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Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
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Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
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Senior Editor
Brittany Julious
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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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Monday
Apr252016

In Which We Look Forward To Our New Throne

Something So Good, So Pure

by DICK CHENEY

Everything is better on Game of Thrones now. We have put the miserable, awful fifth season of the show behind us for good. HBO put so much money in Vinyl and the other raging shit on their network (besides that white supremacist sitcom Silicon Valley) but now Game of Thrones is all they have, so they might as well end this thing with the gross excess the show deserved from the beginning. The checkbook is open, and pretty soon Arcade Fire will be playing Mereen and Bobby Cannavale will fulfill the rest of his contract with HBO by getting a huge engagement ring for Sansa Stark. Synergy, son.

Jon Snow was maybe the worst actor on television besides the guy who plays the son on Empire, but now he is mercifully gone. This change alone takes Game of Thrones from a seven to a ten. They teased bringing Jon back, but even if he does return someday as the Red God, we no longer have to hear his pathetic whining about the wildlings or those cold people he hates. Game of Thrones is all fealty and vague lesbian affection, the way it was meant to be from the fucking beginning!

I honestly couldn't stand that they left a whimpering Cersei in her prison cell for like a million episodes. She is free and making the same face no matter what is actually occurring:

I love this face, it reminds me of Lynne's expression when she first saw Bernie Sanders criticize Hillary for being a woman. Cersei's killed about a billion people and she is only now monologuing about having to see her dead mother, whose name I believe was Adele Lannister? My reservoir of sympathy was exhausted by the fact that Sansa Stark would rather endure endless sexual abuse than stroll through a very chilly river.

Meanwhile, Jaime is trying to make us forget about all the terrible movies he made while he was not laying with his sister. I did not forget.

Given some of the dialogue in this episode, Game of Thrones would be better off just moving to a silent collage of scenes. So much here was unnecessary, with Ser Davis bleating, "I'd like some mutton," and the inane patter of the Khal's wives in the desert outside Mereen. Game of Thrones badly needed a new character or two to come into the light. For a time I thought that would be Podric, but I think he is being held back because they don't want him to outshine the tall woman.

Fantasy used to be mainly about male power fantasies, but now it's mostly about watching women murder men twice their size with kitchen knives. (The clear metaphor for feminism murdering multiculturalism was lost on no one.) The revolution in Dorne was long overdue, given that it probably should have occurred at the end of last season. Instead all we got was a soft deadly kiss and a ship returning with a corpse we never saw. In Thrones, it is always best to demand we view the body.

The only woman not reconstituted as a superhero is Arya Stark, who is a long way from becoming Daredevil. Maisie Williams' overly broad performance as this character has not aged well at all, although I am willing to forgive it given she was only a child when she lost her dad (Sean Bean?). HBO might want to consider recasting the role and letting that little boy from Room play Arya Stark by inserting him in the rest of the series in retrospect.

But again, who cares. This hour looked like it cost more than all of last season combined, which had about the same budget as three episodes of Stargate: Atlantis. Now we get to see all the jaunty, electric places of Westeros. Summer in King's Landing! Spring break at the Citadel! Christmas at Casterly Rock! It is all within our grasp, provided we stop a Trump presidency.

As for the last scene, I guess Melisandre knows a way to stave off death. In retrospect it appears her relationship with Stannis Baratheon was more age-appropriate than it seemed at the time. Otherwise, I'm not quite sure what the big deal is: that's what I and about seventy-five percent of Americans look like in the mirror. Just because a body has a few wrinkles and sags here and there doesn't mean it isn't beautiful. On Outlander the main character shaved all her pubic hair and nobody said word one. 

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Mayday" - Wild Rivers (mp3)

"Speak Too Soon" - Wild Rivers (mp3)

Friday
Apr222016

In Which You Should Always Be Careful What You Tell Clark Westerfeld

So Young and Foolish

by ALEX CARNEVALE

The Americans
creator Joe Weisberg

You should always be careful what you tell anybody, but this goes double for a woman. There is a Clark Westerfeld living in Atlanta. He takes a flight from Atlanta, or sometimes he drives overnight if he really has to see his girlfriend. When he gets there, the two are both so overwhelmed with desire that he says, I love you Martha, I want to be with you forever Martha. He plays that Tom Waits song on the cassette deck and then he tells her who he works for. The United Nations.

That would have been a much finer move. Tom Waits' song "Martha" is about calling up someone you used to love and reminiscing about the past. It is an arrogant jam, because the misogynistic caller presumes that this woman remembers him in an identical fashion. He goes on to describe how completely old she is, and suggests subtly that she was probably wasting her time not being with him.

It is in the grand tradition of romanticizing a romance that seems better or more essential to self-preservation in retrospect. We want to believe that such people are key parts of our lives, simply because they were present for certain events or feelings. Clark's relationship with Martha has come to its end, and she has found that out in the most facile possible way. She should feel lucky that she never has to see the same places — her apartment, her job — as she did when Clark Westerfeld was in her life. It would only make the parting more difficult.

When Clark demanded that his hairless albino handler mind Martha while he was away having cute convos with traitorous chemists, he made an assumption based on the Martha he knew, not the one existing now. A woman needs to be gently reassured. (A man also needs to be gently reassured.) But I don't believe the idea that Clark would suddenly stop lying once it was clear Martha needed his lies the most, needed new lies which suited her life as a single woman on the run.

Elizabeth showing up to cockblock Clark never seemed like the greatest move. She is not really that appealing in her get up as Clark's sister, although she is a lot more attractive than whatever facial disfigurement is being accentuated on Agent Gad's visage.

Elizabeth's disappointment that Clark showed himself to Martha without his disguise was hilarious, considering his blonde highlights mask his true self about as well as her glasses. Weisberg and his writing team of sociopaths already disposed of one treasonous woman, and I don't believe they intend to make it two. Martha's fate isn't in Moscow, either. I believe she would have been an ideal double agent, a storyline The Americans has almost never explored. Plus we could have teased Clark possibly turning on his own country, in favor of the greatest nation since ancient Mesopotamia.

Clark misunderstood completely the woman he married. As a native Russian, he can never fully fathom what is in the heart of a warm-blooded American woman. When her gun is taken away from her, or anyone, they start to feel a lot less safe. When her pills are taken away or even slightly reshuffled in her purse, she begins to pull her hair out at intervals.

The lyrics to Martha, which Tom Waits wrote in order to stick to a woman who had dumped him for a man with a paying job, are incredibly passive-aggressive:

How's your husband? and how's the kids? you know that I got married too?
Lucky that you found someone to make you feel secure.

It is like, wow, Tom, this woman must feel really lucky that she has someone in her life that doesn't make her feel as shitty as you are doing in this song at this time. Moreover, the idea that you are also married is bullshit. And even if you did get married, things did not work out. The misanthropy in these lyrics is enough to make you call out for Clark in the night, and have unprotected sex with him after his arrival.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

"The Glow" - Big Data ft. Kimbra (mp3)

"Snowed In" - Big Data ft. Rivers Cuomo (mp3)


Thursday
Apr212016

In Which Edouard Manet Lives Like A Mollusk In The Sun

Gangrene

by ELLEN COPPERFIELD

Until the last years of his life, Manet never read novels.

Midway through the year 1876, Manet's left foot troubled him. The pain was intense, as was the frequent numbness. The symptoms of severe syphilis had not emerged until now, but they were out in full force. He wrote off the constant aches and pains to bouts of rheumatism. By the end of the year his only desire was to find a doctor that could abate whatever was wrong with him. Various homeopathic remedies were attempted without success; he tried hydrotherapy in order to restore nerve function in the limb.

He was not really able to leave his new Paris studio, so his friends had to come to him. Surrounded by the canvases of his career, it was easier for Manet to avoid work by socializing into the long hours. His legs could not carry him anywhere else by then.

Manet became fascinated by the daughter of Paris' finest jeweler, a girl named Isabelle Lemonnier. Her wrote her short messages with little sketches of things. In 1879 she was enraptured enough by his attention that she sat for six portraits. Manet's wife and mother were sick, and he needed a distraction.

Near the end of the year he collapsed in a Paris street from pain. His hair loss was often commented on, and he used up four to five hours a day at a clinic said to treat circulatory disorders. For the first time critics were giving his work the semblance of a proper appreciation, but his ill health soured everything, giving him the revolting idea that he would only become famous after death. He was 50.

Optimism was farfetched. He wrote to a friend in 1880, "As you put it so well, time is a great healer. And so I am counting heavily on it. I live like a mollusk in the sun, when there is any, as much as possible outdoors, but without any doubt, the country has charms only for those aren't forced to stay there."

Novels provided a welcome relief from his constant pain. His friend Antonin Proust suggested that "he did not seek in his reading literary pleasure but distraction from the pain of ataxia." He knew now that he was nearing the end. He was reduced to simple portraits of flowers; anything else was beyond his current capabilities. Against his better judgment, Manet began to feel sorry for himself.

His left leg turned entirely black. Doctors took a week to decide whether it was even worth operating on, but eventually they decided to amputate. The nails on his foot flaked off at the gentlest touch. All that was left were his deep blue eyes. He was barely aware of the operation occurring, but eventually seemed to grasp the absence of the limb, raising the sheet to observe that it was missing. He finally gave up on April 30th of 1883.

Ellen Copperfield is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Heading Home" - Julianna Barwick (mp3)