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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

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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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.


In Which We Equate Ourself With A Galaxy And You're Not All That Surprised

Space for All

by Alex Carnevale

Think in order
to recall
what the striking thing

(So impotently
loved the world

- Rae Armantrout, Precedence, 1985

This morning I visited the Russian consulate in Manhattan, where God made sport of Russian people for my amusement.

My coming series of reportage - much of it lovingly fabricated with compromising Lena Chen-esque photos of the prostitutes I patronize - will likely lead to a Pulitzer Prize in reporting and inspire conservative luminaries like Roger Kimball and Victor Davis Hanson to proclaim me 'the kike Ronald Reagan.'

The scene outside the consulate was an exercise in the disappointment inherent in cultural diffusion, a phrase I had to define in social studies but really means something like 'resentment.'

Crowds generally make me nervous. My last visit to Yankee Stadium in its final season was an uncomfortable experience, as a crowd of people chanted, "Y R U Gay?" to the tune of 'YMCA' at a Mariners fan. I have no doubt the men and women of the Russian consulate could have merited a similar but killing cheer.

Kafka, as with most things, wrote of that everyday experience the best:

"Don't you want to join us?" I was recently asked by an acquaintance when he ran across me alone after midnight in a coffee-house that was already almost deserted. 'No, I don't,' I said.

Staring at these people, there is no way to avoid thinking of the most terrible ideology in the world. Being a communist was once something unremarkable. Now, thanks in no small part to Franz's appraisal of bureaucracy, we know it is one and the same with death.

Capitalism bears no such mark, but it is still a potent force. Cue opaque observations of native Russians reading Harry Potter in English, joking among each other even while silent, as if in this little doll house was all in good humor. (The collective has never really been known for its sense of humor.)

In a tiny bubble, these people are in a soft war against a culture that invades every particle of their being, nineteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Kafka on the soft war:

An acquaintance comes and speaks to me. He makes the following statement: Some say this, but I say exactly the opposite. He cites the reasons for his opinions. I wonder. My hands lie in my trouser pockets as if they had been dropped there, and yet as relaxed as if I had only to turn my pockets inside out and they would quickly drop out again.

Only a few people are admitted at a time to the consulate, and since an Ivy League degree and my utter unconcern with the prospect of my death allow me to skate through even the most threatening situation, I prepare to sweep into the building.

The madness of the bureaucracy is most memorably documented in The Trial:

Without giving any answer to this offer, K. stood still for some time. Perhaps, if he opened the door of the next room or even the front door, the two of them would not dare to stand in his way, perhaps that would be the simplest way to settle the whole thing, by bringing it to a head. But maybe they would grab him, and if he were thrown down on the ground he would lose all the advantage he, in a certain respect, had over them. So he decided on the more certain solution, the way things would go in the natural course of events, and went back in his room without another word either from him or from the policemen.

As with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I often ask myself: Is it too much to ask that everyone get tumblrs and sort this thing out through reblogging?

Standing next to a grandma whose teeth chattered in the heat, two members of the Russian Mob emerged from an unmarked car. I trailed them. I then asked to go in front of them, as my task was small. They either didn't speak Ivy League English, or they were more afraid of me than I was of them. A general sweetness can accomplish what resistance on any level cannot.

That is unless you are one of Kafka's protagonists.

He wrote in 1922:

19 June. Forget everything. Open the windows. Clear the room. The wind blows through it. You see only its emptiness, you search in every corner and don't find yourself.

Heading to my office on Long Island through Queens, the constancy of marked difference between essentially similar things, that distinguishing feature of the capitalist landscape, is almost too much to take. If Kafka had lived where I live, he may not have survived it.

More and more I resist taking part. It is simpler to think of things axiomatically, expanding. A galaxy is a unit I can understand. It is a force to admire, envy, want to be. I identify singularly with massive explosions of energy, ongoing chemical need. To sit there and observe what unfolds is both to suffer and be suffered by. Only the sun, hanging low, scares me from bed.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.



these images were taken with the hubble telescope, itself the shining excrement of bureaucracy

"Við spilum endalaust" - Sigur Ros (mp3)

"Góðan daginn" - Sigur Ros (mp3)

"Suð í eyrum" - Sigur Ros (mp3)

marry fuck kill go


This is what a feminist looks like.

What’s happening in Paris.

Fanny Howe brings space-time to your doorstep.

The Earth is suffocating… Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won’t be buried alive

- Chopin’s last words


In Which Tess Visits Her Very Own Suicide Colony

Suicide Colony

by Tess Lynch

Let me take you back in time to 2005. I was at Brown, in the miserable never-ending cold, with no good produce to eat and a thesis to write.

All I could think about was moving to Los Angeles, which I'd left with my parents shortly after my high school graduation (leaving fingernail marks on every graspable object on the way to the car); they'd moved to Connecticut, so my visits to L.A. to see my friends were always weird and brief, with lots of sleepovers at any acquaintance's house so I didn't outstay my welcome anywhere. I missed it BAD. My friend Allan, who had graduated the year before me, was my accomplice in spending all available time (time that was supposed to be spent doing papers, straight chillin', or being nostalgic for college, I suppose) apartment-hunting for the cross-country move in June.

Living here would have been a way better call.

I lived off-campus for a year in a really cute but intrinsically dumpy apartment in Providence -- I once heard a friend refer to our shared landlord as a "slumlord" because she, if I remember correctly, advised my friend that rats and roaches were "a part of life" - but I loved it.

The bathroom was in the hall, which provided a lot of fodder for locked-out-in-a-towel hilarity; the kitchen was falling apart; bits of plaster ended up in bed with you after falling, like snow, during the night. This is just how your first apartment should be. You love it anyway. It's like your first child who always winds up in jail but never forgets Mother's Day.

Personification of first apartment (left)

Personification of Archstone Studio City apartment. 'Cept he'd drive a really nice car.

So, anyway, I'm not above falling in love with a dumpy apartment.

L.A. has a different thing going on, though, than New England's dumpdom: everything's new, so the dilapidated one-bedroom you can find and totally crush on is charmless. Allan's reporting, with pictures and summaries of his findings, was not encouraging. Every economical one-person pad was really icky. Carpets with lingering stains, missing holes where dishwashers once were. We started to become connoisseurs of apartments, and it was at that point that Allan found Archstone.

I can't let this vague metaphor go.

When I went to see it with my folks after graduation, we walked into the snazzy lobby and saw this phenomenal model apartment. You could walk to Ralph's, you could walk to Starbucks, you were in the valley but it was okay because there was a POOL and CENTRAL AIR and you could wash the valley smog off your clothes in your very own in-unit washer-dryer.

It didn't seem like Hannibal Lecter, it seemed like a mammoth wet dream involving Jude Law covered in diamonds and offering to launder your towels while you sat in pajamas on your sweet-ass balcony sipping mojitos made in your giant kitchen.

My mom and dad loved the 24-hour security (creepy music starts to play so you know that I am foreshadowing here) and the covered garage (dun-dun-dun-DUNNNNN), and we all played the fun "What will life be like when you are living above your means in this giant complex?" game for awhile, before they flew home and I began my lease.

Archstone Studio City, aka "Suicide Colony." I did not know this when I moved there.

Everything went fine for quite some time. A couple of months, in fact, passed totally uneventfully. I got locked out when I was hungover, and they rushed to my aid on a Sunday. My cat pissed on my pillow, but I can't blame Archstone for that.

And yet meanwhile, people were saying things on a website I was only to discover later; things about:

Thefts, attacks, drug deals, shootings and even rapes. There were also a couple of suicides during my time here too. I do not feel safe here.


A week after moving in the former security guard killed himself in our laundry room!

Great security. Talked to other residents who told us the place was nicknamed suicide colony due to many incidents on the property.

Ooh, you can lease online. Goody.

My first indication that something was amiss was when a dude asked me in the elevator if I could supply him with some weed.

I had made a friend. A friend who would not go away.

Then, a few weeks later, a guy (let's call him Dave, I don't want to be sued) who lived across the way befriended me and I told him about my new frequent visitor.

"Be careful," he advised ominously, before disappearing downstairs to use the jacuzzi.

"Whateverrrr," I thought, but started deadbolting my door.

In February, I was relaxing with a carton of Camels on my balcony when a strangely decorated man (tattoos (on his face?), funky beard, crazy-eye) called down to me from the floor above, which was outdoors and gave a clear view of my delicious cigarettes.

"Hey, can I bum a smoke?" he asked, and I'm such a dumbass that I said, "Of course, come on down."

Smoke these, woman!

I didn't expect to be inviting him in, so I brought a cigarette to the door. He waltzed inside and straight out to my balcony, where he made himself comfy and lit the cig off his finger-flame (I jest...perhaps).

I freaked out, so I listened to him with all the politeness of a pale, indoorsy child facing a herd of wild beasts.

"Oh, yeah, I used to live here," he said, which was weird, because I'd assumed he DID live there. "Sure, used to live here with a woman, she lived right across the way." Weighty pause. "Now I live in my boat. But I'm here a lot, just sort of crashing on floors. I miss it here. I loved it."

I asked him why he left, and the dark clouds descended over the pool and started to rain kittens and vampire bats.

"Well," he said, stroking his beard, "everyone here thought I killed that girl, so technically I'm not allowed here." (n.b., this was before the murder that apparently occurred there after I left?)

At this moment, my friend Dave came out on his balcony, saw me sitting with the mayor of creepytown, and disappeared back into his apartment, drawing the blinds. I could almost hear him bolt his door. The guy on my balcony went on for some time about his boat, and then exited.

Dave met me by the elevators later that day. "Hey, I saw you with that guy," he said. I nodded. "That guy killed a girl," he said, in minor keys. "He killed her, and they couldn't prove it, but we all think he did. I mean we know he did. HE DID."

"AHH!" I said.

"He's going to come back to see you. Don't let him in. Call the police if he comes back."

"AHHH!" I said. I went downstairs and told security what had happened, and they pretty much freaked out and told me to call the cops if I saw him again.

Which I did, less than a week later, bearing gifts (or maybe a tightly rolled sleeping bag so he could live on my floor before murdering me in my sleep); I had to pad slowly away from the door in my socks, grasping madly for the portable phone to call the police (which I did, and they chased him off the property; however, I understand he stood across the street, watching the apartment menacingly for an hour or so, which is what villains do anyway so not at all surprising).

That was the last of him, unless those "suicides" the reviewers talk about were actually murdercides.

"Four Women" - Nina Simone (mp3)

"Mississippi Goddam" - Nina Simone (mp3)

"I Put a Spell on You" - Nina Simone (mp3)

The next incident was no less terrifying, in its way.

My boyfriend parked his car in someone else's spot while he unloaded groceries, which everyone knows was maybe the wrong decision, but didn't seem like a big deal at the time.

By the time he got into the garage to move it five minutes later, there was a dude pulling off his hood ornament and throwing trash onto the hood of the car. Peter apologized and no fisticuffs were had; we assumed the incident was over.

The next morning we walked down to his car, presumably to drive it somewhere, and there it was: two distinct marks of baby batter. That's right: even if you think you wouldn't recognize jizz for what it izz, you will when it's decorating your ancient Mercedes.

It was a sublime act of revenge, so chapeaux, gentlemen. At the same time, so cruel and foul.

Hey betch, let's make it on that car. Twice.

Please excuse/the blues we splooged/on your '83 Diesel/we knew it was evil.

The final straw, for me, was in March.

The splooge had dried, no murderers were coming by for smoky treats, no men treating me like their own Nancy Botwin.

Everything was eerily calm, and because I now know that life is exactly like a horror movie, this should have kept me on the edge of my seat. I suspected nothing, though, as I naively hummed and opened up the door to my newish Volkswagen and got in; nothing, that is, until the canvas roof of my convertible breathed a huge sigh, and I realized it had been slashed with a razor.

Its cotton batting innards spilled into my car and I screamed, at first with terror and then anger that they had not at least stolen my radio so I could get a new radio from insurance, maybe even a better radio.

Escaping with your life = happy inflatable jumpy party toy.

Some dude in the garage heard my shriek and came over, smug. "Oh, so it happened to you, too," he chuckled. "It's nice to know I'm not the only one."

He explained that he'd had three new roofs on his BMW since he'd moved in (why didn't he move? I moved after one!), and was battling with the leasing department to get security cameras. He'd only lived there a year. I moved in May, and Allan was out by June.

Tess Lynch likes mayonnaise, hates murder. She is the contributing editor to This Recording. She now lives in Los Angeles, thank God.


Taking the 3 a.m. train home.

Watching the neighbors get it on.

We have some latent anger, but hey, we're Virgos.

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