My Take – Gary Barlow

How fickle is taste? I don’t remember at what stage of their career I became a Take That fan, but I do remember being devastated when Robbie left. Not quite enough to call the dedicated helplines, but enough to go off them a bit. Then they split up, and soon enough all the focus was on Robbie. Ironically enough though, it wasn’t until he released Rock DJ that I called myself a fan again.

Now I’ve come full circle. I’m really not keen on Robbie’s new stuff and yet I love the relaunched Take That. I always fancied Robbie. Now I fancy Jason, and sometimes Gary (don’t ask me why!).

So, when I was lent Gary’s book, I started reading it immediately, eager to absorb his “take” on life in Take That, and before and after.

It begins with a young Gary and his early obsession with music; then his rise to minor fame through talent and sheer determination and hard work. The story truly begins when he meets with the man who is to propel him to fame as part of Take That. As many of you know, after a slow start Take That became obscenely famous. Young, sexy and talented, they had the world at their feet.

Gary’s candidly honest book describes the Take That journey from beginning to end, their trials and tribulations, the number of people they worked with and later rejected, everything. The guy is so honest that you actually begin to realise that he is in fact human, and rather greedy, at that. At points you sympathise, and at others you want to shake him in disgust. Barlow has admitted his mistakes, however, and described how he wronged people and treated them badly, which is a redeeming feature. This is very much a warts and all book.

You have to respect Gary Barlow. He’s badmouthed people if they deserved it, apologised to people he’s upset and hurt, and thanked people he cares about and have helped him on his way. He talks a lot about the feud between him and Robbie Williams, and how it was just pathetic competition blown out of all proportion – according to Mr Barlow, he and Robbie never actually argued face to face, or disliked each other, it was simply a very public, and mainly media fed argument that helped them sell newspapers. Neither guy is sure who said what, or indeed, if any of it is true. But let’s hope that one day they will be big enough to sit down together and discuss what went wrong, because life is too short.

Take That are back. So if you’re an old fan, or a new one, this is a must-read. My only criticism (a true writer!) is the fact there are several spelling mistakes/typos that have been left uncorrected. It is my absolute pet hate; and knowing what I know, the reason for it is likely to be that they were rushing the book to release it in time for Christmas! Grr! However, it was a gripping read, I couldn’t put it down and I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject matter.

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