How to desperately scrabble to become a national treasure, by Gary Barlow

BEFORE Take That appear at the Coronation Concert next month, frontman and social climber Gary Barlow explains how to constantly attempt to be a national treasure: 

When you’re vaguely remembered, half-heartedly tolerated and have been around for yonks like I have, you might feel like a national treasure. But put yourself in the same bracket at Judi Dench when chatting at a party and you’ll get slapped down fucking sharp.

Still work to do, then. Which is why I’m always up one Royal arse or other, and why I follow these rules:

Be a multi-millionaire of the people

When you’re disgustingly wealthy it’s easy to seem an aloof, unsympathetic wanker. Avoid this at all costs. Cling onto your grizzled Manc accent and bang on about your roots like Frodsham in Cheshire was where Engels wrote The Conditions of the Working Class in England about. Gloss over the tax thing. That doesn’t go down well.

Cosy up to the Royals

I’m more overdue for a Knighthood than Bruce Forsyth. All I’ve got’s an OBE, and Damon Albarn and Posh Spice have those. That’s why I’m on speed-dial at the Palace – literally, he’s 74, he still uses speed dial. Gary’s been a good lad. Gary needs his Knighthood. Sir Gary’s national treasure status is guaranteed.

Pop up at every major event

The Coronation is just the latest. Olympics 2012 closing ceremony? Tick. Diamond Jubilee? Tick. The X-Factor when it was just about still good? Tick. Royal Variety? Countless. If you’re not omnipresent you’re not on the list. You need the column inches. The TV coverage. The positive reinforcement. To climb Kilimanjaro for Red Nose Day.

Keep on flogging

I could have clinched it a decade ago if Robbie hadn’t stolen my solo career. But since our comeback we’ve kept on touring, releasing albums, slugging away like Barbara Windsor in EastEnders to make sure no fucker can forget us. Christ knows I don’t need the money. I just can’t rest until I’m spoken about in the same breath as John Craven.

Play the long game

35 years in showbiz, banging out hit after hit, and still I’m so nondescript I’m regularly mistake for Matt Damon. Our teenage fans passed through MILF at the end of the 00s and now you can watch hot flushes travel through the stadium like a Mexican wave. Ian McKellen was in his 60s when anyone started giving a shit. I’ll get there eventually. You will love me.

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Six ways to look a wanker in… a baseball cap

LONG days, crazy nights, the spring sun shining overhead – it’s the perfect time to wanker up by donning the headgear of rahs and chavs! But how to wear it? 


Conventional, classic, and contemptible all at once, a baseball cap worn the expected way keeps every guessing. Are you famous? A mugger? Balding and old? Balding and old and famous? Nobody’s sure and frankly, given the average baseball cap wearer’s convictions for wounding with intent, nobody’s looking long enough to find out?


Original B-boys from the summer of ’88, unite! Let’s make suburban Volkswagen owners afraid for their badges again! The veterans of precinct breakdance have long since laid down their lino, so the only homies wearing snapbacks ass-back are trust fund wannabe Banksys in Chelsea & Kens! Big up the didn’t-get-the-grades-for-Oxbridge crew!


Keep everyone guessing; style, or knocked that way in a collision with a Deliveroo that left you with concussion? Gangster or wanker? Challenging the orthodoxy or trying to imply ownership of a Vauxhall Corsa modded-up from Halfords? Either way, you’ll give the impression you struggle with the law as much as you do with vowel sounds!

Perched atop

Just because it’s head-shaped doesn’t mean you have to push the mother down. Go the millennial route and let your hat ride your head like a pumped-up little US bandit controlling your every thought and action, even though it’s actually Insta holding the reins! Careful not to lose it in high winds, dickhead!

Bafflingly American

The Yankees hat is almost as despised over here as the Yankees are over there, so get deep. Whether Toronto Raptors, Oakland A’s, San Juan Chupacabras, Nebraska Pudfuckers, Maryland Cookies, Ford Lauderdale Fentanyls or Tampa Bay Shitbirds, go for obscure sports and cities. Which franchise is this cool dude even advertising?

With all stickers still attached

‘Shoplifted this bad boy,’ you tell anyone who glances your way on the Tyne and Wear Metro train to Cullercoats. ‘Yeah. That’s right. I’m an authentic badman.’ And with that shiny black-and-gold still affixed jauntily to the brim, and those boxfresh tags a-dangling, who would dare guess your Auntie Rhona bought it from JD Sports for your birthday?