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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Senior Editor
Brittany Julious

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 Refrain From Touching The Bride Whatsoever

Dating Yourself


Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
dir. Jake Szymanski
98 minutes

Eric (Veep's Sam Richardson) is marrying a white woman named Jeanie (Stephanie Beard) who comes from a unique family. Eric gives Jeanie some absurd pecks on the lips but basically he is not allowed to touch her for the duration of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, despite the fact that this Hawaiian wedding is supposed to be the greatest day of his life.

Instead of touching her swarthy, African-American husband-to-be, Jeanie complains that she never got the bachelorette party that she deserved and has multiple orgasms with a Pakistani masseuse. She has only one friend in the world, a lanky Jewish woman who serves as her maid of honor. This is a considerable improvement over her fiance, however, who has no parents or friends at his wedding at all.

Instead of their pals from college or work, Jeanie and Eric are pathetically focused on the abstract lives of Jeanie's brothers Mike (Zac Efron) and Dave (Adam Devine). Efron looks like he is being held hostage for most of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Romantically he is paired with Anna Kendrick, who appreciates his meager talents such as they are. Instead of allowing Mike's dream to be that of a dancer or singer, he wants to be an illustrator.

Anna Kendrick's face needs a rest. She looks exhausted and bloated from the sheer number of roles she has taken over the past year. There is something profoundly unhappy in her mien, and it doesn't help that she is wearing either the world's most terrible wig for the duration of this movie or she simply couldn't be bothered to comb her hair. Her character was recently left at the altar by a man who we never learn very much about, but given the massive amount of drugs and alcohol she consumes in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, it is hard to say he made the wrong call.

During the rehearsal dinner, Kendrick gives Jeanie a bunch of MDMA. Nothing bad at all happens from this, which passes on the lovely lesson that dropping molly can only lead to romping with horses in the Hawaiian countryside and realizing you don't want to consummate your interracial marriage. There is not a lot of love between of any of these people: they specifically are never any good at valuing each other's positive qualities.

Left to carry the humor and, strangely, also the emotional end of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is Adam Devine (Workaholics, Modern Family). First off, it must be noted the herculean effort on the part of everyone involved with this production to make Devine and his co-star Efron look normal-sized. Both are absolutely tiny, and you really wish they would own that and make it part of the story instead of shooting everything like Mission Impossible 2 where Tom Cruise looked approximately 6'5".

You do begin to forget about how much of a delicate morsel of a human being Devine is. His relationship (or lack thereof) with Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) begins when she intentionally is hit by a car so that she can pretend he saved her via CPR. In this role as femme fatale, Plaza fits the casting in everything but her chipped teeth. Her New York accent is vaguely offensive and somewhat distracting, but the rest of her is a welcome evolution from the snippy roles she usually inhabits.

Aubrey Plaza and Devine are the only people in this movie that seem the least bit suited for each other, so of course she spends the entire running time avoiding him, climaxig in a scene where she fingers his female cousin for the chance at Rihanna tickets. This doesn't seem the slightest bit out of character, but it makes it ridiculous that she ever writes off Devine, who is completely her type.

Sometimes Devine seems to be merely vamping jokes and one-liners from his slacker series on Comedy Central, Workaholics, but other times his back-and-forths with Efron are genuinely funny and sweet. One I Love Lucy-esque scene takes place on a bizarrely tiny beach (to make them look bigger?). As Devine explains how everything in his life has gone completely wrong, he becomes a distinctly, plausible human being. Devine has a deft grasp on playing a person who cannot succeed on any aspect of himself other than his own enthusiasm.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.


In Which It Was Only After She Was Gone That We Remembered The Lighthouse


Owner of the Paris bookstore Shakespeare in Company, Sylvia Beach served, at different times, as James Joyce's agent, publisher and friend. He was very brusque with her, showing no special kindness, but this was hardly unique for Joyce. Although we imagine the lives of certain well-known authors to be financially solvent, Joyce struggled for many years up until the publication of Ulysses. These abridged letters from Joyce to Beach in the 1920s prove this to be true.

October 30 1922

You already know the news about my eyes. For the past nine or ten days we have had filthy weather. I can do nothing. To face a long railway journey then the usual two hours a day wait in Dr Borsch's waiting room would finish me off.

August 29 1922

I hope you had a pleasant holiday. Mine has been a complete fiasco.

Will you thank Miss Moschos for sending me the cocaine. My son will be in Paris about the 8th or 9th of this month. I expect his first need will be for some money. If there is any to my credit since I left, I may advance him what he wants.

James Joyce 

July 12 1923

Will you please order the following books (American) for me:

1) English Speech and Literature by E. Vizetelly

2) Ireland's Part in the Making of Britain by O.J. Fitzpatrick

Perhaps Brentano's has them.

1) New Book of Kings by Morrison Davidson

2) The Complete Peerage (8 vols) edited by Lord Howard de Walden

A dreadful thunderstorm passed by here on Monday. Luckily we got only the fringe of it - quite enough - but London was terrified.

March 24 1924

During lunch two people sent me round copies of Ulysses to sign. I declined to do so, saying I should first have the consent of my publisher. So if they ring you up please 'probe' their case. I did not flatly refuse however.

April 25 1924

With this is a photograph of a portrait of my father, commissioned by me a year ago from Mr Patrick Tuohy at Power's suggestion. It has caused a great deal of talk as you will see by the paper enclosed. I like it very much.

I only work 3 hours a day.

July 4 1924

I cannot even find a sheet of notepaper.

October 6 1924

I see that the book I asked you to get is out. Medieval Woman by Eileen Power.

Can you please lend me your Treatise on Glaucoma. I want to look up something in it before I see Borsch tonight.

Can you please put one hundred francs into an envelope and give it to my wife?

With kindest regards,

Sincerely yours, 

November 8 1924

I have been sitting here for a good quarter of an hour wondering where the water is.

Can you please put a hundred francs in an envelope and give it to my wife?

October 19 1925

For goodness' sake will you please take charge of this fellow. I cannot stand any more of him. I don't know if I have corrected all of his errors and omissions. Anyhow please keep him in the cage until called for.


August 24 1926

A curious thing. I was sitting on a rock under a phare a few sunsets ago when a child, a barefoot girl of about four, clambered up the slope and insisted on filling my pockets with tiny shells from her apron. I told her in Flemish (I have now taken 43 lessons in it!) that I did not want them but she went on all the same. It was only after I had given her a coin and she had gone that I remembered the lighthouse of Patrick's papa in Boulogne and Caligula's order to his soldiers at the tower to gather up the seashells.

September 16 1926

Just a view from this interesting old town where we are staying a couple of days.

I spent a great deal of time on the piece for Wyndham Lewis. I don't suppose his review pays anything.

Do not mention the matter unless he does.

May 12 1927

Please tell the Humanist I have nothing to give but regrets.



In Which We Have Always Been The Excitable Type

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.


I recently met a great girl who I will call Lauren. Eventually we got around to talking about past relationships. At first she became somewhat quiet, and then explained something that was difficult for her.

She said that she was engaged to a guy named Kevin until she found out he was gay. When confronted, Kevin confessed and the wedding was called off. This was all fine if a bit unusual, but Kevin is still a big part of her life. She also shared he was not the only gay guy she has been involved with.

I don't know exactly what kind of red flag this is, but I sense that it is one. Can you parse this better than me?

Lane R.


If this is something that happened when she was fairly young and didn't know any better, then I'd be inclined to give her a pass. It is completely reasonable to have a boyfriend who isn't demanding of you sexually if this is an area in which you are hesistant or possibly sensitive.

Imagine some guy places himself inside you and it hurts like hell. On a conscious ir subconscious level you might think about dating a gay, too.

If this episode in her life is occurred at a later point, it is likely reflective of some larger dysfunction. The fact that she still has a relationship with this person isn't the greatest sign, but maybe she just doesn't have many friends.

If you see the two of them together, you'll know quickly how much of a problem it is. If you are still concerned, then you can blow the whistle. So early on it's probably not the best to demand she cut off important people in her life she might need if and when you bail.


Recently I was seeing a guy named Javier. Things seemed to be going well until we had sex. After that he ghosted me but very slowly, making up an entire litany of excuses before finally not responding. We waited a month before fucking and it seemed like forever. What is the best way to handle sex in the early stages of a relationship?

Kyoko E.

Dear Kyoko,

If a guy isn't interested after sex, there could be a variety of reasons for this. It is best to not fixate on any particular one. Of one thing we can be completely sure: if you had waited another two months, it is extremely doubtful the result of the relationship would be different.

It is usually not the sex so much as how it happens. If Javier was coming off a relationship, intercourse that approximates this will remind him of his past. In this case it is better to have sex spontaneously in an unfamiliar place. If he is more of a flightly kind of guy, make him express some significant emotion before getting more intimate. Many people don't know what exactly they are feeling until they articulate it.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.