Sally MacLennane (1985)
By mark p
The Revue was a Mecca for all black clad young folk on a Saturday night, Goths, Punks, Metalheads, all manner of musical ‘tribes’ met, drank, danced, and rebelled against whatever it was they rebelled against at the time. If asked and pushed on the question, Gary would have said that he was rebelling against his folks, the so-called ‘establishment’, Thatcher and her henchmen, but it was more so he could project the image of a ‘rebel poet’, whatever that image was. The DJ played a varied selection of records, from punk, post- punk and the hits of the day , Simple Minds, U2 , Soft Cell, Chaka Khan and Prince : that kind of thing, it didn’t really matter once you’d had a few drinks, and that was the culture , what with the Revue being open late it tended to be the last port of call for many folk before the long stagger home. Gary often joked about the soles of his black suede boots sticking to the beer-soaked carpet of the Revue, as a result of the frequent spillages, it reminded him of the toys ‘Weebles’ from years before, which, accordingly to the TV Advert, wobbled but didn’t fall down.
Gary’s ‘rebel poet’ image was an amalgam of Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith , and smidgen of Lou Reed , which he was sure he achieved in his manner of dress at least, the only problem being was that he wasn’t American, but he had embraced all manner of poetry from the States , the Beat Generation, Walt Whitman and the like , and the music, from the 60s to now with the new bands that were poetically inspired (in his opinion) , bands like the Blasters , X and The Gun Club, he also loved The Pogues, whose song ‘Sally MacLennane ‘ always proved to be a favourite among the denizens of darkness at the Venue. When the DJ played it, the whole dancefloor would erupt in a wash of black clad folk, beer glasses would be dropped, cigarette ends chucked to the floor, the whole spectrum of musical tribes coming together in a frenzied drunken dance to what was essentially a folk song. Gary thought that The Pogues were seriously awesome, they fused Irish folk music to the energy of punk, and Shane McGowan, their front man, was a true poet, like himself, but a bit more drunk. That was an area Gary was going to have to work on! Their songs and tunes could be really moving and melancholic, poetic musings on Life seen through the eyes of an Irish guy. Gary had written poems about Aberdeen which he hoped and thought had the same effect, and he was attempting a horror story, in the style of Stephen King one of his favourite authors. He loved how King constantly referenced lyrics from songs in his books, and his stories were about believable characters you could identify with. ‘IT’ was a great story, if a tad long, with copious quotes from Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and The Doors songs, how cool was that? Gary would write his story with the Revue as a setting, maybe the Goths could be vampires, in a sort of Dracula set-in North-East Scotland, perhaps not. He would bash away at his literary endeavours on his typewriter, a new one he got for Christmas the previous year, a portable Olivetti thing, which came with a carrying case which he stashed under his bed at home. In addition to this Gary read an interview with X in the NME and they had said something about L.A. being a microcosm of the universe and this was where their ideas for lyrics came from, so he was, in his own small way, pretentious or not, intending to do the same for Aberdeen in poetry and prose, maybe compile a booklet and photocopy it at work when nobody was looking. He still scrawled drunken notes after the Revue for future poems, but often had trouble deciphering these the following morning.
Gary would always be at the Revue with Paul and Jake his old pals from schooldays, they were drifting apart, Jake with his habitual scrounging habits and Paul with his aspirational oil company jobs and the ‘yuppie’ lifestyle that he seemed to be pursuing. Paul came from a high achieving family so it stood to reason that he would progress down this route in his life. Paul was basically ‘a waste of space’, as Gary’s Dad had succinctly put it, but knew the ‘right people’. Gary was constantly advised ‘it’s not who you are, it’s who you know’, something which in his short working life he had come to believe as the truth. Gary wasn’t doing so well at his job, a move within the office had recently seen him struggling, talked to sternly by management, and subsequently walking out, only to return sheepish and apologetic later in the day. He felt that his card was marked by certain managers, and it probably was. Justine had left the service and he no longer had anyone to side with him, he was out on his own in that place, so accordingly he made the best of his weekends, how many folks of his age liked their jobs, apart from yuppie Paul?
Gary felt quite sad when he met Justine and her mates, including Kenny, her potential spouse, and really felt that he had missed his chance. His problem was that he was always worried about what other folk thought and hid behind the disguise of being shy or not too bothered. That night Jake had been up on the dancefloor with the latest object of his unwanted attention, an Australian girl called Tanya who, to Jake’s mind bore an uncanny resemblance to Siouxsie. She danced vacantly and stared into space, evidently in her own world, which was probably the best place to be as Jake lived in his own world of Jake-land , and didn't often see beyond himself and his own ego.Gary tended towards the maudlin sometimes when drinking, staring into space and wondering where his life would take him, he was probably a bit young to be miserable about his life, mind you , Shane McGowan wasn’t all that much older than him ,and he could articulate sadness and melancholy into song, maybe that was the next step for Gary , to be in a band. It was maybe too late to start playing an instrument, he but could sing though. He dismissed that thought to the back of his mind, and the voice of reason took its place, a memory from the past, of his Mum’s generation telling him that you just must get on with it, that was what ordinary people, folk like us did.
He decided that was the best plan for him.