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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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Thursday
Feb152018

In Which We Ask If He Moves His Mouth

I Wrote This By Hand

by LISA GETTY-FRANCIS

Monday

He is riding the 2 train and getting off four stops before mine. He has that glazed over look. Something has gone terribly wrong.

Tuesday

I think of the right book to be reading, the one that not only piques his interest, but piques his interest in me. My roommate Joann suggests a novelization of the Jim Carrey movie The Cable Guy. My mom suggests a book about training puppies written by a bunch of a monks. "He'll know, on some level, that it is about him," she says without a trace of irony.

Wednesday

Irony is the only thing never in short supply. He is reading now. Well, he is playing a game on his phone also. The object of the game, I can reveal to you all now, is to put a series of frames in sequential order.

When he becomes frustrated or unable to put them in the right order, he pulls out a book. It is a rather tawdry biography of Johnny Carson, who never trusted anyone.

Thursday

I decide on a book that will suggest a variety of nuances about myself. You don't know me, but I am like a parade: you can have brief snippets of fun, but you can also be trampled.

Friday

I notice that when he is reading, his mouth forms some but not all of the words. My roommate Joann says that he is probably learning disabled. My mom says a lot of people do that when they read, which is code for her saying she has been known to mouth a word here or there.

Saturday

I went to the Met. All the paintings seemed woefully inadequate. Why didn't they talk, or dance? Remaining still is only useful in death.

Monday

OK. I have heard his voice. It sounds like when someone who is a bit too much up his own ass says the word 'research.' He talked to a latino girl who admired his shoes (they are gorgeous, they should be in a museum). He told her that they do not feel as good as they look, and turned back to his new book: a paperback copy of Rosemary's Baby. I am ashamed to say I was a little turned on by that.

Tuesday

Some ducks climbed up on an old woman's leg in the park. She was feeding them too much. When they reached for her hand, she said she had to go.

Wednesday

My roommate invited me to the Hamptons, but I can't/don't want to go. The faces of the people there remind me too much of scars.

Thursday

He wore his workout clothes around five, which suggests that he changed into them at the office. He is quite fit, but his arrangement suggests an almost accidental theme. He took out a gym bag and changed his shoes. I would be lying if I said they looked great, but the last time I looked at a pair of feet and felt pleased was in the shower.

Friday

Look-alikes:

Me, Audrey Hepburn's mediocre sister
My mom, Katie Couric
Him, An incredibly handsome velociraptor
Joann, a female birthed from Channing Tatum's embryo

The possibility of being someone else is the rabbit dogs chase around the Aqueduct.


Monday

What a weekend. I did not see him once, and I rode the subway back and forth too much. It used to be that the very first car was always the emptiest, but people caught on, and now it is as crowded as the others. Then a train crashed in Valhalla, and it was only those in the first car who perished in the flames. It goes back and forth like that.

Tuesday

He is back! On an impulse I sat down next to him. He looked up at me and smiled! He was reading The Interestings! (What crap!) I searched for what I would say, and it did not take me very long to come up with something that I believe we can all agree is compelling on the merits: "I'm Lisa. You are? Wait, don't tell me. I don't want to know."

Wednesday

Joann made me go to the Guggenheim. It is like being inside an egg, which leads to us spending most of our time there reading the wikipedia article about eggs. We need something to distract us because the Kandinsky exhibit is so bad.

Joann thinks it is best not to overthink a first date. "A great first date sets up too many unrealistic expectations," she says. She also believes you should always drink on a first date, as a sort of litmus test to find out if he is an alcoholic. Her last boyfriend drank too much, and his skin smelled like Crown Royal Apple.

Thursday

The date is on Saturday, so I just take the bus until then. Buses are full of divorced dads with their kids and seniors wrapping their wrists in gauze. Someone had the not-so-bright idea to put fabric on the seats instead of plastic, and it is all worn down and discolored, like hair dyed too many colors. When someone (a male) first asked me to describe myself, I found I could not do it. Since then I have put some real time into knowing what to say in response to that question. This makes it seem like I know who I am.

Friday

Joann and I cleaned the apartment today. We found three twenty dollar bills in the sofa cushion and paused the mopping for a real meal. She thinks they belonged to her ex-boyfriend. "Don't date a guy who is always losing things," she said. "It's a waste of time." I almost tell her that I lost a pair of earrings she gave me last year, but I decide to wait for a better time. They are probably on the first car of a train somewhere.

Saturday

How did it go? How did it go? How did it go?

He was working in Rhode Island, he tells me. He says the explanation is going to sound weird, and I don a solemn countenance, preparing myself to say, "But that's not weird at all!" (In this restaurant, all the flames shine in candleholders shaped like golden retrievers.)

He (his name is Jeffrey) was in charge of all the lost and found in the entire state of Rhode Island. It was a job his uncle got him after he dropped out of law school, he says. I ask him what things people lost that were recovered.

"Oh anything," he says, and launches into a list that it feels like goes on for the better part of an hour. Honestly I mostly start touching him just to quiet the barrage, but also because I always wanted to.


"I saw you on the train a few weeks ago," I say.

"What made you notice me?"

"Oh, you were reading some trash."

Saturday

His apartment is more meticulously arranged than any museum. I used to like going to those places, the kinds of empty environments you could fill with your own thoughts and turn into a completely idiosyncratic experience. I think that possibility has vanished or is at least seriously diminished. (My youth!)

He applies a full layer of cocoa butter to his body before sleep.

Sunday

An arm and a leg.

Joann met someone, too. His hair is short but oddly covers his ears. She sent me a picture. I asked if he moves his mouth to form the words he is reading, and she says so far, no, but the only books in his apartment are by Jacques Pepin and Foucault.

Monday

In the last car, where you are the least likely to run into anyone you know, a chorus sings, "I Think We're Alone Now." The train breaks down at 96th.

Lisa Getty-Francis is a contributor to This Recording. This is her first appearance in these pages. She is a writer living in New York.

Monday
Feb122018

In Which We Could Not Be This Married If We Tried

Our Home in Aspen

by ETHAN PETERSON

Fifty Shades Freed
dir. James Foley
105 minutes

Sex during the honeymoon. At the beginning of Fifty Shades Freed, Christian (Jamie Dornan) and Ana (Dakota Johnson) are married in a lovely ceremony. The resulting honeymoon is incredibly tame. At one point, Christian chains Ana's arms to her legs, but he never really goes anywhere after he secures her. He just performs cunnilingus for a bit and I guess she can't move, but why would she have to or want to? Later, Ana is punished by her husband for disobeying her, and she is angry that he brought their dispute into the bedroom. She does not scream, "Never go to bed angry!" but it might as well be the subtitle of this inoffensive film.

Previously, Christian Grey was something of a maniac who acted extremely rashly and would use the excuse of a troubled childhood to explain the various trials he put Ana and others such as his brother Eliot (Luke Grimes) through. As a married man, Christian has mellowed. He is very protective of his new wife, and she feels much the same. When a lively blonde architect (Arielle Kebbel) flirts with him, Ana attacks like a mealy-mouthed tiger. She is so brave we forgive the fact that her teeth look horrendous.

Methods of birth control. Although Ana tells Christian that she is taking the depo-provera shot to prevent his demon spawn from incubating within her, she actually "forgets" to take her shot. She never admits to this passive-aggressive dereliction of duty, but perhaps she can think of no other way to convince her husband to bear her the children she feels she deserves. The Depo shot is about 99 percent effective; that is, one out of every hundred times a baby will be born who is unexpected and possibly even unwanted.

Later - much later - we see Ana and Christian's daughter. Both parents are happy in the glow of their child. The implication is that even though the conception of the child was a mistake, the result is a happy one. I try to apply this basic philosophy to all the unintended consequences in my life, but it does not tell us what is probably more important - how to react to the things we chose for ourselves.

A marriage's rules. Ana's friend Kate (Eloise Mumford) is in an unhappy relationship with Christian's brother. When he proposes to her, she happily accepts, except it escapes no one's notice that he is doing such a thing in an Aspen nightclub. Onlookers don't know whether to applaud or cry. Christian's Aspen home is configured much like his other living spaces, featuring large open rooms complemented by small kitchens. He does not prize the excess of a large kitchen because in all his time spent learning how to control women, he never figured out how to manage a stove.

When Ana goes out to a bar and has a few drinks with Kate, Christian is incensed. "Keep the martinis coming," Kate tells their server, and Ana explains that "Christian will be so mad" and "I'm going to get in so much trouble." Kate never responds by saying, "Do you think this is maybe an unhealthy marriage if you can't go out for one night without having the fetish of the month (were those butt plugs?) foisted upon you?" Ana just sips her martini and returns home an hour later, where she is almost killed by one of Christian's disgruntled employees.

Cooking a marital stew. Christian senses that Ana is uncomfortable in this apartment where she was almost murdered. Fortunately, he has begun making plans for a home where they can both be completely comfortable. It looks something like a haunted house, so understandably Christian hires an architect to tear the entire thing down. Ana is grief-stricken at this thought - you see, she likes authentic things that retain their own charm as ages pass. In other words, she is attracted to someone who is not like her.

Instead of differentiating herself from her husband, the newly-named Ana Grey seeks to become more like him - mysterious, at times even beguilingly aggressive, but with a warm and chewy center. As the most phenomenal soundtrack plays, including an ironic song by Sia, the two fight over whether or not she should use his name in her professional life. Even though she works as a fiction editor at her husband's publishing company, Ana's friends and coworkers keep emphasizing that she has attained her position entirely through merit. 

Like most caricatures, Christian and Ana Grey never do anything wrong, or contemplate something we would not do ourselves. In one scene, Ana finds a loaded gun her husband has left in a drawer. (The drawer was evidently not child-proofed.) She walks into the next room and asks him why he has it. I was stunned by this, since if I found a loaded gun in my husband's drawer I would never tell a soul. But he just calmly tells her to get rid of it. 

Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording.

Wednesday
Feb072018

In Which We Know All Of Our Weaknesses

Anger

by LINDA EDDINGS

I make the dark sea out of my hands. It is a restless, needy dough that presents itself as salve and illness both. Are you expecting someone (me) to get so upset she can barely breathe? I am not that kind of person. I am the sort of individual who packs the snow in my hands before the rain breaks.

I had done a lot of things for you by that point. I never made a list, or even counted them. I knew it was a lot because of the way you thanked me.

Your pet peeve — what you hated — was feeling worthless. A therapist named Dr. Walters had imprinted into your brain an incredibly dangerous word: value. She neglected to mention that the phenomenon went both ways.

When we place value on ourselves, we call that self-esteem. (Some people also call it snitching.) When you placed value on me, you neglected to mention that it was entirely conditional on the converse. But actually, once I recall asking you if you believed in unconditional love. You said, "Like, no matter what?" It was the same as telling someone what a pencil was.


I knew I was an angry person at the age of 12. I saw a girl print out an encyclopedia entry and submit it as a book report and I wanted to put her on a raft and push her out into the ocean. Now I feel a weird compassion for her plight. At least she knew, without the slightest shred of doubt, that she was a fake.

As a teenager we made repeated trips to a lighthouse where an old man lived with his wife. He let us go to the very top. I couldn't help but think we were not seeing very far from there. Certainly not as far as we should have been able to, given the height. Fog stopped us, rolling in off the ocean.

Twenty years have passed since those days, and I do not even think about them anymore. I think of the pope's attitude towards women in the clergy, the mileage on my car and my next meal.

I talked already about what you hated most, You disliked many other things: my mother, my tendency to repeat myself and apologize for doing so. You rolled your eyes when I said "The long arm of the law." Why do I remember that so vividly?


Most people I could pick apart. It's a matter of knowing their weaknesses, as well as your own. I deliberately did not do that to you — not because I thought it was important to be nice, but because I was afraid you would return that attitude in kind. I think it is the real me.

Linda Eddings is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn.