May 12 is the birthday of Ian Patrick ‘Mac’ McLagan. Just a week or so before Mac’s birthday in 2014, Norman B ran into his old art school friend at a prestigious charity event in Seattle. In the green room, backstage at the Experience Music Project Museum, the two silver-haired Londoners, chatted away, reminiscing and agreeing they should record their conversation. “We’ll have a fireside chat via Skype!” chuckled, the always effervescent McLagan. Some weeks later, after Mac returned from being on the road, a recording session was arranged. The fireside chat went so well, Mac suggested he and Norman get together again for another lengthy recording. The second fireside chat was recorded later in the year, at the time when Ian released his latest album, United States and was about to embark on a tour with Nick Lowe. On the day of the recording, Mac was his usual characteristic happy self, making quips and pointedly ribald jokes. During the dialogue, the topic of age came up. Ian McLagan spoke seriously for a moment but managed to make light of the fact that he’d be ancient if he ever was able to pay off his second mortgage.
The fireside chats with Mac were lengthy, so we aired them in segments. As December 2014 arrived, we were about to air the final segment, when a brief email arrived from Mac’s Press Agent, “Sorry, Norman” it read, “You need to know that Mac has died!” Mac’s Press Agent Jo Rae Di Menno was also one of his best and most trusted friends. As Mac’s birthday is almost here we asked Jo Rae to share a few memories of her always smiling friend. In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, we pay tribute to Ian McLagan.