‘Gentle, peaceful and generous’: tributes to Angel goth club pioneer Mak

Slimelight owner was there for ‘anyone who felt they didn’t fit in’

Friday, 18th December 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Mayuan Mak

Mayuan Mak with partner Shay-Anne Aboud and baby Mikkel

TRIBUTES have poured in for a “legendary” Islington club owner, famous for his collection of tanks and submarines, who died suddenly aged just 55.

Mayuan Mak, known to his friends as simply Mak, founded the Electrowerkz venue in Torrens Street, Angel, in the late-1980s where it became the spiritual home for goths and punks through its Slimelight club night.

Since he died last Wednesday, scores of flowers and messages of condolences have been placed on his truck, which sits parked outside the club, while more than a thousand people have paid tribute to him online.

On top of his cult fame on the club scene, Mak was known for tinkering with military vehicles and aircraft through the scrap metal business he ran from the venue and he was a leading figure in the squatting community in London in the 1980s.

But behind this action-packed life, he was a “gentle, peaceful and generous” man who was there for anyone who was struggling in life or felt like they didn’t fit in, his brother Rohan told the Tribune.

He said: “He wouldn’t be in your face. He was gentle, a listener. He would be happy to give a hug and he was very thoughtful.

“Seeing the amazing feedback from people who knew him through the club, it’s clear he has helped out so many. He felt compelled to be generous to people he didn’t know and people down on their luck. It was just something in him.”

Flowers placed outside the club in tribute to Mak

Mak experienced one of the happiest days of his life when he became a father only five months before he died.

Mak’s partner Shay-Anne Aboud said: “Mak changed so much when Mikkel was born, he went from someone organising five events at once, to suddenly having a bottle in his hands and waking up at 3am feeding a baby.
“Mikkel is the happiest kid. He is asleep right now. He looks just like Mak.”

Mak was born in west London in 1965. The family moved to Maidenhead and then Reading.

He spent his childhood making model aircraft and tanks and “war gaming” with his brother.

The pair also spent hours watching The Wombles and The Clangers.

Rohan believes this all fed into his later obsession with military hardware and junk metal.

Mak left Reading as a teenager and moved to London in the 1980s. He became involved in the squatting community, finding empty buildings and occupying them. He also DJ’d at the Kit Kat nightclub where he met Dette.

Mak left Reading as a teenager and moved to London in the 1980s

She said: “I was in love with him straight away. You could tell that he had a vision for what he wanted to do.”

The concept for Slimelight was born when the couple were squatting in a church in Kilburn and the iconic Limelight West End venue opened.

He then found a derelict building in Torrens Street in August 1987 and managed to convince the landlord to give him six-months’ free rent.

The first Slimelight at Electrowerkz was held on New Year’s Eve 1987.

Dette said: “We were barred from so many places for being punks. Then the punk thing moved into the goth scene.

“We created the first goth club in London. It was amazing. It was a lifestyle then, especially since we lived there.”

From this base, Mak also explored his “soft spot for military hardware and heavy-duty metalwork”.

One of Mak’s best friends, Matty Webb, who helped run the scrap metal business, remembers that they couldn’t drive past a skip without Mak jumping out to have a look at what could be used.

Over the years he bought tanks, military planes, armoured vehicles and five yellow mine disposal submarines.

He began having health issues at the beginning of this year. He was diagnosed with sarcoidosis and aspergillus after several spells in hospital.

When he woke up last Wednesday he told Ms Aboud that he was feeling better. He worked most of the day and then spent time with his son. She remembers walking in on them “giggling at each other”.

She then took Mikkel to bed and Mak went through to the office.

While she was lying listening to music, she heard a cry from Mak and she rushed through to him. An ambulance crew arrived and conducted CPR but he was later pronounced him dead at the scene.

A crowdfunding page has been set up to pay for Mak’s funeral. If you would like to donate go to www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-mak

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