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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
May112015

In Which We Hesitate To Move Against The Lord Commander

Dear Sam

by DICK CHENEY

Samwell Tarly gets letters.

hey Sam,

I heard you haven't made a move with Gilly yet. You should probably tell her that she excels at lots of things, like washing floors and cleaning up after her incest baby. Women always love a hot compliment, as well as Once Upon A Time. They want to feel like girls again.

P.S. You're a big bag of shit.

Allison in Moat Cailin

such a mediocre face to wake up to  hey Sam,

Boy, you're really getting a lot of mileage out of that one white walker you killed. Even Bran killed a white walker; this is not an accomplishment years later. You can find obsidian at any depth. You look ridiculous.

P.S. Your dad is fantastic.

Nina from the Iron Islands

the dragons are extremely upset they don't get wireless in the dungeon

hey Sam,

Blow me.

hey Sam,

Things really suck in Mereen since they took away the fighting pits. The only thing to do now is cower inside from the local dragon and draw pictures of our queen arranged among sconces. We think she is a really wonderful queen though.

P.S. Stop coddling that girl with the greyscale.

Greg from Hogwarts

"Master Aemon, this one is from a guy in the Citadel who says he misses you. How do I make Gilly love me?"

Approval from Stannis Baratheon is the most serious commendation Samwell has received since Jon Snow told him he was his third best friend, after Mance and the little boy who serves him his lunch.

Somehow J. Snow has arranged it so that he is making a long, arduous trip north with another ginger wildling. Funny how that happens. Fortunately, Stannis is enthralled by Jon Snow's newfound charisma and above-average likeability in polling. He stares at the guy like Bradley Cooper looks at his date at the Met Gala.

I think Jon said Stannis about fifty times in this episode. "Stannis is giving me ships, boyyyyys!"

The most exciting part of last night's episode found Tyrion and Ser Jorah Mormont taking an ill-advised cruise through the doom of Valyria. This environmental catastrophe probably indicates Valyria was at one time Central Europe, since it is filled with sketchy guys looking to steal your gondola. Mormont's fear of pirates was perhaps misplaced; what would they want with a dwarf and the biggest downer since Robb Stark's annoying common-born wife?

Performing CPR on Tyrion's mouth could not have been pleasant.

In the North, Roose Bolton has obviously not learned that remember when is the lowest form of conversation. The guy is incredibly low key and never so much as tortures a woman, but he's humblebragging about sexual violence from 20 years ago? How about a flashback?

Before that we got a lengthy introduction to Ramsay's annoying girlfriend, the one who thinks biting someone's lip makes her more than the kennel chief's daughter. She is only going to end up becoming another notch in Sansa Stark's belt, which irritates me. Like, have Sansa kill Ramsay herself. Don't set up a catfight, that's just annoying.

Damn these people for leading us to expect the return of Sansa's direwolf.

Ramsay has all the subtlety of Aemon Targaryen's blind sexual advances on Jon Snow. He just goes around snarling, informing everyone nastily about what he wants. I can't enjoy broad characters like that. He reminds me of Matlock. I really hope Stannis makes him marry Lady Greyscale or serve as the Onion Knight's secretary/treasurer.

They have a lot to discuss regarding their bad taste in men. I believe Sansa's direwolf was named
Mollycoddle?

It seems like nothing really happens on Game of Thrones anymore. I understand that keeping up the pace of one major character character dying each episode wasn't realistic. I don't give two shits about some guy who looks roughly the same as I do in the mirror (with hair) perishing in Diagon Alley. He was probably going to pass from natural causes very soon in any case. Ser Barristan Selmy should not have been fighting anything except a cold.

I hope she stroked the place where Grey Worm's balls were in the deleted scenes.

Perpetuating the weird romance between Grey Worm and Dany's slave only reminded me how little love is on Game of Thrones. Not one single person besides that eunuch is in love. Everyone I know in the real world is actively in love; in the case of Donald Rumsfeld, love with three remarkably different women. But no one on Thrones can find this happiness at all. If I was David Benioff's boyfriend, I would be deeply afraid.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Something Must Change" - Novella (mp3)

"Sentences" - Novella (mp3)

Friday
May082015

In Which We Used To Admire These Individuals

Green Love

by SUMEJA TULIC

My first memory is very dull and searing: a huge sun squeezing out air, mirages coming out of the pavement and me jumping from one bare foot to the other. My life began there, in the suburb of Ajdabiya, in a compound rented by the company in which my father worked. Judging by the shells we’d find when digging just a few inches beneath the surface, the compound, an hour away from the coast, was situated on soil once a seabed. Having spent preschool years digging in search of treasure and running after the ice cream van that cleverly came in the gaaila (siesta) when all parents slept, life seemed magical, sticky and painted in all possible varieties of warmth and happiness.

The beginning of my life as a pupil made life less magical and more practical, and it brought three things: the color green, ambition and ideology. At the age of nine, my motivation to be the best in my class came from hoping that good grades and outstanding display of revolutionary and anti-American spirit would lead me to meeting baba Muammar al Qadaffi. Of course, my favourite color was green and whenever someone asked how old I was, I would say I was born in 1985, the year before the Christian-Western aggression on Tripoli, in Al Haddra (the Green) hospital.

From then on, my green childhood became a string of very long summer holidays that would eventually culminate in Al Fatih’s public celebrations of the revolutions. I loved it all: the chanting and the dancing for him, the slogans from his book on TV before the news, him speaking endlessly in Libyan colloquial about the Great Man-Made River brought from deep within the Sahara, having a pencil box with two hands cutting chains of imperialism, him or his paroles printed on our green gym wear. That Libya transfixed me. I was never Bosnian, European or white. The freckles on my face were mere testimonies of human will to overcome and shape the obvious and thus, the truth.

Suddenly, our green love experienced its autumn. In an early morning, Suleiman, our young and handsome imam, was arrested and taken away. There were no charges and no appeal. Suleiman was "too Muslim" with his white tunic and therefore, a threat to Jamahiriya. The morning he was taken away, many others also vanished. For months, there were no wedding celebrations. Women whispered, men didn’t gather. Life was painfully discrete and silent.In years to come, coffins were brought to the doorsteps of those taken away years ago, before the sunrise, as when they were handcuffed and taken away.

Years went by, fast and uneasy. The imposed economical sanctions on Libya meant fewer things to buy. Oddly, the so called social supermarket distributed Benetton apparel. We may have craved all sort of different sweets, but we were dressed in Italian designer cloth from a decade ago.

Soon, satellite dishes appeared on roof tops. That changed our lives. We were shocked to learn that the U.S.A. did not have fires or tornado attacks each day, as the Libyan news has been reporting night after night.

One of those hot summer nights, I gazed at the moon trying to recite a classical Arab poem praising the beauty of the moon and the charm of the night. In midst of many failed attempts, one of my friends told me that the Americans carved Qaddafi’s face on the moon. I tried to reason with her, to explain the obvious. As I simultaneously held both arms, shaking her, I screamed “We are their enemy! Why would they want his face on the moon?!” Back at home, my father had to explain another difference between people: there are regular friends and there are friends whose parents are military personnel.

the author & her sister

In 1995 came the last stroke. In response to peace efforts between Palestinians and Israeli government, Qadaffi expelled some 30,000 Palestinians living in Libya. Some of them were left on the border, in the middle of the desert. The family of my friend Ilham was one of those expelled. Month after Ilham left, I watched the father of the first boy I ever liked being hanged on the national TV for treason and conspiracy against the Revolution.

Needless to say, I never met the man dressed in funky outfits, the one who lived in an illusion soaking in blood and oil, fear and hatred. Instead I met Hannan, Aisha, Salah, Miftah, Sayf, Ruwayda. Summer nights, we talked with each other, shouting from the sootoohs (roof tops) of our houses. The unbearable heat and the low voltage at which no air-conditioning worked meant we would be sleeping there, just beneath the sky. I was never content as I was back then. I knew harshness, injustice and evil – Sarajevo was under siege, Libya was beneath a claw – still, I felt freedom within. Anguish would come like a sandstorm, usually in the late morning and it would completely disappear by the time we drank our afternoon tea.

Dictators are "for real"; an invariable circumstance that is an integral part of an individual plan. Unlike democratically elected presidents, who are just that: a choice on a piece of paper that we or Florida made, a topless man playing hoops or a stubborn cowboy, a long relationship that will end up with him moving out. Dictators are here to stay, to have and to hold, from forever to ever, for worse, for poorer, in sickness and in health. Until recently, this union might end with one becoming a dissident. Today, you can end it by become a revolutionary standing in a square or behind a machine gun. Even then, with everything at stake, the connection remains. It is not a type of Stockholm syndrome. Nothing like it! It is a weird lasting link built of conflicting emotions and memories that can be reduced to one sentence: all the people and things we loved and lost because of people we used to admire.

Sumeja Tulic is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Sarajevo. She last wrote in these pages about the compound.

Thursday
May072015

In Which The Passion Of Anna Infects Our Various Cells

Invisible Ink

by ALEX CARNEVALE

The difference between a dated film and a timeless one is measured by the lengths of the skirts.

Irish hermits colonized Faro Island, halfway between modern day Norway and Iceland, in the eighth century. Ingmar Bergman shot The Passion of Anna there during the fall of 1969. Anna (Liv Ullman) appears almost out of nowhere in the film's opening minutes, gripping a shabby cane and asking to make a call to Stockholm. Andreas (Max Von Syndow) forces himself to listen in on the conversation.


In his notes for the film, Bergman writes, "One morning I awakened and decided to abandon the story about the two sisters. It feels too large, too unwieldy and too uninteresting from a cinematic point of view." Instead The Passion of Anna revolves around Andreas' interest in two women, neither of whom he has any idea how to love.


Shortly after the introduction of Anna, we meet Eva (Bibi Andersson) who is her more desirable double. It is the performance of her unhappily married woman opposite Andreas that gives meaning to the entire film, for where Anna's style is basically dated, Eva is disturbingly modern in contrast. "It is hard to realize one day that you're meaningless," she informs Andreas, inculcating his worst fears. After the overwhelming eroticism fades, both ourselves and Bergman's hero are left with not very much. Therefore he looks to Anna.


Bergman hated the miniskirts that Bibi and Liv Ullman suggested their characters wear, but he gave into their instinct. "That misfortune was not noticeable then but revealed itself later," he complains in Images, "like writing in invisible ink." Miniskirts are the least of the horrors on the island, since such things come into fashion again. Elsewhere, eight sheep are mutilated and killed; an innocent man is pushed to suicide after he is accused of the crime. Andreas finds a dog almost dead by hanging and serves it milk, but he is fighting a losing battle against the universe. His despair is Bergman's.


Between scenes of Andreas' desolate hermit life on the island and his seduction of the women there, Bergman blends straightforward interviews with the actors about portraying their provincial characters. He later regretted including these departures, admitting "the interviews should have been cut out."

Watching a documentary about a movie alongside the movie itself is not so nearly disorienting today, and it gives The Passion of Anna an inflated importance, making the film's chaotic events seem to add up to more than they really do. The masterfully subtle performances Bergman receives from Von Sydow and Ullman further distract from the inadequacies of the script. The Passion of Anna is not near one of Bergman's best films, but it is his messiest.


During the forty-five days it took to shoot The Passion of Anna, Bergman fought endlessly with his cinematographer, Sven Nyquist. Bergman felt he needed The Passion of Anna to be a success after the financial failure of Shame, and he was handicapped in his ambitions by the fact the screenplay he took to Faro Island was incomplete, comprised mainly of "moods." Images finds Ingmar musing that "The Passion of Anna could have been a good film."

It was their first color effort together, and although the natural light they received on the island is perfect, the final color of the film is disastrous, frequently displayed as overexposed and especially hard to look at in interior scenes. Sometimes this is intentional, as when infidelity occurs. Other times, the spectrum is simply chaotic. The Passion of Anna is one of Bergman's only films to not rate highly in its overall presentation, suggesting why he was so frustrated by the process of filming it.

Faro Island for Bergman was a kind of hell, representing what he called a Kingdom of Death. Any tendency towards isolation, The Passion of Anna suggests, is self-annihilating. This anoints the present as a sincere improvement on the past, for the reason that we are all closer together now than we ever were. "You are scared," Bergman writes, "when you have for a long time been sawing off the branch on which you sit."

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

"Let It Die" - Sean Rowe (mp3)

"Colors and the Kids" - Sean Rowe (mp3)