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Wilko Johnson embarrassed by false farewells

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Oct 02, 2013 | 8:52am EDT

Terminally ill rocker Wilko Johnson is becoming wary of booking more gigs as he is still in good health despite already playing a series of farewell shows. The former Dr. Feelgood star has inoperable pancreatic cancer and after declining treatment, he embarked on a series of 'goodbye' concerts earlier this year (13), but the tour was cut short in March (13) when he fell ill with a cold. Fans feared the end was nigh for Johnson but he delighted them by shaking off the illness and he has since played several more concerts and is even recording a new album with The Who frontman Roger Daltrey. Johnson has now announced two high-profile shows at London's Koko venue for later this month (Oct13), but he jokingly admits it is becoming awkward playing so many farewell gigs over a six-month period. He tells NME magazine, "We have to do everything quick 'cos (sic) you don't know, am I gonna be here? It gives an extra frisson, doesn't it? The thing I'm really frightened of is to keep doing farewells. If I ain't (sic) dead by the end of the year it's gonna start getting embarrassing!" Johnson is also touched by the number of strangers who approach to offer him their best wishes when he is out and about, adding, "I can't walk through London without at least 10 people coming up to me and shaking my hand. And it's quite gratifying that they're all wishing you well. I think they're people who might have noticed me before - 'there goes that bug-eyed monster in black' - and they wouldn't normally talk to you, but now it's 'better shake his hand while I've got the chance'. It's really nice, the feeling that people care for you."

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