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Alex Carnevale

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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 There Must Be More Than This Provincial Advice »

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.


I have been friends with Connie since we were kids. A couple of years ago, she started a fashion blog and it’s gotten really popular. Now she gets free clothes from designers, magazine spreads, and she has hundreds of followers on Instagram.

What’s really irking me, though, is that she used to “shop” me and my friends’ closets in high school until she created the style she’s known for today. Before that, she didn’t really have very nice things. How do I let people know that she’s a fake? It bothers me that people can get away with dishonesty and still become internet famous. Please tell me what to do.

Jill T.


Dear Jill,

What bothers you is that your friend is famous and you’re not. Might I suggest you shed your holier-than-thou attitude? There is most likely a verse in the Bible concerning this. You look like a glass house in this light.

It’s always a little disappointing to see somebody end up better off, especially when you both started out with the same things. But what really happened here is that Connie started off with less and made more of herself. She literally humiliated herself by taking her friends’ cast-off clothing and then used it to create her own success. Good for her.

As for you, Jill, it’s time to find a new hobby. Maybe unfollow Connie on Instagram if it’s making you so mad you can’t see the bigger picture. Then read something cerebral or gently slam Michiko Kakutani over brunch. Remember, you didn’t want those clothes. Find something that looks better on you than a sour expression and make your own success.


I was recently searching through my seventeen year old brother Dennis' things for reasons, and I came across a letter he had written to a woman. Her name is Desiree and she appears to be older than him, e.g. out of school. Nevertheless their letter was quite sincere and included notions of having children together and making a life for themselves.

I'm not certain whether or not Dennis has ever sex, but he certainly isn't very experienced in the process. As recently as last year, he was asking me very basic questions about it. I have no intention of informing my parents about the letter, but I'm not sure what advice to offer him, if any.

Alise B.

Dear Alise,

Only positive things can occur being couples with alliterative first names. Take, for example... Hmm. Nevermind. I was thinking of Ned and Stacey, but their names aren't alliterative and many negative things happened. Tell your brother that no one with the name Dennis has ever been with anyone named Desiree, so the jury is still out.

You should not have gone into your brother's things unless you are truly worried he was going to harm himself, which is apparently the justification for every single invasion of privacy in human history. Given that he wants children with some shiksa, we can assume he is probably not going to end it all.

Young love is tremendous, and your brother is on the verge of making the biggest mistake of his life. You can only watch from afar and enjoy the fireworks, as they will no doubt make you seem better in the eyes of everyone in comparison. If you really must change your brother's life, send Desiree a cease and desist letter on a legal-esque letterhead and your brother will never hear from her again.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.


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