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Rory

Rory "too many aliasses to count" Mackay died in the night Friday 10th May 2024.


 

On Monday 22nd May 2000, S Club 7 released their instant classic, bouncy pop anthem Reach. At the time, I was a professional cheesy DJ, and bought all the new CD Singles likely to hit the top 40 that week. Obviously, the perma-cheerful pop construct later known simply as S Club had to be bought and played.


We existed in a time before digital cameras, social media, sharing your life online. I don't mean that it was better then, I mean there are very few photos from then. Which is probably also a good thing. This must have been the summer of 2002 or so. Rory, tipsy, naked, about to do something spontaneous and chaotic, laughing his ass off. He was always laughing.


As I came out of the high street record shop (remember them?), I was accosted by a random, unknown Big Issue salesman with a massive grin on his face and a rollie squeezed between his fingers


What you got in the bag?

excuse me?

What did you get from HMV?

uhm.... just this week's singles?

Can I see?

yeah, I guess....

S Club 7 - what the fuck's wrong with you?


I tried to convince him that it was a future pop anthem, sure to be setting the dance floor on fire at my gig this weekend.


Can I come?

Come where?

With you to your gig. I'll carry the records for you.

Sure


I gave him my address and didn't expect to see him again, probably until next time I was in Enfield Town, me buying CDs, him selling the Big Issue; but he did, and we went and did some goddawful North London party - I have no memory of what or why, but I do know that we connected, bonded and laughed like I don't think I ever have done before.


Starting here, a creative force came into my life which enriched it in every way. It's hard to know what to tell - I'm struggling to think of stories I can put on an open blog that aren't a little bit illegal. I was just thinking of the time we bumped the train down to Glastonbury. I don't think I should say much more than that other than jumping the gate at Castle Cary railway station was more memorable than jumping the fence at Glaso, and everything was more memorable than seeing Bowie live. But it did remind me of one minor adventure which I think can stand in for many more.

We were on the train going from London to Windsor. I have no idea why. I was working there at the time, so maybe that had something to do with it. Strangely, uniquely perhaps, we both had tickets valid for travel. But, while we were stopped at some rural station, we saw the ticket inspector walking towards us. Without a word, we stood up, bolted out of the open door, ran up the train to the carriage which the inspector had already inspected, and sat down, laughing our socks off at the glorious pointlessness of it. Everyone else laughed with us. What could be funnier than fare dodging with a valid ticket? With Rory, everything was about convention and the expectations of society, and bumping against them effortlessly and hilariously. He wasn't a rebel, and he didn't have a cause. He existed in a world separate from ours, and to be near him was to be near an unconstrainable force.





I have a hundred stories of beautiful chaos created by and around this incredible, genuinely gentle, sometimes frustrating human being.


Rory and laughter are synonymous. As are chaos and randomness, joy at the world and all that is in it, but with a sensitivity to it that I think many people didn't realise, and some took advantage of. A love of pub quizzes, an ability to name any song by the first few notes, and any film by it's cast, KFC Megabuckets, improbable quantities of drink and drugs. Make Pottery History. I'm putting the band back together. You're all cunts, but you're all lovely.


After I moved away from London, we drifted a little. I got a bit judgemental of his lifestyle. He felt I had left him. Both are true, neither is fair. But I don't think I ever went more than a couple of months without getting a call from him which ended with "I love you, brother". We all knew his enormous capacity for love. I'm glad we reconciled in the last couple of years, and right now, I'm pissed with him like you wouldn't believe.


Eight weeks ago, Rory's mum died. She was a wonderful woman, devoted to her kids, infinitely patient, but her health had been going downhill for a while. I knew that he depended on her; she was, along with his sister, the rock of his life. He didn't get over her passing. There was a moment, after her wake, where he seemed to be recovering from the loss, but it turned out to be transient, too great for him. He really did have a heart two sizes too big and when it broke, it wasn't to be fixed.


He leaves behind a few folks who are going to be devastated for a while, and hundreds and hundreds who met him who will feel the world got a little less interesting for his passing.


You know what, though. I think he'd get a kick out of me finding poetic depth in the Lyrics of S Club 7's Reach. We'd definitely have a laugh about it .


There's a place waiting just for you

It's a special place where your dreams all come true

Fly away, swim the ocean blue

Drive that open road, leave the past behind you


This is going to be tough. We'll put the band back together one day, I promise. You're on maracas.


Love you, brother.





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