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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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Tuesday
Apr122016

In Which She Keeps Fresh Flowers In Each Room

Necessity

by LINDA EDDINGS

Since attention is inclined to direct itself upwards and remain fixed, special provisions are necessary to ensure the effective compatibility of equality and hierarchy.

– Simone Weil

At the top there is a lancing. Of the spring's ghastly storehouse of agendas, all my feelings about what I tell you float down to the bottom of the glass. I am empty with this. 

Q: Give an example of a time when you sacrificed your needs for his. 

A: It would be easier to say the times I did not. 

Christmas, 2014. He is the brother of my friend's boyfriend Tom. He wears these incredibly soft sweaters, and draws his curly hair straight back. Of his little brother, Tom says, "Imagine a bird with something in its mouth. You can see what it has captured in flight, but the bird can only taste it."

The week before Christmas I threw out all the bad evidence of my last love affair, Chris. He moved to Barcelona. You should see the woman he is with now; she might have come out of a pinata. She is so surprising she comforts you in how much she rubs against him. I miss Chris, but it was time to remove the pictures of us together. I burned it all. That's the kind of gesture I don't generally find therapeutic, but seemed required for me to move on. 

I vaporize my diary too, but not with fire. I drown the ideas in it. 

Q: You say he is brilliant. That is a value judgment. 

A: It is wonderful to be with someone truly intelligent, I think, better and more satisfying on every level than treating with the kind. 

What should I call Tom's brother? This is not the only account of him – there might be one on Vox – but even though I have little faith in my descriptive abilities, I am already sure it is the finest account of him. 

Tom tells us that his brother was engaged to a woman from Kentucky. He had bought a ring for the girl, even, but her family did not approve of the speed of the romance and forced her an end to it. "Did you meet her?" I asked Tom. He said no, but he showed me a picture of her with no pants on. 

Tom breaks up with the woman, Ellen, he has been seeing that precluded my meeting Tom's brother. I ask what happened, realizing that Tom is probably more of my friend than Ellen ever was. Ellen looked in the mirror too much, Tom says. He can't stand that; it makes him want to claw his eyes out. "There was nothing different," he squeaks, "to be staring at yourself again and again!"

Q: Did you feel some sort of attraction for Tom?

A: I think I feel some sort of attraction for most people. 

February 2014. Tom's brother and I stay on an isolated island on a great lake. His best friend lived there since he was a kid. The man is a garbageman now, with angry eyes. Tom's brother tells me not to worry about him, or anything. When I go to the grocery store locals are fascinated by me the entire time. It is freezing, which is fine, since we are forced to warm each other. 

It is a smell surrounding me for years. Fresh soap, and a natural musk which feels like it is radiating inside, precipating the act. Shell game. Tulips touching the glass, bending the function of the abbatoir. What I gave to Tom's brother was in its own way never ending, slightly spiteful. At times I sense that if I ever received exactly what I wanted that I would die of shock. 

Q: What kind of man are you typically attracted to?

A: The kind that uses the expression "riddle me this," before an explanation. A lot of men do that, even ones you think won't. 

Tom's brother convinces me, one night when my resistance to his animal intensity is at its very lowest, not to use a condom. If you are reading this you maybe cringed, or you want to know if I got pregnant. I didn't, but I was scared as hell along the way. 

Chris e-mails pictures of a boxer pup he has adopted. In one of the snaps a woman's hand rests on a pillow. Chris' fat paw offers a bone. Tom says, "He sends you that shit because he knows it makes you scream. The question is, do you like the sound?" Tom is always kind enough to pretend he doesn't know me or my type, but I fear that he probably does. 

Q: What is your type? Not your type of guy, but what kind of person do you classify yourself as?

A: INTJ

Tom's brother actually wrote a personality test, for one of his degrees. It featured a variety of ethical decisions, all centered around the concept of altruism. He believes that when we do something for other people, a part of ourselves remains. It is another way of instructing servants to choose their masters. In order to believe in such transference, you must put your faith entirely in the idea that enslavement is only possible with permission. 

Tom's brother left academia, but he still talks about it a whole lot. I did not mind listening to his stories about it – isn't it so revealing what people tell you no matter the subject? "I wanted to work with my hands," Tom's brother often says, with his mouth. Use the tools you are given, I guess.  

Q: Picture me. 1994. I was having the same problem with a boy. You break out of it. You lose the recipe. 

A: Which of them are you talking about?

A friend of mine has a lavish country home outside the city. There is always work to do on it, improvements to make. Small things, like a lamppost or a division of a larger garden. These projects never become all-consuming for them. I was never much for hobbies. 

May 2014. Chris is in Vienna, then at a conference in Leipzig. They sent the dog to stay with Chris' mother until they get back to the U.S. I picture it flying all alone, at the whim of its owner. He tells me the dog cost 550€. "I thought he was a rescue," I write back. It is the first thing I have said to him since we broke up. You can erase something from your mind, but that is all you did. Don't ask me where it lives now. 

European cities are ancient compared to us now, but when you have lost your sense of history, does it matter just how much has vanished? "The Egyptians had working plumbing centuries before it was rediscovered. A great civilization." I don't admire the people of the past, I told him. I don't admire anyone who cannot receive my admiration. 

It is wonderful that these people take such a gainful pleasure in visiting the places of the world. I don't deny them their accomplishments, I only wish that the opposite of wanderlust was given a similar affectation. "That is all my brother is," Tom's brother tries to convince me. "A series of affectations."

Q: I say this with no pleasure, but you need to talk things over before you destroy them. Not everything is so final. 

A: I know.

Chris catches an eye infection and stays in a German hospital. Eventually they fly him back like his dog. He only has partial vision in the eye now. When he views it in the mirror it does not look lazy, but it never focuses. His new girlfriend is on writer's retreat in California for the next six months. He is miserable. 

Back on the island, I had someone to be around, which was itself a relief. It is all right to use people, Tom says, if you use them for the right reasons. He has gone for coffee.

Linda Eddings is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in New York. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.

Paintings by Peter Sculthorpe.


Monday
Apr112016

In Which We Wanted To Hold On To The Feeling

Be My Husband

by DICK CHENEY

Outlander
creator Ronald D. Moore

This weekend's premiere of Outlander was the most fun I have had in years. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) returned from her time in Scotland during the mid-18th century and she was cranky as hell. The noise of airplanes and cars was absolutely disgusting to her, and she was astonished by the fashions of the 1948 season. After showing up in the middle of the street, she screamed at a passerby in order to find out who won World War II. Perhaps not surprisingly, she was left unsatisfied by the answer.

It got better from here. The husband she left behind in 1743 had a big penis (shockingly large IIRC) and impregnated her. So she tells her 1948 husband this, and at first he is all happy. Then you see his visage crumple as he realizes a number of key things: (1) he is sterile and (2) he is not the father of this child. His next move was most amusing: he balled up his fist like he was going to smash Claire's face in and looms over her. He backed off, but what a moment! I love this show.

It got better from here. Frank, her 1948 husband who is this douchy professor apparently prone to striking pregnant women heads into this old workshop that his buddy, a Scottish priest, has handy, and he's so angry that he smashes the entire place up. God Outlander is incredible; he was like this deranged guy feebly smashing boxes, and it went on for what felt like five whole minutes of just agony because his wife hadn't recovered from her ordeal in the few days he gave her to recuperate and acknowledge he was the most important individual in the world to her.

He gets with God and then returns to his wife for more tawking. It's obvious that she no longer cares for him. He tells her that he can give her time, but that they have to pretend the child is his. She agrees, and he burns all her old clothes. He asks her to move to Boston and she says yes to that too.

At that moment I knew this whole thing was bullshit or some kind of setup because a woman would never agree to move to Boston unless she had no other option. It got better from here. The setting shifts to France in the 1740s. Claire and her fertile ginger husband Jamie observe a man with smallpox coming in on a ship. Claire loudly shouts that she is a healer even though the man is already dead. They end up burning the entire vessel and its cargo, even though that seemed maybe somewhat excessive for one case of smallpox.

Claire is from the future, but unfortunately she knows very little about how to aid Jamie. She wants to prevent his people from being wiped out by the British, but she maybe glanced at a history textbook once ten years ago and forgot the rest. This is all well and good, but she could have aimed higher and stopped the Holocaust or the First World War. If you start actually thinking about this show it will make your head hurt.

There's actually a lot wrong with Outlander – the performances are not the best, and the soft lens they shoot everything with makes it look like Skinemax. But who cares, the B-movie feel to the proceedings just adds a certain flair missed from other dramas. The reason Outlander is so fucking great is because it does not shy away from going hard, verging on completely silly and overwrought. Most people would say a scene where a grown man flails about like a five year old just isn't realistic, but that is the brilliance of this entire endeavor. Outlander remains unafraid.

The world is likely flush with time travelers at this very moment. Most of them are trying to prevent Trump from becoming president; a select few were sent back to blackmail the press into giving Batman v. Superman bad reviews. This was a brilliant movie with a lot of subtext, and if you did not see it, at least google the scene where Superman slips it in Lois Lane (Amy Adams) while she's in the tub. I haven't been that turned on since I watched two lawyers who work for Paul Giamatti have really intense sex on Billions.

Someone once asked me whether or not all the things I write in my reviews are things I really believe, or if I am just exaggerating for pageviews. Hah hah. I am always serious unless I am talking about how Shonda Rimes' characters all talk and fuck the same. Then I am slightly tongue-in-cheek, but then again that is annoying. Especially the latter.

Outlander is my jam, but come April 24th I will be returning with my Game of Thrones reviews. I say reviews, but they will really be essais which weave in all the major events of our time: police brutality, my feelings on Ted Cruz's wonderful wife Heidi, the troubling rise of Russia, the anti-human rights legislation passed in the state of North Carolina, how I can't wait for Uncharted 4, and other such major news stories. I have gone on media blackout, since I want to experience it all fresh, knowing nothing, just like Terence Winter when he watches season two of Vinyl.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. 

 

Friday
Apr082016

In Which We Will Not Beg Keri Russell To Stay

Birdwatching in Winter

by ALEX CARNEVALE

The Americans
creator Joe Weisberg
 

Betrayal!

A man, enthusiastic for a new life! He stands on the precipice of the old, peeling back his woman's blanket from her face! He is more uncomfortable than comfortable, he is more imperceptive than perceptive, he is more un-American than you know what! His bowling improves over long years! Where at first he used the bumper system, until he abandoned it because it was the worst possible metaphor for his life! His son works a joystick at both ends!

Move effortlessly backwards in time from the decision of a divorce, recalling each moment that led to the separation! For Stan Beeman life seems more peripatetic in reverse! When he was poring over the various lozenges and sarcophages of his co-worker, he feels both the thrill of the deceit and the astonishment of delving into a life more consummated than his own! In America, there are always further levels of knowing, passions unknown to the Russian people, who stop at the first orgasm, certain that life could not possibly improve from the state that it is in!

Stan Beeman's real other half, the Russian one, skulks and towers through a shit park to save the one he loves! But the way he loves her! Annet Mahendru, in discussing the illogical fate of Nina Sergeeva, whispered to some reporter that she missed her character! They must have been really tired of having her on set! I have heard of the Stanislavsky method, but never such a fine implementation as in this case! You have probably heard of David Mamet's method of acting! The only thing he tells the performers is to speak the dialogue, the less inflection the better! The only thing he was ever in love with was his ideas!

That is what I think when I see that poor scientist who cared for Elizabeth and Philip like he was their best friend! It is very good to have a friend, especially when you are sick! It turned out that Elizabeth simply had a nasty reaction to antibiotics! They really can make you nauseous! She took it well, all things considered! Life is very precious, especially American, Caucasian life! There must be a respite from the world, and there is something about knowing you are in a house, okay, and pretty soon no one is going to be living there except for the molecules, and in time they will be gone, too!

I am so tired of you, Paige! I am so exhausted by your need for attention! One of the things I dislike most about you is how you let the phone drop to your shoulder when a call becomes too emotional! How is the other person on the end of the line supposed to sense this! You know perfectly well there was no Skype in the 1980s! Sometimes it makes me upset when I think that Paige is alive somewhere, a lot older than me, and way more jaded about everything! When Demi Lovato comes on the radio she probably screams or fondles her gorgeous crucifix necklace! I don't know what the word bespoke means in almost any context!

Sometimes I feel like I am inside Nina's dream! On one level it is weird that she had kind of a brother thing going on with that Jewish guy! I mean, do you really have time to friendzone someone while you are living in a prison cell! She keeps a red diary there! She betrayed plenty of men, except the last one she ever knew! Her betrayals of women were only secondary, and there is something both sexist and progressive about that, and about The Americans in general! That is a terrible feeling: when you think you are taking a step forward, but quite possibly you are mistaken and it is a step back!

A step back from what, you ask, sipping chardonnay with your pinkie finger extended slightly in the ether, like sideways rain! You could be moving onto something great! It could be a substantial improvement over what you left behind, or the person who left you behind! Martha's sad dinner speech was the echo of this idea! You'll never truly know until what happens, happens! The future could also be worse, and the part of the brain dedicated to knowing such things is like the appendix, in that it became vestigial over time, but once this organ had a great purpose!

Trust me!

Do you understand?

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

"The Wizard" - M83 (mp3)