In this regular Sunday feature, we ask people about 10 things that changed their life. This week, Mark Mackie, CEO of Regular Music.

1. Finding Bob Dylan in Glenburn Library

The National:

I CAME across Bob Dylan at quite an early age, I must have been about 12. My big sisters had a couple of his albums, but I stumbled upon one of his mid-career ones myself, and I was fascinated. Before that I had thought music was all “Love. Love Me Do”. Not that there’s much wrong with that, but I didn’t realise there was more to music.

That was at a time when some libraries had album libraries and you could borrow a record like a book. They did that at my local library in Glenburn, Paisley. They were so helpful in there. If they didn’t have the album you wanted, they would order it in – especially if they liked you.

I wanted to get the references right in his music, so it was easier if I started at the beginning. Then I just went through them one by one because you could understand the album better if you knew the one before.

I would take one out for the week (and tape it, it’s how you did it then) and take it back the next week to get the next one.

We didn’t have the money to buy albums, especially at the rate I was going through them. From there I started listening to Joni Mitchell and Neil Young and Van Morrison… it opened up a new world for me.

2. Natural heroes ... Charles Darwin and Jacques Cousteau

The National:

I WAS always into fishing when I was young, and Jacques Cousteau was a childhood hero – I loved all of his underwater exploration films.

Nature in general was something I was always interested in, so biology was my favourite subject at school. I didn’t read Origin Of The Species in its entirety, but we did study Charles Darwin and that was the lightbulb moment.

Learning about the theory of evolution brought everything into focus and it seemed to fall into place. This was the formula of the universe and now everything made sense to me.

I was such a fan of Cousteau that I went on to study marine science and zoology at Glasgow University, and that led to some interesting conversations with my mum over the breakfast table before I left for uni.

I came from a Catholic background, so creation was a hot topic. I said to her that the Adam and Eve story was written when they didn’t have the science to explain how it all began but didn’t take anything away from the beauty. But that’s what it was – a lovely story.

She would say “You’re talking rubbish”, but she knew I was right, though her believing that story didn’t do any harm.

3. The Queen Margaret Union

The National:

I WENT to Glasgow Uni at the age of 17, and even though I wasn’t 18 yet, they didn’t bother too much if I was in the student bars.

I would hang out at the QMU, which was the better of the two unions. The QMU was the more enlightened union, the other had been a men-only union for more than 100 years and was still a dusty old place.

Then I stood for the board of management of the union and was elected. I started helping out with the Ents committee, eventually becoming Ents convenor with responsibility for booking bands.

We rebuilt a bit of the stage and got a new power supply so we could book bigger bands. There was a run of great bookings and the QMU became the hot place to be to go and play – within six months we were established on that uni circuit. We had The Smiths, The Psychedelic Furs, Prefab Sprout, Everything But The Girl… we tried to do one band a week.

It was a great learning experience obviously too. I know there are courses for this now, but nothing will ever beat learning on the job for me, theory won’t help in dealing the characters that are involved in touring. It was a great introduction to the music business for me.

4. My first and only job ... and The Proclaimers

The National:

WHILE I was promoting gigs at the QMU, the scene was changing, with young people forcing their way in for the first time.

I met Pete Irvine and Barry Wright who had started Regular Music in the punk days, and after a couple of years doing some business, they asked me to come through and work with them. My only reservation at the time was that it was Edinburgh, because I loved Glasgow.

I commuted for the first six months, but it was soul destroying, so I moved, and it was great. They both left to do other things and left me holding the baby.

Working with The Proclaimers from their very first gigs was life-changing. Their ethos has always been to take music to the people, so if I didn’t have two new towns on every tour schedule, I would hear all about it! Anywhere with a town hall that can hold more than 500, we’ve been there. It we haven’t, let me know.

One of the most memorable was a night in South Uist. I felt like I was on the edge of the world. Looking out on that vast expanse of water and hearing them sing Letter To America when the next stop is America brought the Clearances home to me. That was quite a moment. Travelling around Scotland with them and meeting people in the towns and villages has been one of the great privileges of what I do.

5. Glasgow 1990 and The Big Day

The National:

EVEN though I’m living “in exile” in Edinburgh I always wave flags for Glasgow. If you cast your mind back to Glasgow in 1990, there were only two big hotels in the city and there was no tourism.

Pat Lally, the leader of the city council, wanted to open up the city by getting some kind of Transatlantic route to fly US tourists in – that was the goal.

The City of Culture was on and there was a real buzz. We had Pavarotti, we had the Bolshoi and we had Frank Sinatra, but they were all £60 a ticket. We said this to Pat Lally – there’s nothing for the people. We pitched The Big Day to them, a free event happening at sites across Glasgow, and they loved it. Fortunately, Channel 4 wanted to broadcast it and put up half the money.

Then there was six hours on Channel 4 of Glasgow – a great advert for the city.

The City of Culture changed everything. There was such a confidence in the city and one of my favourite venues in the world opened that year, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. We managed to force ourselves in a week before the Queen and put on the opening concert with The Blue Nile. Paul Buchanan cut the big ribbon on the stage.

6. R.E.M. at the Barrowlands

The National:

THE greatest band in the world at the greatest venue in the world. We had put them on before, but this was the 1989 tour when they were touring the Green album. It was 30 years ago, and Michael Stipe was talking about environmental politics then.

Exxon Valdez had sunk and there was no desire to clean it up. He stood at a lectern and encouraged everyone to boycott associated products. This was the album before they went global.

It’s a difficult task to choose one gig out of the many thousands I’ve seen over more than 30 years but this one stands out as something special.

Regular Music found Barrowlands just before I joined and they were looking for somewhere to shoot a music video for Simple Minds – that brought it back to life.

7. The family

MY wife Geraldine and I met when I was at university. We got married a few years later and, actually, just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary – at Edinburgh Castle, seeing Kylie Minogue, of all places.

Our three kids are all in their twenties now but, especially when they were younger, they were grounding for me. In the music business it’s easy for your head to be in the clouds and to be full of crap.

I took them to school every day. That might not sound much but it was something real to start the day. Even if I had been at a gig late into the night, I had to be up to get them down the road at 8am. It also provided the structure that can be lacking in music too.

8. My daughter’s trainer socks

I’VE been a late adopter of trainer socks. There were always a lot of trainer socks around the house, but I hadn’t caught on. My daughter was probably 12 at the time that she gave me a fashion lesson. She was adamant, so I tried them and became a convert, and it has changed things. It has now become my sock of choice.

Black or grey are the standard, but colour is irrelevant because the whole point is that no-one sees them. They’ve actually become quite sophisticated and you can get trainer socks with treads so that they give extra grip within the trainer. I say, “go for it guys, let your ankles breathe”.

9. Face Time

I LIKE to be clean shaven; it helps me to wake up in the morning. Back in the day we could choose between Bic single-blade razors – the reason why so many men had tiny bits of toilet paper all over their faces – or the old-fashioned razor that needed to be screwed together. It was better, but still a single blade.

When they invented the twin-bladed ones, it was life-changing.

Then my daughter bought me a Kiehl’s face cream for Christmas – I was never into face creams, maybe a West of Scotland male reluctance, but this stuff was incredible and I was hooked.

Of course, now there are three-bladed razors, so shaving technology and an open mind to face cream have definitely changed things for me.

10. Listening to history

I’M A bit of a technophobe. My phone doesn’t do e-mails, but I can call and text with it and I only need to charge it once a week. That’s all I need. I can be quite obsessive so I know I would be constantly checking e-mails if I had that facility.

However, I’ve always enjoyed a Book At Bedtime on Radio 4 and speech radio in general, so my daughter signed me up to Audible, where I can download books on to an iPod.

I tried a couple of novels but I’ve realised that it’s history and politics that interest me most, particularly Middle Eastern politics. There’s no music allowed on it – that’s far too much like work.