Wednesday, December 21, 2011


It’s ragged at the edges but you can play any of 300 characters, some more involving than others. It’s a thriller, it’s a romance, it’s a tragedy, it’s a porno, it’s neo-modernist kitchen sink science fiction that you catch, like a cold.
I consider RADIO FREE BARBELITH a convivium, a gathering grounds, a tribal assembly, a coming-together of readers looking to breach the walls of Grant Morrison's The Invisibles and loot and pillage the contents together. This will be an exploration of fertile noise, a networked ebb and flow of dialogue and discovery centered around, but certainly not limited to, The Invisibles. We'll read through the series at a relaxed pace, aiming to wrap it all up on December 21, 2012.

The proceedings will most likely operate with the shambling in-efficiency of a working prototype - my sincerest apologies in advance for any kind of technical/social/cultural/national/personal issues that float to the surface or muddy the waters.

We'll start with the first issue in January, so until then, relax! Any questions? Comment here, or drop me a line at


Join up! Join in! Don't consider this an interrogation, an inquisition, but a friendly probing, an opportunity to set some initial experimental conditions - Cast your role! Build yourself a body an immerse yourself! Select your player! Who are you? Why do you want to engage with The Invisibles? Why now? Why here?


  1. I'll start us off.

    I'm Davis, @widefidelity on Twitter, and I'm writing from Victoria, BC
    I read The Invisibles about 7 years ago, and my memories of all but the broadest strokes of the work are hazy. At the time, it had felt like an important work, catalytic, charged, part of a constellation of similar works that I'd fallen into at around the same time (The Illuminatus! Trilogy comes to mind). It'll be interesting to approach The Invisibles again and see how I've changed since.
    I'm looking forward to a more intentional read this time around, approaching it like a road trip or a good hike - leaving room to stop and let the environment breathe, while still having a good idea in advance of where I'm going. I'm open to discovery. I'm a generous reader.
    I'll be sharing thoughts, ideas, quotes, fragments, images, or whatever seems appropriate to stoke the campfire, draw out threads, and keep the conversation going.
    On top of anything else, The Invisibles is FUN. I'm just happy to go along for the ride.

  2. AO Davis!

    I'm totally down for this.


    Bobby Campbell
    Philadelphia, PA USA

  3. Excellent! Glad to have you, Bobby!

  4. Oh, I'm in like Flynn if you'll have me.

    I'm Cat Vincent. I was a weird one right from the start... first spell at 7, reading Crowley at 9, that sort of thing. Now 47, about to move from Bristol to Yorkshire in midst of huge life change... perfect time for something like this!

    Up until a few years ago, I was a professional exorcist & curse-breaker (with my firm Athanor Consulting, written of in my 2IC's excellent book, Memoirs of an Exorcist by David Devereux. But, good as that book is, the book which truly gets closest to what the 90s looked like for me is The Invisibles. (Slightly less flashy, but nearly as intense.)

    So, more than happy to throw a few ideas into the pot with all you folk.

    I was a lurking member of the recent Invisible Community College - a good idea let down by lack of response from members (I offered to host the UK end of the book club, to no avail.) Any plans to stick to a formal set of book assignments, as they did - or something a little more radical?

    I also write a series of film criticisms based on looking for the hidden Blank Badge messages in movies that Mason Lang was obsessed by. The first season of The Mason Lang Film Club has 3 articles up at, among some excellent flash fiction & other writing.

    I'll fling whatever crosses my transom as it happens. Expect a fair bit of magical theory & practice, and bad puns.

  5. Excellent, nice to see you here Cat! I was/am on the Invisible Community College mailing list too (and to be honest, it was a part of my inspiration for putting this together), but I didn't have the time or energy to devote to The Invisibles a year ago that I do now. I want to facilitate an open online discussion here, independent (but certainly encouraging) of offline meet-ups.

    As for reading assignments, I was thinking it would be the most cross-productive to stay around the same pace - I can post reading recommendations weekly, unless anyone else objects. I'm open to suggestions, be they radical or not! I'm looking to read The Invisibles, write about The Invisibles, read other folk write about The Invisibles, and hopefully meet up with some folk in the area and talk about The Invisibles. I'm flexible on everything else!

    If anyone wants permissions to post, drop your e-mail address here or send it to me at the address above. I want to get this garden growing!

  6. Moss Scheurkogel here.
    I'm a high school english teacher in theory. In practice, I cook dinner and try to keep from going mad. I live in Osoyoos, BC, which doesn't help with the not-going-mad part.
    To echo Davis, it looks like this is going to be a pretty good year ahead in terms of having enough free time to follow a project like this. I first read The Invisibles around the same time as Davis, and then once again maybe five years ago. I'm eager to attack in again though, since I recall the book not for its mind-expanding, transcendental themes but rather for the engrossing design of its characters.
    The Invisibles is a fine piece of literature, and I look forward to treating it as such.

  7. Excellent, glad to see you Moss. Looking forward to your take on it.

    I'll fire off permissions when I get home today, as I've just realized that if you've posted a comment, I already have your e-mail address. So once you get them, go nuts! I'm inclined to treat the blog more like an aesthetically-pleasing forum than anything else, so comment! If you've got some tangent you want to expand on, start a new post!

  8. I'd love to chat about these books.
    My name is Shawn Kilburn. I first read the Invisibles about a decade ago.

    I found these books to be fascinating when I first read them about a decade ago and not like anything I'd read up to that point. Since then, it seems like many of the ideas in these books have trickled out into other places. I'd love to revisit these books again now.

  9. I've not had a chance to delve too deep in discussion with Davis about this, but his timing is impeccable to me. I've not yet read The Invisibles, 'tho have been meaning to for quite some time - as part of my absorb Morrison's entire output scheme. I'm not sure what's been keeping me from The Invisibles - I've had the entire series digitally for at least 2 years now, mayhaps even longer. It's the only one that's remained on my primary laptop, rather than be relegated to back-up drive action only (though it is, indeed, backed up). Perhaps I've ultimately been waiting for something like this to pry things open a little further than my average rapid-fire devouring of even the finest vintage of graphic novels and comics. Or perhaps I'm just crazy...

    My name esta shayne avec i grec (no caps please!) and while I was recently slated to move to Montreal in a few hours, that's no longer happening - instead I'll call Victoria home for at least the first few months of 2012, with a move to Vancouver rather imminent...

    I've been called many things - some better than others. I presently identify as a poet, performer, prince fan, crazy person, dope boy & drunk. Primarily anyhow. Things like manager, cook, son, friend, ghost of the highway & crazy person also apply...

    I suspect this undertaking we're working ourselves toward will be a sweet sideswipe of side project to attach to my current co-collaboration of creating the world's first psychedelic talk opera - an examination of the impending Anthropocalypse. Seems to me these things will be mutually beneficial...

    I'm looking very forward to this!

    Well met,
    ~shayne avec i grec

    Victoria, BC
    (by way of Nanaimo, BC at this particular moment...)

  10. Alright! Greetings Shawn, nice to have you here.

    And Shayne - a pleasure as always, sir. I'm sure we'll have many deep and/or drunken discussions on The Invisibles in the upcoming months.

    Gentlemen, if you want permissions for posting on the blog, you'll have to fire me off an e-mail to

  11. hey gang, I'm another one from Victoria. I'm fairly new to Morrison; I discovered him after getting into spoken word, and getting into the theatre of the absurd and dadaism while in college. From there I've been exposing myself to as many weird things as I can find, and Morrison has quickly become one of my favourite writers. I had read a few of Morroson's works before the Invisibles, and I enjoyed them, but it was the Invisibles(and the Filth) which cemented him as an outright obsession.

    Anyway, thanks for inviting me to join in on this, Davis. I'm looking forward to being a part of this project.

  12. Hey Tom, good to see you. Looks like we've got a decent group shaping up here. 2012 should be fun.

  13. Ahoy! It's Syd Fam here from San Fran, U$A. I never have read the Invisibles entirely, only the first trade paperback and that was a few months back. I am looking forward to a deep read with all of you. I currently teach buddhist philosophy, read old greek and taoist books, hangout with cats, ride my bike, and think about how to hack the world so there is less jerks botching it up for everyone else.

  14. Hey Syd, welcome! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on The Invisibles!

    I'm getting pretty excited about all this. We've got quite the potlatch shaping up here.

  15. Hello All,

    A good friend of mine handed me the first volume of The Invisibles one day about 8 years ago, right when I moved to Seattle. I've worn a blank badge ever since.

    My business card reads-

    Mad Maudlin

    Vocal Contortionist, Trans Ambassador, Occult Historian, Psychotropic Horticulturalist, Maetreum of Cybele, Professional Adventurer, Amateur Hairstylist

    I hope I'm not late for class.

  16. If all times are one time, there is no late-to-class in the Invisible College! Good to have you here, Mad Maudlin, jump on in!


  17. Very likely high and usually dry in the late watches of the night, pumping out a (mostly unconscious) recursive spoken-word spell over the airwaves of a dinky community radio station somewhere in the middle of the Canadian prairie in 1997, I was handed a ragged issue of The Invisibles by a tittering maniac who passed as a station manager during daylight hours. My recall of the event/incursion? Necessarily hazy, but I believe it was an issue from somewhere in Volume 2: flash burn images of caged magic mirror, Lord Fanny in the Jeep, Quimper’s mask, and that train.


    I remember thinking “who is this Morrison bastard and WHY is he giving it All away?!” And then feeling relief that he was. Followed by fever symptoms which have only recently (probably) abated. We live in hope. I’ve the complete set of TPB and usually randomly crack one or five of them each year, but it will be good/nifty/engaging to run through the series in order with *gasp* other readers.

    An initial observation: going back into The Invisibles recently, I’ve been surprised at how quaint it reads. So many of the ideas contained therein have colonized the spaces outside the book itself. Mektoub PLUS. You have to laugh, really.

    I’m Scott. Currently in the first year of raising an Amazing Live Human, so sleep comes rarely (like Leap-Christmas or seraphim-blowjobs) and so my attention is severely attenuated, but I’m keen to drop in on this discussion when able. So, sign me up, but don’t worry bout the badge. Got a baggie fulla them.


  18. My creators christened me Eric. My dreaming is a Jaguar. I first cracked open The Invisibles 3 or 4 years ago. Since then, I have reread it multiple times, casting my already spacious esoteric net further and further with each tour. I can relate with Scott's sentiment that The Invisibles now feels somewhat antiquated. However, far from this detracting the joy that I get from revisiting the series, I feel as though everything is moving right on schedule. People are beginning to come up on what is going down. Hopefully, we have all fully comprehended the message of The Invisibles. The book was Grant's way of getting people up to speed, so that he would then have peers with whom he could explore these ideas further. Which, as evidenced by this blog, is exactly what has happened. I very much look forward to discussing the series in its entirety with all of you. That said, how will this blog be organized? Are write-ups on issues up for grabs? I have noticed that there are postings of Invisible Ink. I have the full series on my computer and would be more than happy to upload, or supply, screenshots from any issue.

  19. Glad to have you here, Eric.

    Definitely agree with you and Scott on The Invisibles transitioning into obsolescence due to the ubiquity of... what? Autonomous culture? Full-spectrum cancer and corruption? Outliers and game-changers? Mad science, black magic, white magic, hope, despair? The Weird?

    I'm drawn toward the RESCUE MISSION thread this time around... have to toss something up about it.

    And hey, as for organization, Eric, there's not much at the moment. At this point, everything's up for grabs. I don't have any problems with tossing up the Invisible Ink pages with the weekly postings, but if you wanted to do something different with them...