Saturday, 5 November 2011

Remember, Remember...

...The fifth of November, Gunpowder, Treason and... ROCK!?

But seriously, in between writing poetry and the sequel to 'Life Begins at 40', we've made some music. Click here to download the 'November' EP by Black Orchid. There's no set price for the download, so you can pay what you like. Those of you who read my last poetry collection, 'In Memory of Real Trees', may recognise a musical version of an old poem...

And if you're in Lancaster on Friday 25th November, you can see us playing live at the Oxfam fundraiser 'Oxtravaganza' in The Yorkshire House. More on that soon...

Thursday, 27 October 2011



It's been rather quiet on the blog/news front lately, but followers of the previous books might like to know that I'll be doing a reading this evening at Preston's 'Word Soup' which is held at 'The Continental' from 8pm. It's quite an exciting one for me: not only is it my first time reading poetry live for over a year-and-a-half, it's also a great opportunity for me to debut some new material from my forthcoming collection. I like to think this as-yet-untitled project ties up the loose threads of 'Sunrise and Shorelines' and 'In Memory of Real Trees' nicely. So it seems fitting that it will be my last collection of poetry for quite a long time. I will also be donating the entire proceeds to Christie Hospital for reasons that may be clear in 'White Pyjamas', a new poem included at the end of this message.

Also this week, myself and Chris Newton will be reading an extract from our Doctor Who inspired comedy, 'Life Begins at 40' (the sequel of which is currently in the works), at Ansdell library, this Friday, starting 10.30am. If any of you are local to the area and want to call in, it would be great to see you there.

As ever, anyone who wants to drop me a line is welcome to send me a message on, with any comments or just to say hi.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this new excerpt:

White Pyjamas

I am having a recurring dream,
wandering through the hallways of my past,
seeing, at best, situations I was blessed,
at worst, occasions we were together cursed,
seeing childhood memories played as melodramas,
seeing the ghosts of you and me,
dressed in white pyjamas.

Our kitchens are repopulated
by the cast of old productions,
living rooms filled with laughter, tears,
neighbours from an avenue seeming so big,
their houses could simply disappear,
a flick-show of December twenty-fifths,
fast-forwarding through time around a sole constant:
teletext, Eastenders, white noise, mist,
a body immoveable, asleep on the sofa,
remote control limply in wrist.

Out of sight, uninvited, unseen,
treading the boards of places I've been
– but no longer belong –
I find myself at a summer garden party,
watching relatives from distant counties
tend skewers on a buffet,
a somersaulting girl with freckles and pigtails.

A boy who looks the spit of me
rises from the table.
He holds his mother's hand,
inclines his head.
The pair of them, wearing backless gowns,
walk me to a photo of a hospital bed.

In a wall-mounted gallery
of carefully-selected memories,
it seems an odd choice.
Family portraits chime with edited harmony.
Sorrow doesn't get a voice.

Our eyes meet with a knowing smile,
and I understand.
I've waited, for years, to tell myself
– a child of twelve with the cares of a man –
that everything will be okay,
to look at my mother, with clear hindsight,
and say that I love her.

Now, somehow, we're above that,
just being here is enough.
Some words are conveyed
without ever being spoken,
it's time to stir nostalgia
without sad ghosts being woken,
time to shake off the white pyjamas,
put the turmoil and dramas of the past to bed.

Monday, 31 January 2011

BOOK UPDATE: 'Life Begins at 40'

Well, doesn't time fly? The last time I sent out an update was a couple of months ago, but it seems like a few days ago. 'Life Begins at 40', which had started out as a blog on Pete and Jeff's Blog, had just become a book (or it had certainly taken its first tentative steps - things ended up taking a little longer than expected, but I'll come to that shortly) and gone up for pre-order. Pete and Jeff had made a bold move to become less socially reclusive and actually joined Facebook, where it was discovered other Doctor Who fans also lurked. And the website hit its first 1000 views. Everything was going swimmingly. And then - a few Christmas dinners, celebratory drinks and duff New Year fireworks later - it was the end of 2010! And now, somehow, it's nearly the end of January!

I'd like to offer my very sincere apologies to those of you who pre-ordered the book and were hoping to get it in time for Christmas, particularly to those of you who I haven't already contacted individually. Because this book is being released through Hirst Publications, I don't actually have a complete list of everyone who's pre-ordered. Any hold ups have been almost as frustrating to me and Chris as they have no doubt been to you, but any of you who follow Marillion and the like will know that it is often the way with pre-order campaigns.

The good news is that the book has now gone to print and should be with you shortly. Unfortunately, we've had to make a tough decision and lose Sophie Aldred's foreword, as it was the sole thing holding the whole process up: the general consensus seemed to be that people would rather have the book in good time rather than delay things further by waiting for it. To compensate, however, we've added various bits of new content, including some completely new sections! Having seen the final draft of the book, we have to say that we're really proud of it, and we hope you'll enjoy sitting down to read it as much as we will. At nearly 400 pages, we like to think it offers value for money too!

Once again, I can only thank all of you - especially those who are awaiting pre-order copies - for your patience and support. If anyone wishes to get in touch through '', I'll be on hand to answer any questions.

And should anyone wish to order the soon-to-be-released 'Life Begins at 40', you can do so at the following link: Pre-Order 'Life Begins at 40'.

I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback, and will be in touch again with more news shortly.

All the best,

Mark Charlesworth