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The Passing of an Icon – Marky J

16 November 2016 by Matt

marky-jWithin a week of starting on the Pride and Prejudice project at the Museum of Liverpool I found myself in the drag room of Garlands nightclub on a Thursday lunchtime. It was then that I first met Mark Jenkins, famous on the Liverpool scene as Marky J…

Over a cup of tea Mark told us the story of how he became involved in Garlands, promoting the club for over 20 years. He then kindly donated a collection of memorabilia from his years at Garlands to the Museum of Liverpool, which are currently on display in our There’s no place like Garlands! display.

As I met with more people from Liverpool’s LGBT communities, the more I began to realise how important Marky J had been to the creation of the vibrant, open, quirky LGBT scene that grew up around Garlands. In a time when Liverpool’s scene had been described as seedy and underground, Mark was the artistic genius who helped transform Garlands into the flamboyant club it is internationally known as today.

rh2016-0079Mark lived his life openly, honestly, and fabulously. At his eulogy, Margi Clark described how, when he was younger Mark had received a barrage of homophobic abuse. Patiently Mark had waited for them to finish and responded,

“Yes, I’m gay and you’re straight… and I hope you have loads of kids and you’re always skint at Christmas!”

Despite the homophobia that abounded in Liverpool, Mark thrived, deservedly gaining loyal friends, fans, and legendary status across the city.

The first objects I accessioned into the Museum of Liverpool’s collections were those wonderful flyers he’d kept from his years at Garlands and it was with a heavy heart that I accessioned this order of service from his funeral last week. Mark’s death will leave a large hole in the hearts of many people in Liverpool but he will be remembered at many a club night and party for years to come.

  1. Se-anne says:

    Creative Genius so magical so soon we always use too say can not wait to be old drinking tea out of china cups what a special human love you forever and ever Mark Jenkins GBNF xXxXx

    • Matt says:

      He was so special, and to see the love that people have for him is wonderful to see. He’ll certainly not be forgotten!

  2. Adam says:

    Such an inspiration to me and my life

  3. Mica says:

    A true legend who will be missed & remembered by all.
    I Loved working with you in garlands & taking part in your famous fashion shows!
    Love Mica x

    • Matt says:

      I would have loved to have seen those infamous fashion shows. From what people have told me they sound like a riot!

  4. Una Quigley says:

    Hiya Matt. Yes its good. Was nice to meet u. Dispiste the sad circumstances. I loved him for 50yrs miss him everyday. Una

    • Matt says:

      It was so lovely to meet you as well, a dreadfully sad day but it was amazing to hear all the stories and memories of Marky too. He had a great turn out and there was so much love for him.

  5. Tracey says:

    To be in Marky J’s presence you could feel an amazing energy from him. I feel he never really Appreciated how special he was in paving the way for up and coming young gay men and women. He was a leader and a warrior, who through tough times for being gay fought back with passionate wording and demonstration through diversity and equality.
    His journey should not go unnoticed, he was famous in his own right for standing up to a society that was about to change, he helped to change it for the better.
    His face and his passion should be honoured by all. Marky J was a great example of a light worker. He shone and his name should be up there with others who’s names have been part of the Liverpool heritage. RIP to one in a million.

    • Matt says:

      One in a million he certainly was and I think you’ve put why Marky was so special so well there. He lived his life to the full and paved the way for so many people to enjoy themselves, live freely, and he changed this city for the better.

  6. Joseph Rock says:

    I used to have a bar called Flash Harry’s just at the bottom of Scotty Road
    We had all been to the “FLESH” night at the Hacienda Club in Manchester
    And Marky said to me do you wanna do a little after hours in your pub so I said yes expecting a couple of ravers back
    He packed my pub to the rafters I took more money in one night than I did in one week
    I got raided and in the end Marky had the 5.0 drinking!!!

    • Matt says:

      What a wonderful story! If anyone could put a night on though it was Marky! Thanks for sharing that memory, sounds like I missed quite the night! haha

  7. Darren Johnson says:

    I was lucky to be part of Marks life , living a few doors away from him. Growing up as a teenager was the funniest of times , he was so dry, funny and made us a laugh so many times . .Remembering how intellectual he was and thinking wish I had his brains .
    Reading all the comments about Mark especially how much of a genius he was makes me proud . RIP my friend x

    • Matt says:

      He was fiercely intelligent, and with his creativity that made him such a force for good and a force for change.

  8. Joan says:

    Lovely to see this. He was a class act and deserves top be remembered with love and respect like this.

  9. Ste says:

    I Remember Mark from the BarBar in the early days what a nice person great vibe and energy about him Always went out of his way to say hello rest in peace mark xxx

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