Farewell Mikey… Dalston’s favourite busker has sung his last song to Hackney

Busker Mikey @ Kingsland Centre 180712 © ∂å
Afternoon fixture: Michael Gregovich busks on the shopping centre ramp
Mikey©DA100519: Memorial to Michael “Mikey” Gregovich, the busker at the mall in Dalston, who died 280419 © david.altheer@gmail.com
They tried to ban them: tributes posted after the first removal
wake©DA19: wake for busker MIchael Gregovich (1961-2019) at Curve Garden Dalston E8 © david.altheer@gmail.com 210519
Farewell: the wake for Michael Gregovich at the Dalston Curve Garden on 21 May 2019

* 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.

Mike©DA10: Busker Michael at Kingsland Shopping Centre Dalston London E8 100710 © david.altheer@gmail.com

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.

Backstory: Dalston mall threat?; Into the Vortex; Robbed again; Hackney’s top busker makes video

* All pictures on this page © David.Altheer@gmail.com. Most photographs are available, for sale, in bigger formats.

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10 thoughts on “Farewell Mikey… Dalston’s favourite busker has sung his last song to Hackney

  1. A genuinely decent man has left us.

    God bless you, Mike, and may your soul be at ease, brother.

  2. So sad to hear this news. Mike was a real friend who was used only to giving.

    I would see him virtually every day for several years and he always had a kind word and a suggestion of an artist or tune I should be listening to. If it wasn’t for him, both Terry Callier and Dan Penn with Spooner Oldham would have passed me by.

    He will be badly missed in the Dalston area for his shining wit, ever-present smile and warm heart.

    Love you, Mike.

  3. Devastated to hear the news. We spent many years together and some were of the happiest, to be sure. I feel blessed and honoured to have known him.

    RIP, Mike

  4. I was deeply saddened to see all the flowers laid in Michael’s spot today. I’m so sad that he has passed. He was such a wonderful, intelligent and kind soul. He will be truly missed. Mum and I hope you are rockin’ in Paradise. x

  5. MICHAEL, I’ll miss your soft and beautiful tones on the ramp.

    A lovely man and a talented musician. Rest in peace.

    Caroline xx

  6. God bless, Micky, I knew you, made you sandwiches, had a chat. I loved your gentle manner and beautiful music.

    I have a CD of his songs. A lovely man, loved by loads of people.

    RIP, Micky, from all your friends and fans

    xx

  7. You were so loved, Michael, one of the greatest of souls, and will always hold a place in all our hearts. I am missing you and your wisdom, and your caring attitude – for everybody, without regard to race or creed – so much. I found some very old (Jewish or Palestinian, I think) singing last night on YouTube and played it twice for you.

    Was so chuffed that you liked your character that permeated my written work in spite of my “Rubbish punctuation” as judged by Chris!

    Truly heartbroken after all these years,

    I have a big hole in my heart now, but your pain has ended

    God keep you

    Deborah

    X

  8. Very sad to hear of Mikey’s passing – today was the first time in a year that I’d been to that shopping centre and I saw the tributes left for him in his usual busking spot. I always knew he’d picked that spot to busk in because of the beautiful acoustics that space just happened to have. Very much suited his guitar style and allowed him to play gently and sweetly in a way you never can on a busy street. RIP, Mikey!

  9. So sorry to hear of Mikey’s departure. Always good to hear his playing and singing livening up the Dalston shopping mall in his modest, dedicated way.

    Occasionally we swapped memories of favourite songs and singers. He was quick to be friendly and to chat, although I never knew he was ill.

    I will miss you greatly. Long live your song, Mikey.

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