Wilko Johnson has a fan to thank for his cancer recovery. The rocker declared himself "cured" of pancreatic cancer at Britain's Q Awards last Wednesday (22Oct14), 21 months after he was given just months to live in January last year (13).
He had a tumour removed during an operation in April (14), as well as his spleen, pancreas and parts of his intestines.
He has now been given the all clear, and it appears his health comeback is all thanks to a fan's hunch.
Surgeon and photographer Charlie Chan went to see Johnson live on what was supposed to be his farewell tour last year (13) and was so convinced doctors' pancreatic cancer diagnosis was wrong, he felt compelled to get in touch with his hero and suggest a new course of action.
Chan tells Britain's Gloucestershire Echo newspaper he met Johnson just months after he announced his health crisis to the world and then attended a gig in October, 2013: "Wilko was playing at the KoKo club in Camden and he was looking much better than he had done in July and he'd released an album with Roger Daltrey and I thought, 'What's going on?' I thought that he couldn't have what he thought he did.
"I spoke to some pancreatic experts I know, including Emmanuel Huguet who works at Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge. I went back to see Wilko at his home and examined him for three hours and read the background and I just couldn't believe that the diagnosis was right. I asked him if he'd go and see Emmanuel."
Dr. Huguet operated successfully on Wilko in April (14).
Chan adds, "Now Wilko is saying he's cancer-free and that's wonderful. He's planning to get back to recording another album and playing with his band again. And I think he's quite likely to be looking at a normal life expectancy.
"It's a great bonus that tens and hundreds of thousands of music fans will be able to enjoy more of his music, but the important thing is that he'll be around for his family, he has two sons and a three-year-old grandson. I'm just pleased I could help him. As a doctor it's important to do the right thing."
Actor Jamie Foxx partied with politicians on Saturday night (16Aug14) by inviting former presidential candidate John Mccain and New Jersey governor Chris Christie to join him onstage for a dance at a star-studded fundraiser. The Ray star was a guest at the annual Apollo in the Hamptons bash and he made an extra special effort to get the party swinging.
He took to the stage and invited Christie to join him for a dance, before Senator McCain got up to join in, swiftly followed by Sir Paul McCartney and director Spike Lee.
After the stunt, Foxx told New York Post gossip column Page Six, "Its always the ones you don't expect. Republicans love to dance - in the Hamptons."
Other guests at the event, organised by business magnate Ron Perelman, included Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Barbra Streisand, Roger Waters, Anjelica Huston, and Don Johnson.
The audience enjoyed performances by Pharrell Williams, Sting, Gladys Knight, and Jon Bon Jovi at the fundraiser, which netted $4 million (£2.4 million) for development projects at New York's famous Apollo Theatre.
At the close of the evening, Nicholson told Page Six, "That was one hell of a night. Christie really held his own. I told him, as he walked back to his seat, 'Governor, you can't let New Jersey down.'"
Police Academy star Bobcat Goldthwait has married his love of directing with his passion for Big Foot by making a new movie about a search for Sasquatch. The funnyman-turned-filmmaker shot Willow Creek in the remote Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California, where Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin shot footage of what appeared to be Big Foot in 1967, and he admits he has become a big part of the community surrounding the myth.
But he confesses the chance he might stumble across the real thing while making Willow Creek turned him into an obsessive.
He says, "I shot the movie where the Patterson and Gimlin footage was originally shot, that footage where Big Foot's walking through and looks back. It's 17 miles down a dirt road; it takes two and a half hours to get there. There's no cell phones, there's no planes going over.
"You're in the middle of nowhere and when we were filming, we actually did see two mountain lions.... I'm out there and the idea of getting mauled to death wasn't lost on me - 'Bobcat killed by bobcat'... I was kind of insane when I made this movie... I was really obsessed."
Goldthwait admits he takes his love of Big Foot seriously, adding, "People bust my chops on this because I'm an atheist who believes in Big Foot, but I've met people who have heard and seen Big Foot... I'm accepted in the community; I've gone out looking for Big Foot with these guys on a number of occasions.
"I've been to Big Foot conventions and it's fascinating because most people in the Big Foot community believe Big Foot has a flat head, not a pointy head... This guy had a cardboard cut-out of a pointy headed Big Foot and the other guy comes over to him and he goes, 'You disgust me, look at his head!' And he goes, 'Really? I've seen Big Foot three times and you're never gonna see him 'cause you smoke!'"
Goldthwait's Willow Creek, in which actors Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson play Big Foot hunters interacting with town locals, is currently available as a video on demand. It will be released as a Blu-Ray/DVD later this year (14).
Terminally-ill rocker Wilko Johnson has been discharged from hospital and is making "excellent progress" in his recovery after undergoing surgery to remove a tumour from his pancreas. The former Dr. Feelgood star, who has been suffering from inoperable pancreatic cancer since January, 2013, was admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England on 30 April (14) to undergo a nine-hour operation.
The surgery was a success, but Johnson was kept under doctors' care for several weeks to ensure he didn't experience any complications. He has since been allowed to go home and now a representative for the musician has shared an update with fans on his Facebook.com page.
Thanking fans for their ongoing support, the rep writes, "We're sure you will be as delighted as we are that after making excellent progress at Addenbrooke's over the last few weeks, Wilko is now convalescing back at his home.
"Naturally after such an extensive procedure, Wilko is extremely tired, and it will take him some time to recuperate, so he asks that you respect his privacy, but we had to share this incredibly positive news.
"On behalf of Wilko and his family, another huge thank you for your magnificent support over recent months - it really means a great deal to Wilko - and please join us in thanking the staff at Addenbrooke's for everything they have achieved in some extremely difficult circumstances."
Johnson's pal Roger Daltrey previously revealed the ailing rocker had started to use his downtime to write songs for a new joint album with The Who star following the March (14) release of their collaborative project, Going Back Home.
Wilko Johnson is working on tracks for a new album with Roger Daltrey just weeks after undergoing major surgery as part of his cancer battle. The former Dr. Feelgood star, who was diagnosed with the disease in January, 2013, is recovering after doctors removed a tumour from his pancreas last month (Apr14), and his friend Daltrey has revealed the brave musician is already "bored" as he rests up.
The Who rocker, who released a collaborative album with Johnson, Going Back Home, in March (14), has urged his friend to start working on new material for a second record to take his mind off the recovery process.
He tells Absolute Radio's Pete Mitchell, "The way I look at it is that I know that Wilko's recovery process is probably going to be six months. About two months in, he's already bored. I spoke to him yesterday and he's bored. I said to him, 'Come on, write some more songs, let's think of something, sort the songs out for the next record.'"
Daltrey predicts Johnson could be well enough to start recording very soon, adding, "I reckon two months in he'll at least have the strength to play, you know, get that boredom and all that angst out on the guitar. So the studio could be easy for him and it might be a nice stepping stone back to full recovery."
The full interview airs on Britain's Absolute Radio on Saturday night (17May14).
Rock legend Roger Daltrey is hopeful there is a "chance" terminally-ill musician Wilko Johnson will make a full recovery after undergoing pioneering surgery. The former Dr. Feelgood star, who was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in January, 2013, had major surgery last month (Apr14) to cut out a huge tumour on his pancreas.
His pal and collaborator Daltrey has now revealed Johnson is on the mend after undergoing the experimental operation, during which he had the tumour, his spleen, pancreas and parts of his intestines removed.
The Who frontman has even suggested Johnson could make a full recovery despite only being given months to live by doctors during his original diagnosis.
The Pinball Wizard singer tells the BBC, "He's in hospital. He's been in and out for two weeks, he's doing really well... He's lost an awful lot of his body, but he's still here. Which is one up from being dead.
"He's getting out of bed and grunting, which is exhilarating for him I'm sure, and we look forward to him making a full recovery... There is a chance (of a full recovery), but it's an operation that's never been tried before. He's an experiment. His whole life has been an experiment."
Daltrey also insists he is already planning to return to the studio with Johnson for a follow-up to their album Going Back Home, released in March (14).
He adds, "It's going to take a long, long time. But if he does (come back) we're going to make part two of the record that we rushed out."
Terminally ill rocker Wilko Johnson will show fans he is still going strong by holding a record signing session in London next week (beg24Mar14). The former Dr. Feelgood guitarist was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in January last year (13) but the plucky star refused chemotherapy treatment and instead headed out on a farewell tour.
He has since defied medics who gave him just months to live by continuing to stun fans with live shows, and he has even recorded a final album with The Who frontman Roger Daltrey.
Now Johnson has decided to address his followers in person by staging an album signing at a London branch of record store HMV on Tuesday (25Mar14).
He will autograph copies of the record, Going Back Home, just a day after its release on Monday (24Mar14).
Wilko Johnson is to raise money for pancreatic cancer research by performing at a charity show in London more than a year after doctors told the rocker he would die from the disease. The former Dr. Feelgood star announced he had been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in January, 2013. He was given just months to live, but he refused chemotherapy treatment in order to play a farewell tour.
Johnson is still performing more than a year later, and he has now booked a second slot at a charity show organised by Madness singer Graham 'Suggs' McPherson to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
The rocker performed at the same show last year (13), but did not think he would live long enough to give it a second go.
Johnson will play at the 2014 concert in London with his friend and collaborator, The Who's Roger Daltrey, while other performers include musician Jools Holland and singer/songwriter Bo Bruce.
An Evening With Suggs and Friends... takes place at London's Porchester Hall on 20 March (14).
Terminally ill musician Wilko Johnson is to play a gig in London with The Who star Roger Daltrey. The pair teamed up last year (13) to record an album after meeting at an awards show and becoming friends, and the record, which was put together over the course of a week in November (13), is now set to hit shelves in March (14).
They will celebrate the collaboration by performing together at a special show at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on 25 February (14).
Former Dr. Feelgood star Johnson was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in 2012, but has shunned treatment and spent his time concentrating on his music instead.
Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
For a film that involves a love triangle, mental illness, a Bohemian colony of free-spirits, an impending war and several important historical figures, the most exciting elements of Summer in February are the stunning shots of the English country and Cornish seaside. The rest of the film never quite lives up to the crashing waves and sun-dappled meadows that are used to bookend the scenes, as the entertaining opening never manages to coalesce into a story that lives up the the cinematography, let alone the lives of the people that inspired it.
Set in an Edwardian artist’s colony in Cornwall, Summer in February tells the story of A.J. Munnings (Dominic Cooper), who went on to become one of the most famous painters of his day and head of the Royal Academy of Art, his best friend, estate agent and part-time soldier Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens), and the woman whom they both loved, aspiring artist Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). Her marriage to Munnings was an extremely unhappy one, and she attempted suicide on their honeymoon, before killing herself in 1914. According to his journals, Gilbert and Florence were madly in love, although her marriage and his service in the army kept them apart.
When the film begins, Munnings is the center of attention in the Lamorna Artist's Colony, dramatically reciting poetry at parties and charming his way out of his bar tab while everyone around him proclaims him to be a genius. When he’s not drinking or painting, he’s riding horses with Gilbert, who has the relatively thankless task of keeping this group of Bohemians in line. Their idyllic existence is disrupted by the arrival of Florence, who has run away from her overbearing father and the fiancé he had picked out for her in order to become a painter.
Stevens and Browning both start the film solidly, with enough chemistry between them to make their infatuation interesting. He manages to give Gilbert enough dependable charm to win over both Florence and the audience, and she presents Florence as someone with enough spunk and self-possession to go after what she wants. Browning’s scenes with Munnings are equally entertaining in the first third of the film, as she can clearly see straight through all of his bravado and he is intrigued by her and how difficult she is to impress. Unfortunately, while the basis of the love triangle is well-established and entertaining, it takes a sudden turn into nothing with a surprise proposal from Munnings.
Neither the film nor Browning ever make it clear why Florence accepts his proposal, especially when they have both taken great pains to establish that she doesn’t care much for him. But once she does, the films stalls, and both Stevens and Browning spend the rest of the film doing little more than staring moodily and longingly at the people around them. The real-life Florence was plagued by depression and mental instability, but neither the film nor Browning’s performance ever manage to do more than give the subtlest hint at that darkness. On a few occasions, Browning does manage to portray a genuine anguish, but rather than producing any sympathy from the audience, it simply conjures up images of a different film, one that focused more on Florence, and the difficulties of being a woman with a mental illness at a time when both were ignored or misunderstood.
Stevens is fine, and Gilbert starts out with the same kind of good-guy appeal the won the heart of Mary Crawley and Downton Abbey fans the world over. However, once the film stalls, so does his performance, and he quickly drops everything that made the character attractive or interesting in favor of longing looks and long stretches of inactivity. He does portray a convincing amount of adoration for Florence, although that's about the only real emotion that Gilbert expresses for the vast majority of the film, and even during his love scene, he never manages to give him any amount of passion.
Cooper does his best with what he’s given, and tries his hardest to imbue the film with some substance and drama. His Munnings is by turns charming, brash, and brooding, the kind of person who has been told all of their life that they are special, and believes it. He even manages to give the character some depth, and even though he and Browning have very little chemistry, he manages to convey a genuine affection for her. It’s a shame that Munnings becomes such a deeply unlikable character, because Cooper is the only thing giving Summer in February a jolt of life – even if it comes via bursts of thinly-explained hostility. It's hard to watch just how hard he's working to connect with his co-stars and add some excitement to a lifeless script and not wish that he had a better film to show off his talents in.
Unfortunately, by the time Florence and Gilbert are finally spurred into activity, the film has dragged on for so long that you’re no longer invested in the characters, their pain, or their love story, even if you want to be. Which is the real disappointment of Summer in February; underneath the stalled plot and the relatively one-note acting, there are glimmers of a fascinating and compelling story that’s never allowed to come to the forefront.