After a faltering start to his solo career, MARK OWEN is more determined than ever to shake off his suger-coated past with Take That. Could this be

the end of Little Marky? Words: Paul Flynn

Mark Owen: has confined Little Marky to his Take That past

FOLLOWING THE CAREERS of Take That’s five likeable members has been like a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs since the twinkly pop act‘s demise in l996.

Jason and Howard: dropped like hot bricks by Take That’s record company. Gary: becomes the record company‘s plaything, pushed from pillar to post. struggling to find an identity. Robbie, oh good heavens, Robbie: legal furores. naked on stage buffoonery. stories of ‘My Rehab Hell‘ and romantic links with actress Anna Friel.

Which only leaves Mark Owen. What on earth has happened to the uncomplicated Oldham character with the pet iguana called Nirvana: the lad that dreamed of a footballing future only to find himself a pop-industry-defining teenage icon? The one who. when asked what his greatest contribution to Take That was, replied coyly: ‘My smile’. What has happened to Mark Owen‘.’

He has grown up, that’s what grown his hair. loosened his six pack. discovered Buddhism. bought a collection of thrift shop blouses and cultivated the art of permanently staring into ‘the middle distance’. He has learned to embrace complication at no small cost to his personal popularity. but with the

added bonus of keeping his sanity firmly intact.

‘l have totally, in my head. killed Take That,’ he says. taking time out from a tour that will bring him to Glasgow on 2 November. Bravo, Mark. In a blinding act of hara kiri, Owen has cast aside his past and his old cohorts in a Zen-like pursuit of his own voice.

The result of his search has so far been patchy his three singles have attracted respectively decreasing sales and he concedes

'I don't know whether with the next album I'm going to kill myself. To kill Mark Owen as far as the pop career goes. But that's where I'm going to go. I'm going to push myself.’ Mark Owen

that his album Green Man. released earlier this year, was a faltering start to his solo career. Like few other pop stars. Owen responds better to criticism than he does to praise.

‘Do you know what I would say to you?’ he asks. ‘Green Man isn’t the best fucking album ever. . . but a step in the right direction. It was quite a comfortable album. It was a discovery without really pushing. There’s still a young boy in there that was saying “let’s go“. then pulling himself back and saying “not so fast".’


24 Oct—6 Nov 1997 THEUST19