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Ross King: Crooner or later, Take That’s Gary is going to let his locks grow in lockdown

Gary Barlow is letting it all grow out
Gary Barlow is letting it all grow out

Last week I did a celebrity interview via video calling app Zoom.

According to Gary Barlow that makes me a Zoomer!

I’m not sure Gary is familiar with that Scottish word so didn’t mean to insult me like that…although on the hand I’m not so sure…

I’ve been pals with the Take That star and song-writing icon for decades now – 30 years, in fact. And isn’t now the time for reaching out to old friends? That’s what I did last week when Gary and I got on a video call.

I chatted to him about his Crooner Sessions project, in which he teams up to duet with various artists – including Ronan Keating, Jason Donovan, Paloma Faith, Katherine Jenkins, Cliff Richard and Robbie Williams – to name a few – to keep people entertained during lockdown.

It’s a lockdown which is second nature to Gary as he’s holed up with his family in Oxfordshire.

“I feel like I’ve been in isolation most of my life, having a studio,” he told me. “You know me – whenever you call me I’m in my studio by myself writing songs or producing or making music or whatever.

“So I spend a lot of time by myself but the creative people I know have gone back to writing.”

Gary has longer hair than I’m used to seeing on him – but he’s feeling fine about it, and about the whole lockdown situation.

“I’m very good, really good,” he said. “I haven’t had hair like this for years, I didn’t think it would ever be like this again – and here I am!

“Everyone’s great, everyone’s pretty happy to be honest. I think the first two weeks were a bit uneasy and I think we were all a bit worried and we wondered what was going to actually happen.

“But we’ve all settled in and got used to the fact we’re here. The kids know how serious it is – they know they can’t be messing around and going off to places like Los Angeles and Hollywood.

“Stay at home and behave!”

Gary had the idea for the Crooner Sessions – which you can find on Youtube – at the beginning of this crisis.

“It was a little bit before lockdown I thought, if we follow the trend Italy have and people singing on their balconies…I thought this is what we do. I thought, let’s have some fun.

“So I got the old email out and everyone was up for it.

“We could just carry on doing it forever, it’s been so much fun.”

There’s also going to be a movie based on the hit Take That musical, Greatest Days.

“I told you that the first day I met you,” laughed Gary. “I’m heading for big things, Rossi. You’ve seen The Band, you know what it’s all about. You know how long we’ve been working on that project.

“But it’s really getting some legs now. It’s getting exciting.

“I can’t wait to see what part Tim Perth has written for me. And for you too Ross – we could all be in it!”

I’ll start writing my acceptance speech now…!