Wilko wonders about final album
Wilko Johnson sometimes find himself wondering “What’s the bloody point?” when he thinks about his final album.
The terminally-ill guitarist is working on one more batch of new music before he bows to the inevitable, after confirming in January that he’d decided not to undergo chemotherapy for his pancreatic cancer.
He was forced to cancel the last few shows of his farewell tour earlier this year due to an unrelated illness – but after realising he felt more healthy than he’d expected to, he’s added more live dates. He performed in a home crowd at Southend-on-Sea at the weekend.
Wilko tells the Guardian: “I thought I should try to get an album out before I die. But this is a rather indeterminate time for me, so sometimes I do wonder what the bloody point is.
“The last songs, strangely enough, contain a lot of metaphors for death. It’s not too heavy, though – don’t worry.”
He previously said dealing with his illness was more difficult for others than for him. Now he reflects: “You look at other people and think they’re all living under that terrible threat of mortality. For me, though, it’s sorted out, and that sets me apart.”
It’s been a “wonderful year,” he adds, and it’s left him feeling stronger and more focused than he has since his youth. “I’m getting the sort of insights that can’t be obtained any other way, whether about the smallest action or the largest feelings that you may have for friends.
“Things aren’t exactly clear; it’s more complicated than that. But you see you have to live life as it comes and as it goes. We don’t realise that until we have to.
“Death for me is not something in the indefinite future – it’s in the immediate future. I’m not going to come out with a book of sayings, though…”
Johnson was recently honoured by his local pub, which has added his portrait to the sign above its entrance.
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