• Live long and prosper: Follow the wisdom of the ancients, and Wilko Johnson

Live long and prosper: Follow the wisdom of the ancients, and Wilko Johnson

Issue 1161

Live long and prosper: Follow the wisdom of the ancients, and Wilko Johnson

In this issue…Wilko Johnson became the focus of much attention in 2012 when he revealed he had terminal pancreatic cancer. He refused treatment and decided to make his final days full of life. A revered and influential guitarist he started to tour relentlessly. And then an incredible thing happened. He didn’t die. It was discovered that the cancer, by an incredible twist, could be cut out and he would live. Wilko delivers our Letter to My Younger Self this week. These pieces are frequently good. This one will knock your socks off and have you in tears. It’s a beezer.

Maintaining our theme of long life and good living, we speak to Dan Buettner, an anthropologist who has spent years investigating the parts of the world with highest life expectancy and best standard of life. Following the wisdom of the ancients we bring a guide on what really works. More wine is part of the list. So, oddly, is a dog.

Our featured vendor this week is Janet Bowers, who sells in the Westbourne area in Bournemouth. One of her weekly customers is Paul Gascoigne – nice chap, she says. Hers is a Big Issue love story. She met her husband Lee when he was a vendor. The Big Issue is important for them and helping them both pick their lives back up.

John Bird, meanwhile, is in reflective mood. Complaining about the gap between rich and poor does not do enough, he says. The reason why that gap exists and widens is what needs dealt with.

Brendan O’Neill considers language and the conflation of reactionaries and radicals. Thomas Paine and Soul II Soul feature.

As the 10th anniversary of 7/7 approaches, and post-Tunisia focus is on how to stop British kids being tempted into the ISIS death cult, we speak to Sajda Mughal, the only known Muslim survivor of the London attack. She now runs an organisation teaching parents how to reach out to their kids and fight extremism. The relationship between mother and child is vital, she says.

Can I also direct you to Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel talking about his delight at the flood of Downfall parodies, champion gymnast Beth Tweddle on the joys of wing walking (true) and, of course, Spot The Ball.

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