Wilko Johnson is an extremely lucky man. He shouldn’t be here. The Dr Feelgood frontman, having been told he had pancreatic cancer, and only months to live did want anyone else would do, he went on tour and recorded what he thought would be his last album. Yet by chance he met a photographer, who was also a cancer specialist, who put him in touch with the team of surgeons who have since saved his life. By the time the lump from Wilko’s stomach was removed, it weighed 3 kilos and he looked six months pregnant. In the attached interview on BBC 6 Music’s Radcliffe and Maconie show, Wilko talks of how calmly he reacted to the original diagnosis, and then how he walked outside on a winter’s day, ‘looking at the trees against the sky and getting this fantastic rush … God! I’m alive!’ He goes on to describe how he hadn’t ‘felt that vibrance of just living’ since he was a child. Wilko’s story is truly remarkable, and a reminder of how we, as he puts it, ‘go around, day-to-day … thinking about this … and that’, and completely missing everything around us. Completely missing the moment we’re in; even if that moment is a mundane one. After listening to the programme, I walked to work the next day and made a point of looking up from the traffic moving slowly beside me to the sky, the trees, birds flitting to and fro, and making an effort to appreciate the beauty around me. My favourite quote from the interview is ‘all you can do is dig the moment you’re in’. That’s what we all forget. We get so focused on what’s ahead, that we don’t stop and look at what’s here for us now. I know I’m guilty of constantly planning and obsessing over the future. I clearly need to remind myself of Wilko’s words, and just dig it.
Link to the original programme, which will be available on the BBC iPlayer for 4 weeks: