Mick Carney OBE

Today at Fitzroy Lodge boxing gym we had a 2 minute silence for Mick Carney who died a week ago at home in Bromley. Much has been said about the London legend that he was (click here for Steve Bunce’s tribute on the BBC London boxing hour).

It was about as unsentimental a silence as you can get. Just 30-odd folk in bandages and headgear standing around in the Lodge as Colin Neil — longtime friend of Mick and Lodge Saturday master trainer — counted down the seconds. A bag or two squeaked as they swayed on their hooks and a few trains rumbled overhead en route to Waterloo.

I only knew Mick from going to the gym — I was never trained by him and was often reminded by him about how I’d missed the amateur boat and I’ll  remember fondly the roll of the eyes when I jokingly threatened to turn pro just to spite him. Still he always found time to come over during training and offer a few pointers — the sign on the wall at the Lodge says “Learn to Listen” talking back to Mick was always a dangerous game.

He was a man of few words but he loved the written word. We’d often talk about what books were were reading and maybe now I’ll get round to reading the book he gave me last Christmas (an unwanted gift from some “dense” acquaintance). Mick was also a great aficionado of quality TV: HBO’s Treme series was a favourite, he even went to the preview at the South Bank; and just 5 weeks ago when I last saw him he was waxing lyrical about the lovely music in that show. I sent Mick a CD of Treme music a couple of weeks ago — I hope he got to hear it.

Funeral on 1st Dec St Edmunds Church, Beckenham.

UPDATE December 1st . . . What a turnout for Mick. I don’t think South London’s  ever seen so many geezers with broken noses and thick necks all in one place before (although come to think of it, it was in Beckenham). Click below to hear Nigel Travis’ superb and moving tribute to Mick.

UPDATE: 24/3/13 . . . found this great picture of Mick and Fitzroy member Jacqui Lee Pryce taken in 2006

Picture by Viktoria Bakir

Timber Timbre at Union Chapel 1st Nov ’11

You will not see a mosh pit at the Union Chapel. The support act for tonight’s show was “evening hymns” which indicates the true leanings of this wonderful gothic church bang in the middle of Islington. Tones of reverence continued once Timber Timbre took the stage amidst hushed pews and bathed in a soft red light. Admirably they got straight down into it — no sound checking, no fiddling and totally wordless — how I wish all acts would make an entrance like this.
The words when they come however, are a balm for the ears. Taylor Kirk’s got a superb haunting voice which I suspect if placed in a more traditional rock n’ roll setting would lean towards Roy Orbison’s soulful wail. I spent the night longing for him to unleash it but he never did; like his hunched, cramped guitar style the vocals often seemed to be crammed up inside a bulging tin straining to keep the contents secure.
If you get uncomfortable with ambiguous song endings then these Candians might not be for you. Extended playouts mishing up quavering electric violin and humming guitar feedback were a running motif throughout the night’s set. The overall effect is soporific and as the candles placed high in the eaves of the chapel’s stunning octagonal chamber flickered out one by one I found myself lulled into a mild stupor. “Are you still with us?” chuckled the frontman mid-way through the set. I suspect he was only half-joking. Timber Timbre aren’t the kind of act to inspire wild convulsions and if Taylor Kirk sang any slower he’d stop, which in fact he does quite a lot of the time, leading to premature applause for those unfamiliar with the music.
Stop-time wake-up calls aside, variations in tempo were few and far between. The songs are pretty uniform, the strict adherence to a chugging low-end guitar line and bass drum bang punctuated ocassionaly by Kirk cracking out one of his mischevious barks.

You will not see a mosh pit at the Union Chapel. The preceding act on a chilly November night was “evening hymns” which indicates the true leanings of this wonderful gothic venue  bang in the middle of Islington. Tones of reverence continued once Timber Timbre took the stage amidst hushed pews and bathed in a soft red light. Admirably they got straight down into it — and how I wish all acts would make an entrance like this — no sound checking, no fiddling and totally wordless. Read more

Rediscovered track of the month: Nov ’11

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