By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
You Know Me
By Robbie Williams and Chris Heath (Random House, $49.95, hardcover, 288 pages)
This illustrated, personal account of Robbie Williams’ 20-year music career will please his die-hard fans.
The English singer-songwriter has realised his one ambition - to be famous - but along the way he couldn’t avoid the drink, drugs and rehab.
More than 150 images document everything from his ordinary boyhood in Stoke-on-Trent to his inevitable return to the reformed Take That pop group last year.
The photographs are incredible: Robbie is unrecognisable with a beard in Egypt, some have good memories on tour and others are confronting and reflective.
According to Chris Heath, it’s a journey “of searching for the right balance between growing up and gloriously refusing to grow up”.
You Know Me is the second official single from Williams’ eighth studio album titled Reality Killed the Video Star.
The book follows an interesting format: text sets the scene at the start of each chapter, the photographs have extended captions, Robbie is candid about his feelings.
There’s talk of the two decades of “adventure and mischief, hiding and self-exposure, triumph and mishap, uncertainty and irrepressibility, all staring back at him”.
Robbie has wrestled with all types of demons and addictions. When he looks back on his life, one recurrent theme is the contradiction between the fears he feels and the front he so often, and so persuasively, presents to the world.
For someone who lives a fortunate life, his has been in disarray. It is in his nature to sidestep moments of reflection and celebration.
He is a damaged soul. “My confidence has always been a bluff,” he says. “It’s never been real. It’s a painted face for entertainment purposes.”
This memoir is not nearly as profound or long-winded as Feel – also written by Chris Heath.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.