Video of the Day


Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

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

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.

Entries in lauren bans (17)


In Which This Romance Does Not Get Better

A Time To Break Up


It's hard out there for a defender of romantic comedies. Over the last few years rom coms have ceaselessly lived up to their reputation for spoon-feeding the fairer sex and their reluctant male companions harmless, predictable drivel. Katherine Heigl falling into Jon Bon Jovi’s arms after one or two missed text messages? Mind-blowing. Like mild cheese on a Ritz cracker.

Which is why you should disregard the frequent categorization of Albert Brooks’ low-lying film 1981 Modern Romance as a romantic comedy. It is, but it’s not simply the mental equivalent of a basket of beribboned puppies.

Brooks directs himself as an utterly unlikeable film editor, the anthropomorphic intersection of narcissism and neurosis. Think Woody Allen meets Napoleon, but tall. The first 20 minutes of the film contains what is arguably the best break up in movie history: Brooks’ character Robert takes his long-suffering girlfriend, Mary (played by the great Kathryn Harrold) to a diner and begins to unweave their relationship like only a true crackpot can.

Mary orders a chef salad and Robert a “mushroom omelette, very little butter, with whole wheat toast, dry, and butter on the side.” (Which was later totally swagger-jacked by When Harry Met Sally.)

Robert begins before the food arrives: “I don't feel real good lately and I'm trying to figure out what it is and I think it's probably us." Then he backtracks and starts up again until Mary finally runs out yelling, “Don’t call me again like last time!”

In a conventional rom-com, the diner scene would be the narrative gunshot that starts Mary off to find her true soulmate.

But instead it cuts to a denial-rich Robert at home, two quaaludes downed, turning off the light only to proclaim ten seconds later “I can’t sleep!”, falling off the bed, turning on a terrible remix of Beethoven’s 5th and slurring “Music is the healer of the soul!” - like a preexisting spoof of the emo-puddle John Cusack plays in High Fidelity - before stumbling into the wall. He makes his way painfully to the couch and flips open his Rolodex, where he utters the simultaneously hilarious and devastating line: “Just look how many friends I have!”

The entire movie follows the pattern outlined in the very first scene — Robert and Mary break up. They get back together. They break up again. Robert swings like a pendulum, and Mary invariably takes it.

At some point it becomes clear this is the great romance of the movie. It doesn’t get better. It’s dark, undoubtedly abusive, and painfully funny. If you want easily swallowed, rent a Meg Ryan flick. But remember, in real life she’s divorced with lips the size of hot dog buns.

Lauren Bans is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here 

"Lucky Ones" - The Dunwells (mp3)



In Which We Only Know His Age In Bunny Years

Ode to Bunsies


Some facts about Bunny:

My uncle gave him to me at Thanksgiving dinner when I was two. I started crying immediately. Perhaps it was a symbolic reenactment of the Native Americans proffering dead rabbits to the Pilgrims, and the Pilgrims shooting them.

His name is simply Bunny. Shut up. Fuck you.

He is a boy. His fav food is Skittles. And though he's technically older I just say he's 4 in bunny years, thus he is eternally young.

For an entire year all Bunny said to anyone was "Ou est la baguette avec la beret?" after I watched some PBS kids show featuring a baguette wearing a beret who repeated that line incessantly.

I once made my little sister shoplift me a Snickers by threatening her with "Bunny won't be your friend if you don't!"

Bunny was on the cover of a Paul Golding book about homosexual relationships and existential malaise. This freaked me out to no end, because I had never seen another bunny like mine before and thought he was singular. And because then of course I read the book.

This is Bunny last May spooning with Dawn's dog Nikko. They immediately recognized a gentleness in each other.
When I got scarlet fever in 5th grade bunny came to the hospital with me. My parents gingerly told me that we might have to give bunny back to his bunny family and I was like, "Don't patronize me. If you touch him I will hate you guys forever." He took a Lysol bath instead.

When boys stay over I hide bunny under the pillow. Once my gentleman friend is snoring I pull bunny out and spoon him as ush.

Bunny is not anorexic. He is just so thin because he wakes up either pressed between my thighs or smashed under my stomach.

In a writing class I took in college I wrote a story about a grown man who still slept with his female teddy bear, and the people in my workshop were like, "It's great how you use the stuffed animal as a foil to showcase his fear of human intimacy" and I was like, you're all such pretentious idiots, this is just a charming story about a man who loves his teddy, fuck you.

I made one boyfriend have post-coital conversations with bunny about the sad trajectory of Chris Hitchens' career. Bunny would whisper his replies in my ear and I would be like, "Well Bunny disagrees with you about The Trial of Henry Kissinger." I think I was testing the boundaries of obnoxiousness here, but he thought it was adorable. He started to say "I love you" to Bunny. I knew then that I had to break up with him, because if I could make him have conversations with my stuffed animal then he loved me way more than I deserved and I was already abusing that power.

Every Thanksgiving my Grandma tries to throw Bunny away. I think the thought of me still sleeping with him keeps her up at night. She somehow believes Bunny is preventing me from having a husband.

When I go home for Thanksgiving I put Bunny on the top shelf in my closet where both my dog and my 5'4 grandma can't reach him.

Lauren Bans is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. You can find her website here. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. She twitters here. You can find an archive of her writing at GQ here. She last wrote in these pages about Modern Romance.

"Perpetual Motives" - Future of the Left (mp3)

"The Bisexuality of Distance" - Future of the Left (mp3)

The new album from Future of the Left is entitled Love Songs for Our Husbands.


In Which She Is A 19th Wave Feminist

Who Loves You


You know what, guys? I first addressed the evils of the NYT's Modern Love column years ago. But the essay series continues its reign of terror, and the editors are not even kind enough to tip your chair back and wake you up out of the third-level inception nightmare that is an essay titled, "I Fell For A Man Who Wore an Electronic Ankle Bracelet."

That is why we are revisiting this today.

It’s also worth noting, that important science people say devastating solar storms could put the planet in peril as soon as 2013. Dare to think: What if all that’s left for Wall-E to find of our civilization is a What Women Want DVD and this vast collection of pandering one-dimensional essays? We would look so terrible! My therapist says I care too much about what other people think. And my life coach says that "my therapist said" jokes are totally overdone. I just feel really lost sometimes, you know? Pls consider the last three sentences my Modern Love pitch.

How A Series of Horrible Essays Taught Me All I Need To Know About Modern Love And Made Me Crawl Into A Bucket of Fried Chicken Left On The Roadside

I have this fantasy where I get the Sunday Times. After sleeping in until 10 or so, I begin the last weekend day in my sun-filled living room curled up on the couch by the huge bay windows, cuddling close to my fiance who has just given me the greatest orgasm of my life. He used to be a sociopathic rapist with a trust fund and I, a staunch feminist who preferred to date non-rapists. But you know what? We learned to compromise. That is what love is all about.

And now, cuddling close on the couch together, the clock shows it's nearly 11, and we're so intelligent we've almost completed the entire crossword. "12 letter name, philosopher, wrote On Women..." he reads aloud. We sit thinking, curling our fingers together.

"Schopenhauer!" I scream. He looks at me admiringly. "How did you ever get to be so beautiful but so brilliant too?" he gushes. "I didn't know they made women like you! I would never have been raping all those years if I knew someone like you was out there." My lower class roommate Marmsies walks in on our cuddling, and exclaims in her slightly Cuban accent, "My Momma always says when you got somethin' good, you gots to hold onto it!" My fiance turns to me, looking soulfully into my eyes, "That Cuban girl is right....Marry me now."

Does this sound like something you have or may want someday?

Then you probably love Modern Love, and maybe you should be a Modern Love writer!

I'd like to outline the fairly simple formula of a Modern Love column to make it easier for you to find this elusive brand of love and then write about it for a prestigious paper! First, it's very important to be an educated, upper middle class female. Actually don't bother trying to find modern love if you're not. You can leave subtle hints of your elitist qualifications by describing how you picked up your New Yorker copies scattered throughout his apartment after he broke your heart, or you can casually mention "pre-nups", "Ph.D's", "foie gras", "Park Slope", or "Schopenhauer" at any point during the course of your essay. All of these methods have worked beautifully in the past.

Gloria Steinem, Wilma Scott Heide & Betty FreidanSometimes a great twist on this element is how your educated position set you up to fail at love. For example in my FAVORITE column ever, "Changing My Feminist Mind, One Man at a Time" the author demonstrates how her superb intelligence and thorough understanding of feminism actually inhibited true love. Someone get this girl a book deal! She is a 19th wave feminist!

I read, re-read, and underlined "Backlash," "The Beauty Myth" and "The Feminine Mystique." I grew enraged by what I learned. Enraged, and utterly confused. Who was keeping women down? Men. But who were just so cute that I couldn't sleep at night for thinking and writing and obsessing about them? You guessed it, the self-same.

Then I went off to an all-women's college, Smith, where I didn't see a whole lot of men. I joined the campus women's group and studied up on gender issues. My rage toward men in general grew ever stronger, as did my desire to meet that one specific man who could make my dreams come true.

It also helps, once you've established your superb white upper class affiliations to dabble with some lower classes. You see, they're not as smart as you, thus they are not constricted by their own intelligence. They can teach you how to love purely and intensely, to rid yourself of the shackles of the Ivy League pedigree. Find a poor musician, like this week's columnist did, one who will kind of embarrass you, but who will play Damaged by Primal Scream, and tell you “This song makes me love you so much I want to die." So romantsies! Also, if you can manage to date a rapist serving time in prison you get like, a billion trillion bonus points. That is way modern love.

Lower class people are also very important in the Modern Love story arc to help bring you to your senses. When you're sobbing on some bus, after collecting your smart person materials from your ex-boyfriend's house, make sure that some guy with a "West Indian accent" lightly jokes with you, "Aw, that fool must be crazy to give up a nice young thang like yourself!" Let these people be the voice of sensibility. Let them guide you to your ultimate catharsis. You can even dedicate your entire essay to these characters like in "How My Plumber Turned Water Into Wine" (but remember the focus should still be on you and the shackles of your upper class life). I mean, this week's author comes to her senses thanks to a tenant in a flophouse!

So there I was, a girl with a university education, a glowing résumé, a loving family, and all the other annoying characteristics of a charmed life, writhing on the urine-stained floor of a flophouse. And I was making such a scene that the tenant from the next room, a hulking man in torn boxers, emerged from his den, pointed a shaming finger at me and shouted, “Girl, you need to get your mind right."

Once a poor tenant in a urine-soaked flophouse admonishes you for being crazy you can finally say, "If this dirty dude thinks I'm being crazy, then I must be being too crazy!" and begin the process of love's recovery. Brush the urine right off you. Go to the 'Bucks, grab yourself your usual Grande Skim Latte. Sit and listen to Norah Jones while sipping your steamy drink and process what just happened, though don't come to any conclusions that could, you know, subvert the patriarchy. This experience you've just had — this is modern love — and you should write about it so that I can barf up my Sunday brunch and not put on any winter weight. 

Lauren Bans is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. You can find her website here. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. She twitters here. You can find an archive of her writing at GQ here. She last wrote in these pages about Modern Romance.

digg delicious reddit stumble "Razor Face" - Elton John (mp3)

"True Love Will Find You In The End" - Spiritualized (mp3)