Wilko Johnson is currently playing his last-ever series of gigs, following a diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer in January. He talked to the BBC a couple of weeks ago about being given that diagnosis: “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’m actually a miserable person. I’ve spent most of my life moping in depressions and things, but this has all lifted.”
‘She’s one of them tambourine-shakers, can-rattlers, God-botherers,’ says the man, with a degree of rancour rare, in my limited experience, for someone wearing a Gong tee-shirt. He goes quiet soon after – for the first time in about twenty minutes, he isn’t slagging someone off (so far his victims have included women under the age of 40, teachers, taxi-drivers, R&B singers, Ranulph Fiennes, Kate Middleton, Hilary Mantel and people with DVD players) – and my attention turns back to the noise of the pub behind me, to the touts and the rush-hour traffic, to far-off lovers and the sweet choke of dope smoke and to not knocking my whiskey off the window-sill.