Where is the Love?

I stumbled upon a blog entry on an eco-news blog I subscribe to, about how Fran Healy is apparently vegetarian now. How trendy of him. This of course was his and his German wive’s brilliant idea of a thank-you gesture to Paul McCartney for playing bass on a forthcoming track for Healy’s solo album, Wreckorder

That article led me to Healy’s personal blog, fraught with vimeo clips, killer insider info to the progress of his solo album, and just darling tidbits of parenthood and domestic bliss, not only in New York, but in the UK and Europe.

How did he get that life?

Let’s back track for a minute. I’ll clue you in on how I feel entitled to be bitter towards this human.

I have been an utterly devoted fan since I first laid ears on the words music and emotion that this guy and his band had created, in a land far away from mine. I managed to see them open for Dido, early on when I was in high school. The show was in a crap venue, I was far from the stage – but it made my teenage life.

This fascination, perhaps obsession, entailed buying any and every magazine with even so much as a blip about Travis or the guys. Luckily I had an indulgent father who understood the power of music.

I suppose this infatuation also led to my applying to grad school in Scotland. There, I even went to a homecoming performance of the band, on the night before New Year’s eve. It was at the Barras, or the Barrowlands Ballroom. If you’re not familiar with it, it is a glorious relic of a former world. It’s in a rough area of Glasgow, and I went by myself and waited in line ALL day, in the cold RAIN, just so I could be at the front of the crowd, and get spit on and sweat on. I achieved that. I even got to meet the bassist, Dougie Payne, and guitarist, Andy Dunlop, before the show. They were gracious enough to acknowledge the fans waiting out in the cold. Apparently Fran felt the back door was more conducive to his celebrity. And Neil, the drummer, managed to just slip by unnoticed. Or at least without much fanfare.

After the show, I didn’t linger, not confident that the band would emerge for the fans once more, and also not so secure in my surroundings, again, being a girl by herself in a shitty section of a city foreign to me. Call me crazy.

Months later, I essentially forced my way into meeting Fran at the Housing Works Bookstore in Soho, NYC.

Again, I waited hours, by myself, in the cold, outside of this shop where he was to be having a solo gig that night. I was FIRST in line this time, and determined to catch him for an autograph and a snapshot. That’s all I wanted. A bit of vindication. Some recognition for the devotion, a mere chance to show him just what his work has meant for me. (Not even him as a person; it’s not like I’ve planned our wedding or anything.)

I managed to squeak out, “Fran will you sign my CD?” as he tried to rush into the bookshop past me. He said something like ‘Come on,’ so naturally I followed him in. Trying not to push my luck, I stayed just inside the door, and stood watching him as he proceeded to tune his guitar and check his microphone and whatnot. Um, hello? Would an autograph and a picture really have not fit in before that? No, apparently in the scheme of things keeping a rabid fan waiting in the wings is probably all in a days work. I think he hoped I’d just give up and go back outside. But Not This Time. An employee asked me if i needed help, probably because I looked like I was going to pass out, and I just muttered something about Fran telling me to wait there. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Fran came back over, not looking too pleased, and signed my CD. I also asked for a picture, because I felt like I fucking deserved at least that. While posing, I told him how I had hoped to meet him at the gig at the Barras, and he snottily told me I should have waited after, because they always meet fans after. Gee thanks Fran. I guess I should have been less concerned for my safety as a lone 23-year-old in an area known for stabbing. Thanks for your concern. If you think I’m exaggerating any of this – his bitchiness, my nerdiness, just behold:

Yes, my eyes were closed in the first shot. Bless the heart of the gal that was kind enough to take the picture, and also let me know that I fucked it up. She offered to take another. Fran didn’t seem too pleased. I guess every second of his time is just that precious.

I get that he’s only human; maybe he was rushed in general, or his mind was somewhere else, perhaps on something more important, like his kid. But really? You can’t crack a smile? You can’t just be nice to this lame, shaking girl whose youth would be made if were just nice to her?

During the performance that night I tried not to let it get to me. I enjoyed all of the music, the atmosphere, just all of it. But really I was let down.

And even now, as I read his seemingly personal blog entries, I cannot help but feel supremely agitated. I think of the girl I was before this sour encounter, the girl who would have read every word, who would have known of the existence of said Fran blog from it’s inception. She would have been impressed by his lifestyle, his experiences in New York. She would have been enamored with how he sounds like a really good daddy, and probably a nice domestic husband.

But, being the girl I am now, it all just sickens me. I wonder if he is just a selfish jerk. Given the research i culled about Scottish men, FIRST hand, it seems they are all quite good at being selfish jerk-offs.

If I’m ever famous, it’ll be my biggest goal not to let my fans down. Especially the ones that wait by themselves, in the cold, just to see me.

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