tried to understand what they’re feeling by talking to my friend who left Evangelical Christianity:
“The cracks grew, then my faith — my worldview, my culture, my personality — shattered almost overnight into a billion irrecoverable shards. I couldn’t get any aspect of it back. It was gone. My entire life, I’d been talking to God, loving God, like he was a parent. Then, one day, he was worse than dead. He’d never really been there. I realised that who I’d been talking to was just... myself. There was no-one else. Just me, and the echoes in my head.
I would not wish this experience on my worst enemy. When I left the church I lost all but one of my close friends. I’d always been an anxious person and the gap in my life left by faith was eagerly filled by what, in hindsight, was fairly serious mental illness. I functioned, I found new friends, but my health suffered terribly for over a decade. It’s only now that I’m really getting over it…”
“Back in mid-January, I got this message on WhatsApp from a number I didn’t know:
I hadn’t been to any parties recently, and certainly none in Pakistan. Sophia didn’t reply, so I messaged the personal number she’d kindly left me. And ever since then, we’ve been messaging every second day or so. Her name changed from Sophia to Sofia. It’s definitely some kind of con (I’ve saved the number as “Con”), but I have absolutely no idea what the con is. We talk about absolutely nothing. But over the course of this pandemic, as everything has become uncertain and scary, one thing has remained steady in my life: Sophia.”
7. Flight 5390
I delved into a not-so-well-known aviation disaster, for your pleasure.
“The year was 1990. The day was June 10. It was a Sunday, Gremlins 2 was in cinemas, and the captain of British Airways flight 5390 got sucked out of his own plane when the window fell off.
Captain Tim was the one who got sucked out. Co-pilot Alastair kept flying. Flight attendant Nigel was a quick thinker, grabbing Tim’s belt as he disappeared out the window at 17,000 feet. Tim, Alastair and Nigel. The dream team.
The day before the plane took off, an engineer had used the wrong bolts when working on the windscreen. Specifically, they were .5 of a millimetre too small. For that reason, I am not adding said engineer to the dream team.
The plane took off from Birmingham, headed for Spain. 15 minutes later, the meal service was about to start. But the 84 bolts that were half a millimetre too small couldn’t handle the pressure, and were flung out of their holes. The window followed them. So did Tim…”
I shared a run down of what our planned outline for season two of Dark Tourist looked like. It was gonna be pretty weird.
“This terrifying geological phenomena is caused by the decrease of the dead sea’s level (lowest place on earth). The ground is simply imploding and taking things with it. Let Farrier abseil in? Go on with a zany geologist? Need to find characters for this one. Visual story primarily…”
I wrote about what happened after we exposed the owners of a popular fashion brand for being deep in QAnon territory. I heard from those who’d modelled it overseas…
… and also got plenty of fan mail:
“You’re a wormy piece of shit Farrier. You don't do any investigating”.
“When it comes to Twitter, I’ve had British TV celebrity Dom Joly on mute for years, ever since he told me to “get my own fucking ideas”. It all started on June 25, 2018, when my Netflix show Dark Tourist came out. Here’s a breakdown…”
This ongoing campaign against me was really odd to live through. I break it all down here.
I go through the various concepts we went through when coming up with the poster for 2016’s Tickled. There are some fun ones in there…
The story of Anna Wilding, a serial fantasist who somehow ended up getting Whitehouse press credentials:
“What I still marvel at — in amongst all the stories, disinformation and outright lies — is that she did get White House accreditation. Wilding was in the White House. Here she is asking a question at the White House daily briefing on July 26, 2016…”
My story edit in legal threats, and more weirdness than I ever expected.
My quest to find the stock model that looks exactly like me ended in Serbia, of all places.
“I entered the world of modelling quite by accident. Nine years ago, one stock photographer asked my friend to recommend him a man with great smile for one shoot. It did not take much preparation for that, my parents did most of the work. That one shooting grew to 30, and then the other photographers heard of me. In this way, my job as a stock model was expanding rapidly. By now, I have worked with more than 150 photographers in my country and from abroad, and have done more than 1200 shoots. I don’t have that kind of control over the images. Once I fill out the model release, those images can be purchased for a variety of purposes. The only restriction that exists is the use of my face for pornographic or defamatory purposes. As long as Quibi doesn’t deal with it, you can expect to see me there too!”
Sometimes I like to revisit things I’ve filmed, so in this case I go behind-the-scenes of my time with Pablo Escobar’s hitman, Popeye.
15. Monthly AMAs
For Webworm members, I like to do monthly AMAs where we just have a big open discussion about whatever you want to talk about. It’s fun for me, and I’d rather do it here than over at Reddit. So yeah, become a member and join in. I take questions about stories I’ve done, my film and TV work, tips on getting into the industry and so on. And what I’m watching. Anything goes (well, mostly).
So yeah, that’s the kind of thing Webworm members get delivered. There’s also loads of other stuff like the time I kissed Borat, horny dolphins, the tale of 8800 Blue Lick Road, and going inside Cyprus’ Forbidden City. Or when I met the dude who made DOOM.
For Webworm subscribers, I tend to get a bit more personal, behind-the-scenes, and weird.
So if you want (and it doesn’t case you financial hardship) sign up to get all that — plus all the stuff I write this year — and know you’re directly supporting the work I do.
As a subscriber you can also chat in the comments with me — and you get to meet a bunch of smart, fun people. It’s like the opposite of the YouTube comments section. A truly safe and lovely space.
Hope to see you there,