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Alex Carnevale

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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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In Which We Are Made Less Receptive To Big Ideas

The American Colony

Our senior contributor Molly Young’s groundbreaking journey to the Middle East concludes today. Relive those memorable Jews and Arabs in The American Colony.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Enjoy the final edition of

The American Colony

by Molly Young

Lauren Bacall and Graham Greene stayed at our hotel (not together), and the bar this time is identical to Rick's Cafe. It will probably be decades before I get to stay in another place like this, I think. We go to the bar and Ida orders an Old Fashioned. The rest of us have champagne, and it tastes just like honey.

At breakfast the next day there is no one but me. "Excuse me, would you like to have more coffee, maybe?" asks the waiter. Yes. His name is Jihad. Gentle Jihad with a mustache like black toothpaste squeezed across his upper lip. I imagine if my name were Jihad Young, or the English equivalent, Holy War Young.

This reminds me that I dreamt, last night, of learning to fire a gun. It was so lucid a vision that I believe I could do it, in real life, if someone handed me a weapon. When my stepmother and Ida arrive and start fussing over the buffet I can't concentrate on my newspaper.

I explore the corridors after coffee, looking at displays of Islamic pots and old photographs. I pick two apples from a bowl of fruit. I am so lucky at this moment, I think. I'm warm, not hungry, I have no cramps or headaches, my clothes are clean, and best of all there are things to look forward to.


The guide who takes us through the old city is a zealous Jew named Mark Sugarman. He repeats over and over again that he remembers the Holocaust every time he sees a beautiful Jewish child. My secular dad nods. Never forget, says Mark, for the fourteenth time. We spend hours twining through the different quarters of the Old City. African churches are built in the round, I learn, so that Satan can't hide in the corner. The logic is impeccable.

Israeli soldiers are lounging around in the sun. A Jordanian king sold one of his London apartments, Mark tells us, to purchase twelve million dollars worth of gold for the roof of the Temple Mount. We go to see it and are quickly ejected; it is Muslims-only for most hours of the day. There are stands and shops everywhere selling cheap clothing and confectionary.

Just as the mixture of old and new is surprising in Jerusalem, so is the neighboring of sacred and profane. The place where Jesus stopped to rest while dragging the cross to Golgotha is three feet from a kiosk selling Kodak film. I hate the way tourists are alternately disdained and coerced.

A few times a day there is a Muslim call to prayer. The sound system is dodgy and the prerecorded incantations sound like someone burbling through a tub of syrup.

After our tour I break off alone, charging up and out of the Old City through the Damascus gate and heading back to the hotel for coffee.

I sit down and think for a while. Jerusalem has struck me architecturally and historically, but not spiritually. I wonder if growing up without religion has made me less receptive to Big Ideas. I do not understand ideologies or movements. This may be the reason why my little appetites preoccupy me more than anything else. It isn't the Church of the Holy Sepulchre I dwell upon but the graffiti on the way back: AHMAD WAS HERE, in red paint on the wall. Beneath it is a crudely-drawn weenie.

It should be the other way around, I think. But I have no ethnic or group affiliations to speak of, no cause to further and nothing really to push against. Which is nice, of course, and I'm happy. But plucked out of the usual environment, I feel a bit like Tonio Kröger. Everyone dancing and I can't hear the music.

Molly Young is the senior contributor to This Recording. She currently lives on the West Coast but we are hoping she returns to this one. Her site is Magic Molly.

congratulations are in order


"Choppers" - Holy Fuck (mp3)

"Safari" - Holy Fuck (mp3)

"They're Going to Take My Thumbs" - Holy Fuck (mp3)


1. Teen Wish, Co.
2. Prune Whip
3. Winter Hideaway
4. Scorsese Week
5. The American Colony
6. The American Colony, part II
7. Bonjour Tristesse
8. The American Colony, part III
9. The American Colony, part IV
10. A New Kind of Porn Star

betty joan perske


The gorilla arrived when you least expected it.

A childhood in Ursula Gullow’s afternoons.

The gladiator signed their check.

Reader Comments (2)

Is that a PBR twelve-pack burning in the fire?

July 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterwill

[...] We’re in business. It’s a business. [...]

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