Dr Feelgood's Wilko Johnson speaks of 'euphoria' since terminal cancer diagnosis


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The Independent Culture

The guitarist Wilko Johnson, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, has spoken of the “elation” he has experienced, since learning of his condition.

The former Dr Feelgood member said the news made him feel “vividly alive” and lifted the bouts of depression he had previously experienced.

However Johnson, who also appeared in the US television series Game Of Thrones, told Radio 4’s Front Row programme that he would cancel his planned farewell gigs if he began to feel sick.

Johnson said: “I noticed the symptoms a few months ago - there was this lump in my stomach. I treated it by ignoring it and hoping it would go away.

“When I went in for the diagnosis and the doctor told me 'You've got cancer' it was quite plain it was an inoperable thing, there was nothing they could do.

“We walked out of there and I felt an elation of spirit. You're walking along and suddenly you're vividly alive. You're looking at the trees and the sky and everything and it's just 'whoah'.

“I am actually a miserable person. I've spent most of my life moping in depressions and things, but this has all lifted.”

Johnson said he was given nine or 10 months to live and refused chemotherapy when it was clear it might only add another two months to his life. “I just wanna know how long I'm gonna feel like this, which is absolutely fine,” he said.

Johnson is due to play four dates in France at the beginning of February, followed by three successive nights at the Greystones pub in Sheffield.

His farewell tour concludes with dates in London, Bilston, Holmfirth and Glasgow in March.

But the musician, who also played with Ian Dury’s Blockheads and is cited as an influence by Paul Weller, admitted: “If the cancer kicks in before that, then I can't go on stage. I'm not going to go on stage looking ill - I don’t wanna present a sorry spectacle.”