(He’s not officially been awarded a knighthood by the way but I believe it’s how he likes to be addressed.)
There I was happily eating my dinner, when I witnessed a BBC advert so odious, I nearly gagged on my Singapore noodles.
A grand piano is set up in the middle of a crowded shopping centre, alongside a microphone. The area is cordoned off by men in dark suits with ear-pieces, who whisper with such gravitas that you’d think President Barack Obama was maybe about to make an unscheduled stop at JD Sports.
No, nothing at all to see here. How curious that passers-by should gather round to see what the fuss is about.
Enter a man wearing a cheap cardboard cut-out mask of Gary Barlow.
He appears to be a young man, judging from a hairdo influenced by the Kevin and Perry movie – only a slight bald-spot gives away the absence of adolescence. He strides straight up to the Men in Black, and nonchalantly asks (loudly) whether he can “have a go” on the expensive grand piano that’s clearly been set up for a concert appearance. The same piano none of the peasants were allowed to touch. But how strange… MI5 seem ok with it!
What happens next is so disturbing, it’ll haunt me to my dying day.
Our masked man-boy does a little dance on his way to the piano – performing a move I can only describe as ‘the windscreen-wiper’. He waves his hands rather limply in the air and actually skips (yes, skips) along like a demented child on a sugar rampage. It was so cringe-worthy, I swear my balls retreated into my stomach. The guy was clearly trying to be a twat, but did it a little too convincingly – know what I mean? Like an embarrassing dad dancing at the party. Yes, he’s being silly, but there’s definitely a part of him that thinks he’s pretty cool.
Just when I thought the ad couldn’t get any more irksome, he starts playing the piano and whips off the mask.
Sweet mother of f**k.
If there’s one thing more excruciating to watch than a local bell-end pratting about in a Gary Barlow mask, it’s Gary Barlow being a bell-end and pratting about in a Gary Barlow mask.
Could it be magic?
Only if by ‘magic’ you mean a multi-millionaire tax-dodger who managed to make Simon Cowell seem vaguely nice, or a guy who should probably stop flogging the dying horse that is his career, retire, and/or die graciously. But the BBC has created the illusion that we the people of Britain are sooooo lucky to have Gary Barlow. And the even luckier people at the shopping centre were experiencing a life-affirming event: actually being in his hallowed presence. (Not without first being teased by ‘possibly’ being in his presence, of course.)
So. Is Gary doing something new? Has he written a new, cutting edge UK Garage-inspired EP? A new stage show perhaps, following in the footsteps of Elton John… The Lion King Part III? Or a new live tour maybe? Is he producing hits into his forties and fifties, like Madonna? Nope. He’s touting for “five talented guys” (the male gender being a prerequisite only added recently) to appear in a new Take That musical.
So basically he gathered people to glorify himself, before entering in a mask disguising himself as himself, to publicise a musical about himself.
Goddammit, I love modern entertainment.
Amid the confusion and uncertainty of modern times, this is definitely what we should be spending the BBC licence fee on. Exactly what we need to fulfil our cultural and spiritual voids – another reality TV talent show. But one that specifically regurgitates a bunch of songs that left most of us feeling pretty much violated first time round, and makes a questionably unfit OBE and notoriously rich shirker even more extravagantly wealthy. Yippee.
One thing to mention – there’s actually already been a highly successful stage portrayal of Take That and their music. It was called ‘Never Forget‘, and toured UK theatres prior to a successful run in the West End at the Savoy Theatre. (I happen to know, as I’ve crossed paths with a couple of the chaps who starred in it.)
As Take That‘s principal songwriter, Gary was probably more than happy to rake in standard PRS fees from the increasingly popular production. At least until 2007 that is, when Take That re-formed to soak up the tears and pay-cheques of middle-aged spinsters and menopausal cat-mommies everywhere. It turns out that Gary realised, most likely prompted by the success of Never Forget, he could make more money if he… sorry, they sang the songs.
Next thing, the newly reformed Take That (but really probably just Gary) reportedly went on record as saying:
The band would like to state categorically that this production is being undertaken with neither their involvement nor their endorsement. They would wish their fans and the general public to know that this production is absolutely and 100 per cent nothing to do with Take That.
So basically, he took a big steamy dump all over the show.
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