Dan Treacy of Television Personalities brought the casual to life
A long time ago some smart ass claimed to know where Syd Barrett lived. You know, the man who got lost in his head after the success with his now iconic band Pink Floyd. Barrett had been a recluse for quite some time, but nobody knew exactly where he stayed. It was Dan Treacy who, in 1981, wrote ‘I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives’ in which he further claimed the former Pink Floyd singer resided in Cambridge. Years later it became known that Barrett was not “in a little hut at the edge of the wood” but, in actual fact, in a spacious house with three bedrooms and a large front garden. The co-founder of Pink Floyd lived there from 1981 until his death in 2006.
Dan Treacy, not just the author of that book, was the songwriter and singer of cult band Television Personalities. The band acted as a significant platform that allowed him to exhibit his songs which took on a naive, pleasant sound displayed almost like little ramshackle. Lyrics consisted of ironic, dry-comedic observations in which Treacy brought the casual to life in a ‘thinking out loud’ kind of way. Art and films often proved to be subject and refuge for Treacy who once sang: “This is my ideal world” in Favourite Films. For a while he managed his own record label named after a painting by Roy Lichtenstein.
In another life Treacy and his band might have become very famous but, in this life, they have always remained the underdogs of British rock music. Maybe because Treacy sang like someone who never wanted to grow up or, perhaps, it was because he was more into the craft of songwriting than into selling records. The limited musical development was at the same time the strength of his guitar songs, deriving their charm from simplicity and sincerity. As Fire Records decide to bring together all 7-inch singles by Television Personalities into one record which has been divided into two double CDs, the gesture has been collected in great looking hardcover booklets containing photos and stories. One of them is called ‘Some Kind Of Happening’, the other one ‘Some Kind Of Trip’.
Unfortunately, Treacy’s life was not just about playing in a band. Because of repeated theft and brushes with the law, he stayed in prison for a while, struggled with drug addiction and mental health problems. As his health deteriorated, the lyrics became increasingly about himself. Song titles? ‘I Don’t Want To Live This Life’, ‘I Get Frightened’ and more. After an operation in 2011 where a blood clot was removed from his brain, Dan Treacy has never really recovered and, since then, he has been residing in a nursing home reflecting on a career like no other.