Monday, April 20, 2015

Rish Performs "Drink To Me Only With Labyrinthian Eyes" on Pseudopod

Pseudopod is a horror fiction podcast that is, amazingly, over four hundred episodes long.  It is hosted by the Lord of hosts, Alisdair Stuart, who elevates even the word "Hello" when he says it, into poetry.  A couple of those episodes have, unfortunately, been tainted by my foul narrations, and this week's is one of them.

The story, if it can be said in a single sentence, is "Drink To Me Only With Labyrinthine Eyes," written by Tom Ligotti, and as the title suggests, this was a bit of a throwback kind of story.  It reminded me of Poe, when in "Tell-tale Heart" he goes on a first person diatribe about the Eye, or in "Cask of Amontillado," where he pontificates about his desire for revenge.  The narrator is a mesmerist/hypnotist/entertainer, delighting the rich attendees of a party in a huge house, and his contempt for the people he has enthralled is only barely contained.

I tried to deliver the dialogue in a classic, melodramatic, mid-Atlantic manner, channeling (perhaps) Vincent Price in another Poe tale this reminded me of, "Masque of the Red Death."  Because of the language and type of story, it was a challenge to make it sound natural, and only you can decide whether I succeeded or not.*

I'm always happy to narrate stories for other shows, but some are more challenging than others.  Here be yon link:

Rish "Labyrinthine Arse" Outfield

*Sorry to get off on a rant here, but I've meant to write about this for years.  There's this Activision video game called "Skylanders" that runs on gaming platforms, but requires kids to purchase action figures to play the game, placing a figure on the stage setup and being that character in the game.  There's a demo of the game at every Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Best Buy, and Barkley's Fun Funeral Home location in the country.  And on the demo, there's a voice-over explaining the game in excited tones to any child that happens by, and the thing that always stays with me, every time I hear it (and I've heard it dozens of dozens of times by now) is when the narrator says, "Only YOU can save Skylands by placing a character on the game portal and defending the land from evil!"
It strikes me somewhere down deep when I hear it.  Only you.  Only you can be a hero.  It's up to you.  You're our only hope (Obi-Wan Kenobi).  The ball is in your court, and if you don't pick it up, no one else will.  It's that Call To Adventure that Joseph Campbell spoke of, and the way it's phrased always makes me want to stand tall and say, "Alright, I'll do it.  I will place a character on the portal and I will save this land.  Because if I don't do it, no one else will."  It speaks to me, even though I once considered myself smart, and have been around the block long enough to know that a) Skylands does not exist, and b) that thousands of other kids will step up to save the world if I don't.
Someday I'd like to sit down with the guy who wrote that, and tell him how I reacted in a Pavlovian way every time I heard that recording.  I hope he knows what the devil I'm talking about.

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