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http://www.disinfo.com/archive/pages/dossier/id987/pg1/index.html by Richard Metzger/Transcribed by Loz of Barbelith.com - November 10, 2002 Editor's Note: This Disinformation interview was transcribed by firstname.lastname@example.org>Tiresias of Barbelith Underground, one of the best online communities devoted to Grant Morrison's milieu (and other mind-warping topics). TITLES Throughout the interview, covers and artwork flash onscreen, mainly from The Invisibles, and occasionally ones from Doom Patrol, Arkham Asylum and other Grant Morrison comics. Richard Metzger Hello and welcome to Disinfo Nation, I'm Richard Metzger. On tonight's show the man responsible for warping more minds of this generation than any other lone individual. He's wanted by the authorities for his frontal assault against reality (A 'Wanted: Grant Morrison' poster from much earlier on in his career, when he still had hair, flashes onscreen.) and for various assorted crimes against reason. Lock up your women, it's that charming genius of the comics world, Grant Morrison tonight, on Disinfo Nation. Disinfo.Con 2000 Richard Metzger (Speaking to audience.) I promised it was about to get 'wacky' and that shoe is about to drop. If there is anyone who deserves to be called 'The Heir to William Burroughs' I think it's our next guest. The possessor of one of the most incredible imaginations on the planet and we're incredibly lucky to have him here as The Invisibles winds down to two last issues . . . Ladies and gentlemen I give you, Grant Morrison. (Applause. Metzger leaves to stage right, Grant Morrison saunters on, trying to look like King Mob overdosing on cool, doesn't quite make it, as a little grin breaks at the corners of his mouth. He heads to the podium, bends to the microphone, then screams.) Grant Morrison WOOOOOOOOOW! Here we are! Right! Fuck man, I tell you when I was a kid I read Robert Anton Wilson and all this shit and here we are, we're standing here, talking about this shit and it's real! OK, I'm pissed
(Holds up red beaker.) and in half an hour I'm gonna come up on drugs, so watch for it! (Audience laughter.) I guess, I don't know, is there any practising magicians in the audience? Put your hand up if we got any? Yeah? Come on! (Puts his hand up.) Bold! OK, a few. OK, by the time we finish this you're all going to be practising magicians. This shit's easy right? I'm like you right? Basically, why are we here, right? Why are we here, at this time, what's this all about, and by the way this is a Scottish accent so reset the filters and pretend itsh Shean Connery talking to you OK? Double-Oh-Sheven. So, if you can follow me, I'm just gonna talk the way I talk and fuck you if you don't understand me! The deal is this: I've been writing this comic for the last six years and the weird thing is, like you, like everyone here, we're trying to figure, what's going on? Why do we feel different? Why don't we fit into this world? Why do we think they're not telling us the truth? So, I went out and I read Robert Anton Wilson's books when I was 20 years old, which is 20 years ago now, and I figure, is this guy bullshitting me? He says we can talk to aliens, we can talk to people from Sirius, is he talking crap? He said Aleister Crowley's got methods for contacting alien intelligences and for changing the world, is he talking crap? So I did it and, no, he's not talking crap! Right, and we can all do it! And this is, urr, by way of trying to demolish the counter-culture and replace it with something useful. We're just gonna start here and see where we get to. When I started doing The Invisibles, which is a comic book for people who don't - who haven't seen the thing, it's a comic book which is kinda my attempt to explain what had happened to me after I'd been abducted by aliens in Kathmandu in 1994 and the only reason I was abducted by aliens in Kathmandu in 1994 was because I went to Kathmandu in 1994 to be abducted by aliens! (Laughs.) And it works right! (Applause.) And these fuckers, they will turn up! INTERVIEW Richard Metzger
Dateline - Los Angeles California. We track Grant Morrison, best-selling comics writer in the world, to his room in the trendy Standard hotel on the Sunset Strip. It was here, against the glittery backdrop of a Hollywood dream factory, where this interrogation took place. (Onscreen Caption: Grant Morrison - Crimes Against Reason. The interview is done with Richard Metzger in the foreground right, Grant Morrison diagonally opposite and they're sitting by the window or on some sort of balcony and it's night.) Richard Metzger First up, what brings you to Los Angeles? Grant Morrison Well, basically the idea is to try and make some money you know? Because this is the place where bullshit turns in to money and that's an area of magic that always interested me, just the idea of turning pure thought into pure cash and this is the place where light becomes money. I think it's a very weird place to be in, none of it connects, I mean, you're living here as well, but it doesn't add up, but it's interesting that way because it's all of it an illusion, everything's a fake here and I kinda like that and I kinda want to get involved in it and see if I can profit from it. Richard Metzger What do you see right now as your relationship to what's being produced by the Hollywood culture machine? Grant Morrison I think what's happening, in my terms anyway, is what I'm seeing is that ideas that were once marginalised that normally I like to play with ten or fifteen years ago in the comics books have become the mainstream culture, the lifeblood of the movies and the TV and the records, everything we watched and listened to, you know? There's Buffy on the TV, we've got The Matrix in the cinema, Gnostic ideas are burgeoning everywhere, ideas about the supernatural, the occult, the power of magic, the disintegration of reality and they're all come from this place. They've become mainstream and they've been fed back in to our lives as 'the Spectacle' you know? It's the best Spectacle we've ever had. Richard Metzger But why do you think these ideas have, all these marginal ideas, have become mainstreamed? Grant Morrison I think it has to happen. Even in the sense that we've all grown up with and can now make them mainstream, and that's exactly what we seem to be doing, we're selling weirdness back in to the culture and the culture does demand it. The culture has come to us, looking for ideas once they would've
hidden under a mossy stone and ignored. Then suddenly, y'know, things got boring, they ran out of heroic muscle men, they run out of Rambos, they run out of the entire Reagan-Thatcher's driven philosophy that we were all going on, and suddenly they've turned to the freaks and the weirdoes and the outcasts and the geeks and the beatniks and the hippies and whoever's left to provide some infusion of interest into a flagging culture. And it seems to be working. The interesting thing is that it's bending their culture towards our culture to the point where the two things become interchangeable. There's no difference between them I think. Richard Metzger When you started The Invisibles in 1995 what was your intention? There was a grand idea behind it. Grant Morrison (Nods.) I mean, the comic had two starts, one was a false start where all I wanted to do was a William Burroughs version of Jack Kirby's The Boy Commandos because I thought it was such a cool name and DC owned the characters so you had Boy Commandos that just sounds like a Burroughs story, so it started out as this basic notion of psychic boy scouts and Baden-Powell was involved in it at one point but, it just completely changed and they said well this is so far from the original that why should they leave the title and why don't you just make something up and I went through Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable and found the 'Invisibles'. So that was it. The first four issues I knew it was gonna be a boy's initiation in to this occult secret society. Then in issue 2 I went to Kathmandu and had basically an alien abduction experience. And that changed the entire series because what I then wanted to do with the series was to make something that was alive rather than just tell a story, I wanted to do something that was a spell, that actually moved, that people who'd read it would be changed by it or would be led in to situations whereby they might be changed. And also, ultimately, to simulate the experience that I had in Kathmandu, which I don't have any explanation for and in The Invisibles I went through every possible one: I read Whitley Strieber, I read Philip K. Dick, I read everyone who'd reported this type of unusual experience and the parameters are all the same, all their nervous systems reported slightly differently and used their own sci-fi language or technological language or mythological language depending on who they are. But ultimately the thing's the same and it's like the shamanic process whereby you appear to be taken out of reality into a higher dimension, the body is stripped and destroyed and then you are put back with extra knowledge which then leads in to weird synchronicities and unusual experiences which began to proliferate as The Invisibles was being written so the whole thing - I was living that comic as a diary, as it was being written and the occult stuff in it and the martial arts, that's all real stuff and as it was happening it was going in to the comic so it's probably about 60% biography in there. Richard Metzger I'm gonna pry open that last answer a little bit here.
First up, what happened to you in Kathmandu? What was the alien visitation experience like? Grant Morrison The short version is that I was sitting up on the roof garden of the BajaRat Hotel and this thing happened and - it's hard to describe, we're going into areas that are unusual, so all I remember is getting back downstairs and laying on the bed and - some unusual things happened, and then it seemed like there were entities in the room it was like those silver morphing blobs you see in rave videos. It was like computer generated things and they claimed to be cross-sections of fifth-dimensional entities as expressed through four-dimensional spacetime and they claimed that I was one of them and that I had to come back and see what the old homestead was like. And that was when I felt like I was peeled off the surface of spacetime and they took me out of my body and then to what seemed to be the fifth dimension because I could see the entirety of space and time as a dynamic object in which Shakespeare was over here, and I was over here and the dinosaurs were here and we were all in the same object, and time was a thing. So, I appeared to be in a fifth dimensional fluid, an information space that I could say was maybe kinda bluish, extending out infinitely. These things swam through it and interacted with it and they told me that what the universe was, was a larval form of what they are, which is fifth-dimensional entities. And the only way to grow a fifth-dimensional entity is to plant it in time, henceforth our universe. Richard Metzger I remember you telling me this story once before and you were saying it was like you could pick lint off of your sweater and then throw it up in the air and it would surround you in a different kind of environment. Grant Morrison I was trying to describe how they make universes and they said they could make them by detaching parts of their substance and plugging them into the surrounding fluid, the medium, the fifthdimensional information fluid that we're all swimming through and when you did that, when you plugged in a fractal component of yourself into the universe it would grow around you and become another one of these universes and the idea was that those of us who knew, who had this experience were supposedly midwives for this larva. Because we remembered and you'd go back and you're constantly trying to encourage the larva forward because it has to go, I mean it could die, it could just as easily die, but this one seems to work, I've got a feeling this one works. Richard Metzger So it wasn't scary. Grant Morrison Not at all, no. It was monumental, it was soul-shaking but it wasn't scary. Richard Metzger (Grins.)
What was the next day like? Grant Morrison The next day was the oddest thing. I was buzzing, I wrote like 200 pages in a notebook to try and get it down. And then tries to explicate it for the next six years. (Laughs.) And now you know I can just dismiss it. Richard Metzger Now you can turn it in to a big Hollywood film and make a couple of million dollars. Grant Morrison Well hopefully! (Commercial break.) Richard Metzger For people who haven't read the series, out there in TV land, how would you describe it? Grant Morrison Well, the plot-line is fairly labyrinthine and baroque but basically what we have is the James Bonds of the counterculture, these super-cool - five super-cool terrorist, anarchist, occultists who operate in a cell as part of a vast organisation which may or may not exist called The Invisibles which has existed since the dawn of time to fight against tyranny and oppression and slavery and everything that's supposed to be bad in the world. So, initially we set up this kind of conflict, the classic kind of good and evil or freedom versus slavery conflict, the Invisibles were on the side of love, laughs and libido basically! And the bad guys are on the side of George Bush and Margaret Thatcher and everyone that tries to run our lives and tell us what to do. And the Invisibles cell attempts recruit this young kid from Liverpool, a very violent punk, he's not even a punk, he doesn't call himself a punk, he's just a kid off of the streets of Liverpool who takes Ecstasy and steals cars and does that sort of thing but happens to be or is believed to be the Buddha of the future, the technological Buddha of the 21st century. And they have to recruit him but before the other side recruit him and use him to hasten the apocalypse. And that was our plot line and through that, you know, there were lots of other things come in to it. There's time-travel, things go on - the whole thing looks at time like an object that connects all the characters through time. We've got previous Invisibles groups in 1924 who do things which connect and vibrate through the ether which turn out to be important in the present day or things that go backwards through time so the whole thing kind of exists in its own little continuum which has it's own
beginning and end but it's meant to intersect with the real world and there are parts of real things which happened which go in to the comic like the death of Diana or like the fact that surveillance cameras were getting ahold of Britain, everything tied in so beautifully to the dynamic of it but ultimately what happens in the comic is that that plotline and that setup is subjected to certain rigorous destruction that something else emerges by the end of it which I don't want to say too much to people who haven't read it yet but it is - we've taken the classic good and evil conflict or anarchy v repression and tried to resolve it in to something at the end so we've set up this pretty high concept (He says over a picture of Fanny urinating from series 3.) but I think the philosophy's more important than the plot in the book. Disinfo.con 2000 (Onscreen Caption/Slide: 'Magick in Theory and Practice', then in handwriting: 'I Will Get what I want' with the vowels and repeated letters crossed out.) Grant Morrison (Takes a swig from his cup and manages to spill half of it down his front) Punk rock dude! This is a Donna Karan suit, fuck it! (Audience laugh) So leading on from these ridiculous, where do you go from that? I found out that if you do these things which you are told by Aleister Crowley, by Wilson, by all these people that we read, by all these people that we've been consuming but we don't do it, if you actually do what they say, things happen. Things occur exactly as it's described and we can all do it. So I decided to put this to use in the comic book I was doing, this thing called The Invisibles, and the idea was to kind of (Pauses.) get all this down on paper and somehow look at it, not to accept it as reality, to accept it as purely this is a part of human experience. It's a part of human experience which has been described to us for thousands and thousands of years but for the last two hundred has been hidden and made occult, for some reason which I don't understand but seems to have to do with the Industrial Revolution and corporate culture. So these things happen, magic works. And when I started doing the comic I found you could actually make magic happen by writing things and changing the operating system of the universe. It works! And I'm here to tell you to try it when you go home tonight because it fucking works and what happens if we all do it, everyone in this room decides to take control of reality, I'm talking about reality, I'm talking about quantum physics, I'm talking about taking control of things from the quantum level up, from the molecular level up and it works. This magic works. So I'll tell you something you can do while we're here. One of the best techniques and one of the easiest
techniques to prove this thing works is to practice sigil magic. First thing you do, write down a desire, make it something easy, that is likely to happen, something possible rather than say 'I'm gonna be King of the Moon' which you may want to be as we all do but it's kinda hard to be King of the Moon you've got to get a rocket and go up there, so pick something easy. If you want to sigilize for a lottery win make sure you buy a ticket or else it won't work. So these are the conditions within the material universe that we live in. One of the things we're actually dealing with is some - as I say, some kind of operating system that can be hacked using words. And words seem to be the binding agent for this thing, whatever it is. So, roundabout in 1997 I decided I would really serious turn this thing in to some kind of super-sigil and it was based on the idea of - if you look at cave-art, the first art was done, the first writing was done basically as art, and if someone wanted to make something happen like if you were some fuckedup caveman in the caves somewhere, moaning about your dinner, what do you do? You draw a bison on the wall, stick some spears in it, go out and the bison dies filled with spears. And "Hey man!" we can make this happen. Slowly those things become letters, they become words, they become reduced to abstractions, complexes of meaning, and you can take that basic idea, people like Austin Osman Spare, the magician from the early part of this century, or Crowley, or the chaos magicians from the 80s who were a big inspiration on me. They used this stuff, and what you can do is this, like I say, you can try this at home. Write down a desire (Illustrated slides flash in the background.) Quite simple say 'It is my desire that my cat wins the Olympics'. Haha. Take out all the vowels. Write this down for fucks sake, and do it! Don't just listen, do it! Right, Take out the vowels, then you'll be left with a string of consonants. Take out the repeated consonants and you'll be left with a string of consonants that will have no repeats in it you know X, Y, A, D, whatever. Turn that thing in to a little image. Take the D, draw a big D, you've got a T, draw a T under it, keep reducing it down until it looks magical and there are no rules for this thing, do it until it looks magical. At that point you now have a sigil. The sigil will work, you can project desire in to reality and change reality. It works! (Applause.) This is verifiable. People have been telling us about this for thousands of years. Even the Tibetans have been telling us about this, the Mesopotamians have been telling us about this, and why has it been made occult? Because Coca-Cola have got the secret, these people know what we're talking about here because what you do is you create a sigil, Coca-Cola is a sigil, the McDonalds 'M' is a sigil, these people are basically turning the world in to themselves using sigils. And if we don't reverse that process and turn the world in to us using sigils, we're going to be living in fucking McDonalds! Magic is accessible to everyone, the means of altering reality is accessible to everyone, and when everyone starts doing it we're going to see our desire manifest on a gigantic scale. Everyone's desire. What happens when everyone's desire becomes manifest?
Cut to: INTERVIEW OVER CREDITS Grant Morrison People get streamed, they actually believe there's a lot more, there's a, uh, there's a lot more hierarchical caste system goes on in this culture than we think. In the sense of why are there always policemen why is there never a sense of there's no policemen any more? You know, we always stream just enough people in to these roles and suddenly we're filling the roles that once Timothy Leary or William Burroughs filled but we get born and suddenly we streamed in to those ones and there'll be kids right behind us who do it. So all we can ever hope to be is some kind of leading edge of oddball ideas that refresh the culture behind us because we're always a little bit ahead of what's popular and what's fashionable. And that's why it seems cool, because it's a little bit hidden and a little bit hard to understand. But ultimately it gets swept up, you know, The Matrix is mainstream so those ideas that to me were very unusual and abstruse back in 1994 and now they're the vocabulary of every kid who can afford to go nd see a movie. The views expressed above represent the writer and not necessarily those of The Disinformation Company Ltd.
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