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Public Service Broadcasting resumes with charity gig at Islington Assembly Hall

21 November, 2016 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Public Service Broadcasting are set to play a special charity gig at Islington Assembly Hall on November 23

MUSIC, laughter and the distractions of a new dog – these were the three things that helped Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) frontman J Willgoose Esq and his wife Sarah get through the past 14 months, following the news that she had been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

After surgery and months of treatment, it seems things are looking up and the couple are hoping that the worst is over.

Now, looking to the future, Willgoose has decided to put aside his preference for privacy, to put on a special fundraising PSB concert, alongside bandmate Wrigglesworth, at Islington Assembly Hall on November 23, to raise awareness of Bowel Cancer UK’s Never Too Young campaign.

“We spoke about it when we decided we wanted to do a charity gig and we thought people would come along but that we might not make the impact, in terms of spreading the message, which is more important than how private I want to be,” explained Willgoose.

“It’s about the bigger picture. We’re trying to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK because my wife was diagnosed with it about 14 months ago now. The last year has been surgery, chemo – we’re trying to get something positive out of it. We’re also trying to raise awareness for the charity’s Never Too Young campaign. It’s something that is normally associated with older people, but if you’ve noticed worrying symptoms then you should get assistance because it’s never too early. Sarah was 33, so it’s not something you should discount on the basis that you’re too young. She’s alright now, we hope. She’s kind of on the aftercare and scans, we’re hoping that nothing is lurking.”

And what helped the couple through the tough times?

“Music has been one of the few things that has helped,” said Willgoose.

“We got a dog, which has helped amazingly, a positive distraction, another presence in the house. It also gets me out of the house and stops me moping around, music and laughter – and the dog consistently helped.”

Willgoose stressed that, while the symptoms may not be that palatable to talk about, it is important that people are aware.

He said: “I was aware of what the symptoms were, so as soon as my wife noticed them, we didn’t hang about. That’s why it’s important to know what to look out for. I’m an enormous hypochondriac – it came in useful in the end.”

The Islington gig will be a special affair, with support from Haiku Salut and comedians Rob Deering and Ed Byrne.

“It should be a good night,” said Willgoose. “We might raffle some rarities I’ve got lying around. We’ll try and make it a special and fun night. Unless there’s a special reason, we don’t tend to stick to one album. We might throw in some rare tracks. We’ve got to the point where in London this is a much more intimate gig than we’ve been doing. The last time we did a gig this size was Village Underground three years ago. Since then we’ve played The Forum, Brixton Academy. But it’s bringing it back.”

PSB are known for their archive-led soundscapes, fuelled by material plundered from friendly BFI vaults and anywhere else Willgoose turns his research to. The gig will signal the end of an era for the band.

“This is the final gig, the real full stop at the end of The Race For Space [tour], which has been going on for nearly two years,” added Willgoose.

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