The Reality Institute

Ivanhoe’s Greatest Hits by Sir Walter Scott, read by Christopher Lee

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Disc 1 Track 03

Dics 2 Track 01

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Dicks 3 Track 03

In fact, Sir Lee did not carry me in his uterus for nine months and
then give birth to me and then nurse me with life-giving pabulum from
his bosoms.  Like most men with whom I am acquainted, Sir Lee is not
possessed of the necessary faculties to have performed these tasks,
and has anyway now long been too old and tired to attempt carriage
were science even to permit it.  Then again, I am not acquainted with
Sir Lee, in a strict sense, though I do feel a close kinship with
him—specifically, that special vintage of devotion the object of which
for many a young boy and man is his dear mother—and since I have never
been able to examine Lee closely, except by images in print or on my
television screen (and we all know what liberties may be taken to
disguise and distort anybody figured in such mediums) it may indeed be
the case that Christopher is both physically and emotionally equipped
to nurture the body and spirit of a human child to maturity though,
admittedly, it is unlikely. This is not to say, either, that he hasn’t
made a smashing father, though again since I have no personal
experience in the matter, I can cite only the very finest and most
likely conjectures which are but a sampling of the prodigious
rumor-grists, whose fine and numerous motes eddy ‘round his venerable
person like a shroud of flies where ever he goes.  Yet the timbre of
my peculiar conviction regarding Lee’s maternity with regards to me
(for let us not call a doxy a ‘dinner companion’, even if that may be
the case in particular instances) is not so much social, as it is
scientific.  It is a medical fact that the auditory sense is the
pre-eminent one, well ‘in hand’ in the human fetus as early as sixteen
weeks.  Furthermore, it is fact that Lee has appeared in more motion
pictures than any other human person in the industry’s long
history—266 times since 1948 is the exact calculation, as of today.
When I was conceived in 1970, Lee was at the height of his powers,
appearing in nine pictures in that year alone; four of these were
Dracula pictures in which Lee played his signature role as the titular
villain.  My mother—that is, the woman from whose body my own
developing one gratefully accepted shelter and nourishment—was a great
lover of the cinema, and particularly the genre of horror.  She has
confessed that she always found the character of Dracula particularly
exciting.  She admits to having seen each of Lee’s 1970 Dracula
features ‘several times each’ while they were in theaters, while I was
in her, and a handful of the other pictures featuring Lee that year,
such as The Bloody Judge and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (dir.
by the great Billy Wilder), in which he plays Mycroft Holmes,
(Sherlock’s taller, older brother) ‘to good effect’.  The effects of
this prenatal exposure to Sir Lee’s numinous screen presence and
particularly his imitable basso profundo—which, hearing today still
stirs in me feelings of profound contentment and an irresistible
craving for warm milk (the fullness of former contingent upon the
satisfaction of the latter, naturally, which is hardly disagreeably
attained)— can hardly be exaggerated.  The great analog sound systems
of the Brighton cinemas, notoriously ‘toppy’—undoubtedly engineered
this way precisely to mask the screeches of youthful frolic inevitably
unfolding in the darker corners of these stately auditoriums—conducted
super-charged currents of Lee’s Jehovan voice deep into my tiny,
developing cochlea at decibels levels which drowned my ‘true’ Mother’s
own heartbeat and the oceanic flows of amnion throughout her
pregnancy. As fate would have it, shortly after being born, I
unwittingly accompanied my mother into the theater once again when she
went to see The House That Dripped Blood.  I was but a month old and
just learning to focus both my eyes simultaneously in order to capture
a seamless and coherent visual field.  Fascinated by this new and
stimulating apparatus, I hardly at first noticed the screen at all,
preferring to scan my environment ceaselessly and without much
discrimination, when suddenly a familiar and much beloved sound
commanded my immediate attention. My tiny eyes roved frantically for
the source and at last alit on the image of Christopher, unfortunately
in one of his less memorable roles as John Reid—a predictably sinister
single father to a mentally disturbed child in a remote manor house in
the English countryside—yet I was electrified.  Unity at last!  A face
(recall that infants of this age are particularly attached to these)
and a voice to match; a voice that seemed to emanate from deep within
my soul, even as it flowed in and refreshed itself from without! I am
a small man in stature, yet I do not believe I flatter myself when I
say that I have inherited Lee’s features—his aquiline nose, his
high-boned cheeks and domed forehead, his sharp teeth and crisp manner
of dress, his high-toned manner of speech.  We are simple men; cut and
dry, black and white, thin rivulets of blood dripping from our mouths;
Stentorian; debonair; Pinscher men.  Him big, me little. Whenever we
go out, the people always shout.  St. Christopher, are you my Mother?

-Kris Li, 2011


  1. Reality: Check! « The Year Is Yesterday - July 25, 2011

    […] for you, The Reality™ Institute is hosting two additional projects born of the Tiny Press course: Ivanhoe’s Greatest Hits (as read by Christopher Lee) and Mikey Valis’s phantogram music video […]

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