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Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
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Managing Editor
Kara VanderBijl
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Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
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Senior Editor
Brittany Julious
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This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Friday
Mar272015

In Which We Recoil From Our Partner After Wintercourse

Sex Life

by ALEX CARNEVALE

It Follows
dir. David Robert Mitchell
100 minutes

The two beings at the center of David Robert Mitchell's horror movie could not be more alike. Each is slow-moving, frequently contemplative, constantly changing and disturbingly mysterious. One is a 17 year old girl named Jay (Maika Monroe) and the other is an invisible monstrosity that haunts said teenager, assuming the form of the people she does and does not love.

Hugh (a brilliant Jake Weary) seduces Jay with coy promises when It Follows begins in suburban Detroit. Hugh and Jay finally have the sex in his automobile, after which he chloroforms her and ties her lithe, peering form up in a wheelchair. This is all for her own good, however, because he has passed on the sinister interest of the invisible creature through hot penetration. If the monster kills Jay, it will go looking for Hugh again, so he shows her the predator in order to let her know the problem he infected her with is real.

Set in a meager Detroit neighborhood that is amazingly the nicer part of the city, It Follows exists outside of any time and place. None of the teenagers that help Jay confront this monster have cell-phones, although one has an e-reader shaped like a clamshell. The teens themselves watch 50s movies and adopt fashions from decades later — their originality comes from being rather general.

The monster follows Jay at an infinitesimal pace. We know, very quickly, that it is preternaturally strong and not unintelligent. Still there are barriers and places that it cannot cross — water, for example. It's odd that no one ever thinks of getting on a plane or building a super strong cage, but this kind of quick-thinking is difficult in a panic. The main move Jay and her friend Kelly (Lili Sepe), along with Kelly's brother Paul (Keir Gilchrist), decide to make, is get a gun. This is the only thing they do that is completely easy.

The captivating score by Disasterpiece hammers home the dread Jay feels at every moment. It is, in fact, a dread that predates her sex with Hugh, which turns It Follows into the most important American film about abstinence since Kids. Jay's sexual encounters are all quiet humping at a slow pace. There is the sense that because she does not really seem to be enjoying sex, it is even more unfair that she has contracted the monster.

Eventually the teens concoct a decent plan to rid Jay of her tailing scourge. They hole up in a spooky school that features a massive, Olympic-sized swimming pool, and things develop from there. There is a sadness about all physicality and the intimacy that follows from it, Mitchell seems to be suggesting. This is a major theme in horror, but it has never been explored so literally.

The cleansing pool at the end of It Follows is the only moment that doesn't ring entirely true, and Mitchell takes great care to undermine the certainty of the film's ending. There is a dissatisfaction, or perhaps more of an emptiness, that comes after sex happens. Personifying our own disgust just adds to the vacuum.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

"Bottom of the Sea Blues" - Johnny Flynn (mp3)

"Einstein's Idea" - Johnny Flynn (mp3)

Thursday
Mar262015

In Which We Do Not Wish We Were Djuna Barnes

This is the third in a series.

The Vicious Age

The diaries of Charles Henri Ford culminate in a tremendous amount of unhappiness. In his primary relationship with the painter Pavlik Tchelitchew and the other affairs he consummated in full view of his partner, Henri Ford brings the sex life of his period into full and magnificent display in all its decadence, glory and shame. The older Ford became, the more reluctant he became to settle on any determinative theory of art or life, so he spent most of time bouncing from muse to muse.

The entries that follow are highly excerpted from the original manuscript, which you can purchase here.

“Santa Claus,” I replied to the man in the movie house on whose lap I sat, as he fingered my penis he’d whispered in my ear, “What’s that” and simultaneously a slide with the image of St. Nick was flashed on the screen. My earliest memory of sex.

This time twenty years ago I was visiting Getrude Stein at Bilignin. The first thing she’d asked me was if there’d been sex between Carmita and me in Morocco. Raspberries were in season. A big fresh bowl of them, a generous serving of cream, arrived on the breakfast tray. Alice B. Toklas had picked them that morning. Gertrude let me read a MS-copy of her book, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, to be brought out in September. “I’ve given you a boost,” she told me.

One night, by lamplight, I complimented Gertrude on her looks. “You look handsome in that light,” I said, her profile being towards me. “Yes,” she said, “we’re both very handsome.” She predicted “success” for me in Paris - warned me that I should work, work, not let personal success spoil me. She said I showed a”three-year” development in character in maturity since she’d seen me in the spring of 1932 - when I’d gone to her to repay a small loan. That repayment fetched me a line in the Autobiography: “He is also honest which is also a pleasure.”

+

It is as a natural for a poet to want to draw as it is for an eleven year old boy to want to masturbate a man.

How I shall enjoy leaving Pavlik one day - how free I shall feel. But everything must be set first, both for him and for me. It will be like leaving a parent - but the time must come.

Babies are no more impossible than human beings.

Pavlik’s arrogance, childishness, infantilism, narcissism — all combine into his personality, take a personal form — as does my arrogance, childishness, infantilism, narcissism.

+

I go out now to have the car insured against fire and theft. Pavlik has gone, without breakfast, to deposit his stool for examination.

Writing is writing, nothing else. Gertrude Stein was convinced of this, it was her chief conviction. That’s why she used so many words trying to convince others.

I went to Harlem one night with an extraordinary woman: beautiful, famous, elegant, witty, worldly. To her I was a naif, pretty, bright little boy with a Southern accent. But if I had been her, I too, would have kissed that little boy, in the taxi returning from Harlem to Greenwich Village.

The next day I was in another taxi, on the way to the French Line Pier, but I stopped by the lady’s Washington Square apartment, to pick up the gift of a book — her own — which she’d promised me. “To Little Charles — With love,” it was inscribed - and the offering was sealed with a kiss. She told me later - in Paris - that she’d wanted to kiss me sober, so as to show her drunken kisses were meant. Her name was Djuna Barnes.

+

Last night, high, I disclosed to Mayo the three types of females who attract my imagination: the little girl, the somnambule, and the cadaver.

Ape’s face on a bird’s body.

Where is the Equinox: the day of the conscious, the night of the unconscious? “Rhymes, too, come from the unconscious,” Auden told me. “They should stay there,” I said.

We laugh at the childish, the inappropriate, the unfortunate. At this point, 1954, the United States is much too full of its own enjoyment.

"You should show it something,” said Pavlik, of the new moon, as we walked on the starlit, moonlit roof terrace.

“I show my eyes of silver blue.”

+

My birthday. At the next post office, made of rocks and rills, there may be a package, postmarked Eternity (that inconceivable town), addressed to one of us, tied with strings that meet at a touch, wrapped in the skin of a transparent creature, holding an egg to explode the magic tooth which shines when the moon shines, only.

The landscape is covered with a blanket of snow. All this whiteness adds to the sense of being isolated, enclosed, one feels stimulated sexually.

Don G. was telling us how in the winter season the Italians make love less — even among the peasants — their sexual nature sleeps, like trees and such, wakes up again in the spring. And that’s why, he says, an Italian man of sixty may still appear young. I know one thing: I’m sex-starved. Any age is the vicious age.

I met Isak Dinesen. She was wearing a deep cloche of tobacco-colored straw. She talks rhythmically, and sounds as if she were reading one of her own stories. She said I am like what she expected me to be. I said, “You are beyond my expectations.”

+

As much of humanity in me as I can stand.

1954

Wednesday
Mar252015

In Which We Have Gabriel And Damascus

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.

Hi,

My boyfriend Marcus O'Neill and I have a great sex life, averaging about five times a week if we are able to see each other that frequently with our schedules. Marcus recently confessed that he still masturbates himself to orgasm on a dialy basis whether we have sex or not.

I was pretty shocked by this. Is that kind of frequency normal for someone in a relationship, and should I be worried that I am not satisfying Marcus O'Neill's needs? (I asked him what he thinks about when he does it, and he says me/pornography.)

Ashley T.

Dear Dinah,

Some people use masturbation as a panacea for a variety of common problems: sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, reaction trauma, boredom or if there is not a fresh juice box on hand.

Habits are developed early on, and are sometimes hard to reliably break. You might think that Marcus should be completed by what you do together, but it's possible you are just making him more enervated and aroused. This may not altogether be a bad thing.

If he does have this much testosterone floating around in the ether, then it is also good he has found a way to express it that doesn't hurt you or anyone else, except of course the victims of the Los Angeles-based pornography industry.

We get a lot of questions about pornography, most of them suggesting that it is terrible and should not exist. There is no easy reply to this sentiment, because it will always exist as long as the human body is titillating and easy to display.

If he hasn't already, suggesting Marcus do this in front of you may assuage some of your fears. He may believe you are not interested in his private time, so reassure him with soft comments like, "That's an impressive grip!" or "You're actually good at this?" The only person in the world who does not benefit from encouragement is Howard Schulz.

Hi,

 

I've been in a relationship with this guy for less than a month and he wants me to meet his parents and entire family over passover, but I'm feeling a bit reluctant about going. I haven't given him an answer yet, and it would mean the world to him if I went. What should I do?

 

Annie S.

Dear Annie,

Are you reluctant because you think it's too soon to meet his parents or because you're not that into him and the thought of spending a holiday with him AND his family has you wishing for a chance to wander 40 years in the desert? If it's the former, just go with it. It's probably not that big of a deal, unless the guy's intense in other ways, too. (If he is, just tell him to tone it down.) If it's the latter, then maybe this is a sign that you should get out of this relaysh.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen. Access This Recording's mobile site at thisrecording.wordpress.com.

 

"Yesterday's Tapes" - Telepath (mp3)