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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

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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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Monday
Sep182017

In Which We Sincerely Believe We Do Not Belong

Self-Mining

by ELEANOR MORROW

Tin Star
creator Rowand Joffe
Sky

In Tin Star, Jim Worth (Tim Roth) is a London police officer who relocates to a mining town in British Columbia with his wife Angela (Genevieve O'Reilly), his daughter Anna (Abigail Lawrie) and his son Peter (Rupert Turnbull). At the conclusion of the show's tumultuous first episode, an assassin approaches the family at a sinister Calgary gas station. He fires a bullet at Jim's head from a distance of seven feet. Instinctively, Jim ducks, and the shell explodes his five year old son's head. Fragments of the boy's skull impact on his mother's cranium, and she enters in a coma.

Jim is a recovering alcoholic, and it is not one night later that he finds himself in a bar. Tin Star creator Rowand Joffe gives us a hearty close-up of the heavenly whiskey that Sheriff Worth desires more than anything in his turgid little life. Everything in his world is categorically easier to abandon than alcohol – which is not to say he is not going to fail his family. Just that it will be hard.

Jim's enemies do not really have sufficient reason to want him or his son dead. They are representatives of the oil concern which has infilfrated the town. The idea that oil companies would have to resort to murder to get their way when they can simply purchase everything in sight is somewhat implausible, but who cares? Tin Star is more a pure revenge fantasy, meant to bring Jekyll's story into a Western forum. It has to be a fantasy – I mean, I can't rationally believe in a rural Canadian town where everyone in it is a different type of asshole.

Christina Hendricks plays Elizabeth Bradshaw, a representative of that oil company. Hendricks grew up in the Pacific Northwest, although you would not really know it. I think her father was British, which makes sense with her coloring. She looks absolutely tiny in this, having eradicated any of the voluptuousness which might lend a sympathetic tint to this merciless. character. She is not so much a villain as an embodiment of a lack of personal morality.

Jim's daughter Anna is drawn to alcohol, and one of the most affecting scenes in the show's opening episodes has her chugging down the various components of a motel mini-bar. "I want to be an archaeologist," she tells her father, and this fortune-telling strikes us as wildly off-base. Jim himself has nothing in the way of hobbies or passions – that was what drinking was for. His job enables him to practice the only skill he has – the distribution of violence, and to mete it out for somewhat rational reasons.

He is completely disconnected from modernity. It is what happens to those of us who, as we get older, neglect to manifest a regular discernment of what makes society itself. Such people often change their surroundings, since doing so gives them a reasonable excuse for feeling lost. There is no such get-out-of-jail free card when we are surrounded with those we know, and those who know us. It is better to be in the wilderness, where you can sincerely believe you do not belong. You will be right.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording.


Saturday
Sep162017

In Which We Return Almost Completely To Ourselves

Death Became Them

by ETHAN PETERSON

Glitch
creators Louise Fox & Tony Ayres
Netflix

The worst thing I can ever imagine has happened to Australian police officer James Hayes (Patrick Brammell). After his perfect-looking blonde wife Kate (Emma Booth) dies of breast cancer, he remarries shortly thereafter, falling in love with an annoying brunette named Sarah (Emily Barclay). She becomes pregnant with his child, a blessing he could never achieve with his one true love.

What's so bad about that, you're saying to yourself as you wait for a burrito bowl to be prepared for you. One woman is great; a second pregnant one is usually better. I mean, there is a lot wrong in this scenario, but the downgrade is not worst part. The worst part is, your wife reemerges from her grave looking better than ever, shocked and appalled that you moved on so fast from the most important relationship of your life.

One of the most important aspects of Glitch is that you don't have to worry about the central mystery of the show being that everyone is actually dead, since most of the cast is in fact deceased. Dr. McKellar (Genevieve O'Reilly) is a stringy blonde lesbian, also herself deceased, who woke up in a morgue determined to continue her important research in cellular regeneration. Although this is all her fault, she has little in the way of answers for these freshly alive corpses.

Some of the corpses hail from Australia's stinky, racist path, resulting in lengthy flashbacks where we view the misdeeds of plantation owners and wayward civil servants. Australia is such a usual and unusual country, and although most of Glitch takes place in a small town to which this group of survivors is confined by a strange invisible boundary, we get a full sense of the place as both familiar home and overwhelming outpost on the edge of the wild.

Patrick Brammell is the main peace officer in this town of Yoorana in southeastern Australia. Brammell has the unpleasant job of merely reacting plausibly to everything that is spinning around him. He cannot really admit to anyone what has taken place, and yet he views himself as a paragon of ethics. In most scenes his most central task is to prevent his head from splitting open in frustration. We are constantly waiting for him to snap.

His new wife Sarah is a quivering wet rag. She is one of the most unlikeable people that has ever existed on television. She uses every moment as an excuse to tear apart something in herself in others, and she is completely careless with the things she loves.

The real centerpiece of Glitch is Emma Booth's character Kate. In the first episodes of the show's second season, which will be arriving on Netlfix for global audiences this fall, she is finally finding herself as a non-dead person. Part of her would love to leave Yoorana forever, but since she is not able to do that, she has to find escape wherever she can. She is still in love with her husband, but instead of leaving his wife for her, as any sane individual would do, he chooses to stay with his new baby. He and his wife name the beautiful child Nia.

Television concepts like The Returned have brought to life the reverse Time and Again experience, a mirror universe Outlander. But only Glitch has imagined that people from the past might actually bring a new energy to the world of the present, rather than simply feeling completely lost when out of their own time.

Glitch is a fantastic, intense, frequently violent experience. Giving up on the premise, even for a single scene, would dramatically reduce the stakes. A good soap never drops its pretense, even for a moment. Showrunner Tony Ayres (the original Aussie version of The Slap) never lets the tension let up, and Louise Fox's scripts for this somewhat flimsy concept deftly explore every single aspect of what it means to be alive.

Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording.


 

Thursday
Sep142017

In Which We Received Something Before The Implosion

Burn Mark

by RENA LATIMER-CROSS

after Fanny Howe

George, a biographer of W.H. Auden, was the first one to introduce me to him. He gave me Ted's book Climbing the Mythic and after I had finished it, he gave me Ted's phone number so I could call him and tell him what I thought of it. I had never done anything like that. It was 2003, and I was twenty-two.

Ted answered the phone right away and for the next couple of years I would receive phone calls from him that were understanding and encouraging, if somewhat patriarchal. These phone calls changed the direction of my life.

Ted, who was said to be the originator of the idea that sequential logic was only one of many possible systems of literary thought, was not much of a writer unless you call relentless musings about a sex life that took place entirely in the past, memoir. I call Climbing the Mythic a novel only because I know how much of it was utter bullshit. Then again, the word novel is a term of respect in that context.

Ted left a burn mark on whomever he met; he branded his disciples and partners and then dropped them like his father, who had given him away to nuns until reclaiming him at the age of fifteen. His father informed Ted that they had both improved during their time apart, which Ted knew to be a lie.

He broke off with C.D. Wright over the importance of Marianne Moore, who Ted described as a "the old woman who lived in the shoe." Moore was perhaps too close an influence.

Ted grew up in western Massachusetts, largely on his own. In order to get an idea of the man you must read lines like these, describing his first orphanage:

A god approaches his subjects with a maudlin gaze, sighing with disappointment like a deer rejected by the hunt. Everyone watches a boy-god until they can no linger see with any other eyes but those they have been given. I yearn to find those little ones.

Ted talked and wrote like this. Unlike C.D. Wright, who he had a crush on for the better part of a decade, Ted identified with the proletarian underground since the early 1990s. After writing Climbing the Mythic, he went into eight years of withdrawal in order to study such texts as he could procure. After he emerged from this dark period, much like his father, he renounced the man he was, along with everyone he knew.

In an e-mail written to me in December, 2006, he wrote,

Now you can't admire Tolstoy along with Joyce, Jane Austen and Henry James. That's the usual academic pother of the day. Should you have understood Tolstoy you won't be able to read the famous rubbish of James, Joyce and Austen. You must learn how to expurge what is foolish, bad garbage; otherwise you'll never find these values you long for and should possess.

We met at a particular bookstore in Providence where the proprietor, for some reason, let Ted borrow whatever he wanted. Sometimes we met at a restaurant. It was never the same place twice, and he always disliked whatever he ordered. I was proud to be with him, my secret teacher, and only George shared my interest, my desire to please him.

He sent me a list of writers I was instructed to read by July, 2009. This is that list, verbatim:

Osiris by Wallis Budge
Egypt by Maspero
The Book of Job by Morris Jastrow
The Song of Songs
The Gentle Cynic
The Voyage of the Beagle by Darwin
L'Amour by Stendhal
Physiology of Marriage by Balzac
Enquires Into Plants by Theophrastes
The History of Greece
Greek Poets by John Addington Symonss
Lives of the Greek Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius
Last Essays by Eric Gill
Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion by Jane Harrison
Amiel's Journal
The Goncourt Journals
Imaginary Conversations by Landor

And later he handed me a further list:

Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy
Sir Thomas Browne
Twelve Caesars by Suetonius
Animals and Birds by Buffon
Les Characteres by Lydell
Love of the Nymphs by Porphyry
Gil Blas by Le Sage

At that time Ted had no interest in religious thinking as we might conceive of it today. He was not an atheist whatsoever; he simply put god in the head of the men he most respected. These were scientists and also sociologists, who were to his mind as much inventors and adventurers as any. I managed most of the list, but concealed from him my other readings (Acker, Thalia Field, Cole Swensen, Armantrout, Fanny Howe). He would have been disgusted by my secret books. I loved misogynists. I debated them, even married them, but I never begged or let it go on too long.

My friendship with Ted ended sadly. He hated my then-husband, Rafi, and kicked out the man's leg. He chased Rafi down the street screaming that he had no idea to what do with something as wonderful as myself. I felt, on one level, flattered. On another, deeply disturbed. My last e-mail from him was a critique of how much he hated Moby Dick and a confession of his true feelings for me. I couldn't bear to write back.

What I got from Ted before his implosion was the sense of the writer always investigating the parameters of whatever world she had entered. You had to protect yourself from the politics of ideologues, and read what he called "ethical" writing. Ted told me to take a vow of poverty if I was serious about my work. This is his politics, he who is a proud supporter of Bernie Sanders, and to this day I wonder if he is right.

Going back to read Ted's writing is no longer any fun for me, or anyone. We have surgically repaired everything he did to us. There is no use pretending the pain did not happen, or that the man understood his country or the people in it. It was not the time for Ted, but maybe in some other epoch.

I received an e-mail from George the other day. I was surprised the man even knew how to use a computer. He told me he didn't get along with Ted much anymore either. "I suppose there is no use pretending we didn't know him the best," George wrote. Yeah.

Rena Latimer-Cross is a contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Illinois.