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Alex Carnevale

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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 Have To Pretend We Are Letting Go

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 or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.


My girlfriend Delia has obsessive compulsive disorder. When she is over at my apartment, I am expected to have things at a certain standard. If I tell her the place is too messy for her, she becomes upset and asks me why I have to live in such filth. I don't truly thing I am that much of a pig; but she is unable to see beyond the foundation of her illness. She will suddenly start cleaning something that is bothering her in the middle of an activity, like Scrabble or sex. I try not to let it bother me or show that it does, but how do I deal with the more extreme behavior?

Bertrand S.

Dear Bertrand,

As with every relationship, there are things you have to accept, and absolutely cannot accept. If she wants to clean your apartment, curl up with a good book and let her go to town with the Swiffer. If she wants to actually shame or direct any blame at you for how you live your life, then immediately pursue other options. Not Tinder, because everyone is married there, but perhaps Christian Mingle? I've heard good things from my Anglican friends.

The important thing is to recognize when Delia's issues have exceeded all common sense and reason. If she's cleaning an apartment — well, that's something everyone has to do eventually, so it seems like it's only her timing that's off. If her behavior crosses over to criticizing you or making you feel bad, just calmly explain the effect her comments are having on you, and excuse yourself to temple. She is allowed to be herself, but she is not allowed to make you feel bad for being yourself.



I recently received an anonymous message through social. The sender was a woman I did not know, and it said, I apologize for doing this, and linked to this Dear Abby column about cheating.

I'm fairly sure my boyfriend Jon is not cheating on me. At least I could think of no feasible time he would be able to accomplish this feat, since we spend most of our days together.

For various reasons I don't want to bring this up to him. I'd like to find out more without him knowing or invading his privacy in any way. Help! 

Janine L. 

Dear Janine,

Mention the girl's name in an innocent context and watch for his reaction. He need not know about the message.

If he says, "That's this crazy girl I used to work with," ask for more information. Why does he call women girls? Does he realize crazy is a trigger pejorative often imposed on women who simply don't accept sublimated roles in a patriarchal society? Has he read tumblr?

If this does not resolve your problem, then go to Plan B, the morning after pill. Just kidding, instead wait for the right drunken moment to have the "wild" idea of placing a location tracker on both of your phones.

This part is important: once you have placed a tracker on his phone, if you yourself are cheating, remove the tracker from your phone. The point of this is to catch him, not to expose your own peccadilloes.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

"No Place In Heaven" - Mika (mp3)

"Staring at the Sun" - Mika (mp3)


In Which Father John Misty Remains A Cherished Individual

His Best Work


Prior to the emergence of Father John Misty, Josh Tillman slummed it in indie pop, writing earnest songs about life tinged with slight Judaic-Christian undertones. He briefly toured as a drummer for Fleet Foxes, but struggled to gain any kind of real foothold. Near the end of his career as mere mortal, J. Tillman, on the album Singing Ax, the early seeds of Father John Misty were planted as he moved away from deeper religious undertones and found a slight Freudian bend.

With a slight disconnect, the songs of Father John Misty utilize a hodgepodge mix of jokes, wry honesty, and pseudo-spiritual awareness. Musical structures run the gamut between Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman. In the same way Harry Nilsson’s best songs were, his work, especially his latest output, examines love from a cockeyed angle. The songs on the record, influenced by his then-recent marriage, drag their feet through different aspects of the viscera found within commitment, eventually achieving a half-hearted slacker sense of romance. Eschewing the straight forward proves to be an interesting choice, one that benefits and hinders the tracks. While lyrics like “ Say, do you wanna get married and put an end to our endless regressive tendency to scorn?/ Provincial concepts like your dowry and your daddy's farm/ For love to find us of all people/ I never thought it be so simple,” may be more cavalier and interesting, they keep listeners from accessing any deep feeling couched within their salon-ready discourses on romance.

The final product and character development is merely a Christmas dressing. There’s an icy detachment as Tillman bears down on dimensions of love, most of which are rote observations that avoid saying much of anything in favor of “trying to say something.” Women aren’t quite objects here, but the imagined female “you” is rendered a bit too on the nose as the now classic quirk fest of a Noah Baumbach/Greta Gerwig female. In “I Love You, Honeybear,” Tillman ends one verse with “I've brought my mother's depression You've got your father's scorn and a wayward aunt's schizophrenia.” The song, a dark take on a praise chorus of true romance, never offers stakes for the performer or the subject. Biblical imagery is invoked, sex flashes by, and yet the listener is left asking, “so what?”

Without the subtle visibility of blood and guts, Tillman’s oeuvre creates a distance between the listener and the performer, but more importantly, between the performer and the song. Live, he moves with a feline grace and rockstar pizzazz to really put on a show, before breaking into a dry winking joke about the absurdity of rock musicians. Because of this, the crowd is silent and still, crossing fingers and looking for the chink in the armor that will give way to a real connection. Tillman may have graduated to the big leagues with his posturing, but without the threat of real vulnerability, it might as well be dust in the wind.   

Eric Farwell is a contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in New Jersey. This is his first appearance on these pages. He has written for The Rumpus, Electric Literature and Critical Flame.

"I've Never Been A Woman" - Father John Misty (mp3)



In Which We Start A Company With Our Best Girlfriend

Season 3 All Happens On A Boat


"So how was the season finale of True Detective?" Lynne said, twirling a chicken thigh on her finger like a basketball.

"I don't want to talk about it," I said, covering my face with my hands. Lynne gave up on the show in week four, quietly walking out of the room around the time Vince Vaughn used the word 'kike,' throwing a framed photo of her with Matthew McConaughey on the set of Mud into the trash.

"You watch bad shows so I don't have to," she said.

"Ugh." I was still reeling from the twenty minute recap of NBC's Mr. Robinson I had given her the previous day. Women be shopping, I had begun, you can't stop a woman from shopping.

Now that he has a woman in his life, he leaves the house like this?

"Tell me, or the next time Roger Ailes calls I'll tell him you are here."

"All right!" I screamed in her face. "Vince Vaughn was murdered by Mexicans and he hallucinated black kids bullying him for being who he was! Colin Farrell looked up to God in the heavens and it turned out his wife was making her rape up to get out of the marriage! The mayor killed himself because he was sad! Rachel McAdams dyed her hair the same color that it was! The solution to the murder the season began with had nothing to do with any of the characters on the show! Rachel and Colin fell in love forever based on the mutual sharing of how terrible Nic Pizzolatto has been for their career! Colin Farrell's torso looked decent to good! Is that what you fucking wanted to hear?"

His inspiration was 90s album art and early 60s porn magazines. That explains a lot.

"Wow," Lynne said, "by any chance did Ray Velcoro (Farrell) tell Rachel McAdams 'None of that is your fault' after he had mincing sex that reminded her of the abuse she suffered as a little girl?" Lynne always reads the worst recaps of television shows, the ones that are like, 'Last night's True Detective was a fine example of film noir...' It's like, go fuck yourself. At least include your significant other as a presence in the recap, so you can make it seem like you're not just quietly taking notes on Vince Vaughn's skin by yourself.

"None of it was anyone's fault," I replied. "About 100 people were murdered and there was not one investigation."

A tortured portrait of a man who hates minorities.

After that, Lynne and I had make-up sex on top of our bear rug and ate string cheese like the dogs in Lady and the Tramp. I still couldn't get over how bad the finale was, so to take my mind off it, I explained in choking, interrupted sobs how it wasn't fair that Nic had a job while the guys who make Halt and Catch Fire can't even get a meeting with AMC because no one watches their show.

His hoodie exceeded all my expectations. Watch this show immediately in its entirety please.

It is almost impossible to write about Halt and Catch Fire. The show stars Lee Pace and his huge, massive eyebrows as Joe MacMillan. In the first scene of Halt, Joe is speaking at a university computer class when he discovers Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis), a computer prodigy who is basically if Kate Moss absorbed Albert Einstein. This wonderful, multidimensional character proves to Nic Pizzolatto once and for all all that not every woman need either be a whore or a lesbian.

"Vince Vaughn fired his agent, honey. Don't worry."

Complementing these two centerpieces is the starmaking role of Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy) a disgraced engineer working at a small Texas electronics company that Joe flips on its head. McNairy's Clark is married with two young daughters. He and his wife Donna (the gorgeous Kerry Bishé) are recovering from the failed launch of Gordon's computing brainchild, a device called Symphonic. Gordon's relationship with Donna is fractious, disturbed and fragile: it is also completely authentic.

Instead of relying on nudity, profanity or violence to carry any of the action, Halt and Catch Fire consists of intensely charged personal interactions between people meant to be more intelligent than any on television. Instead of making genuises so different from us they are unrecognizable, creators Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers do a marvelous job of treading the line between moments that are alien to strategies for life that are barely recognizable. Halt feels so much like the world that it must actually be disturbing for some people to watch. This is the only reason that would explain the low ratings.

Talking about boys again.

The second season of Halt and Catch Fire explored Cameron starting her own tech company with Gordon's wife Donna, one that she named Mutiny. She also found manic pixie love with a young programmer named Tom.

Tom is the absolute sweetest and everytime he and Cameron kissed I had butterflies in my colon. Meanwhile, Lee Pace suppressed his past dalliances with men and pursued a relationship with the journalist daughter of a CEO of a multinational corporation, Sara Wheeler (Aleksa Palladino). She wasn't the strongest personality on the show — her clothes always looked like a throw rug — and she ended up "needing her time and space," which we all know what that means.

It's a good thing Colin Farrell fathered like twelve children out of wedlock in the 90s so they had these pics to use.

Having a show about two women running a company was exciting on both a sexual and human resources level. It felt novel, which the first season of True Detective exemplified, especially when Matthew McConaughey said things were shit for like ten straight minutes that one time. When it came to basically all the guys on the show dying and Rachel McAdams living somewhere in Venezuela and still being extremely cranky... the target was in L.A. but the arrow was in New York.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

This is the same haircut she had to begin with. She should have gotten one of those Wendy Williams wigs.

"Spirit Moves" - Langhorne Slim (mp3)