Our man On the raDiO learns that lOOks faDe
DDo you ever have that moment of absolute shock when you realise that something that you thought was the recent past was actually ages ago? Like when someone asks how long ago Nirvana’s Nevermind was released, and you say two years, but actually it was a quarter of a century ago. It happens to me all the time. The ’90s were my salad days, my halcyon years and my lost weekend. The intervening years, meanwhile, have been but a blip. A moment where I’m falling in slow motion as the rest of the world scurries around me like industrious ants working to the beat of the Benny Hill theme tune.
Then, every once in a while, the past hits me in the face like an icy bucket of water. Like it just did.
Like everybody else, I am very excited that this month marks the return of What’s On Party In The Park, and, like most people my age with even an ounce of music taste, I am thrilled to bits with the lineup. All great bands, but for me, the biggie is Travis. I’m not sure how they’d take to me saying this but Travis is the band that gave birth to Coldplay, Keane, Snow Patrol and a plethora of other jangly, acoustic, melancholic rock bands.
Like the aforementioned bands, Travis doesn’t seem to have had a bad song. Before the announcement of the Party In The Park line-up, they weren’t a band I would normally search for in Apple Music recently, but when I did, it was like finding an old box of sentimental photographs. I spent a couple of hours smiling, then gradually humming and whistling, then full-on belting-out hit after heart-breaking hit.
Of course, when you think of Travis, you think of frontman Fran Healy. No disrespect to the other lads in the band but if you told me they were the same blokes out of Wet Wet Wet, Stereophonics and Happy Mondays, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
Fran Healy – unassuming 20-something with an appearance so boyish you could swear he was a baby bird just fallen from his nest. I haven’t seen Fran Healy since the ’90s. So I put his name into Google image search…
My first thought was that I’d made a mistake. As I stared at the thumbnailed images before me, pictures of a man who resembled Uncle Albert from Only Fools And Horses lay before me. Here was a man with a Santa beard and slicked-back grey hair… and a ponytail!
Now, once again, I apologise for any offence and I genuinely don’t mean it that way. Fran still looks amazing. It’s just, well, he doesn’t look like he did in 1998, which, in my head, was only a couple of years ago. For the record, he’s weathered far better than I have.
Time moves by pretty quickly. One can only assume there are people of older generations who saw The Rolling Stones in the ’60s and never saw them again. Can you imagine chancing upon a picture of those fresh-faced young fellas as they are now? You’d think it was a Rob Zombie remake of The Golden Girls.