Happy Birthday, Bowie!

It’s been 4 years since we lost David Bowie – on January 10th, 2016 – and today – January 8th, 2020 – would have been David Bowie’s 73rd birthday, and I wanted to write a post to wish one of the most interesting, inspirational, and influential artists the world has ever known a very Happy Birthday – who is hopefully looking down upon us all right now.

To celebrate David Bowie’s birthday today I wanted repost the poem that I wrote for him following his untimely death in 2016, called:

“Always the Starman”

Now it is you
who is the Starman in the sky;
now you know the answer
to the question “is there life of Mars?”;
now you can see just how much
you made us all smile
and how much you made us all dance;
now it will be the stardust of you
that will fall to Earth
and makes our minds sparkle
like the stars at night;
now and forever you will be a hero
for many and not just for one day;
now you can embark
on your own space-oddity;
now and forever through sound and vision
you will speak to us
and you will sing to us all from afar;
now that you have reached
the centre of life’s labyrinth,
and as you now look back
and touch Earth from heaven
with an outstretched hand –
from one poet to another,
this is my tribute to you,
the Starman of Magic in the sky,
who will always be the eternal
and the immortal artist of life David Bowie.

And I also wanted to repost my poem that I wrote last year which was inspired by a brand new piece of street art inspired by David Bowie, called:

“Bowie and Me”

Every day of the week
I head down to Dudley Street
to meet, to greet, and to speak
with the one and the only
David Bowie,
and every time I see him
he talks to me and
he communicates so much to me
without even having to say a word
how lucky we all are to be alive
and walking the streets and the paths
of this world –
and every time I see him
I get this instant flash
of inspiration,
like a bolt of lightning,
that I try to imbue
into the art that I create
which always follows
my divine-like encounter with “Bowie”
who waits tirelessly for me
against a wall of blue
on Dudley Street like a gate-keeper
and a guide to a world of
wonder, imagination, and self-discovery.


“Bowie” by Annatomix – Dudley Street, Birmingham, United Kingdom

And I also wanted to honour David Bowie once again by taking inspiration from his album Aladdin Sane and paying tribute to its iconic artwork by adorning the “Man in Black” who is the central character and who is on the cover of my book Playing God – which includes stories featuring a powerful hero who was also inspired by David Bowie and his timeless legacy of inspiring and motivating people to do unbelievably things… just as I was! Take a look at the Aladdin Sane-inspired cover of my book Playing God below:

And today is also the day when I have decided to start using my Collectors Edition David Bowie themed Moleskine notebook to begin writing who knows what? We shall see:

So, once again, I would like to wish the late great David Bowie a very happy birthday and I would like to thank him for all the inspiration that he has given me over the years!

Rest in peace, David!


1947-2016

-Mark

“Histories”

“History is a doorway to hidden stories that cannot be relived but can indeed be retold, because their truth is both unique and universal and just as vital as that of a beating heart.” – Mark Hastings 😊

My Poem “Hello Friend!”

It’s always great
making new friends…
when we watch certain characters
on television or in films
we often quickly become drawn
to a particular protagonist
that we, for one reason
or another, can identify with.

It’s always good to explore
new things – films, music,
books, places, stories –
and it is always fascinating
to witness how a particular
journey can change a person
in so many different ways.

Whenever we all watch
certain characters in movies,
or on television,
and we see them having to overcome
all obstacles that they have to contend with,
and face all the adversaries
that they have to face,
while walking the path that is their fate,
it can be such a thrilling
and an exhilarating experience
that certain people often choose
to return to those same stories,
and to those same characters,
time and time again.

When we become engrossed
in a particular story,
and when we become invested
in a particular cast of characters,
we never want what we and they
have been through to come to an end;
however, most audience members know
that endings are just as fundamental
to a story as beginnings,
and as long as when a story
comes to a close it is satisfying –
and it is revealed that everything
that happened was all for something –
then, in some way, people can cope
with the ultimate moment
of finality without regret.

When we have to say goodbye to someone –
even if it is only a well-loved character
who we see performing on a flat-screen –
even the most detached of watchers
can become so connected
to whom they have been watching,
especially if the storyline
that is coming to a conclusion
has been a compelling
and riveting one to behold;
and that is why, when
some people reach the end of a story,
they automatically go back
to the very beginning of
the same story that they have been
watching, reading, or perhaps
listening to, for so long,
and they start the journey all over again
in an attempt to recapture the magic somehow,
by greeting the same characters
that they are already greatly familiar with,
with a smile, and with a warm:
“Hello friend!”

My Poem “The Question that drives us”

Everybody has a question
that drives them which influences
every choice that they make
and every action that they take…
everybody has a question
that they need answered
in order to give their life meaning…
everybody has a question
that reflects what they hope
will be their ultimate fate…
everybody has a question
that is answered multiple times
throughout their life
which, for so many reasons,
some people sometimes find it hard
to accept and to believe
because they often find it hard
to imagine what they cannot see.

Answers are not always what people
find at the end of a journey…
possibilities are what most people
dwell upon when they reach
the end of a particular story…
most things in life that we commit
ourselves to are a matter of trust…
revelations are always powerful –
but almost always, in reflection,
no matter what we are doing
and where we are going,
it is the questions that we have,
the questions that we ponder upon,
and the questions that we are
consistently awoken by
over and over again
which are the source within our life
of what truly drives us.

My Poem “Outlaws”

When I was a kid
I was always fascinated by
legendary heroes and characters
such as Dick Turpin, Robin Hood,
Sinbad, Zorro, and many other
renowned outlaws of their
respected times and societies,
who rebelled against what
they saw as a dictatorial
state of being that people
were being forced to live in,
who decided to rob from the rich,
deliver to the poor, and fight
for the right of the innocent
to live free and happy
and content in the knowledge
that there was someone
looking out for their interests
and watching over them.

Heroes of conscience
who live every day of their life
fueled by the hope that they can
make a difference and right
the wrongs of tyranny
have been featured in so many
of the tales that humanity
has been telling itself for centuries,
and even in our modern age
those same characters still
embody and have associated with them
a symbolism and an enduring example
of just how powerful the human spirit
can be when it finds itself facing off against injustice.

There will always be injustice in this world
and there will always be a place
in the stories that we all tell ourselves
for extraordinary individuals
who have the courage of their convictions
to put the needs of the many
before the needs of the few
and commit to enacting
their own form of rebellion
by staying true to a code of behaviour that in their eyes of the oppressor
might be considered
the actions of an outlaw.

My Poem “The Forbidden”

The draw of the forbidden…
the urge to explore
the places where very few
people have been before…
the instinct to reveal the truth
of that which is hidden,
the call of the wild
that has compelled many people
to seek out, to feel,
and to capture the energy
and the spirit that some things
naturally emanate –
symbolized in many stories
as being an apple, a chalice, a ring,
a fountain, a plant, a monolith,
a message left for others to find
so that they may experience
profound revelations that will
fundamentally change the way
that they see the world,
as well as change how they see themselves,
are as prevalent in the tales
that humanity has been telling itself
since the beginning of language
and the start of our path of discovering
who we are and what we are
in the grand scheme of universal understanding.

It is the quest of the forbidden that gives
a journey into the unknown its potency…
it is the question of what lies beyond
all the maps that have been drawn
that has attracted all the explorers
that have ever been born…
it is the danger of a forbidden vortex
that storm-chasers lust to race towards
that awakens within them
the same deep longing to push the envelope
of what is possible that precludes
so many people from being able
to silence the voice inside them
that tells them loud and clear
to never decline an opportunity
to take a bite out of
the fruit of the forbidden,
to experience what it takes like,
and to see where it takes you.

My Poem “Verbatim”

There is a story behind everything…
there is a reason for everything…
there is a story to be told about everybody…
there is truth to be found
about the human condition
by listening to everybody.

Everybody is capable of being
a storyteller with a varied
and a different perspective
on everything, because
everybody experiences the world uniquely –
which is why no voice
should be ever silenced or muted
because their opinions
do not run in parallel
with that of the status quo…
everybody is capable
of expressing themselves somehow –
even if it is with the power of a stare
or a passive but noticeable gesture
that is a part of the universal
art of getting your point across
and making your intentions known.

Stories are wonderful things –
however, stories have a way
of taking on a life of their own…
some stories can start out
being about something
small and insignificant –
however, when stories are internalized
and personalized then can be reshaped
and retold in many different ways…
stories can be given names –
especially those that were inspired
by real life events and circumstances…
stories always have characters in them –
and on occasion storytellers
often exaggerate the qualities
and the attributes of a particular
character in order to make the story
that they are telling more dramatic…
some stories are referred to as
“Chinese whispers”, because they grow,
because they change, because depending
on how many times they have been told,
heard, retold, and shared –
though the seed at the centre
of the same story remains the same –
little by little, with every passing
iteration and narration,
a story can lose some of it’s most
fundamental facts,
and the devil that is in the details
of a story can become a shadow
of what was initially intended
to be a story told word for word.