Francis shared some thoughts on the topic of masculinity as part of The Guardian's Modern Masculinity series in a video posted to YouTube on 16th May.
The first question was "How do you think your relationship with your Dad has affected the man that you are today?" and Francis said of his father that "he was a very jolly little man" and " he really loved music", it made Francis smile broadly recalling him. When asked if they were close when he was growing up, he immediately responded with "ish", and said the whole family were "close but not too touchy feelly".
The next question was "When you were growing up, did you have any particular role models who were men?" and surprisingly Francis said Pat Barlow and Colin Johnson, as well as Jackie Lynton!
The last question was "Do you reckon that guys' aggression is a natural thing or a thing that they're taught?" and Francis said that he felt pushed from primary school to be tough and "all that macho stuff". He told a story from school where a kid whacked him round the head with a plimsole just because he'd smiled at him the day before - he believes the kid's father had encouraged him to do that and this was a sign of the times about how males viewed themselves.
Francis shared his "Inheritance Tracks" on BBC Radio 4 on 18th May. He chose "Cathy's Clown" by The Everly Brothers as the track that he's inherited and mentioned being inspired by their sibling harmonies. Seeing and hearing The Everly Brothers for the first time led him to fantasize about becoming famous and Francis spoke fondly of his Italian heritage and their love of opera. He talked about being brought up to be in retail (in the ice cream business) and how "Pictures of Matchstick Men" charting led him to finally give up on the retail career path.
Francis chose "In The Army Now" as the track he'd like to pass on. He reminisced about hearing it for the first time (while in Ireland) and how the band took some convincing to do it. He talked about his daughter Bernadette being in a band and made some wise comments around not telling boys that they need to be tough or have to be into sport.Revisit the May 2019 event list