* UPDATE 210519: Michael Gregovich’s funeral, a Roman Catholic service, was held at Forest Gate cemetery chapel E7 9DG, today, followed by a wake in Dalston, Hackney. The family requests that rather than flowers, donations be made, to Hackney Winter Night Shelter, by cheque to HWNS, Room 3 Old School Rooms, Round Chapel, 2 Powerscroft Road, Clapton E5 OPU
* UPDATE 290419: In an act of extraordinary meanness, flowers and other tributes were removed several hours after the memorial was created. After this update was added, however, more flowers and images arrived
MICHAEL “MIKEY” GREGOVICH, the busker whose tinkling guitar and soft voice was a feature of shopping at the mall in Dalston, died this morning.
Friends were present when the cancer that had been attacking his lungs ended his life in Homerton University Hospital in Hackney today 28 April 2019, just after midnight.
He was 58 years old and is survived by his mother, Bridget, who had recently visited him, and two brothers.
Gregovich had moved to a flat in Stoke Newington, where he was helped by local friends who had got to know him from his playing at the Kingsland Centre E8 2LX. He was liked because he never requested money — in fact, he was robbed several times, including at Christmas — and he was respected for not performing the overused busker standby, Streets of London.
When the shopping centre was due to be remodelled, efforts were made to expel him from the ramp at the rear of the mall. The public came to his aid, and raised a petition for him to be allowed to continue every afternoon doing what he referred to as his work shift.
In his younger days he worked as a sound engineer for musicians of the stature of Robert “Led Zeppelin” Plant, who told Loving Dalston that “Mikey was a highly intelligent guy, very deep”, and good at his job.
Gregovich fell on bad times after the break-up of a band; he became broke and homeless because of substance abuse.
Since his cancer diagnosis, he has been given dedicated care and affection by Dalstoners. One of them, a mother of three, whom he knew only as “Simi”, spent hours tending to him in his flat, as he read Russian literature or watched films through the night, a guitar in his hands all the while. Simi texted friends this morning of his death, which had left her “heartbroken”.
He got a big emotional boost when Loving Dalston was able to put a famous musician from his past in touch with him. The giant of rock ’n’ roll took a taxi as soon as possible to visit Gregovich, which hugely raised the dying man’s spirits.
The rock legend does not want his name revealed: he thought it would be “distasteful” to do so.
Would it be distasteful for Michael Gregovich’s friends to say that the busker has taken a stairway to heaven?
David Altheer 280419
* Funeral details will be announced on this site as soon as they are known.
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