‘I’m just a lad from Leicester whose parents sent him to piano lessons’
I’d like to pretend I had some sort of carefully structured plan, clever pointers and nuanced questions which would bring out the best in him. But I didn’t.
He had no plan either. He was sure he wanted to preserve his dignity and the privacy of his family. I wanted to preserve those things, too.
“Let’s just have a chat and see where we end up, shall we?” he said. It seemed like the best plan of all.
He spoke about the cancer, the low level of pain he’d been suffering, how one doctor after another checked him out and found nothing.
He spoke about the day he was diagnosed. Driving home, a strange new world flashing by which he would now have to face as man with cancer. He talked of the raw snot and tears and how, in a ludicrously short amount of time, he brushed himself down and vowed he would beat it.
He was beating it, too. Jon Lord didn’t just have cancer. He had pancreatic cancer. It is, arguably, the worst of the lot. Survival rates are poor.
But he was nonplussed. “I looked in the mirror every day and I said: ‘I will beat this thing.’”
And he was doing. He was beating it, with a combination of conventional cancer treatments, some parallel therapies and his boundless positive spirit.
He was honest, he was frank, he was funny, he was smart, he was sad, he was modest, he was everything I silently hoped he still would be. The cancer, and its treatment, had robbed him of his pony tail. It had taken none of his spirit. He was brilliant. He was Jon Lord.