When I met Gary Barlow. Why you should never meet your heroes...


Today is my Gary-versary*, aka the two year anniversary since I met my absolute hero - Gary Barlow, and I thought I'd mark it about by telling you all about the car crash it was.  

We all imagine that when we meet our hero you'd get on so well you'd become best friends. The reality is very different. 

I've met Gary twice now and I wish I could regale you with how we spent time laughing and bantering with each other. Unfortunately we didn't. I messed up. Big time. Twice. 

The first time I met him was in 2006 at his book signing. I queued for seven hours wearing my black Take That t-shirt with Mrs Barlow on the back. In that seven hours I  had plenty of time to think about what was going to happen and how our conversation would go in the short space of time I'd have as he signed my book. 

But as I got to the desk, book in hand I FROZE. Gary asked me my name. I mumbled and after asking three times he finally got that my name was Amy. His security guard pointed out that my Take That t-shirt had Mrs Barlow on the back. 'I wish,' he smiled. 

I burst into tears. Full on sobs. He was still smiling though I am pretty sure he was fumbling under the desk for a panic button. 

He signed my book, it was time to move on. But I was frozen. The security guard had to lead me away. Smooth.  

Fast forward five years to 2011. 

My lovely friend Laura won a competition to go and see Take That during their Progress tour. A good prize in itself - but the cherry on the top was getting to meet the whole band. AND SHE WAS TAKING ME!  

Preparation mode began - new outfit, blow dry and spray tan. 

We travelled up a few days later listening to the new album. I was full of beans. This was my moment! My moment to put right the disaster that was 2006. 

We checked in our bags at the hotel, dolled ourselves up and had a drink for Dutch courage.  

We then began our walk to the stadium, walking alongside thousands of other Take That fans but we were different! We were going to meet them! 

However there was a problem. My liveliness had gone, I could feel myself getting quieter and quieter…. 

We arrived at the stadium and were taken into a small room. 

I sat down. I stood up. I sat down again. Laura was very chilled, chatting away to the six other competition winners. I had sweaty palms and thought I might throw up. 

They filter in. Howard first. Mark second. And then Gary, Jason and Robbie. 

Suddenly Gary was in front of me. Smiling. At me.  

I open my mouth but nothing comes out. 

'What's you name?' Gary asked. 

'Amy,' I stuttered in a voice that wasn't even mine. 

'Emily?' he asked. 

'Amy,' I said, in yet another weird voice. 

'Hi Amy,' he said, leaning in and giving me a kiss.  

I probably hug him for a moment longer than is appropriate, with my eyes closed as I sniff his hair. 

He pulls away and smiles again. 

Now hear would be the point I ask about the tour. Ask about his upcoming gig as a judge on X Factor. Only yet again, I was speechless. 

'Have you come far?' he said. 

'London,' I said. 

'Oh wow. Quite a way,' he said. 

'Are you working tomorrow?' 

'Yes. We have to get the 6am train,' I said. 

So far so SNOOZE. What am I doing? 

There is a little bit of a silence. He is obviously wondering what the hell is wrong with this girl in front of him and I wonder what the hell I am doing. 

Behind me I hear Laura bantering, no FLIRTING, away with Jason. Why can't I be doing that? 

'You're looking good,' I manage to blurt out. 

'Trim. Fit. Buff.' 

He smiles. 

'Thanks,' he says. 

'With the tour and X Factor coming up I've been kept busy. I've lost 16lbs.' 

'You can tell,' I say. 

'You looks trim. Fit. Buff.'

At this point I want to stab myself in the eye.  

Gary is obviously gearing up to move on to speak to the other winners. I've had my chance and I know far too well I've blown it. 

He goes to shake my hand. I grab it. And don't let go. I DON'T LET GO. 

'Er, well I hope you enjoy the show,' he said. The security guard comes over and ushers Gary off for group pictures with the winners. 

Minutes later they leave the room and my chance to make the great impression I most desperately wanted to make doesn't happen. Yet again. 

Though at least I didn't cry this time and have to be escorted away…

Perfect couple award...

*Harriet Thurley coined this phrase. Cheers Hazza. 


  1. Trim. Fit. Buff. Hilarious!

  2. Oh you poor thing! The same would probably happen to me too - I just love him! Fab picture though, you lucky duck!

    1. Lucky... But I wish I could have played it a bit cooler!! x

  3. Hahahah- this made me laugh so much! I'd hate to think how I'd react meeting my heroes... I'm imagining it would be fairly similar though, ha!xx

    1. I still cringe when I think about it.... I messed up big time! x

  4. This is the best thing I have ever read in my life ever. And all because I Googled 'how can I meet Gary Barlow' Amy - I salute you!!!

    1. Thank you Kaye - this is the best comment I've ever had on the blog!!

  5. This is brilliant - I met him In 95 and I had waited ages with a friend outside a hotel lol I shook his hand and said 'pleased to meet you' what a stupid boring thing to say! next time I'm sure you will have a good chit chat :)