Tony Barrell (journalist)
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Tony Barrell Journalist

Tony Barrell
Tony Barrell July 2015.jpg
Tony Barrell in July 2015
Crawley, West Sussex, England
Years active1993-present

Tony Barrell is a British journalist, known for his humour and his exploration of the unusual and the unexplained. He is the author of the 2017 book The Beatles on the Roof.[1][2] Barrell has also written many major features for the Sunday Times, and has contributed to The Times, The Idler, and Cornucopia magazine, among other publications. He has frequently written about celebrities, as well as people with fringe interests and beliefs such as cult members, alien abductees and battle re-enactors. He was born in Crawley in West Sussex.

Barrell has interviewed actors such as Gillian Anderson[3] and Johnny Depp, comedians such as Vic Reeves, Paul Whitehouse, Matt Lucas and David Walliams, artists such as Sir Peter Blake,[4]Marc Quinn,[5]Keith Tyson and Rolf Harris, and musicians and bands such as Jimmy Page,[6]Dido, Joan Baez, Ronnie Wood,[7]Andy Summers,[8]Donovan, Anastacia,[9]Celine Dion, Mike Oldfield,[10]Sandie Shaw, Garbage,[11]Dixie Chicks, the Finn Brothers, The Beautiful South, Alisha's Attic, Phil Manzanera,[12] and Goldfrapp.[13][14]

Barrell has also written major features on subjects such as the Roswell UFO incident,[15] the haunting of Gettysburg,[16] the Raëlian religion, remote viewing, lucid dreaming,[17] the twins festival of Twinsburg, Ohio,[18] the re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings, the celebrity lookalike industry, live-action roleplaying,[19] the science of kissing, The Beatles,[20]Abbey Road Studios,[21]David Bowie,[22]Monty Python's Flying Circus,[23]Lucian Freud, Charles Saatchi, Harry Houdini,[24] and Screaming Lord Sutch.[25]

Barrell has said that he discovered the "underexplored sexual side of Rolf Harris" when he interviewed the entertainer in 2001.[26]

In a Sunday Times Magazine feature in 2002, Barrell said he thought a personal UFO experience in 1976 may have led to his penchant for writing about bizarre subjects and unexplained events. It is possible that the experience, he wrote, "intensified my ability to empathise with people whom many others would dismiss as crackpots. I've been there, bought the T-shirt: I know what it's like to confess to unusual beliefs and to suffer mockery for them".[27]

For most of 2009, Barrell researched and wrote the Did You Know? page for the Sunday Times Magazine, which included investigations into urban myths, unsung heroes, and fictional characters based on real people - such as Brent Mini in the science-fiction novel VALIS by Philip K Dick, who was largely based on Brian Eno.[28]

From June 2005 to January 2006, Barrell wrote the Sunday Times Magazine column "Born on the Same Day", which compared and contrasted the lives of famous people with exactly the same birth date - such as Margaret Thatcher and Lenny Bruce, Sylvester Stallone and George W. Bush, Marc Bolan and Rula Lenska, and Michael Jackson and Lenny Henry. Barrell wrote the 2015 book Born To Drum: The Truth About The World's Greatest Drummers,[29][30] and edited the 2012 book The Miracle: One Musician's Amazing Struggle For Survival[31] by Shelly Poole, which documents the recovery of Poole's husband, the Texas guitarist Ally McErlaine, from a potentially fatal brain aneurysm. Barrell has also written extensively about photography, and provided the main text for the 2004 book Eyes Wide Open, about the annual Ian Parry photographic award.[32]


  1. ^ The Beatles on the Roof, Omnibus Press, 2017. ISBN 978-1785585784
  2. ^ Tony Barrell. "Raising the Roof". Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ Tony Barrell (18 September 2005). "Agent Scullery". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012.
  4. ^ Tony Barrell (24 June 2012). "Blake Superior". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ Tony Barrell (20 February 2005). "The Artful Marc Quinn". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ Tony Barrell (22 August 2010). "Riffs and Legends". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ Tony Barrell (12 June 2004). "If You Go Down To Ron Wood's Today". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012.
  8. ^ Tony Barrell (18 February 2007). "Summers of Love". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ Tony Barrell (23 October 2005). "The Trials of Anastacia". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012.
  10. ^ Tony Barrell (16 June 2002). "Virtuoso Reality". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012.
  11. ^ Tony Barrell (17 May 1998). "Shirley Bossy". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ Tony Barrell (18 December 2005). "The Birth of Roxy Music". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ Tony Barrell (13 April 2003). "Alison Goldfrapp Strikes Gold". Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ Tony Barrell (13 October 2013). "Pictures From Her Lovely Head". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  15. ^ Tony Barrell (10 August 1997). "Set the Controls for Roswell". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  16. ^ Tony Barrell (30 May 1999). "Fighting Spirits". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  17. ^ Tony Barrell (9 May 2004). "Beautiful Dreamers". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ Tony Barrell (16 November 2003). "The Twinsburg Chronicles". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ Tony Barrell (26 October 2003). "The Land of Make-Believe". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ Tony Barrell (4 January 2004). "From Me To You". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ Tony Barrell (31 December 2006). "Abbey Days". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ Tony Barrell (27 May 2007). "Stardust Memories". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  23. ^ Tony Barrell (14 September 2003). "Oh What a Circus!". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  24. ^ Tony Barrell (30 July 2006). "And for My Last Trick..." The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  25. ^ Tony Barrell (23 January 2000). "Political Suicide". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ Tony Barrell. "Australians: A World Turned Upside Down". Retrieved 2014.
  27. ^ Tony Barrell (10 March 2002). "Aliens Stole My Life". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ Tony Barrell (4 October 2009). "The Dick-Eno Code". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ Born To Drum: The Truth About The World's Greatest Drummers, from Keith Moon and John Bonham to Sheila E. and Dave Grohl, Dey Street Books (HarperCollins), 2015, ISBN 978-0062307859
  30. ^ Tony Barrell. "Born to Drum". Retrieved 2015.
  31. ^ The Miracle: One Musician's Amazing Struggle For Survival (Kindle Edition), Shelly Poole (Author), Tony Barrell (Editor), Words HQ, 2012. ISBN 978-0-9570896-0-0
  32. ^ Eyes Wide Open: Photography By The Winners Of The Ian Parry Scholarship, The Ian Parry Scholarship, 2004. ISBN 0-9546894-1-0

External links

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