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A man walks onto stage and either stands alone in the centre or to one side.

Him:-
The faded wallpaper on these walls
The neighbours babies calls
Full of things but nothing inside
Where I sat and you lied
The cliché is to make a house a home
A sentiment I’ve never known
Will leave still with this expression on my face
Everything else gone, without a trace
So come in and take a look around
As my heart falls once again to ground
Pictures and prints reflect my mind
All symmetrical and aligned
Your voice almost gone, replaced by a ghost
Who was the parasite and who was the host?
Within these walls, where we sat and stood
To turn it around as only you could
I liked the kitchen
You hated the stairs
Remember the times? Cocktails without cares.

A woman walks on to either stand beside the man or stand to the other side of the stage.

Her:-
Why do you have to make everything a poem?
What will happen no way of knowing?
It’s always about you. Can I have my turn to speak?
Always negative, doesn’t have to be bleak
Now it’s started I’ll speak too in rhyme
And it’s not too late there is always time
I must admit things have gone awry
A neglected plant doesn’t have to die
You step back and make a fuss
Sprint forward for this is us
A watering can could be all we need
A blossoming flower from a weed
Remember who was there when you were lost?
The bills unpaid never counted the cost
Never got in the way of the dream
Not even on the stage let alone centre scene
Your memory my dear is very distant
In all your life love has been persistent
I’ve typed your words and held your hand
Encouraged to continue when not gone as planned
Been there through the rants and the tears
This has been our refuse throughout all years
How can you not think that this has been our home?
Are you fighting to be on your own?

Him:-
You’re making me think
Is there something I missed?
With every word our life you twist
It’s true, I understand, you’ve done a lot
So look around and see what you’ve got
Wanting it all, even a Matisse
These pretences my darling, have to cease
You’ve made concessions you never let me forget
Changing the paint colour when walls still wet
I’ve done so much
Contorted to your whim
Fair to say, gone out on a limb

Her:-
Always something or someone else
Never your fault
All those courses and what were you taught?
Boredom or Brexit
Ruined if we leave
You’re not a politician, no need to deceive
Take control, a firm grip on the reins
Remember the garden and the fountain, not the carpet stains
Ponder the happiness and the laughs, the smiles and fun
It can all be good somehow, doesn’t have to be done
Why look back? Why look for an excuse?
We can stay here and be happy, look at the years of proof.
I can only say and do so much, you have to want us to carry on
Look around you, it is here we belong

Him:-
After hearing your words I’m beginning to take stock
Feeling like a key that’s stuck in a lock
Twisting and turning, no way forward or back
With words and walls I feel under attack
I don’t know why I have such a different view
Of this house, our love, and me and you

Her:-
It’s not all you and it’s not all me
Only by talking will there be unity
Let’s stop forcing words together that don’t quite fit
I’ll take the blame too and more than a little bit
We can go somewhere else and start a fresh
Or stay in this place and clear up the mess
We know those that leave can have their problems follow them as well
Grab the umbrella and take shelter, wait for the storm to quell
Talking it through can give us sunny skies
I know there is hope and love still in our eyes

Him:-
I’m sorry for my rants and for all the disdain
I do want it to be how it was again
Guess it is too obvious to take it out on those that know
I understand now, so say the word and I’ll go
Still can’t fathom how I became such a mess
The pressure of work when I shouldn’t care a less
Excuses and reasons you’ve heard all before
Seeing it all now I know I’ll do more
We’ve both got to change and we can now we concede
That one isn’t in front, we both have to lead

Her:-
I hear your words but talk can be cheap
Tell me what to do to help make the leap
It’s not all you and there was the affair
Because talking of clichés you were never there
Can’t put into words how much I regret
It’s you I still love, so happy that we met
We grew closer together with each and every decade
Then argued and disagreed, fell apart when afraid

Him:-
The affair is finished, all left behind
Although no excuse I was so unkind
Couldn’t reason or be righteous without being cruel
Pushed harder and harder, was such a fool
Let’s hold these keys together
Don’t care if we live in a house or a flat
We can throw out everything but keep the welcome mat.

Mark Scotchford © 15/03/2019
This is written as a play and was submitted to a Theatre for a competition.

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Posted in Novel Ideas, Poems | Leave a comment

Anyone For Ice Cream?

It is understood that paths are setup in the brain as we develop. So there is a quick route jump the queue system via pathways. During development certain things will be called out for by the brain. The calling could be through a need for development, desire, or for immediate gratification such as hunger or thirst etc. Some of these callings or triggers are obvious, some less so.

For example water would be ‘called for’ to cool or quench thirst but surely it can also be called for to assist in growth or development much like water for a plant? It seems to be believed that most paths are formed and then do not change even though their original use or requirement might have changed.

For example a childhood memory of ice cream. Chemically the ice cream could have been called for as a coolant and the consumption of the ice cream could set up a path. A call and request could be created to illicit the same response. But what if the path was setup for another reason, such as stimulating pleasure, or just taste. Or perhaps even, not for taste or for cooling, but for pleasure and the social interaction if with someone else, and the memory of the event ‘saved.’

If so, then the use for this action, or call and request has changed. The implications for this can surely be quite interesting and important? Firstly, even though two humans are anatomically the same, them choosing to eat ice cream together on the same day at the same time could be totally different and trigger a different response.

Simplistically, we could assume the ice cream is being called for cooling if a hot summer’s day but we could be missing a whole host of reasoning behind the action. It could be being called to setup a new pathway, a new memory, a bond with the person having an ice cream with. It could be eradicating another memory or called for just because of hunger, thirst or for cooling.

The reason why we want something could be for a plethora of reasons and if we have wanted it before, the next time we ask for it could be different from the first. The response to the call will always be the same, and so will the outcome or will it?
The association with the request for ice cream and the experience could both change, thus the memory of it and its function changing too.

Mark Scotchford © 12/03/2019

I first wrote this on September 18th 2018 and have just found it in a notepad.
Please can someone shoot it down in flames or come back to me with what they think I am trying to say? Thank you.

Posted in Articles, Neurology, Psychology & Psychiatry | Leave a comment

The Aftermath Film Review

I will try to make this review as brief as possible so as not to reveal too much of the plot. Why? Because I think you should go and see it. The acting is good and the film as a whole is rather charming. The character Stefan Lubert is played by Alexander Skarsgård who seemed to be an unknown to most a few years ago and now is seen as hot property to many. He certainly cements this accolade with another convincing and controlled performance. Having an ‘easy on the eye’ appeal does help though which often goes hand in hand with him seemingly always playing a love interest of some description.

The character Rachael Morgan is played by Keira Knightley and whether you love or loathe her she can certainly act and in this film, seems to be able to cry on demand. At least three times she turns on the waterworks. Now, I agree crying is not acting but I do think she can do both rather well. For me, acting is all about whether you believe the character and care.

I think this is where The Aftermath really hits the spot on many levels. I cared about all the characters, including Jason Clarke as Lewis Morgan. To me this film is very well layered. There is the realisation at the end of WWII that contrary to the way history can be portrayed, it wasn’t all happily ever after for the country that lost or the allies that won. There was so many things to figure out on both sides. Displacement and disorientation had to be confronted by those not sitting around desks, carving up Germany’s infrastructure and economy whilst doing deals and devouring foods aplenty. Whilst outside there was starvation and stigma. It was obviously an extremely tense and turbulent time, and one I readily and regretfully admit, I hadn’t thought much about.

The audience is then landed straight into the calm within carnage, and the rights of those that won the war against those whose country lost the war, and to see them lose a lot more. Their homes and their dignity. Their loyalty and legitimacy questioned, in their own homes, in their own country.

This then is the setting for psychological turmoil for all involved. As already insinuated I do like the way this all develops together, and caring about the characters is helped along with a good script and good acting all round.

This film seems to have had some unfair reviews in my opinion after its opening weekend. I advise you to go and see it. If not for the acting or the actors, then perhaps for the ideas or ideals within it, the psychology of the characters, or just to see a beautifully appointed house complete with a Mies Van Der Rohe lounge chair.

Mark Scotchford © 08/03/2019

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Should there be a second EU referendum in the UK?

The general public was asked a succinct question. Should the UK leave the EU?

We were not asked ‘shall we give it a go and see how we get on?’ Or ‘Shall we start the ball rolling and have another referendum if things get a bit complicated?’ We were asked one simple question with excruciating consequences that no one knew or cared to inform the general public about.

Successive governments, whatever happens, should honour the result of this referendum, regardless of their views. To the Prime Ministers credit, she does appear to be trying to do this. But to have a second referendum would be wrong. Hoping that people would now change their minds or they’d just vote to stay in to get it all over with in my view is a pitiful and pathetic argument. Some of us are stubborn and would vote yes twice again if we could.

What happens if we have one and it’s the same result?

We could have ‘best out of five?’ Or another one with the question ‘Are you sure now?’

The general public was given the choice. We shouldn’t have been but we were. Yes, in all likelihood, now we all know more, and the snowflakes who couldn’t be bothered to vote in the first place now voting after they have accused the leavers of ruining their lives, and others will vote just to put an end to it all, the vote could be different. But just because it could be, doesn’t mean we should have it.

Mark Scotchford © 27/02/2019

Posted in Articles, Prove I'm Wrong - Articles | Leave a comment

On The Brink Britain

The little island where I was born seems to have many names. United Kingdom, and Great Britain are just two, and to the car industry I’m sure up until recently it was known as Treasure Island. It is a shame that I have to admit, that right now it is neither united nor great, for a plethora of reasons.
Growing up in England, living here all my life I have seen many changes, and most of them have not been for the better. Also, as I have grown up, (mostly), and paid my tax and national insurance, become older, and not necessarily wiser, I have slowly begun to question where my money goes and what I get for it.
Sure, three things I want to say from the outset here. 1) I haven’t lived anywhere else and the grass is always greener, 2) Very difficult unfortunately to mention England and not talk about Brexit but that is only the tip of the Dover cliff and 3) I know England is not like other countries where there is no freedom, or there is a regime, and a dozen eggs costs a weeks or a month’s wages.
But, my view is that a Country should improve and get better with time and England hasn’t. It is going backwards, in some very scary ways and at an alarming rate.
Brexit
Let’s quickly get Brexit out of the way first. David Cameron was naive and foolish in the extreme to allow the British people to vote. We should have voted on whether we should be allowed the vote, not the vote itself. The media, the government, and all opposition handled the lead up to the vote incomprehensively badly and the general public, for the most part voted without all the facts, or the facts misinterpreted or the facts lacking in detail, which has led to the catastrophic mess the Country is in now. We have Theresa May who is between a rock and a hard place, with a party in freefall. A Labour party in disarray, most Politian’s involved manoeuvring for their own political brinkmanship, the media reporting any and every detail and scenario, all of which for the most part inaccurate and just to get as many viewers as possible, and an EU consortium that wants to make an example of England.
In the lead up to the referendum where was the talk of the backstop or a no deal Brexit? We weren’t even told about Article 50. It almost seems it was an agreement made, intended to never see the light of day. I reckon someone had to open a cupboard that hadn’t been opened in over 40 years and find a dusty folder that was covered in cobwebs with a sealed band that said “For emergencies only.”
Jean-Claude Juncker recently said “It takes two to tango and I know how to dance.” I think we could be talking dirty dancing here, and I don’t mean Patrick Swayze style. (Gods bless him. Patrick, not Jean-Claude.) I bet he is good at tripping up.
Now, we are where we are, so there should not be a second referendum. Why? Because whether right or wrong, whether with the facts or without, we voted, well some of us did, and now we have to carry on with it, get through it and make the best of it, for richer or poorer.
The Country is one point eight trillion in debt anyway, so how much worse can it get?

There you go, Brexit done, and that leads me on to my next gripe with the place I call home.

Disillusion & Disparity

I cannot begin to describe to you how England has changed in my life time. I know some of these changes are only apparent perhaps as a result of the bitterness of age but conversely they could have been hidden by the rose tinted Ray Ban sunglasses of youth. When I was sixteen and had my first job on ninety three pence an hour I guess I didn’t really care too much about where some of my wages were going. Comparatively, I had it easy, I know. I lived with my parents, so I just spent my money on bicycles and bars. Not always chocolate.
I know I wasn’t too bothered about road quality or paying for utilities and car insurance was still hideously expensive but I felt like the system was there for me. That I was part a Country, and that most things, although not quite fair, had rhyme and reason and a way of working out. I felt as though I was contributing to something and I got something in return. Yes, I know, the ignorant bliss of youth but I had evidence to back it up.
When my friend’s bicycle got stolen the Police got involved and caught the culprit.
When I was out at night I saw Police in the town centre whether there was trouble or not.
Roads seemed to be flat and of good quality.
I remember being injured in a cycle accident and being taken to A & E. Whilst I was there I was attended to within minutes and I was cared for, very well. The nurses seemed to enjoy their job and didn’t seem on the verge of a heart attack themselves.
Councils collected rubbish without question.
House prices seemed reasonable and affordable and in line with what my parents were earning.
Doctors had time for their patients and seemed to care about them.
The rail service wasn’t brilliant but it was reasonable.
I remember as often as possible, looking up and seeing Concorde. It was a sight I was never tired of seeing. A beacon of brilliance, a sign of British and French engineering excellence. It wasn’t just a plane, it was a dream, an inspiration. From its Bristol base it showed what could be achieved, what could be accomplished? As a school boy it was testament to belief and beauty, beguiling and bewildering, all at the same time. How could this be possible?
Along with Jaguar and Bentley, Rolls Royce, and heck even Rover, it showed me some of what Great Britain stood for. Sure, there was the Falklands War, there was the IRA, there was Margret and the miners’ strike, and also the constant strikes by the people making the cars, but there was a sense of belonging, of unity, of hope and opportunity. I wasn’t old enough to relish in the hope or understand the motives or meaning in all the problems but I still felt proud to be British and I knew some things had to change.
Fast forward now, to present day, and wow, did I envisage an England like this? No way. Of course, I didn’t see myself in the position I am today either but the jury is still out on whether one holds the other accountable for their own inadequacies.
I can only comment on what I have seen, and what I know. I like the knowledge is gained through experience philosophy although I concede, this can be limiting, both practically and productively.
In a time where, and in no particular order:-
A council has spent a reasonable sum of money in consulting to get heroine plaques changed or produced in pink only to receive a backlash for ‘reinforcing gender specific stereotypes.’
When it has been revealed that the governments HS2 project has spent in excess of two hundred million pounds buying homes in the HS2 path, for a project that hasn’t officially been given the go ahead yet, in the meantime leaving those properties derelict.
Millions and millions of pounds have been spent on, for and behalf of the residents of Grenfell.
I have been waiting for an appointment for two weeks to see if I have liver disease.
If I report a crime I only get a crime incident number.
If I go to A & E I’ll wait for hours and hours. I have been with a broken nose and have done.
Community is a word used by the media for a story but most neighbours do not know each other.
Money seems to matter more than anything or anyone else.
Rubbish is not collected because of the wrong type of bag in the bin or the lid of the bin is up.
I have to pay exorbitant rent but others can live in the same block rent free and with no regard for the property or other residents.
The only time I see a police officer is when they are with a speed camera.
Trains are cancelled, late, or crowded and nothing changes but the fairs rise yearly.
The elderly were cared for by the state. Now in most cases it costs a thousand pounds a week.
ALL council service are being cut, across the board, seemingly in every sector and for any reason.
A government promote diesel, (ignoring scientist reports), lower the price of diesel, then put up the price of diesel once it had gained a public foothold, then inform the public diesel is bad and penalise the public for buying the cars the government promoted.
Air pollution levels become illegal in most towns and cities.
From the examples above and my own reasoning Brexit may well be the foul tasting main course of England’s present and future calamitous state but it nestles within a banquet that could leave England with food poisoning and famine if changes are not made fast. Please note that for some, rightly or misguided, leaving the EU was just a desperate attempt to try and instil or force change and fairness in a country they no longer recognise. One that they have slowly seen slip away, from the good to the ghastly, from the fair to the foreboding.

Mark Scotchford © 25/02/2019

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Reflections

Seeing reflections
That don’t exist
With every wind gust
Another twist

Peripheral vision
Something catches my eye
Know it is you
Just tell me why

Give me a clue
Do I need to say a word?
Although it’s you that’s gone
It’s me who’s never heard

Do what you will
Never beyond caring
But please do it now
Strangers are still staring

I’ve had patience
On the surface everything is fine
Up there to catch your breath again
It’s me that’s running out of time

So make your move
Put all this to bed
Say your piece
Or get out of my head

Mark Scotchford © 26/12/2018

Posted in Loss, Love, Poems | Leave a comment

Steam

Goes where it wants
Does as it pleases
Twists and turns
Meanders and teases

Free spirit
Neve to be tame
Almost translucent
Intensity of flame

Innocent and innocuous
Oblivious to most
Form from a function
Consistency of a ghost

Will always be in awe
Presence with anonymity
Strength and power
Others do not see

Elements combine
Steam their last breath
Continuous movement in a moment
Vigour and freedom in death

Mark Scotchford © 19/11/2018

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