Our man On the ra­DiO learns that lOOks faDe

What's On (Abu Dhabi) - - BACKCHAT -

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.

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