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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 Aromatherapy Is The Only Thing That Keeps Kaitlyn Going

Nick's Bracelets


Now that the men and women of Game of Thrones have gone back into their caves to debate who is dead and who is not, my Sundays are completely free to catch up on The Bachelorette. Last night Kaitlyn straight up slept with this guy named Nick in Dublin under the principle of, if I have sex with someone overseas, did it really happen?

He takes most of his romantic lines from Grey

It did end up happening. Kaitlyn is primarily known for being humorous, which is odd because she never tells jokes, really. She laughs a lot and dances when music is on, which when I think about it doesn't make her different from any other human being. She has a tattoo of a bird on her arm, a rather unsightly marking. As she explains the ink, it reminds her that wherever she is, she has a way home.

Kaitlyn makes her actual home somewhere in Arizona, not far from the devilish lair of one George R. R. Martin. Not a single person got laid this season on Game of Thrones except for the Queen of Dragons. Kaitlyn is considerably less threatening. This week her men held a fake funeral for her in Dublin. She lay in the casket giggling as they pronounced limericks about her untimely passing.

This was actually a cute idea in theory. In practice one guy started crying as he remembered his mom's funeral.

It was all a bit macabre, especially with host Chris Harrison whining like a baby about how Kaitlyn was "the worst corpse ever." To spice things up, Nick's main competition got really drunk. Shawn Booth is a personal trainer from Windsor Locks who appears to have muscles above his eyebrows. He got sauced on PBR and moved the party immediately to Kaitlyn's hotel room, where she had previously fucked Nick.

getting drunk and confronting the bachelorette is pretty much heaven for any personal trainer.

Here he told her about his feelings. I don't doubt that young men have feelings; I just don't understand whey they can't repress them, expressing their emotions in open critiques of the new True Detective only. "Rachel McAdams' haircut is the shits" and "I think this is exploiting sexual violence as a replacement for dramatic seriousness."

That's a lot of bracelets, but then against Nick is part Navajo.

Disturbingly, Shawn was expressing his innermost emotions on the same couch where Nick stroked Kaitylin's leg and murmured such malapropisms as, "I want to know every part of you," and "I can't get enough of you." Nick, a software sales executive from Wisconsin, wears a set of bracelets everywhere that he goes. Each indicates an aspect of his interior self.

A man should hold a woman's face during kisses and at all other times.

As Nick and Kaitlyn engaged in their various intimacies, GRRM had the idea of crosscutting their sex with a deep conversation between Shawn and Jared about how much they trusted her. While ostensibly a sexist move, the producers of The Bachelorette softened this attack on their heroine by showing soft images of birds and bees mating. A fountain exploded into the Dublin night to represent Nick and Kaitlyn's simultaneous orgasm.

The only other alternative was to film Nick's cock up close.

The amount of woman-shaming going on by the producers of The Bachelorette is, naturally, in poor taste. Of course Kaitlyn fucked Nick — which of us would not do the same? He has bracelets, bracelets, and when he leans over, he puts his hand against his own head to indicate how fucking casual and sexy and fun this all is. Considering the rest of the candidates for Kaitlyn's affections look like they got out of a clown car, this means a hell of a lot.

The irony is that Nick is the same man who, at the end of the last season of The Bachelorette, asked Andi, why did she have sex with him if she did not care for him to choose himself instead of Josh Murray? No one has ingratiated himself so quickly and shallowly among such stiff competition. Nick deserves to know why these women want him if they do not really want him. The answer is that he smells like cinnamon and Brut.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location.

Everything in one shot. Damn the cinematography on this show is top notch.

"Black Heart" - Carly Rae Jepsen (mp3)


In Which Manglehorn Has A Difficult Time Adapting To His Situation

Kitty Kat


dir. David Gordon Green
97 minutes

Al Pacino always looked good for his age. He was fifty twenty-five years ago, and he managed to portray the lives of men decades younger. Bouncing around like a hyper Italian Elia Kazan, Pacino stepped into every type of part you can imagine with the same aggravating way of speaking, like he was inserting breaths where there should not be any.

In Manglehorn he plays a dissatisfied old locksmith who meets a bank teller (Holly Hunter). She is the kind of person who wakes up every day exciting for what is to come, she explains, which makes her a very wise 57. She looks way too young for Al, who shows his age by taking a bad spill while tripping over a plant on their first date.

Angelo Manglehorn has a Persian cat named Fanny who eats a number twelve key that he sells in his locksmithery. A veterinarian removes the obstacle from the animal's duodenum; the hospital astonishingly allows 24 hour visitation. Manglehorn uses it as an excuse to get out of the prospect of intimacy on his date with Holly Hunter, who makes the error of suggesting that they see a movie.

I don't think Pacino can sit comfortably for that long. Manglehorn at first seems to be making fun of him, if not Texas. Neither would be in very good taste, except that the vibrant life that surrounds this broken-down person is altogether more interesting than he is. Manglehorn witnesses a six car pileup that is in better shape than his personality. Everyone is perpetually having a more terrific time than he is.

Harmony Korine plays the owner of a male tanning salon, Tan Man. Chris Messina plays Manglehorn's son Jacob, an unhappy broker who offers his father money rather than emotional sustenance. Instead of being pleased, Manglehorn complains about the quality of the dinner his child treats him to — he is a very ungrateful keymaker.

Gordon Green displays everything at arm's length, rarely lingering for a close-up of his subject. This is brilliant, because it gives us the chance of forgetting we are looking at the husk of Al Pacino all the time. The resulting creature envisioned in its own environment becomes something far different than his usual imitation of himself. It is enough that this is not a parody — Green is a lot more tolerable as a filmmaker when he is completely sincere, and Manglehorn is nothing but utterly serious at all times.

In one scene, in order to please his old Little League coach, Harmony Korine treats Manglehorn to a sexual massage. Instead of thanking him profusely, Angelo breaks his lamp and screams, "You don't know me!" This is not played as a joke whatsoever.

A soundtrack by Explosions in the Sky gives a dreamy happiness to Manglehorn's redemption, as if Angelo's dissatisfaction with the world can only help but give rise to the opposite. The cat eventually recovers from its surgery, and Manglehorn ends up giving his son an important loan with money he had been saving for some woman he drove away through endless complaining about the price of food and his mortgage. He burns all the photos of the girlfriend he longed for along with the letters that were returned to sender, and starts fresh.

The script of Manglehorn is nothing much, but Pacino and Messina wring all they can out of it, making you wish the fractious father-son relationship had been a little bit more of the focus here. Gordon Green's art direction is typically superb, and the living spaces Manglehorn inhabits would almost make him feel real if he weren't, you know, a dessicated Al Pacino.

I guess Manglehorn is primarily about FOMA (Fear of Missing Out), which I did not know applied to people over seventy. For this reason, Manglehorn seems like a film about older people written by younger people. It makes sense that we would expect at least some people never really change from their previous selves. A book I read recently suggested we all freeze, emotionally, at one age or another. For Mr. Pacino, it might be that moment has yet to arrive.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

"Workin' Man" - Neil Young & Promise of the Real (mp3)

"Rules of Change" - Neil Young & Promise of the Real (mp3)


In Which No One Looks Or Even Cares

Run or Hide



I left a ten-day long stay in Turkey almost as soon as the protests had begun there. I traveled with a group of fellow graduate students and our Turkish-American hosts who had set up a series of informational meetings and tourist activities so that we could learn more about the country. On our boat ride on the Bosphorus, we saw bright red flares reach the sky. The morning earlier, on a bus ride to a mosque for the dawn prayers, we saw about a hundred young men chanting and waving the red Turkish flag. I saw no gun-toting men, no real indication that danger was ahead.

And yet, I told the others on the bus, “The Pakistani instinct in me is telling me to run and hide. To get away from protests – this is how people get killed.”

According to my parents, a large gathering of people for political demonstration will inevitably turn out violent. They have told me this on the phone as I made my way to Occupy Chicago demonstrations, as I rallied to save the job of a professor in college, even as we watched Obama’s election on television witnessing strangers hug one another in Grant Park.

It is something my parents always say with a little bit of shame in their voices. That we should come from a place like Pakistan – with all its corrupt politicians, bomb blasts, and rivalry with the bigger, richer India – and not from somewhere else. They have only ever wanted us to feel proud of where we came from.


My flight from Istanbul to Karachi was shorter than I had imagined it would feel. Out the window, I watched the blinking lights of Iranian cities flash as the sun set behind us. I left California a month and a half ago, eagerly making my way farther and farther east. Karachi is my last stop before I go back. It is the farthest east I have ever been.

It is also the city in which I was born. When we came back to visit Pakistan as children – with our full American accents – my parents drove us past our old apartment building in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. I saw from the car a shattered window pane on the top floor. I drove past it again, more recently. My cousin Sara, who is years older than me, pointed out the building to me from the road – the brown earth and the brown buildings sometimes blend into one. I looked at it but did not recognize anything. It has been nearly 23 years since we lived there.

“This one?” I pointed at the building next to it.

“Yeah, it was one of these. I think that one over there,” she said, “I remember when you guys used to live there. Your taya and taijan [uncle and aunt] lived just upstairs.”

I told her I wanted to take a picture the next time we drove past.


A computerized image of a drone flashes on the television as we flip through channels. We never rest on the bad news – we almost reel past it. I sometimes will myself to forget that it exists. I will myself in the way I did when I lived in Chicago – when I heard of dozens of murders happening just miles away from me, I would will myself to think of something else. My first week back in Pakistan, I thought of myself as cruel for attempting to forget the innocent lives lost. By my second week I had decided it was the only way to keep going.


Occasionally, I will see an advertisement on television for USAID’s educational facilities in Pakistan. I have not seen any public mention of programs like this in Pakistan any other time I have visited, even though they have existed for a long time. In the commercial, a brown man dressed in shalwar kameez escorts a young girl wearing a school uniform into a brightly lit classroom. The entire ad is in Urdu, emphasizing that the curriculum is all Pakistani. I have seen this advertisement appear on the news networks mostly, after mentions of drone attacks in the north or when a news anchor reports on Taliban activities.


I spend my days studying languages – Arabic and Urdu – with private tutors, and my evenings accompanying Sara to the various bazaars to buy fabric and appliques for her clothing business. She is often telling me to avoid the puddles of brown spit on the ground – stains from paan, sweet chewing tobacco – and placing brightly colored fabric against my skin to see how it would look on me. My sister is getting married in autumn, and Sara is making nearly all of my outfits. We travel from one bazaar to another, meeting with tailors and the men who will sew all of the beads by hand onto my outfits. In their little shops, I fan myself as I am measured. As a reward for our hard work, we eat street food in the car with the air conditioning on full blast.

As we wind through traffic on the streets, I look closely at the Urdu script on the buildings and medians. Since the reason I am in Pakistan to begin with is to learn to read and write Urdu, I attempt to take some pictures of the graffiti so that I can read it as practice later. I mostly end up with snapshots of the political signs that line the medians on the roads. Benazir Bhutto’s face is still everywhere. I saw a particularly large poster of her, her eyes glinting with a faraway look and her white dupatta draped loosely over her head. The last time I was in Pakistan, in December of 2007, she had been assassinated brutally during a political parade in Rawalpindi.


When a bomb goes off in Boston, the world is shaken up. I had stared at my laptop all day when it happened, asked all of my friends in the area if they were okay. The days that they had shut down the entire city, I was glued to my twitter feed, unable to accomplish any of the tasks I had meant to do that day.

When a bomb goes off in Quetta, a city on the border with Iran in Pakistan, and 12 young women on their way to university die tragically, no one looks, notices, or even cares.

“We are used to it,” we tell each other as much as we tell ourselves. What else are we to expect of the rest of the world?

Hafsa Arain is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. You can find an archive of her writing for This Recording here.

"Come On" - Alpine (mp3)

"Foolish" - Alpine (mp3)