Mal Cieslak, as he was known in the mid 80's, and I go way back when, I'd probably known him well over a decade before MMATT was ever even thought of. Already a well known and published poet, he worked with us on some of the At Twilight Time projects in '87, appearing on stage with us at The Grain Festival the same year, and briefly becoming a part of that collective with EM duo Leviathan in its latter stages. Nowadays a reasonably successful writer and novelist, it's nice to know working with us didn't ruin his career chances completely...

Magic Moments At Twilight Time Good morning, Mal, how's it going on this fine summer morning? Oh, hang on, it's cloudy, windy and raining. Reality is restored... ;)
Mal Foster Glad to get a bit of respite from the heat but loved the sun... good summer so far..
Magic Moments At Twilight Time It has been amazing, sure, really reminds me of the summer of 1976, I'd have been 18 and we'd probably already known each other a few years by then? Galinis!
Mal Foster Galinis, it was a great place. A coffee lounge at the top of the High Street in Camberley. A 5p cup of coffee used to last for hours & as poets/writers, we thought we could change the world from there...
Magic Moments At Twilight Time Oh, didn't we? I can still picture the Spanish guy who ran the place, Luis, I think he was called. It's true, I think most of us up there had artistic ambitions of one sort or another, when did you first start writing poetry and when you did you begin to get published?
Mal Foster I started writing poetry when I was 15. My first poems were published in a couple of anthologies two years later...
Magic Moments At Twilight Time I had to wait a bit longer than that before ANYBODY took any notice of me!!! :( So, after Galinis, there was a few years gap, I did the job and marriage(s) thing, then we bumped into eachother again not long after MMATT came about, does that sound about right?
Mal Foster Yeah it does, Myself and Paul Wells randomly wandered into The White Hart in Frimley and there you all were, you, Shona, Jay and Kate all playing live. Great evening and also for me and you, a mini reunion as a few years had passed since we'd last seen each other...

















Magic Moments At Twilight Time Oh, it was The White Hart Gig, just a few days over 31 years ago! I was talking to Julie White Hawk about that one last weekend. Well, we found out you were still at the poetry and were very keen on exploring all sorts of artistic avenues ourselves, so come the August of '87, we invited you along to some of the At Twilight Time project sessions to see what Shona and myself could do with you. I realise that sounds quite rude, maybe I should rephrase it! ;) Let's have a listen to the first poem you recorded with us, then perhaps you could tell us a little about it? This is "The Asylum Prince"...

Magic Moments At Twilight Time I was sorry to hear about your feathered helmet, I hope that got better...
Mal Foster I had forgotten about that one, a poem I never kept for any of my collections although The Wedding and Preconception which we also recorded, both survived.

Magic Moments At Twilight Time Bugger. Um, okay, let's have a listen to "Preconception" then, again from the ATT Sessions, August 1987, and hopefully you'll be able to tell us a bit about that one! :)

Magic Moments At Twilight Time He's been a while, trouble with exploding babies, I expect. My bad... ;)
Mal Foster Preconception. .. I wrote this in the early 80's. I was wondering if I'd ever have any kids... as I wasn't with anyone at the time, I also wondered who the mother might be if I did. The poem is probably my personal favourite from the hundred or so I had written across the years... The recording I think is brilliant btw
Magic Moments At Twilight Time Apart from the exploding babies bit at the end, I think! :) Now, I confess I was always taking the piss and saying you only ever wrote poems about trains, which was very bad and I apologise wholeheartedly. So, the third poem we recorded, "Platform Eight, Victoria"...

Magic Moments At Twilight Time Shona can be heard on this one too.
Magic Moments At Twilight Time Thoughts? Oh, about the poem, not my wife!!! :)
Mal Foster Platform 8 Victoria is where the night train to France via Dover Priory used to leave from. In the 70s I had a French girlfriend so used to go to Paris quite a bit. I wrote this poem as the train was leaving Victoria station
Magic Moments At Twilight Time Oh, we're coming to the French bit, trust me! ;) But first, "The Wedding". It's hard not to like this one, there's an insightful humour at play here, one that all of us with failed marriages can connect with. While you read the text of the poem, the husband and wife (yourself and Shona Moments) go from meeting to "I'm leaving and I'm taking the kids!" in a couple of minutes. This couldn't have been bitter experience at the time, surely? Where did the inspiration come from?

Magic Moments At Twilight Time Oh, and I'm the priest. Typecasting, eh? ;)
Magic Moments At Twilight Time I love the "Wha...?" at the end!
Mal Foster The Wedding is my most widely read poem, and was published in the Australian Secondary Schools anthology 'Poetry Unlocked' in 2006 as part of their curriculum for English literature that year. This was quite ironic as I had left school at 15 without any formal qualifications myself....When I listen to this recording I always wait for Shona at the the end "Look, I'm going and I'm taking the kids"........
Magic Moments At Twilight Time Shona, yes. Hey, you know how people say that thing like "Look, I don't want to embarrass you, but..."? Well, Grain festival, you were scheduled to perform a few poems during our early afternoon first (At Twilight Time) set, so we gave you a page in the festie zine/programme type thing. You liked my wife then? ;)

Magic Moments At Twilight Time We can see you behind the sofa, Mal... :)