Posted by: backofanapkin | July 2, 2009

The Hangover – *****

Reading the news, it seems that within a matter of weeks we will all be broke and dying from swine flu in a gutter somewhere while being vomited on by binge-drinking teenagers. Who probably also have swine flu.  In these dark times, we look to the silver screen to offer us a little escapism, and a few good belly laughs. Upcoming bad taste fest Bruno will almost certainly deliver on the latter, but for those who prefer their comedy a little less offensive and lycra-clad, The Hangover should be your first port of call. This is a simple tale about four guys on a stag weekend in Las Vegas. How a tiger, Mike Tyson and a naked Chinese guy come into the equation is as much a mystery to the stags as anyone else, as they wake up with no memory of the night before. Oh, and the groom is missing. Cue a mad dash around town, piecing together the night’s events and learning some lessons along the way.

Groundbreaking? Not exactly. But bloody funny. As in his earlier offering Roadtrip, Todd Philips gives a traditional buddy movie a fresh feel. The Hangover isn’t afraid to resort to old school slapstick, but there’s plenty of great dialogue in there too- “She’s wearing my grandmother’s Holocaust ring.” –  “I didn’t know they gave out rings at the Holocaust.” The three lead characters put in solid performances, with Zach Galfikianakis the stand-out as fat, hairy weirdo, Alan.  Bradley Cooper is effortlessly sexy as frustrated schoolteacher Phil, and will be taking a leading role in all of my naughty schoolgirl fantasies for some time to come. Justin Bartha’s Doug seems a little, er, limp by comparison- but seeing as he spends most of the film missing, this isn’t a huge issue. Minor characters provide some of the film’s best moments- watch out for Mr Lesley Chau (Ken Jeong) and the baby formerly known as Carlos.  

 If you’ve ever been drunk and done something stupid, this film will resonate with you. Even if you haven’t (and what have you been doing with your life?), it will still make you laugh. It’s hilarious without trying too hard, heart-warming without being sickly. I’m yet to view this summer’s other big comic offering, Year One, but it will have to work hard to impress- with The Hangover, the bar has been set high.

Posted by: backofanapkin | July 1, 2009

The Casualty

I knotted the neck-tie

Around the high-end collar,

Early mornings, when birds were still singing.


Rents were high,

Our gardens neat and ordered.

We kissed in 6 am light- he was gone.


Into a world of sand, a well made lie.

Conspiring to forget,

That men once fell from windows over Wall Street.


I tightened the neck tie,

His first one, red and white,

That bore the crest of schools that don’t come cheap.


It’ll pass us by,

I was so sure, we would be fine.

The med this year, short haul, tighten our belts.


And I, I, still tied that tie

Beneath a paler face, with dark-ringed eyes,

And mine still bright, unseeing.


Until- I, I- the neck tie

The silent house

The dangling feet

The bulging, vacant eyes.


Wearing dark suits, they knot black ties

‘A good bloke’- ‘Yeah, I never thought he’d-‘

No, neither did I.


Left to wonder if- and why-

I, I, I tied the neck-tie.

Posted by: backofanapkin | June 28, 2009


Bright light erodes it,

The soft, wine-darkened memory

Like half heard whispers

The details bleed away from me

And yet what I remember

Through sweat glazed eyelids, ragged breaking sighs

And indistinct sensations;

Your fingers, lightly, barely ,* touching mine

*( I am still contemplating this comma. )

Posted by: backofanapkin | June 28, 2009


How to describe today?

In shades of blue and grey and lingering things I want to say, with tears behind the eyes and sighs and broken smiles that jar.

With steel rods in my breast, my chest constricted by the words said ‘all in jest’

In silence, smoke and dust and quietly and without fuss, imploding in a sickening rush and

Slowly, tired, a puppet held with wires to a ceiling- without fire but a smouldering ember forcing something to remember

Something sick and foul and wasted, depths of shadow yet untasted, make haste now your fate is sealed, your number  marked, your past revealed your rites spoken-


Tired and blessed and broken.