Born in Woodseats, Steve Mackan entered the world without remorse in 1980. He was hand-reared in a free-range environment in a typical Sheffield two-up, two-down. As a young child, Steve would entertain adults by remaining completely silent for hours on end, making audible enunciations to remind folk of the peace disrupted.
Steve Mackan was a nervous, solitary child. On his first day at school, he changed all the clocks in his house so that his parents would be so late that he would miss Primary education altogether. Unfortunately he turned the clocks the wrong way and was left to fend for himself at quarter-to-seven in the morning. Steve stood by the school gates as the older kids arrived and he latched onto one lad, Colin Smythe, who was at best an imaginary friend and at worst a sick bully.
Steve rode the waves of early years education by maintaining silence and being very good at rounders; he was one of those hitters who the opposing team would take five strides backwards because of the range of his hitting. “Watch out, he can hit big this one.”
Mackan was introduced to football by his (oldest) friend, Johnny Swoth. It was a Tuesday night and The Swothster’s dad had been taken poorly and so there was a spare ticket to watch Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. Being away from the ground on matchday was such a progressive experience that he never recovered, dying some weeks later. Steve did not enjoy the experience one bit, but at least there was less death involved. After that, it was Sheffield United “or nowt”.
Both parents being more attracted to alcohol and other partners meant that Steve could drum up his own allegiance, and drum he did. From his seat in the Laver he became attuned to the way of the Lane, developing favourites Glynn Hodges, Carl Bradshaw, and Kit-Kats at half time.
No adult ever accused young Steve (Stevester as he was known then) as having a sense of humour. That came later. In fact, it only came after an incident with a driving instructor who asked Stevester to reverse into a field, which brought forth the response, “dl-eif-a-ot -ni.”
After discovering the joys of wordplay, Mackan fawned over all sorts of literature from the substantial back catalogues of Dr Seuss and Adrian Mole to the far less substantial Harper Lee. Mackan cites the comingling of literature and football as the axis upon which his passion for writing began, “reading Green Eggs and Ham and empathising with Boo Radley, whilst at the same time watching United get relegated, that’s what got me started on writing down my emotions on paper.”
Mackan began simply: “funny, sad, very sad,” this was his first dalliance with prose, which steadily became more complex, “very funny, sadish, very sad and now a tear in my right eye.” Over time, Mackan would become more competent with written words, and spoken too.
In the mid-nineties, Steve self-styled himself as The Young Mackan after a brief but intense foray into post-punk with the band Gaviscon Dreamz who later became Acid Reflexes at Midnight, for who he played the bass badly. He did later have a bash at singing in a number of bands: the metal troop Vol aux Vent Destruction, the crusty grunge act Quiche Lorraine who later became Flan!, the Brit-pop duo Young Mackan and the brilliantly beige, the Brit-pop one piece, finally settling on the Young Mackan. He enjoyed little popularity but his legacy has endured as a local cult hero.
Most famously, The Young Mackan penned “Millennium: Crust are//:Crusts will be” in the year 2000, selling over thirty copies to family and friends:
Crusts are, aren’t they?
Crusts will be, won’t they?
Never give in to the misappropriation of culture////TIME||||
Bugz. Bugs. Millennium bug/s Crawling. Why do they crawl like…?
Papering over the cracks like shortcrust. Cracking over the shortcrust like paper.
Rough puff. Crusts. Pastries in extremes. Pasty. Patsy.
His dad was sat at the kitchen table when he read the piece, which is just as well, as it was extremely close to the bin, and he wouldn’t want to burn is child’s dream at his own inconvenience.
By 1998, The Young Mackan was no more. Instead, Steve began to identify by the name his parents had always hoped he would, Steve. He also gave up on his dreams of being a performer and stuck more keenly to writing. Aged 20, Steve embarked on a new career path: he re-took his English A-level and began an NVQ in Catering. Although he never passed his English, he did go on to enjoy a very successful pot washing career.
An early adopter of the Streetwise Corner, “for reasons of comfort, spectatorship and efficient entry to the snack bar”, Steve became a veritable face on the terrace. Known for his quiet voice when singing and loud clacking when eating, he would spend most of the game bellowing his own unique profanities:
“His gonads would be far sorer if Bob Booker had kicked him!”
“What about the chuffin’ game, why don’t we just get on wi it”
“If that’s a red, I’m buying a snickers”
“For the love of brown bovril”
“Coutts, Coutts, Coutts,” elongating the vowels like the ohm, ohm, ohm of a mediating hippy.
“I can’t spell your name, I can’t spell your name.”
“Spice off Brucey.”
There have been very few gaps in Steve Mackan’s unemployment, and the ones that exist usually involve a kitchen and very little creativity. In fact, Steve despises work so much that he decided to become a full time writer.
Steve’s brother paid for his hotel to ensure that Steve read out a wedding speech. Steve’s words baffled guests and the happy couple alike. Two glasses of Champagne down, he began to read out a leaflet for Equity Release. Luckily the last words on the leaflet were ‘we’ll be here to see you through,’ which coaxed heavy waves of baffled applause.
Steve is yet to receive many offers to pay for his services. Some say this is because he refuses to cooperate with strict briefs – “a ridiculous dress code – whilst others say it’s because he is horribly relaxed about referring to himself in the third person (I am not!). Whatever the reason, the maverick aesthete is prepared to take on any job, however big or small.
Hire Steve – firstname.lastname@example.org