In Which We Can Handle You The Way You Are

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 or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.


A few weeks ago, I discovered that my best friend’s wife is cheating on him with a neighbor of mine. I’m conflicted on whether or not I should intervene. I’ve been contemplating on telling him, but don’t want to be the one to break his heart. Should I tell him or allow things play out on their own?

Jean B.

Dear Jean,

Ah yes, the insoluble dilemma. This is why it’s important to sit down with your friends and a box of Mike & Ike’s early on and hypothetically hash out whether or not they’d like to know if their partner was cheating on them.

I’d let it play out, at least for a little while longer. Support your friend as much as possible without spilling the beans. If you have any sort of relationship with his partner, gently tell her what you know and give her the opportunity to come clean on her own. Reserve judgment. Unless she is the violent or vengeful type, then emphasize how cool you are with it and suggest she, “Get that ass.”

The bottom line is you don’t want anyone getting murdered over this, and you really don’t know the context of their relationship. So take baby steps, unless there is an actual baby involved, then take no steps.


Two years ago I went on a few dates with a great guy. We had a good time, but I was in a weird mental space and told him I wasn’t ready for a relationship. I haven’t seen him since. Still, I find myself thinking about him all the time and wondering what may have happened if we’d pursued something. Through a mutual friend I recently learned he is single but maybe casually dating someone. I want to give him a call, but I’m not sure it’s the right idea. What should I do?

Megan A.

Dear Megan,

A lot can happen over the span of two years. You may find out that he is not exactly the same as you pictured. Imagine the sense of relief you’ll get after you hear he’s into opera singing. You can spend years wondering the what ifs, which we’re all guilty of, but don’t let it hinder your confidence to move on.

Even if he is seeing someone, there’s no reason you can’t just check in and make sure he can never fully commit to a relationship until he has tried things with you. This is how Jennifer Garner manages to stay in the public eye.

It’s not okay to keep asking Siri if you should call him or not. If you don’t hear back, you know what happened. You shouldn’t be slightly surprised if he has rescued a new puppy named Craig with a significant other. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t get the answer you want. It will be nice to have a sense of closure.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen. Access This Recording’s mobile site at


“Do You Know” – Pieta Brown (mp3)

“No Not Me” – Pieta Brown (mp3)

In Which We Run Cowardly From The Spectre Of The 1940s

With Garbo

The diaries of Cecil Beaton span the entire first part of the twentieth century. This bisexual photographer’s true talent lay in his writing, but he was also a hell of a picture-taker. His portraits of Churchill at the front and his society snaps of the artists and writers he knew intimately remain masterpieces of composition and setting. Complemented by a talent for written observation that also exceeded most of his peers, Beaton’s investigations into the central figures and places of his era, arranged to diminish his grandiosity and verbosity, are cogent windows into individuals of any time. The following excerpts from his writing concern his relationship with the actress Greta Garbo.

When I first arrived in New York in the late twenties, Frances Wellman, a middle-aged woman of singular ugliness and persistence, had become quite well known for giving parties in her hotel suite in which members of “cafe society” mingled with Broadway celebrities. Of all her pet guests, Noel Coward was perhaps the most cherished. The hostess, who had surprisingly distinguished hands, would “ssh” her guests, with her long index finger to her pouting mouth, to signal the coup of the evening: “darling Noel” at the piano.

Neysa McMein, a most delightful person but a very bad painter, and groups of fans and friends, close and otherwise, would sit on or around the piano in ecstasies, while lesser devotees were “sshed” in the background. Twenty years later the same lady was tonight giving a party to honor Noel Coward. Anita Loos said “It’s awful. No one seems to be going.”

I was being a boor; however much I drank I couldn’t get the “party spirit.” I found this group of older people, insistent on still behaving like the bright young things that have long since ceased to be, really rather offensive. Surely they were now too old to be quite so silly.


Greta Garbo has dropped the bombshell that she must return to the coast. Could I join her there? No, from California she would sail almost immediately to her native Sweden. “Could I meet you in Stockholm?” “Oh, no!” The idea of her departure saddened me greatly. For the last weeks I have lived only in terms of her. She filled my days, and I dreamt of her at night.

Suddenly New York seemed pointless without her. Frederick Ashton wired me from Covent Garden that he had a ballet for me to design if I could return at once. It was the ballet Les Sirenes with music by Gerald Berners. I might as well go home. When I arrived back in England a telegram arrived, unsigned, from Greta bidding me good morning.


Time and again the same mistake is made: nowhere I am immune from the fateful possibility that Greta may be nearby – hidden in the crowd in the theatre or in any surroundings, however unsuitable. Everything I see, every place I go to, brings back to me the times we spent together. Central Park has become an absolute nightmare of memories: each tree has its specific associations, and each mountain and hillock reminds me of that advent of spring when we welcomed the first rays of sun and celebrated the coming warmth by lying full length on the grass.

Now there is only silence.


After many further attempts to speak to Greta on the telephone (I would call at all times of day, and I could hear the operator being told by Greta’s sad voiced servant that Miss Brown was not at home and she did not know when she was expected back) this morning I was again fortunate enough to gain my quarry.

At first she was exasperated and treated me as a tiresome burden that might as well be disposed of once and for all. “This is no good,” she said. “We are too different. By your action you have deprived me of a friend.”

“Who is the friend?”

“You were!”

This was pretty near to disaster for me, but by banter and repartee we returned to better terms.


Now that I am ostensibly busy, Greta is no longer as busy as she was while I was not busy. At 3:30 pm she would meet me at Sixty-Third Street and Fifth Avenue. She was wearing a mink coat. “Isn’t it obnoxious?” she said; “it’s so frauen.” I must admit it wasn’t suitable: it made her appear thick on the bosom with square shoulers. We strode into the park. Soon the lights started to fade and the landscape had no reality. It was like time out of time: a leaden gray sky with scurrying apricot clouds grew dark and tempestuous: it was as if mankind were going to be exterminated in violence for its wickedness.

It was a strange walk and we seemed to have a relaxed feeling that we hadn’t enjoyed before. Occasionally we would stop dead in this cold winter landscape to kiss one another, but Greta was worried in case we were being watched, and when it became quite dark she was scared lest we should be “stood-up” and robbed. At one interval for embraces she said, “Are you eaten up with passion?” and then laughed and explained: “Nobody but myself would say that, and yet it’s quite feasible and natural.”


We were going to a theatre and were late, but luckily Eugene hurried a room service meal through in record time. Eugene is a nice, ugly little man with sad eyes and an nose like a toucan. Perhaps he is sad because he intended to be an electrical engineer, but after eleven years he gave it up for “waitering.” He could not resist six dollars a day plus tips. “It’s not much of a life,” he says, “and I haven’t got far, but my son is nine years old, and will do better.”

Eugene is helpful and treats me as a favorite, but even he cannot improve the hotel food. We ate lamb that was rather like discarded chewing gum as we talked about ourselves in slightly veiled terms. I was enjoying turning the tables on her. “You are so unreliable,” I said, “I couldn’t ever marry you. You aren’t serious about me.”

“What a rebuff! And I adore you, Cecil – I love you – I am in love with you!”

We both laughed.


The night descended. It was too late to go into the park: she was scared – quite rightly – of unseen things. So we walked along looking into more windows, although we did once enter a shop to buy some Swedish bread and cakes. Here Greta was served by a young Swedish blonde and, for the first time, I heard her talking her native tongue. It was both delightful and comic to my ears – like birds spitting.


Out into the ice-cold night for a dinner at a Brazilian restaurant called Semon. The atmosphere was convivial, the food savory, and we both hungry. Greta’s mood was joyful and I was in good spirits. She told comic stories – she has a fount of them – the sort that no matter how many times I hear I can never remember later. If I try to tell a comic story in return, she stops me if the premise is not probable. “Nothing is funny to me that isn’t a possibility.”


After our picnic I set Greta to work drawing with some colored chalks. She started to do a pot of hyacinths, looked very hard at the flowers, and did a quite skillful representation of them. She was rather self-conscious and excited like a ten year old, but soon gave up and perpetrated infantile likenesses of myself with a great number of buttons on my suit. Before throwing the drawing block aside she ruthlessly scratched out her efforts, leaving only a careful drawing of a pink walnut as a relic of her talent.


“North London” – Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood (mp3)

“The Times They Are A-Changin” – Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood (mp3)

In Which Gregg Araki Maintains A Physical Trajectory

Better Off


White Bird in a Blizzard
dir. Gregg Araki
91 minutes

Most of White Bird in a Blizzard has the style and pace of a lucid dream sequence. In this film, which was adapted from a novel by Laura Kasischke, director Gregg Araki revisits his niche focus: adolescence. Employing 1980s elements to paint the scene, he also incorporates romantic pastel color schemes to illuminate the mediocrity of suburbia. Araki develops strong connections with his characters and creates a mystery that is both alluring and magnetic.

Kat (Shailene Woodley) comes home from school one day to discover that her mother has disappeared. Kat speculates that her mother grew tired of passing the butter and cooking dinner for her father. She doesn’t expect for her mother to return and thinks she may be better off.

Eve (Eva Green), Kat’s mother, is a neurotic and psychotic housewife. In some scenes, she competes with her daughter’s beauty. She makes a game out of it when Kat starts dating. Except for a flashback in which the two of them play cat-and-mouse under a white linen sheet, there isn’t much of an emotional bond between the mother-daughter pair.

Kat’s father, Brock (Christopher Meloni) doesn’t offer much value to his wife’s happiness or to his marriage. His presence makes his wife want to vomit. It’s suspected that the last time the two had sex was when Kat was conceived. Their loveless and sexless marriage is drier than a bottle of gin.

Kat discovers sexual frustrations of her own. After shedding her awkward butterball appearance, Kat experiments with being a seductress. She discovers the power of sex after losing her virginity to the boy next door, Phil (Shiloh Fernandez). Afterwards, she yearns for it every second and tries to influence him to follow suit.

Soon after her mother’s disappearance, Phil halts all sexual advances altogether, but closely identifies himself as her boyfriend. Phil can be easily be compared to a Neanderthal version of James Dean. He’s a chainsmoker who doesn’t add much to the conversation.

Kat doesn’t hesitate for a second to find a way to fulfill her carnal desires. She shows up on Detective Scieziesciez’s (Thomas Jane) doorstep to seduce him in a skin-tight purple dress. His last name sounds like someone trying to say “sleazy” after having one too many.

During her college breaks, she invites herself over for more coital exchanges with the detective. Years have gone by since her mother’s disappearance, and her father appears to be the sole suspect, but there isn’t enough evidence to prove him guilty.

Overall, this coming-of-age story captures the emotional and physical trajectory of sexual and gender identity, but leaves the audience more confused with their own spatial awareness. Araki’s plot twist resembles the feeling of getting up too fast, feeling dizzy, and forgetting where you are.

Mia Nguyen is the features editor of This Recording. You can find her website here.

“Pills I Swallow” – The Twilight Sad (mp3)

“I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want” – The Twilight Sad (mp3)

In Which Laura Riding Can Move Like A Bolt From A Bow

This is the second in a series. You can find the first part here.

Coming Back


I am glad women are going mad. It’s about time they did.

- Robert Graves in June of 1929

Laura Riding had taken Nancy Graves’ husband from her and had tried to arrange a three-way marriage. It wasn’t working out: Nancy had taken up with Geoffrey Phibbs, the intern who Laura had been fucking with Graves’ permission. Riding wrote:

There is a woman in this city who loathes me. What is to her irritation is to me myself. She has therefore a very direct sense of me, as I have a very direct sense of her, from being a kind of focus of her nervous system. There is no sentiment, no irony between us, nothing but feeling: it is an utterly serious relationship.

I think of her often. She is a painter – not a very good painter. I understand this too: it is difficult to explain, but quite clear to myself that one of the reasons I am attached to her is that she is not a good painter.

Also her clothes which do not fit her well: this again makes me even more attached to her. If she knew this she would be exasperated against me all the more, and I should like it, not because I want to annoy her but because this would make our relationship still more intense. It would be terrible to me if we ever became friends, like a divorce.

When she found about the destruction of her carefully arranged Trinity, Laura Riding drank Lysol. In front of Robert Graves, his wife, and the intern Geoff Phibbs with whom she had been sleeping with until his rejection of her, Laura hurled herself from a fourth floor window. She broke her her pelvis and suffered a compound fracture of her spine. “She is a great natural fact,” Graves would later say of Laura Riding, “like fire or trees. Either one appreciates her or one doesn’t but it is quite useless trying to argue that she should be other than she is.” The police called her a vampire.

The initial diagnosis was total paralysis. The attending surgeon, a certain Dr. Lake, commented: “It is rarely that one sees the spinal cord exposed to view – especially at right angles to itself.” The police hoped to charge Robert Graves with attempted murder, but he also had to obscure the suicidal purpose of his girlfriend’s jump, lest she be deported as an American citizen. Laid up in the hospital, pumped full of too much morphine to speak, Laura Riding asked for Gertrude Stein.

Gertrude wrote to Graves:

Laura is so poignant and so upright and she gets into your tenderness as well as your interest and I am altogether heartbroken about her, I cannot come now. But tell her and keep telling her that we want her with us. I had an unhappy feeling that Laura would have sooner or later a great disillusionment and it would have to come through a certain vulgarity in another and it will make Laura a very wonderful person, in a strange way, a destruction and recreation of her purification but all this does not help pain and I am very closely fond of you all. Tell her all and everything from me and tell her above all that she will come to us and reasonably soon and all my love.

Riding, Graves and friends socializing in Majorca

The poems she wrote in the wake of her attempt to end her life took on a Steinian tinge.

What to say when the spider
Say when the spider what
The spider does what
Does does dies does it not
Not live and then not
Legs legs then none

When Laura was well enough to receive her letters, Stein sent this missive.

I have been thinking of you a lot lately back home, and I hope going on, and not too bad and not too anything but alright. I do hope to hear that everything is coming back, and that it would be good for you to take treatment at Aix or or somewhere near us, a something that would be a pleasure to us all. Do let me hear how everything is going.

When Laura was finally ready to travel, she met Stein, whom she had praised in a long essay, and found her a tremendous disappointment. Gertrude’s sermons on the day’s weather, she felt, bordered on madness. She described the older woman as “nervous with a continually aborted generosity.” Most things she idealized ended up disappointing Laura, and Stein was no different. Riding would write about her again decades later, saying, “She was by her own created image of herself, as a compendium of human versatility compressing the range of diversity within it to so abbreviated a representation that she was the God of herself.”

“Perhaps,” Riding added, “everyone up to the time of her self-deification was to blame, for the great emptiness that accumulated in human self-knowledge which Gertrude Stein tried to fill with herself for everyone’s edification.”

She was equally incensed in the days of her recovery by evidence of the burgeoning relationship of her now-former lover Geoffrey Phibbs and Graves’ wife Nancy. Their coming together had not merely been revenge; they would live together for the next five years. When Nancy and Geoff arrived in the hospital to visit her with a small plastic statue of Nefertiti, Riding had them thrown out of the room.

Out of loyalty to Laura, Graves refused to pay any child support while his wife and Phibbs were together. Even though he had basically left his wife for Riding, Nancy’s betrayal of him loomed larger.

His wife tried to convince him otherwise, writing, “I know what you feel about us and what you know about us and I know just how much you can’t afford to feel about or acknowledge to yourself or anyone the truth about the whole thing. I know you have to, being you – but curse the you that does it.” For his part, Phibbs was a fantastic stepfather for five years before Nancy dumped him.

with his wife Nancy 

Hart Crane wrote to Laura to ask what had occurred. She explained, “We had all been sleeping with the Devil.” Riding’s main enemy Louise Bogan spread all kinds of stories about her, resulting in William Carlos Williams’ famous appraisal of Riding as a “prize bitch.” Graves’ family called Laura a she-devil, and Graves’ friend Siegfried Sassoon complained that he was tired of hearing from Robert “through a bonnet.” It was necessary to leave this environment to preserve what remained of the love between them.

Through Graves’ intervention, charges of attempted suicide were dropped, but Laura Riding still had to leave England. Finally free of all his responsiblities and entanglements, Graves took the recovering twenty-nine year old to Majorca. “Majorca,” Stein had told them both, “is paradise, if you can stand it.”

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. The next part of the Laura Riding journey will appear a week from today.

“Spend Christmas With You” – Anthony Hamilton (mp3)

“Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto” – Anthony Hamilton (mp3)

In Which We Try Not To Make This More Than It Was

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 or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.


My friend Sheila is getting married in January to a guy she met on an online dating website. I haven’t spent much time with them as a couple, but from what I have seen they get along really well and he’s a genuinely nice person who cares a lot about Sheila. With that said, I have only socialized with both of them a handful of times.

Sheila recently approached me and confessed a number of hesitations about the wedding. She is worried that she and her fiancee don’t have enough in common, and wonders if she is moving a bit too fast. I told her it was just cold feet, but she wants to talk to me about it again soon and I feel like I need a better answer for her. Do I blindly push her towards the altar or give credence to her concerns?

Teresa T.

Dear Teresa,

I remember when I used to date online; like half my dates informed me with a straight face that they were taking improv classes.

Marriage is a serious commitment, but moreso for a man than a woman, because Halle Berry is one of only twenty-five women in the entire country to pay child support. But seriously, Sheila can always get an annulment, unless she actually believes the death do us part bullshit.

If she doesn’t marry him, the relationship is pretty much over. There js no coming back from that, even if you explain to the groom that “you just need more time.” Eminem was married once, and he seemed happier single. Some people are just afraid to be alone I guess.

I would lie to your friend and tell her everything will be fine. If it does work out, you will be the heroine who encouraged Sheila at her darkest moment. And if it doesn’t work out, you can be damn sure she will blame him and not you.


My daughter recently became pregnant by her longtime boyfriend, Anthony. They decided that they should get married and had a bridal shower, bachelor party and a lovely wedding. The expense to our family was considerable, and even more so because my husband recently had to take a lower-paying job.

Last month I found out from my daughter that her and Anthony had not actually gotten legally married in this ceremony. When I confronted her about this lie, she blew me off and told me that “marriage means different things to different people.” Am I right to be upset?

Louisa F.

Dear Louisa,

No. The American Wedding Industry exists to take money from vulnerable, naive individuals such as yourself. Did you know that in some cultures, such as those of the Incans, a married couple was required to administer blow jobs to everyone who showed up at their nuptials? A gift bag was also provided.

You gave a gift of your own free will. If it was conditional on something, you should not have given it. If it bothers you that much, ask for your money back. You won’t get it, but everyone will know you’re an insanely gullible person whose devotion to cultural norms will only be eradicated through shock therapy or divorce.

Lately, people have been asking me a lot, “How do I know when it is the right time to marry my partner?” The answer is twofold:

1) when you can’t imagine life without them

2) you ask them if they want to watch Scorpion, and they say, “What’s that?” or “No”

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen. Access This Recording’s mobile site at


“Whispers” – Tina Dico (mp3)

“You Don’t Step Into Now” – Tina Dico (mp3)

In Which Laura Riding Was As Unbelievable In Day As Early Dawn

This is the first in a series.

An Indicated Other


Some people do not read poems because it embarrasses them to try to be as serious as the reading of poems demands.

After an affair with the poet Allen Tate, Laura Riding had made all the enemies in New York that she could stomach. Tate himself called her both “frighteningly intense” and “all right from the neck down.” She moved to England at the age of twenty-five to avoid all these people.

“At the close of 1925,” she wrote later, “after a period of uncertainty, I went abroad to live. I had found my American fellow-poets more concerned with making individualistic play upon the composition-habitudes of poetic tradition than with what concerned me: how to strike a personal accent in poetry that would be at once an authentic truth-compulsion, of universal force.”

Born Laura Reichenthal, the only writing she carried with her would become her first manuscript, The Close Chaplet.

Robert Graves had been appointed, thanks to T.E. Lawrence, Professor of English Literature at the Royal Egyptian University in Cairo. He took Riding with his wife Nancy and their children to this new campus, housed in an unattractive area of the city and built industrially by a Belgian company.

Graves’ marriage was already in trouble before Laura Riding ever set sail. She was thought of by Graves’ family and friends as a nanny, and at first, Graves noted more than once, “things were wonderful.” The man of the family benefited from Riding’s presence in all ways sexual and intellectual; the woman of the house found Laura a wonderful confidant who told her that men were idiots, none moreso than her husband. The children finally had the attention they required from three semi-doting adults.

Riding got along better with Nancy Graves than with her children. Nancy even loved the following lines, penned by her “intelligent nanny”:

Mothering innocents to monsters
Not of fertility but fascination
In women.

They left because Graves was broke, a hospital had mistreated his son and caused the boy to lose hearing in one ear, and everyone hated Cairo. In order to solve the most easily fixable of these problems, T.E. Lawrence sent his friend a copy of his latest unpublished book, instructing him to sell it after reading.

In Riding he had met someone important, and having no other feasible role for her to enter in his life, he started to worship her. The two started writing together once the family moved to Islip. In Notting Hill Nancy agreed to an arrangement that would give her an Islip home all to herself and the children, and leave Graves and Riding to work peacefully in Notting Hill. Nancy was no innocent wallflower. She considered this development evidence of her “dis-marriage,” and she could think of no person more likely to reform her husband than Laura Riding.

Graves’ family eventually received news of the real situation, and were incensed when they learned that he would be spending Christmas with Riding alone in Vienna. They called the Jewish-American woman their son/brother was in love with “a German poet” and went to Austria to chaperone the affair. In order to ameliorate the situation, Robert Graves wrote to his father, who was to write in his own diary that he received “a really wonderful letter from Robert about the strange Trinity of friendship and love between him, Nancy and Laura”!

If his romantic life was in good order, Graves still had major money problems. He installed his wife more cheaply on a houseboat called the Ringrose, where she was acutely uncomfortable. Riding was the key in making everything all right. Her enthusiasm for work pushed them all forward, and if anyone was now the man of the house, it was Laura.

It was T.E. Lawrence, however, who saved the Trinity again. This time, he encouraged a London publisher to come out with a hagiography of him, entitled Lawrence and the Arabs, suitable for young boys. For the job Graves received £500, no small sum.

Things could not go on like this forever, and Laura sometimes chafed at gossip about her controlling nature and impact on Graves. The two started a press in order to expedite the publication of their own writing, and whenever her role in things was diminished by Graves’ misogynist buddies, she lashed out. Later she would write

I am an indicated other.
Witness this common presence
Intelligible to the common mind.

One of Graves’ friends would call Riding “a disagreeably self-centered person with a hard discontented face.” Others were even less charitable. If his associates outwardly expressed any of this disatisfaction with his mistress, he would quickly excommunicate them. Robert Graves loved Laura passionately, but something was not quite right. He wrote, “I knew something absolutely frightful was going to happen, even though everything was fine at the time. I just knew.”

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. Tune in for the second part of the Laura Riding story on Thursday.


This posture and this manner suit
Not that I have an ease in them
But that I have horror
And so stand well upright -
Lest, should I sit and, flesh-conversing, eat,
I choke upon a piece of my tongue-meat.

“Save Me” – Royksopp (mp3)

“I Had This Thing” – Royksopp (mp3)

In Which John Wick Loses His Best Friend

Super Cereal


John Wick
dir. Chad Stahelski
119 minutes

John Wick’s wife Ellen Wick gives him a surprising gift after she dies. She makes sure that he can’t travel or go out for any longer than a few hours by sending him an untrained beagle puppy. It is his first dog, and he names her Daisy “of course.”

Because he doesn’t know any better, he lets the puppy go on the bed and the furniture. I mean, he doesn’t even crate train the thing, that is how clueless he is with dogs. He tells the dog he will get her some kibble, but he never actually does it; one gets the sense he’s too cool for the vagaries of a pet store. Over time you get the sense that as his wife’s illness worsened, she began to resent her husband’s superior health. The first meal he gives the dog is cereal for fuck’s sake.

I did the same thing to my german shepherd when he got into my quinoa.

Involved in these events is Theon Greyjoy. For some reason he kills John Wick’s dog, earning the disapproval of Tina Fey’s sleazy ex-boyfriend Dennis from 30 Rock, who plays the consigliere to a powerful crime lord that once employed Wick as an assassin.. “I once saw him kill three men in a bar with a Pilsner,” explains Theon Greyjoy’s father, a mob boss named Viggo (Michael Nyqvist).

I really wish I could have seen Keanu perform Hamlet, which he did in Manitoba. The gifs that came from that performance would have been astonishing. He almost shaved his head for the part, but he never does anything completely bald, much like how I never do anything completely with hair.

At least someone knows how to write for Theon Greyjoy.

“I keep asking why her,” John Wick tells everyone, although he has killed a lot of people, so it seems like an odd question. Director Chad Stahelski rarely commits the cardinal sin of photographing the right, weird side of Keanu Reeves’ face.

Wick has a series of restrained scenes with character actors after that. He moves into a New York hotel called the Continental. Everyone notices how John Wick has changed. His eyebrows, for example, are not as robust as they once were. During his downtime Keanu watches short iPhone movies he has recorded of his wife. She’s like, “What are you looking at?” and he’s like “You.”

The Hannukah scene was unexpected but appreciated.

These scenes are a considerable relief because there is only one other woman in John Wick besides his dead wife, a female assassin named Perkins (Adrienne Palicki). Even though he has killed over 100 people looking for the guy who killed his dog, he lets her live.

But back to John Wick’s eyebrows – they have that smoothed back look, like he’s been in prison for too long and when he got out, he took the opportunity to dye them. Keanu Reeves is now 50 years old, do you really think that jet black is the natural color of his brows? He should look at maybe knitting them into a greasy weave?

A bunch of men execute her for daring to be a female hitman. This movie was sexist as fuck you guys ._.

It would be prudent to take the idea of a revenge movie in which the person seeking revenge has no visible emotions or enmity to its inevitable extreme. In John Wick 2 the puppy can come back and seek revenge on Theon Greyjoy/Reek, biting unceremoniously at the place where Theon’s genitalia used to be. This would probably be a great deal more entertaining than John Wick, kind of like how the second Homeward Bound was better because Sinbad played a vaguely racist-looking dog.

At the end of John Wick the titular character, who we can presume is a homophobe because he has no gay friends, is reunited with a slightly different dog. Sure, it’s not the beagle that his wife choose for him as her dying wish, but one bad dog is the same as another. “Let’s go home,” he says to the dog, by which time everyone else presumably left the theater to avoid watching any more of this piece of shit.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He has a lower rating than John Wick on Metacritic, which is a fucking travesty.

“Why didn’t I take the blue pill?” etc

“Together” – London Bridges (mp3)

“My Heart” – London Bridges (mp3)