They say that if
you can't remember the swinging 1960s you weren't really there.
Mark can't either, but only because he was far too young to
remember any of it. And too young to having been ‘swinging’
at the time (or any time since). Probably an even better excuse
would be not to have been born then. He can't offer that one.
Rewind back to
that era and he was in Liverpool as Fab Four made it big. He
graduated his way through The Beatles Fan Club to Bowie; schools
in Shrewsbury to Evesham; Bob Dylan to Dylan Thomas and Joy
Division to Ode to Joy.
his first book at 20. This was a volume of verse edited by the
late distinguished poet Howard Sergeant, but the only mistake
was to give it the title Passionfruit,
which meant it ended up on the cookery shelves in more than one
Mark became a
film scriptwriter and then a producer working for a number of
London TV and video companies including Cygnet and Greenpark
Productions. He has co-written a number of award-winning short
films destined for TV and camera release.
Mark then went into news reporting for Heart of England
Newspapers (very glamorous cub reporting of garden fetes for The
Banbury Guardian) and helped launch the Birmingham
Daily News. His articles have now appeared in many British
national newspapers. Mark has now worked as
a reporter and editor for The
Sunday Times, Independent Television News, Bloomberg News
and TV, PA News and Europe Online.
publication of the A-Z book has led to Mark appearing on many
media channels to comment on celebrities, music and the arts.
because of his one-time seemingly-permanent residence in
Oxford’s Bodleian Library, he has filled every house he has
owned with books and now has a collection of 10,000 volumes –
hence one P.R. over-enthusiastically describing him as
“Britain’s best-read rock writer”. (Mark denies this,
pointing out he’ll have to wait until retirement to read his
way through them all.)
Mark’s play Freaks Come Out At Night was one of the winners in the 2005 Westminster Prize scheme. Its star was Burn Gorman, whose credits include film Layer Cake. The cast also included Robert Mountford, a Shakespearean actor who has also played Damien in BBC TV's Eastenders.
Freaks Come Out at Night tells the story of a stag night prank which goes wrong and leaves its victim (Al, played by Robert Mountford) chained to a park bench on a freezing cold night. A Good Samaritan (Eamonn, played by Burn Gorman) comes to his aid, but is his rescuer all that he seems? The tense psychological drama that develops has a twist in the tale.
Another play, Happy/Sad, was written for the Soho Theatre Writers' Festival in London. Taking its title from a 1969 Tim Buckley album, it features characters wrestling over questions of power and whether money can truly buy happiness. (Short answer: yes, but it’s not guaranteed.) It was directed by Jonathan Lloyd and Tessa Walker and starred Avin Shah and Jody Watson.