The Diary: Top of the Shops as Barnsley goes pop

Terry Brookes with his exhibition in Barnsley Town Hall of imaginary scenes of pop and rock legends playing famous Barnsley venues
Terry Brookes with his exhibition in Barnsley Town Hall of imaginary scenes of pop and rock legends playing famous Barnsley venues
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There’s Amy Winehouse outside Frank Bird, Bob Dylan busking in the door of Jax Music Centres and George Harrison strolling nonchalantly past Debut Records with a bag from Casa Disco.

Welcome to perhaps the best Barnsley shopping street that never, strictly, speaking existed.

The town’s most famous and best loved independent stores past and present have been recreated in a painting of a dream Tarn road by local lad Terry Brookes.

And the customers in the image are almost as famous as the shops – they include rock royalty from Slash to Sid Vicious.

“Well...” says Terry, painter by night, IT worker by day. “I’m pretty certain if Lady Gaga ever came to Barnsley she’d pop in Fruit for a quick haircut.”

The incredible three foot painting is one of more than 30 which show music legends at different town locations and which have gone on show this week at the new Experience Barnsley gallery.

In others, The Beatles are pictured in front of Town Hall, Jimi Hendrix plays Locke Park and David Bowie is caught having a crafty cig outside The Civic.

There’s also the Arctic Monkeys stood around The Citrus Rooms – but, then, that actually happened.

This exhibition follows on from Terry featuring in The Diary last August.

“Ever since I first painted The Beatles outside Barnsley Town Hall and it went in The Star people have been really getting into the series,” says the 57-year-old father-of-two of Longcar Lane. “I’m now just waiting for screaming fans to turn up outside my house like The Fab Four got.

“Why are they so popular? I think people have pride in their town and like the idea of their heroes shopping in the shops they do.”

One fan is Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher round. Terry will today be showing him round personally.

“He’s a massive Beatles fan and wanted to meet me,” says Terry. “I’m not use to this level of fame.”

The exhibition runs for five weeks and after that he’ll be working on a new project.

Which perhaps leaves just two questions.

Why’s there a seagull in that street picture? That’s Terry’s logo, it seems. Such a bird makes it into most of his paintings.

And just why is Paul Weller parking his scooter illegally? “He’s the Modfather,” says Terry. “He can do what he wants.”

Exhibition runs at Experience Barnsley, Town Hall, until February 23.