I’ve met Mark Owen once. Twice kinda. It was on the same day. I met him at Radio 1, got a quick selfie(and ended up getting papped) and then later the same day at an album signing. I thanked him for making my whole life better, he went ‘Awww bless you!’. I nearly cried on him.
I’ve seen him in person more than I’ve seen the vast majority of my family, all but the very immediate really. But I don’t actually know him. He has no idea who I am and yet he’s one of my favourite people. Favourite popstar, favourite singer, favourite face. With it’s dimples and smiles, often with a hat atop his tousled, mind of it’s own hair.
As Take That fans, we all have our own favourites, the hard working and thoughtful Gary, the filthy minded and hilarious Howard. And there’s Mark. I met a customer at work yesterday who noticed the Take That pin around my lanyard and we got chatting. She said everything about Mark made you want to cuddle him and it’s so true. He’s just cute, undeniably cute, and so so lovely.
His laugh is infectious, he’s the biggest dork. He causes delays at signings and walking through crowds because he takes so long with each fan. He takes time with people and he makes you feel happier. Just by existing.
It’s a funny concept loving someone so much that you don’t even know. A few years back Mark made me question that you could think you knew someone but really have no idea. That facades can shatter quite dramatically. But then also there came the realisation that doing bad things doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person. That mistakes can happen, big mistakes and you can just try to better yourself and move on. And still be the kind of person who finds it a little offensive not to write more than one letter in your signature.
I’ve always had a thing for cute people, and short people and people with tattoos(hello Caroline Flack and Preston to name but a few) so it’s no surprise I became a Mark girl when I got in Take That. And continued to be as he showed just how sweet and kind and adorable he was.
The kind of person to walk along an entire line of people during a tv show recording and ask them what they liked on their chips(oh mayo, my little girl Fox likes mayo on her chips), or do a somersault with his daughter in the middle of a phone interview with Australia. Or do an Instagram Christmas countdown which involved elf outfits and sporadic appearances of his dog. And all these things just make your day a little bit better, help make life a bit more bearable.
Mark, and his mates, have, been there when my family have been sick or dying, when I felt lonely in school, when I moved country all alone. Just listening to his voice would help and then when you see him and the boys live it can’t help but be just the best thing ever, when he smiles or sings right at you and you feel for a moment that he does know you, if only for just those fleeting magical few seconds.
It’s Mark birthday today, he’s 46, when I first started loving Take That he was 34. And he’s still the same, still down to earth and humble and kind and sweet and that something that makes him Mark Owen. The one who wears anything shiny or tasselled along with his high heeled boots and hats. The only one who’d ever wear a sequinned jumpsuit or ‘that bloody coat’. Because he’s Mark. The wonderful Mark Owen, my most favourite person that I don’t actually know.