Overall, I received input from over one hundred participants during the study and received some fairly incisive reflections on the venue. The following extracts represent a few examples.
One Apollo audience member could see the generational appeal that the run-down nature of the venue epitomised:
I can remember my Dad going there to see (country artist) Don Gibson, and coming back and saying, ‘If I go back there again, I’m wearing a fucking boiler suit!’ For us this reinforced it, that this was somewhere that your parents didn’t like to go, whereas we revelled in these conditions.
For some touring road crew members, the limited loading facilities at the venue caused some consternation, to the extent that a well-known poem about the Apollo circulated within the live sector:
Oh Glasgee town
You get me down
Especially when it’s raining
When I have to rig
That poxy gig
It does my fucking brain in.
The precise moment that Richard Jobson of The Skids knew his band had ‘made it’ occurred as soon as they walked on stage during their first headlining show at the Apollo. For Jobson, it was
… an incredible feeling. (Guitarist) Stuart Adamson and I caught each other’s eyes as we walked on stage and felt this was it: We were never better than that moment. I felt like we had wings that night – flying through the air in one direction as he passed me in another. The noise from the audience was deafening – the songs sounded like they meant something and for a magic period on the stage it all made sense.
The artist Elkie Brooks makes a number of valid points about the Apollo’s legendary status:
Legendary venues earn their reputation through the hard work, history and memories people have of them. No matter how much people try to claim or make the O2 a ‘legendary venue’ this is not going to happen, it can never have the musical history or legacy of somewhere like the Apollo. If it was still standing now, there would be a good chance it would have been taken over by some conglomerate theatre group and the life and soul drained from it. I suppose it is more legendary due to the fact it is no longer with us and those old memories can remain undiminished.
In one of the last interviews completed for the study, Frank Lynch, the local live entertainment entrepreneur who started the Apollo, offered his reflections on the venue thirty years after its closure:
Well, you know you’ve done something pretty good when, thirty years after the Apollo closes, as many as one to two hundred people a day are visiting a website devoted to it because it brings back so many memories. … So, I’m so proud of it.