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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Morris

The Moby Experiment

To those it may concern,

I'd like it to be known that I hold Adam Buxton responsible for all that has happened, and all that will happen due to the consequences of this experiment. I'm writing this introduction midway through and I am aware of it invalidating my results, but I fear if I wait any longer to begin reporting I'll cease to exist at all. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean for any of this to happen.

What you are about to read is a collection of personal diary entries noting various changes and peculiarities throughout my work. Whilst I am only part-way through the process, I have coded an automatic upload of each digital entry to this centralised post in order to keep things neat. Let it never be said I don't run a tight ship. But even the most sturdy of ships crash and are never seen again.

In 2011 BBC Two comedy panel show 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks' featured a guest host in the form of comedian and surrealist Adam Buxton. The show was filled with his trademark non-sequiturs and quirks that delighted younger me to no end. But there was one thing that stood out above all else. In the result of a tie, Phil Jupitus and Noel Fielding's teams were required to watch a special short video centered around the musical artist Moby. They were asked simply to count the number of Mobys present within the video, which featured an assortment of other bald (and similarly featured) celebrities set to a catchy tune.

The tune kept me up at night. Burrowing deep inside my head and making me chuckle constantly. It rented space in my mind that I could never get back, and has held me hostage for all these years. When I close my eyes I can see it. Please know that for the sake of transparency I will include the Moby video below in its 'director's cut' form. I urge you not to watch it. The damage it has done is irreparable. I merely hope that God can forgive me for promoting such insidiousness.

In an attempt to halt the omnipresence of the video in my life I have tried to build up an immunity to it. The Moby Experiment consisted of daily recordings of myself listening to the aforementioned programming, this way I could evaluate the changes (if any) in my state of mind or even my appearance. Each video was supposed to be accompanied by a diary entry, filled with personal thoughts and feelings by myself.

The hypothesis of this exercise was to prove Adam Buxton's untapped and potentially-landmark work in behavioural hypnotherapy, something I'm not even aware he himself knows about. Unfortunately the experiment's side effects have already begun to take place. I find myself drifting in and out of consciousness constantly. As if in a waking dream where the soundtrack is nothing but the repeated names over and over. Another face has been added to the list, but it's not a face I know of and its features are too blurred to see. This is the face that haunts me and whispers things. I don't know how long I'll be able to keep resisting its orders.

I am writing this now as I feel I am at the cliff edge of sanity. Every ounce of concentration is being put into these words, so forgive me if they are brief. I'm sorry Mother for closing myself away, it was never a comment on your parenting. Father, I was never able to get over your resentment and that is the cause of our troubled history. To my friends, those of you who've been in my mind should have received your instructions. For those who haven't, I can only apologise and bid you farewell.

No matter what happens to me, I know my work will be published and available for those in power to see. I hope to see you on the other side...

George Morris, August 14th 2020

You can find all the entries and videos natively uploaded to the experiment's Twitter Profile

June 15, 2020 - Day 1

I didn't sleep a wink last night. I was too nervous about starting the experiment so excuse my appearance and unwashed hair. First video shows a couple of minor details. Though the song has been inside my head for years, there are minor occasions where my lip-syncing fails me (it should be said that I am beyond the point of not singing along). As much as I try to keep my eye line on the camera my discomfort sometimes sways me. No obvious signs of deterioration, though the widening of the eyes around the time of the first 'Bruce Willis' is worrying. Not because I don't remember doing it (I don't) but because of the primal lust emanating from my eyes at that moment. I don't think I recognise who that person was...

June 15, 2020 - Day 2

Not much change. The inflections have altered slightly from the 'Bruce Willis' segment to the 'Johnny Malkovich' part, though this bothers me less than it did yesterday. The strange 'otherness' within the eyes is more present but I've been in my head so long now that I've forgotten how catchy and transformative the musical accompaniment can actually be. Because I had errands to run today I decided to film the installment first thing in the morning, which explains my poor posture and lack of upkeep (I will have to show that I can make an effort in one of these videos to prove I'm not a complete slob). Seems like I'm going to be in this for the long haul.

June 17, 2020 - Day 3

I apologise for the shakiness of today's footage. I filmed from a different location and recorded it before I had eaten so I must have been weak. Either that or I'm just naturally shaky. No noticeable changes today. It seems as though the tune itself is just reasonating like a regular song, to the point where I've even started moving features to it like this is some form of entertainment. Not that I'm completely opposed to this being entertainment but that's far from the priority.

June 18, 2020 - Day 4

I didn't sleep very well last night because of a storm, so once again my appearance is a mess. The silliness of this whole experiment is not lost on me, and the vibrancy in which I've started to perform the daily routine is something that's probably only going to get worse. Nothing else to report.

June 19, 2020 - Day 5

I don't know why I'm so content with looking like a slob throughout this entire experiment. What started as an emotionless attempt at listening to the piece has now transformed into what appears to be a valiant attempt at entertainment. I say 'attempt' because the outright hatred those who view this project will have of both myself and the song in question will reach volcanic levels I presume by the end of the first week. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and I'm the least-qualified to be participating.

June 20, 2020 - Day 6

The weather keeps flickering between hot and cold at random intervals and I awoke this morning with a terrible fever so I think it's making me ill. I've had to cover both windows into my room because the sunlight strains my eyes and causes migraine too. Who would have thought that such a minimal-effort experiment would still find a way to make me complain? Doesn't seem to be stopping my sense of showmanship in these recordings, however.

June 21, 2020 - Day 7

At the end of the first full week the only difference continues to be in my commitment to the performance. The ongoing nature of this experiment meant I never assumed it to be over quickly but it's now starting to sink in the size of the challenge I'm undertaking. My migraine and poor temperament yesterday have carried over to today, and every sideways glance dances like a knife edge on my eyeballs. I'm definitely coming down with something. But at least I'll have evidence as I slip further into sickness.

June 22, 2020 - Day 8

Head still pounding. Will report fully tomorrow when staring at a screen doesn't kill me.

June 23, 2020 - Day 9

The pain seems to have dissipated overnight, but it doesn't explain the rather sinister turn yesterday's video took. I could put it down to tiredness but that's the most alive I've felt over the past few days. Might have been a notion of delirium I should note down as a side effect. Elsewhere the song continues to be stuck in my head. The commercial potential of the song seems like it'd have been a perfect surrealist chart hit, but of course the limit of its scope was due to the niche nature. It's obviously stayed in the minds of many due to the amount of views on Youtube however. I wonder how many of those views are me...

June 24, 2020 - Day 10

The routine has already sunk in to the point where I don't realise what the content of each video is before I upload it.

June 25, 2020 - Day 11

That's not normal. But it's not as sinister as it looks.

June 26, 2020 - Day 12

I'm thinking that may have been just a blip but I can never be sure.

June 27, 2020 - Day 13

I always ensure I use the first take from each day's experiment so that I can't tamper with any of the results, even when I sneeze in the middle of them. The ecstatic facial expressions have become a thing of the past it seems. I also wonder if it would be appropriate to actually listen to Moby's discography, as I'm not familiar with the artist himself. As a extra point of reference it might be worth it and would lend my experiment some legitimacy.

June 28, 2020 - Day 14

June 29, 2020 - Day 15

I think I'm starting to lose track of why I'm doing this.

June 30, 2020 - Day 16

My dreams have been getting very strange and vivid in a way I'm uncomfortable with. That is, when I'm able to sleep at least. I think it's something to do with the heat but the added pressure of this experiment being a huge waste of time probably doesn't help proceedings.

Whilst going through the experiment I rewatched Day 14's footage again and something caught my eye at the end.

I enhanced the image and then...

What the hell is that? And how did it get into the footage? It's definitely a person. It even looks like my outline but I have no idea where or when it was taken. I don't know if it's a technical glitch (somehow I doubt it) but it's the strangest thing so far in the entire experiment.

July 1, 2020 - Day 17

If yesterday's strange image was a technical issue I think it's continued to today. The footage was fine but upon uploading I think my internet cut out so the audio and visual components freeze part-way through.

July 2, 2020 - Day 18

I'm not even going to try and pretend that's normal. If it's anything to do with what happened last night I'm going to have to call someone in to check it for me. I'm a man with long hair that molts so it's not completely out the realm of possibility but the timing and feeling of it uprooting itself through my throat was revolting.

July 3, 2020 - Day19

Changing the location for the experiment for a couple of days to see if something works. If not I'm going to have to try drastic measures. Nothing to worry about.

July 4, 2020 - Day 20

Started sleeping downstairs for the time being. Nothing has continued so it might be doing the trick. Small visual glitch with the camera on today's footage however.

July 5, 2020 - Day 21

Submitted my hypothesis for approval from the board today. Hoping to hear back within the next couple of weeks. Gradually working my way back to the loft room where the majority of the video clips have been recorded. If you listen closely you can hear mice that live in the walls at the end of today's file. They're usually louder across Winter but something's brought them inside now.

July 6, 2020 - Day 22

July 7, 2020 - Day 23

July 8, 2020 - Day 24

Struggling to sleep the last few days. Think I'm going to go back up to spending the night in my room. I'll be keeping you up to date if anything happens.

July 9, 2020 - Day 25

July 10, 2020 - Day 26

I think this is the first time you can hear Bailey in a recording. He was outside whilst I was doing this and I think he heard the music from my room.

Image taken from experiment's Twitter account at 12:08 am.

July 11, 2020 - Day 27

Just received word that the board has denied any support or funding for the project. They claim it's 'nonsensical and a waste of time' and won't even publish my results in their annual journal. Despite the fact I've been running 1a since 2017. Despite the fact that even in times of a pandemic, when others are off galavanting around deciding to suddenly get into social media, I've been trying to find a way to continue my work and strengthen a pre-existing hypothesis.

Today is a write-off. I'm too pissed off.

July 12, 2020 - Day 28

If they don't care why should I?

July 13, 2020 - Day 29

I apologise to those reviewing the footage for my childish behaviour. It just serves as greater reason for me to prove people wrong.

July 14, 2020 - Day 30

Had to move back downstairs for today's recording because Bailey wouldn't stop whining and jumping up. She's been getting more and more excitable.

Image taken from experiment's Twitter account at 12:08am. Image was shared twice.

July 15, 2020 - Day 31

July 16, 2020 - Day 32

July 17, 2020 - Day 33

July 18, 2020 - Day 34

July 19, 2020 - Day 35

July 20, 2020 - Day 36

Bailey keeps barking down the stairs like she's guarding the loft hatch. Nonstop. At least three hours she was just sitting on the stairs barking at nothing.

July 21, 2020 - Day 37

July 22, 2020 - Day 38

More barking yet again. What is it about this that freaks this dog out so much?

July 23, 2020 - Day 39

July 24, 2020 - Day 40

July 25, 2020 - Day 41

July 26, 2020 - Day 42

Bailey is missing.

July 27, 2020 - Day 43

Bailey is still missing. We don't know how Bailey got out or where Bailey went.

July 28, 2020 - Day 44

Went out looking for Bailey again today. Still no sign.

I can hear barking. In the house.

Video taken from Twitter account, posted at 11:23pm with the caption 'That's definitely Bailey.'

July 29, 2020 - Day 45

I've realised now that I've misfiled today's data with yesterday's date. I will rectify it from now on. I'm sorry.

July 30, 2020 - Day 46

I didn't open that.

The following was taken from Twitter at 23:55pm.

July 31, 2020 - Day 47

August 1, 2020 - Day 48

The following was taken from Twitter at 04:59am.

I keep hearing scratching noises.

It sounds like it keeps coming from the hatch but I don't think it is.

August 2, 2020 - Day 49

The following was taken from Twitter at 00:33am.

August 3, 2020 - Day 50

Ever since Bailey disappeared I swear I've heard barking every night. I've been brushing it off so far as just other dogs (our neighbours both have them) but I know what Bailey sounds like.

Posted to Twitter at 15:00

I don't think there's anything in here but something tells me I'm wrong.

I just want some answers now please.

I don't know if I see the point in the experiment anymore.

August 4, 2020 - Day 51

A clump of hair left outside my bedroom door. I'm assuming it's mine.

Something is seriously wrong.

August 5, 2020 - Day 52

Posted to Twitter at 4:54am.

August 6, 2020 - Day 53

I'm putting a stop to it.

I'm not doing it anymore.

August 7, 2020 - Day 54

Posted to Twitter at 09:41pm.

August 8, 2020 - Day 55

After what's happened I need to get away. Even if it's for a couple of days. I don't know if the timing of the experiment, coinciding with a lockdown, has me on edge or more susceptible to hallucinations but I can't keep scaring myself awake at the slightest noise. The experiment is over and this is the fallout. It served no purpose but to allow for sinister thoughts to impede within my state of mind and I can't continue to allow it. I need to be fresh. I need to feel the sun.

I've decided to stay at a guest house for two days closer to the beach. If the same happenings follow me I'll know it's worth alerting someone, but if they don't I may need to start seriously thinking about my own sanity. This is nobody's fault but my own so I'm now taking my mental health into my own hands. No more faces in the dark. No more stolen hair. No more scratching. Just relaxation and peace.

August 9, 2020 - Day 56

Posted to Twitter at 4:32pm with the caption 'Getting away is always good.'

Posted to Twitter at 7:33pm.

August 10, 2020 - Day 57

Posted to Twitter at 2:47pm with the caption 'I need to go back at some point.'

Posted to Twitter at 10:51pm with the caption 'I'm back now. Let's see how this goes.'

August 11, 2020 - Day 58

No oddities through the night. But there is something else.

Posted to Twitter at 2:07pm with the caption 'There's more hair.'

Posted to Twitter at 2:08pm with the caption 'I need to seal this off.'

I've wedged a chair against the hatch until I can get something else tomorrow.

At least I'll hear it if it opens now.

August 12, 2020 - Day 59

August 13, 2020 - Day 60

Posted to Twitter at 4:30pm with the caption "All I could find was some thin red duct tape so this will have to do for the time being."

Posted to Twitter at 4:33pm with the caption "Finished up."

Posted to Twitter at 4:34pm with the caption "Final product."

August 14, 2020 - Day 61

August 15, 2020 - Day 62

I think everything's okay now.

August 16, 2020 - Day 63

August 17, 2020 - Day 64

Posted to Twitter at 12:22am.

Everything is fine.

August 18, 2020 - Day 65

August 19, 2020 - Day 66

Posted to Twitter at 4:45pm.

August 20, 2020 - Day 67

Posted to Twitter at 3:51pm.

August 21, 2020 - Day 68

Posted to Twitter at 5:28pm.

August 22, 2020 - Day 69

Posted to Twitter at 3:45pm.

August 23, 2020 - Day 70

Posted to Twitter at 3:58pm.

August 24, 2020 - Day 71

Posted to Twitter at 4:51pm with the caption "Day 1."

August 25, 2020 - Day 72

Posted to Twitter at 5:03pm with the caption "Day 2."

August 26, 2020 - Day 73

Posted to Twitter at 4:19pm with the caption "Day 3."

August 27, 2020 - Day 74

Posted to Twitter at 6:19pm with the caption "Day 4."

August 28, 2020 - Day 75

Posted to Twitter at 4:26pm with the caption "Day 5."

August 29, 2020 - Day 76

Posted to Twitter at 5:55pm with the caption "Day 6."

August 30, 2020 - Day 77

Posted to Twitter at 8:19pm with the caption "Day 7."

August 31, 2020 - Day 78

Posted to Twitter at 4:07pm with the caption "Day 8."

September 1, 2020 - Day 79

Posted to Twitter at 6:10pm with the caption "Day 9."

September 2, 2020 - Day 80

Posted to Twitter at 4:21pm with the caption "Day 10."

September 3, 2020 - Day 81

Posted to Twitter at 6:08pm with the caption "Day 11."

September 4, 2020 - Day 82

Posted to Twitter at 9:13pm with the caption "Day 12."

September 5, 2020 - Day 83

Posted to Twitter at 7:09pm with the caption "Day 13."

September 6, 2020 - Day 84

Posted to Twitter at 4:04pm with the caption "Journey."

September 7, 2020 - Day 85

Posted to Twitter at 5:46pm with the caption "Lapse."

September 8, 2020 - Day 86

Posted to Twitter at 9:57pm with the caption "Silence."

September 9, 2020 - Day 87

Posted to Twitter at 1:41pm. No caption.

September 10, 2020 - Day 88

Posted to Twitter at 6:38pm. No caption.

September 11, 2020 - Day 89

Today is the day.

Posted to Twitter at 10:37am with the caption "I expected nicer surroundings."

Posted to Twitter at 3:47pm. No caption.

Posted to Twitter at 8:25pm. No caption.

Posted to Twitter at 9:28pm. No caption.

Posted to Twitter at 9:29pm. No caption.

Posted to Twitter at 9:54pm. No caption.

Posted to Twitter at 9:54pm. No caption.

Posted to Twitter at 10:03pm. No caption.

Posted to Twitter at 10:14pm. No caption.

Posted to Twitter at 10:21pm. No caption.

September 12, 2020 - Day 90

Posted to Twitter at 12:20pm. No caption.

September 19, 2020 - Day 97

Posted to Twitter at 12:24pm. No caption.

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