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Cambridge-based author publishes a collection of poems

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Philosophical Muse and Stuff ‘n’ Nonsense is by first-time author Stephen Oldham.

Stephen Oldham book cover
Stephen Oldham book cover

Relatively new to the poetry scene, former sales manager Stephen Oldham – who is originally from Liverpool – explores the issues facing ‘modern man’ through poetry, muse and stories in his original style of ‘real fiction’.

Stephen, 56, examines issues facing humanity at the present time – issues as diverse as the family unit, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health, creation and revelations of prophesy.

This book raises many questions, which may one day lead to the ultimate question: ‘Who are we and just what is it that we are supposed to be doing here?!’

Stephen says he started writing poetry in 2007 and also recites it on stage, an activity that has obviously been curtailed somewhat this year.

“I first got on stage in 2015,” he tells the Cambridge Independent, “so I’ve been appearing on stage for about five years in the Cambridge area.”

He adds: “I did originally start writing a novel but with me moving into the stage performance, my focus moved on to writing performance poetry, and out of that really is what came the book.

"It all kind of came together over a period of time as I continually wrote each day – and then there were specific things that I wanted to write about and wanted to include in the book.”

Stephen, a father of three who has performed his poetry at The Junction a number of times, says the book took him about four years to write. All of this is a far cry from where he began his professional journey.

“I started off in a career in the pharmaceutical industry,” he recalls, “and did an MBA, but I grew very dissatisfied with life. It didn’t fulfill anything for me and for all the success I had – I had a lot of success as a medical rep and then a sales manager – I was never happy.

“And when I divorced my wife, which was the main reason for my unhappiness, it took me years to get over it. I spiralled down but then I got myself together. I met someone and she was like a rock for me – and I just slowly brought my life back up really.

“Writing has very much been a part of that; to address what I see as what’s wrong with the world. I find it a therapy – I can get out all my angst and it makes me feel good.”

On some of the issues explored in Philosophical Muse and Stuff ‘n’ Nonsense, Stephen says: “I think in 2012, everyone started taking seriously the end of the Mayan calendar and the end of the world, apocalypse, Armageddon, whatever you want to call it – and there does seem to be some remarkable similarities to the way the world is now to how it’s described in The End of Days...

“But it’s important for me to wonder why we are here, what’s it all about? And if it is wrong, why on earth hasn’t it been changed?

"Like politicians ruling, who don’t really do anything but seem to say a lot, and everyone just working for a thing called money. I know it sounds idealistic but I do see that it will change.

“But there are good things happening all the time, like I heard about Cambridge University pulling out of funding for all companies that dig for fossil fuels...”

Stephen concludes: “So really the book is about all those viewpoints and how I see the world. I write it in quite a blunt way and I hope it’s different so that people read it, and that it does have a positive impression in some way.”

Philosophical Muse and Stuff ‘n’ Nonsense, published by Austin Macauley, is available now.

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