Best wishes for Tim Finney

Yesterday Tim mentioned in a note on ILM that he’s facing a bit of hefty surgery:

After a month-just-gone of increasingly severe headaches, this week I was diagnosed with an impressively large, but hopefully benign, brain tumor lodged in my cerebellum behind my right ear.

I’m having this removed on Monday, in what will hopefully be a fairly straightforward operation – the tumor is fairly close to the skull so the surgery will be on the less invasive side of things.

All things being equal I can expect to be fully recovered in about two months. If worse scenarios move from faint possibility to unavoidable reality I will certainly let people know, but there doesn’t appear to be any reason to panic at this stage – I’ve met with my neurosurgeon and the signs are all fairly good in this case.

The positive comments and best wishes have been rightly pouring in. Tim’s perhaps most well known for his regular work over at Pitchfork — here’s a link to many of his excellent reviews — but I’ve had a chance to know him, as have a number of friends and fellow writers, for almost a decade now.

We all got to know him when he appeared towards the end of alt.music.alternative’s run at being a good place to hang around towards the end of the nineties — Tom Ewing had started Freaky Trigger but ILX wasn’t around yet, and we used the newsgroup as a general discussion area. Into it all came this enthusiastic and very well-spoken fellow from Melbourne, Australia, talking about his love for a variety of things with energy and deft observation. The fact that he was only something like 16 at the time made us all feel very old and very jealous. At the time his greatest touchstones could be described as female artistes in a broad vein — Joni Mitchell, Ani diFranco, Kate Bush, Björk — as well as the continuing impacts of post-punk and shoegaze on a wide front. However, as both he and I remember it, one time we were talking either on the board or on private e-mail and he ventured that he really would like to see what dance music was all about beyond the general hybrids he’d already encountered. I strongly encouraged him — and I’m sure I was but one voice of many, and after all he’d already figured out something was up — and soon he was off to the races.

And how. Over this decade he’s easily made his mark as one of the finest pop and dance writers on the planet — the archives of his blog Skykicking, in both its initial and later incarnations, makes for essential reading, there’s his Pitchfork work as mentioned, while over on Facebook he’d recently started a year-end overview for 2007 that shamefully I’ve only just noticed — and in all cases his unbridled passion for documenting things as they happened meshed with an original style all his own, erudite, informed but aimed at all readers rather than an academic subset. Another good recent example can be found over at ILM on the thread for the new Burial album Untrue — I’m not a fan of it beyond general moodiness but Tim’s comments and back-and-forth debates with others not only covers his larger thoughts on the album and creator but the scene it’s situated in and the roots of the music over the last ten years, and much more besides. It’s an instant history lesson and it’s one of many he’s provided — and I still regret we were never able to work out a proper pitch last year for EMP on Disco Inferno as a joint presentation.

Some years back I had the pleasure of meeting him in Melbourne on my brief visit there — I remember one of the first things we spoke of was Mya’s “Case of the Ex,” always a good beginning — and found that in person he’s just as remarkable a fellow, friendly and considered and in love with life. We and others had a fine day out and I’ve since envied people who’ve had a chance to meet with him either in his home city or in his visits to London. One day when I finally get back there we’ll chat again. As his note indicates, he’s sounding very confident about this situation and I’ve no doubt it’ll all be put right. He’s one of the good ones. My best again, sir — and if you’ve not had a chance to read his work, take the plunge. You will find yourself rewarded.

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