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Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK


Dury's reasons to be cheerful

Ian Dury: Happy his career earnings will look after his family

Veteran rock star Ian Dury, who is suffering from cancer, has told the BBC he has come to terms with death - because he knows the money he has made from his career will look after his family.

Ian Dury: "I only get upset about it when I think of my kids"
The 57-year-old originally had a tumour on his colon removed, but in January 1998 it was found the cancer had spread to his liver.

He told the BBC Two special Ian Dury: On My Life - broadcast on Saturday - he is only upset by the thought of missing out on seeing his young sons Albert and Billy grow up.

Dury, who contracted polio aged seven and walks with a stick, had to cancel festival appearances this year at Glastonbury and Guildford because of his illness.

But he remains philosophical about his health. He says: "I feel very lucky - almost as if I've had a blessed life. No one's ever been horrible to me."

He says of his illness: "I only get upset about it when I think of my kids and I think I might not be able to see them grow up. That does me right up.

"As regards looking after my family, luckily, I can do that as well. I've got enough dosh to not worry about them staying alive. I'm not a millionaire or anything like that but I've got enough that they can survive.

[ image: Ian Dury: Best known for Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick]
Ian Dury: Best known for Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
"Knowing there's that cushion there is good for my spirit. I've had a good crack anyway, plus I've had a major crack at life which is more than most people get. I won't feel that I've been hard done by."

He says of his wife, Sophy: "She's a brilliant sculptor, so I know she'll make a living anyway."

He was diagnosed with his tumour when in the US for a film part, and felt unwell.

He recalled: "There was a chance it could go to the liver and it stayed clear until a year last January.

"The first thing you ask is 'How long have I got, Doc?' He said it probably will be terminal, but whatever time-span you've got left I've no idea.

"I don't spend much time thinking about it."

The film shows Dury revisiting his old haunts in the Essex suburb of Upminster, and the swimming pool in Southend where he believes he contracted polio.

[ image: The Mr Love Pants album has given Dury's career a boost]
The Mr Love Pants album has given Dury's career a boost
He also returns to the art school in Walthamstow, east London, and meets his old tutor, pop artist Peter Blake.

It also traces his career from his days in the band Kilburn And The High Roads and his number one with The Blockheads, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, to his recent career renaissance with the album Mr Love Pants.

But tragedy has followed his life. As well as his own ill-health, his first wife Betty - with whom he has two older children - died of cancer as did The Blockheads' drummer Charlie.

He said: "I've seen a lot of people pass away from cancer and somehow their attitude, their bravery - if it is bravery - their logic, I call it, helps you deal with it.

"If I was feeling unfulfilled it would be much more difficult."

But he adds: "I don't worry about it, I don't care if I'm immediately forgotten.

"I don't care if I'm immediately forgotten. I don't care if my work goes down the tubes. I'm not here to be remembered, I'm here to be alive."

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