Box Office Poison

by Sarvat Hasin

At the start of The Philadelphia Story (1940), Cary Grant’s character threatens to punch Katherine Hepburn’s, before settling for pushing her over. It’s a violent beginning to a romantic comedy, which taints the remainder of the tale of reconciliation between a separated husband and wife, rendering it difficult to watch. The scene did not feature not in the original theatre play, which Philip Barry had written with Katherine Hepburn in mind.

Fan Fiction

This must be the boy! The one she’s heard about: the boy they say is raised by the animals. They call him feral and free, that he is liberated to wander around the land. He speaks to the snakes, the bears… the tiger that terrorises them. But why does he choose these animals over his own kind?

Yvonne Rainer and Queering Failure

When my depression was finally beginning to heal, I started to take jazz dance lessons. Living in Berlin, the city of Anita Berber and Weimar Kabarett, I hoped it might root me further into place. During the 1920s, that pyrrhic age between war and National Socialism, eager young Berliners danced their troubles away to unpredictable melodies. Perhaps I’d be able to do the same.

On the Redemption of American Culture

I was in an optimistic mood, encouraging a writer friend to go for larger opportunities. I turned to her and pressed, "But don't you want your work to be more out there, more present in the culture?" She thought for a moment, then asked, "What culture?" Good question.

On Margate Sands

Margate is a thirsty place. Its switchblade tide draws back so far that by the time it turns the shore is parched. Rude epithets, scrawled in chalk, line its coastal paths. Lustful and wayward, this town is wild. With a steady drip of London transplants fleeing the city’s rapacious capitalist appetite, it’s gentrifying fast. Yet Margate’s wildness persists.

Anosognosia

She’d felt it all day. She didn’t need Gráinne Heaney 
– Roach? O’Malley? Whatever she was now – to
 make the word flesh. The diagnostic of her condition: notions. Tis far from big exhibitions and toyboys she was reared. One part charlatan, one part succubus. She hated to be crying because of Gráinne. That wagon was only happy when everyone else was miserable. But God, she was embarrassed.

Condoms, Wet Wipes, Nappies, Tampons: Fatberg!

The fatberg could only materialise now. We have co-existed with masses of raw sewage since humans first stacked mud bricks, but the fatberg is uniquely modern, comprising a conglomeration of used condoms and tampons, wet wipes, disposable nappies, and septic sharps suspended in a concretion of cloying fat.

Three Billboards, Wind River and Hollywood's Representation Problem

Great news for fans of racist and sexist films in which a grieving parent takes the law into their own hands after a young woman is raped and murdered: Hollywood conspired to grant us two of them over the last year.

In Search of Virtual Synaesthesia

The sun is going down. The green water beneath the bridge you’re standing on is glistening. The last few rays warm the apples of your cheeks, as if the sky is telling you how beautiful you are. You long to stay in this moment, but relent and raise your phone. When will we stop taking photos of sunsets? We know that the lens always fails to capture their silken glow.

Hourglass, Figured

Every morning, as my ancient machine grunted into action, my reaction to that hourglass was the same: with each of its rotations, a sense of unease ratcheted up a notch or bloomed new petals or did whatever anxiety does with its horrible metaphors. The pinch-waisted graphic popped up in the centre of my desktop, cartwheeling, and with it, that same sick feeling.