Barry Tomes: A Journey of 53 Years in the Entertainment Industry

today4 December 2023 70 5

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Barry Tomes: A Journey of 53 Years in the Entertainment Industry

Barry Tomes

Barry Tomes, renowned publicist and media guru, reflects on his remarkable journey of 53 years in the entertainment industry. From humble beginnings attending a television show to eventually becoming an integral part of the industry, Barry has witnessed and been a part of numerous unforgettable experiences. In a recent interview with Ginger and Nuts, he shared some fascinating stories, including his time touring South Africa with the Beach Boys.

Listen to Barry’s Interview

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    Barry Tomes: A Journey of 53 Years in the Entertainment Industry Ginger and Nuts

Recalling his early days, Barry recounts how he initially attended a television show called “45,” accompanying his girlfriend to see Alvin Stardust. Little did he know that this seemingly casual event would mark the beginning of a long and eventful career. Within two months, he took over the management of Stardust’s fan club, fully immersed in the world of entertainment.

Moving forward, Barry elaborated on his stint as Lulu’s road manager during a Christmas trip to South Africa. The trip was to include 19 shows with the legendary Beach Boys, all scheduled around the holiday season. Sharing the peculiar scheduling, Barry reveals that the tour commenced on the 23rd of December, with performances stretching through Christmas Eve and resuming on Boxing Day. However, the Christmas Day break became one of the most surreal experiences he encountered.

During their stay in South Africa, Barry and Lulu were invited to meet the management of Sun City, a renowned concert and golf complex. In what he describes as a plush, five-star setting, Barry found himself in a room filled with distinguished personalities. Seated among icons, he found himself in the company of Sean Connery, the iconic James Bond, and Telly Savalas, who portrayed the iconic TV detective Kojak. To add to the star-studded gathering, the acclaimed actor Ernest Borgnine also graced the room.

Barry chuckled, reminiscing about the curious glances he received from the renowned guests, “This white glove goes on my shoulder, and I thought, ‘If that’s Michael Jackson, I am going to wet myself.’ But it was Johnny Mathis who said, ‘The room’s filling up.’”

Lulu walked in with a mysterious smile as the room filled with iconic faces.

“James Hunt, who was a Formula 1 racing driver, was a rock star at the time. He comes and sits down, then Glen Campbell comes in, and he was in the Beach Boys for about a year. He played in one of the concerts the one night.”

Barry humorously realised he was the only non-celebrity in the room, which surprisingly led to the celebrities warming up to him, intrigued by his presence.

“So they all warmed to me thinking, ‘He must be somebody we should know.’ [Laughter] ‘I’m from a council estate’.'”

He joked, “I was looking around to see what I could knock off.”

The Beach Boys

The conversation took an exciting turn as Barry delved into the highlight of their time together—the awe-inspiring show featuring the Beach Boys.

“So we get to the first show, which was mind-blowing, absolutely mind-blowing. Lulu was the support act, or guest star, as we liked to call her.”

As the festivities continued, anticipation grew among the group as they looked forward to celebrating Christmas together. However, to their surprise, there seemed to be no mention of Christmas Day.

“Christmas Eve afternoon, we’re talking among ourselves. ‘I wonder what’s happening Christmas Day. Oh, nothing’s been said, nothing’s been said.’ We get to the show thinking they’ll talk about Christmas Day. Still, nothing’s said.”

With generosity and resourcefulness, Barry and his group pooled their resources to create their own Christmas celebration.

“We all went to this house, which was only at the top of the hill. It was all in the same complex. It was like a gated complex.

As rockers tend to enjoy a drink or two, by 10 a.m., they were already on their third bottle of shandy.

The atmosphere was filled with laughter and anticipation as the group prepared for their traditional early Christmas dinner, typically served around 3 o’clock.

In a time when mobile phones and the internet were non-existent, a man dressed all in white suddenly appeared, desperately calling out for Barry. Although puzzled as to why they called him “Mr. Barry,” he couldn’t ignore the urgency in the man’s voice.

The mysterious man informed Barry that there was a budget meeting at a hotel and insisted that everyone must attend. Feeling concerned, Barry gathered the band, who were currently enjoying their shandies and explained the situation. Despite the alcohol-induced merriment, the group understood the gravity of the matter and agreed to go to the hotel.

Leaving behind the cheerful barbecue atmosphere, they raced to the hotel, with Barry leading the way as the tour manager. Thoughts raced through Barry’s mind: had they missed a press conference or encountered a problem the previous night? The tension built as they waited in the hotel, unsure of what to expect.

Finally, the manager arrived, beaming with holiday cheer. He greeted them, wished them a joyful Christmas, and led them into a room. As the doors swung open, a sight awaited that left everyone speechless – the Beach Boys had organized a surprise birthday Christmas party!

The joy and disbelief washed over the band as they realized they had just wrapped up their own early Christmas celebration only hours earlier. They couldn’t help but appreciate the thoughtfulness of the Beach Boys, who had spared no expense to provide them with a memorable experience.

Entering the banquet hall with all the stars present, including those from the golf tournament they had recently performed at, Barry couldn’t believe his luck. The whole situation felt surreal from his humble upbringing to now rubbing shoulders with renowned artists.

Barry reflected on the many incredible Christmases he had experienced over the years, particularly during his time organising tours in the Middle East with artists like Tony Christie, Three Degrees, and Lulu. However, this unexpected Christmas surprise with the Beach Boys will forever hold a special place in his heart.

As the interview ended, Barry couldn’t help but express his gratitude for the unique and unforgettable memories that had unfolded throughout his career. This heartwarming tale of unexpected joy and camaraderie during the holiday season is a reminder that sometimes, the best experiences are the ones that catch us off guard.

Written by: Kat Y (Ginge)

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