Thursday, 13 March 2014


There was such a power to the man, it’s difficult to believe he’s gone. Mark Logan and I were not best friends. We would both describe each other as friends, but we rarely met beyond the confines of the back bar at Massimos, a Chelsea enclave known as Shed na Gaillimhe.

Our paths brushed as they do in Galway, but I was not one of his closest. Yet Mark’s cruelly premature death has affected me so gravely that it tells a lot of the man. If my sadness is such as a peripheral friend, how might those closer to him, those countless others in his labyrinthine life be feeling?

I try not to go there.

The very reason I know the exact day we met was the reason we first became friends. It was 3rd October, 1999. Truth be told, I didn’t remember the precise date, but I'll never forget the day. A quick Google for ‘Chelsea beat Manchester United 5-0 1999’ was all it took.

I was sitting at what was then the front bar of the Blue Note, staring at a tiny TV hung high up on a column. It was a beautifully sunny day and nobody else was interested in the game, except for a strange figure lurking in the shadows. When Mark emerged from his hidy-hole to come to the bar, I at first thought he was Elvis Costello, but no. Not with that chin.

What a fantastic chin.
Seriously, chin-wise, Marky Logan was Numero Uno.

So the sun was splitting the rocks and the bar was empty, save for us two. Chelsea were unstoppable that day. Gus Poyet scored after 27 seconds and we never looked back, knocking goals past a Man United side unbeaten in 29 games faster than we could drink the pints that celebrated them.

I stumbled home plastered, singing ‘Blue is the Colour’, celebrating not only a (then) rare and great victory, but also the meeting of a splendid new friend.

Whenever someone in my life dies, wistful currents run through my soul and belly, wondering at all the things I didn’t share with that person.
Happily, I did get the chance to tell Mark what I thought of him. Unable to make his 50th birthday bash at Roisin’s last month, I sent him a message on Facebook:

“Mate - sorry to miss your big night, not only 'cos it'll be a blinder, but also 'cos you're a good man, and it's a pleasure to know you, even if it's only a bit. I did that Assist course, and it was by far the best of gordknows how many I did as a youth worker. Happy Birthday, rock the house and I'll hopefully catch you soon. X”

Not one bit of me expected a reply. I was just making my apologies and taking the opportunity to tell him how much I admired his work in suicide prevention and mental health, both topics close to my heart.

However, early the next morning, he sent me a message:
 “You were missed, Adley!”

I’m no more doing myself a disservice than calling Mark Logan a liar if I suggest that I very much doubt I was, but as an illustration of the way Mark dealt with people, it’s perfect. Mark was considerate, kind and charming, an advocate of saying hello to the stranger and maybe saving a life.

Above that Olympian chin, Mark’s expression held a latent wisdom, tempered by a keen sense of the absurd: a fabulous combination of knowing and nonsense.  When Mark was looking at you, you knew it, his intense eyes somehow successfully balancing irony with absolute sincerity.

He exuded a warm and gracious charisma that pumped benignly into the world with such a vigour, such a life force, it makes it hard to believe he's gone.

The last time I saw Mark, he had no idea I was watching him. Indeed, it was a perfect Galway moment. I was having a cup of tea and a slice of carrot cake at a table upstairs in Lynch’s Cafe. As any Galwegian knows, from there you can look down below to the cobbled streets, let your mind wander a while and snarf an artery-clogging chunk of cake at your leisure.

Down on the street the people whisked by and oh look, there’s the Snapper, just about to go into McCambridge’s to buy her cheese and beetroot roll for lunch.

Oh and look, there's Marky Logan, coming up the street the other way.

I watched my friend and my wife smile and greet each other, have a hug and a peck on the cheek. After a couple of moments of ‘Howya we must oh yes let’s lovely seeya’ they were on their merry ways, but just as Mark went to walk on, he turned slightly and performed a tiny but wonderful little bow, which sent my missis into the shop with a broad smile on her face, a slight skip in her feet.

Sitting above the action, this voyeur was feeling all a bit gooey. How lovely to live in a place where people have the time to stop and hug and say hello, especially people like the Snapper and Mark Logan, wonderful spirits who return humanity its good name.

Like myself, my friend Richard is a Londoner and lifelong Chelsea fan. Being blokes filled with sadness, we were nursing mugs of tea while carefully avoiding the emotional profundities of the moment. Instead, we were wondering who now was going to lead the singing during the Chelsea games. Mark had always been choirmaster of Shed na Gaillimhe, and his goal-time rendition of “Let’s go fu**in’ mental!” was as rousing as it was ironic, for a man who worked in mental health.

After a suitable period of Man Silence, Richard turned to me and said:

“He was a diamond.”

Where I come from, you can’t get better than that.
Mark Logan was a diamond; maybe a crazy diamond, but he’ll always shine.

©Charlie Adley

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