In Memoriam Michiel Gunning
The Official Luv' Facebook page announced Michiel Gunning's passing earlier today. Our condolences go to his partner, Marga Scheide, and his family.
After four years of fighting colon and lung cancer, Michiel passed away on Thursday, June 22nd. He was a charismatic, loving and talented man. We will miss him.
May Michiel rest in peace.
The Dutch media have covered the news today.
Today's edition of De Telegraaf features a death notice.
De Telegraaf - click here to read the article.
Behind The Stars
RTL Boulevard - click here to read the article online.
Shownieuws - click here to read the article online.
Story - click here to read the article online.
Party - click here to read the article online.
Marga and Michiel started their relationship in 2005.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Michiel was active in the music business and the youth press.
Facebook friend Stany van Wymeersch interviewed Marga and him for his book "We All Love ABBA", published in 2016.
Michiel told Stany that he hung out with the members of ABBA during their promotional visits to Holland in the late 1970s and early 1980s thanks to his connection with Dutch photographer Peter Mazèl. He clicked particularly with Agnetha Fältskog.
Agnetha (of ABBA) and Michiel Gunning (aka David) - article published in Popfoto in June 1979
Michiel/David interviews ABBA for Popfoto (December 1980)
Here's what Michiel said in Stany's book about his collaboration with Peter Mazèl and how he became "David" in a photonovel published in Popfoto:
"It was the time of those boys, you know: Claude Vanheye, Govert de Roos, Nick van Ormondt and Peter Mazèl, all very talented photographers. Peter Mazèl was in close contact with all those artists that I would later get to meet. He worked as a freelancer for Popfoto and Muziek Express in Holland, Pop Rocky and Bravo in Germany, Circus in the US and Melody Maker in England [Mazèl passed away in 1996 while working on a project at a jazz festival]. We became good friends when Peter got a freelance assignment for a photo story in Popfoto. By coincidence, I became the main character in this photo story and ended up playing the part for ten years. They didn't use my proper name, Michiel, in the story but instead chose David. During the mid-70s, David was a popular name: David Bowie, David Cassidy, David Essex, David Soul - too many to count them all. Each month, a three-page photo story was published in Popfoto, photographed by Peter Mazèl. That's how our partnership began. In the story, I had the role of a charming but clumsy guy. Any issues at stake were solved and, in the end, everything always worked out. After a while, I became more and more involved in the development of the storyboards and got to write all the dialogue.....I did 120 photo stories, over a time period of exactly ten years. I decided to hold on to the complete collection of Popfoto magazines that featured them. I'm glad I did because this way you can understand them in relation to a specific time with regards to fashion, music, and so on. I'd started in June 1976. It first began as a joke, but it became popular. I got fan mail, and the editorial board decided to retain it as a regular feature in the magazine. By June 1986, I was in my early thirties, and I felt I had to be careful that I did not become a caricature of myself. I wanted to avoid that the fans - the girls - would start writing, "Dear Popfoto, David is clearly getting older...," and so my last story was published, and we celebrated it with a splendid party."
Michiel's partnership with Peter Mazèl went beyond the photonovel for Popfoto. He accompanied him to TV shows (TopPop, Disco Circus) and concerts in Holland and abroad. He became his assistant.
Funnily enough, Marga and Michiel never met during Luv's heyday. Here's what the couple explained to Stany in his book:
"Stany: Your path never crossed?
Michiel: No, although we were both featured in the same magazine.
Marga: What a shame! Ten years ago (in 2005-2006), when we first got to know each other, Michiel said: "Do you remember me?" and I said, "Help me out, I can't remember." "I'm from the photo story in Popfoto!" But I had never looked at it in Popfoto, unlike José who did know him. She used to read all those photo stories, so she also read the one in Popfoto. The first time I took Michiel to a Luv' performance, José exclaimed, "Aaah, but that's David!" I thought: who the heck is he (laughs)?"
Moreover, Michiel was involved in several music projects.
In 1979, CNR Records released the single "Love Concerto" performed by "David":
A side: Love concerto
B side: Dancing on the beach
In 1982, he was the lead singer of the male group "Strawberry Vocal Choir" which put out two singles.
Dutch record sleeve of "Summer Is A Coming"
German record sleeve of "Summer Is A Coming"
"Summer Is A coming" - released by Philips in the Netherlands and by Avon in Germany in 1982.
A side: Summer Is A Coming
B side: Beach Party
Michiel's group was renamed "Strawberry Park" in the UK and Australia.
Summer Is A Coming by Strawberry Park (UK edition)
Summer Is A Coming by Strawberry Park (Australian edition)
Strawberry Vocal Choir on TV (1982)
The follow-up record was entitled "Saturday Night At The Movies".
Dutch record sleeve of "Saturday Night At the Movies" (Philips, 1982)
A side: Saturday Night At The Movies
B side: I'll Be Home When The Baby Comes
In 1984, Michiel was part of the mixed pop group called "Voo Doo" that released the single "Veronica" (named after the famous Dutch broadcaster).
Record sleeve of "Veronica" by "Voo Doo" (CNR Records, 1984)
A side: Veronica
B side: Veronica (Instrumental Version)
Voo Doo on Nederland Muziekland in 1984
In recent years, Michiel often accompanied Marga to public events and enjoyed life with her in their second home in Ibiza.
Marga & Michiel at the launch party of 192TV on July 29th, 2010
Michiel with his daughter Renée and Marga at Luv's 40th-anniversary party in Best in July 2017 - Photo by Marco Rens
Michiel & Marga at the release party of Stany Van Wymeersch's books "The Legacy of ABBA" (Vol. 1 & Vol. 2) at Atelier Gent 74 in Ghent, Belgium on November 20th, 2021
Marga & Michiel at the Harbour Club in Amsterdam on February 1st, 2023
Michiel was a happy father and future grandfather. His daughter Robin and her fiancé Dennis are expecting their first child. His other daughter Renée and her husband Tigon already have two children: Willem and Mabel.
I had the pleasure of meeting him twice: the first time during Luv's 40th anniversary party six years ago and the second time last year during a lunch at the invitation of David Hay Gibson (Luv's former tour manager) and his husband, Leon in Best, the Netherlands. David and Leon prepared a delicious meal for Michiel Gunning, the original Luv' ladies, José Hoebee and Marga Scheide, Marco Rens (co-administrator of Official Luv'), Jos Theuns (José's biggest fan and friend), and me in their beautiful house in Best.
Michiel was a very friendly man, and we even spoke French (my mother tongue) together.
From left to right: Marco, Leon, David, me, Jos, José, Marga and Michiel
Source: Facebook (Official Luv', Marga Scheide Fan Page), De Telegraaf, Behind the Stars, RTL Boulevard, Shownieuws, Luv' weblog archives, Luvgirlgroup archives