"Formally he’s known as Michael and on-stage he’s Mike DuCann, but if you’ve ever been to a North London Cares event the chances are you’ve met Mike. He’ll be the one cracking jokes, telling stories of his 52 years as a drummer, and/or asking you take photos of him being the star of the show (no matter what the show is). That was certainly my experience of Mickey (another nickname).
The first NLC social club I attended was the Photography Club in January 2018, and before I’d even crossed the threshold Mike waved me over from across the room. Mike made me feel at home straight away and it’s a testament to his generosity and kind-hearted nature that everyone I speak to about him says how welcoming he is. It didn’t take long for mine and Mike’s friendship to blossom. At photography club Mike would tell me about his long and exciting career in music, showing me posters and photos from gigs he played, but such is the scale of his memorabilia there was never enough time to get through it all. Mike invited me to visit him at his flat so that he could show me the full collection - I went on February 2nd last year, and I haven’t stopped going since.
Mike and I meet on Wednesdays and although we mix it up, we have our routines. Much of last year was spent in Mike’s flat where we’d sink a few rum and cokes from his extensive home-bar and go through some of his memorabilia. He’d show me posters from his gigs, play me recordings of his various bands on old reel to reels, and tell me stories of performing with the likes of Erma Franklin, Al Green, The Who and Fleetwood Mac.
This year we’ve become a regular fixture at the Wetherspoons in Camden. Because I drink Punk IPAs Mike calls me The Punk, and I call him The Rocker. When we arrive at the pub, I often wonder what people think when they see us - we probably look like a funny pair. Quite quickly Mike gets me laughing about something or other (his stories about his friend ‘Hard Rock’ make me howl) and I sink into enjoying the 3 or so hours we spend together every other week. One of Mike’s many talents is that he can muster a joke out of almost anything as quick as you like.
Our friendship has grown, and we support each other like any other good friends. Last year Mike lost a close relative and I came out of a long-term relationship, and in both situations, we were there for each other - to listen, to offer advice, or just to drink and laugh and distract one another from the tribulations of life outside our friendship. Whether he’s Michael, Mike or Mickey, I’m proud to call him my friend and unbelievably grateful to North London Cares for bringing us together".
Posted by Dexter Harries on Thursday 21st March 2019
Dexter has been volunteering with North London Cares for over a year, attending Social Clubs and spending quality time with his Love Your Neighbour match, Michael.