As the title of this debut attests, Tim Wells is a man of contradictions. Through much of Boys' Night Out in the Afternoon he displays the candour and swagger of a barroom raconteur, with his ear tuned for dialogue, the knack of a great punch line and a sure knowledge of what underlies his material, but his lines consistently stretch out beyond the anecdotal, betraying his true craft and vision, his poet's sensibility. Here, for every irresistible fictional narrative, of nights bowling with supermodels or days carousing with Tallulah Bankhead, there is a stark and self-deprecating love lyric or a pantoum capturing rain lashed downtown Los Angeles. Like the salty epigrams of the notorious Roman poet, Martial, Wells' poetry homes in on human manners and foibles. Like Martial, Tim Wells is witty, acute and unashamedly lowbrow.