The musician, who cheated death a few years back, looks forward to the end of his strict isolation at home in Southend
The message from the NHS told me that my age and underlying conditions made me especially vulnerable to Covid-19 – infection would result in very serious illness. I was to go into complete isolation for 12 weeks, not even allowed to step outside my front door. There followed a period of living in a science-fiction film – arranging deliveries with people in masks and gloves, phone calls to remote stranded friends, who all said it was weird – and then everything settled into this endless day.
In 2012 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told I had less than a year to live. The tumour was not amenable to surgery, and chemotherapy, with all its attendant suffering, could do no more than slow it down. I decided to accept death as a certainty, seek no miracle cures or second opinions, and spend my money. To wake every morning to that hopeless reality; to walk in crowded streets like a ghost, pitying the mortals around you; and still to have that steady knowledge in your solar plexus that your future is a universal blank. It was an extraordinary year.