Tony Barrell (journalist)

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Not to be confused with Tony Barrell (broadcaster).
Tony Barrell (journalist)
Born Crawley, West Sussex, England
Residence London, England
Occupation Journalist
Years active 1993–present

Tony Barrell is a British journalist, known for his humour and his exploration of the unusual and the unexplained. He has written many major features for the Sunday Times, and has also 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[1] and Johnny Depp, comedians such as Vic Reeves, Paul Whitehouse, Matt Lucas and David Walliams, artists such as Sir Peter Blake, Marc Quinn, Keith Tyson and Rolf Harris, and musicians and bands such as Jimmy Page, Dido, Joan Baez, Ronnie Wood,[2] Andy Summers, Donovan, Anastacia,[3] Celine Dion, Mike Oldfield,[4] Sandie Shaw, Garbage,[5] Dixie Chicks, the Finn Brothers, The Beautiful South, Alisha's Attic, Phil Manzanera,[6] and Goldfrapp.[7]

Barrell has also written major features on subjects such as the Roswell UFO incident, the haunting of Gettysburg, the Raëlian religion, remote viewing, lucid dreaming, the twins festival of Twinsburg, Ohio, the re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings, the celebrity lookalike industry, live-action roleplaying, the science of kissing, The Beatles,[8] Abbey Road Studios, David Bowie, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Lucian Freud, Charles Saatchi, Harry Houdini, and Screaming Lord Sutch. 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”.[9]

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.[10]

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 edited the 2012 book The Miracle: One Musician’s Amazing Struggle For Survival[11] 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.[12]


  1. ^ Tony Barrell (2005-09-18). "Agent Scullery". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  2. ^ Tony Barrell (2004-06-12). "If You Go Down To Ron Wood’s Today". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  3. ^ Tony Barrell (2005-10-23). "The Trials of Anastacia". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  4. ^ Tony Barrell (2002-06-16). "Virtuoso Reality". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  5. ^ Tony Barrell (1998-05-17). "Shirley Bossy". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  6. ^ Tony Barrell (2005-12-18). "Best Of Times, Worst Of Times: Phil Manzanera". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  7. ^ Tony Barrell (2003-04-13). "The Ali G Show – Or How Alison Goldfrapp Struck Gold". Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  8. ^ Tony Barrell (2008-08-24). "The Beatles’ Magical Misery Tour". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  9. ^ Tony Barrell (2002-03-10). "Brief Encounters: Tony Barrell Meets His First UFO". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  10. ^ Tony Barrell (2009-10-04). "The British Pop Genius Who Beamed Into American Sci-Fi". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Eyes Wide Open: Photography By The Winners Of The Ian Parry Scholarship, The Ian Parry Scholarship, 2004. ISBN 0-9546894-1-0

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