|The band I fell in love with, 1992|
Obviously my life's very different now to how it was as a thirteen year old. Since then I've left home, got married, had a child. I went to university. I graduated (twice). I've had numerous jobs. I write books, not just fanfic where Howard falls madly in love with me that no one except my best friend reads. People actually buy my books (that's something I'll never take for granted). In 1992 my only concern was flicking through Smash Hits to see if there was a picture of them all in leather that I could cut out to stick in my Take That scrapbook.
|The infamous outfits...|
But through all these changes, Take That have been a constant. Yes, there was the long hiatus, but even in those quieter years there were solo careers and Celebrity Big Brother appearances, and I still had the CDs and videos to relive my memories (yes, actual video tapes. I'm that old. And while I'm on the subject, when's someone going to release DVDs of them? A Berlin DVD would make me very happy indeed. 'Another Crack in my Heart' needs to be on the next tour too, if anyone with influence is reading this).
There have been lots of downs as a fan of Take That. The day Robbie left I sat in the nurse's office at school and cried uncontrollably. My heart broke as Gary uttered the words that Take That were no more. When it was announced Jason was leaving and everyone wondered if it would be the end of the band I crossed every body part imaginable and hoped beyond hope that they'd keep going. Numerous other news stories got tongues wagging too.
|Bad news day|
But over the years there have been way, way more ups. Little moments that have had me smiling and laughing, things that only fans will understand why. King Naan... Sitting waiting to tape the Ozone specials ... 'All the girls wanna suck my dummy...' The first performance of 'Back For Good' at the Brit Awards...
Hearing 'Patience' for the first time on the radio, with Jason describing it as having a 'soaring chorus' - every time it comes on I have to agree... Gary dancing (God loves a trier)... Howard's bottomless trousers...
|Gary's moves have improved over the years, to be fair|
'Give Good Feeling'... Waiting to see what colourful spectacular they'll produce for each performance of 'The Garden'... Watching them laugh together, which always lifts my spirits... Meeting Gary...
|Meeting Gary at the My Take signing in Manchester|
And I'm very, very fortunate to have seen them live on every tour since 1993. I don't care if you judge me, if you think I'm too old to devote this much time and energy on a band. Take That gigs are my happy place. I've been to their shows during some of my lowest times as a seriously unhappy teen, and I've been to see them at 38 weeks and four days pregnant, with my baby kicking along to the bassline. I've been right at the front and right at the back, and wherever you are it's always the most amazing, uplifting show. If you're on the very back row you can see the whole stage, the fireworks, the ticker tape fluttering down like coloured snowflakes over the excitable crowds. If you're at the front you might get a wink, or a touch of the hand, or Gary mouthing 'I'm sorry' at you, like he did to me and my best friend Jen on The Circus tour just before the sprinklers came on and drenched us. You might get a bit of firework grit landing in your mouth (this happened to me on Saturday night at Hyde Park. The barbeque taste lingered in my mouth all set long). Singing and dancing along with those three, four or five boys always lifts my soul and being part of a crowd of like-minded fans is a fantastic feeling. When Gary says we're an army, he's not wrong.
|Don't be sorry, Gaz. We loved it. The Circus Tour|
I'll never be sorry for the day I gave those goons my heart.
|Hyde Park, 9.7.16|
If by any miracle Howard, Gary, Mark, Jason or Robbie are reading this, thank you. xxx
The title of this blog post came from Get Ready For It by Take That.