I wouldn’t call myself a Robbie Williams fan. I say that but I bought all his albums before Spotify became a thing; even after that, I found myself buying albums to listen in the car. I even had the 2 swing albums. I have also seen him in concert and have a Live DVD of another of his concerts. I know the words to most of his songs and I kind of liked Rudebox. Okay, maybe I am more of a fan than I thought.
Before Christmas, I accidentally caught his appearance on the One Show. Not a show I normally watch but if it’s on I get sucked in. He was talking about his book Reveal and the concept behind it and I was intrigued. Reveal is a 10-year biography of Williams life, written by Chris Heath who from the sounds of it just followed Robbie and his family around the world for 10 years and kept notes. The ten years follows Robbie from 2006 until 2016. It tracks the start of his recovery from addiction, his marriage, ‘his retirement’, his return to ‘showbiz’, meeting back up with Take That and of course meeting his wife, getting married and becoming a dad. A lot to fit into a book!
I listened on Audible to the book on the commute to and from work. I’ll be honest it has taken me 4 months to finish. The book is about 11 hours long but I took breaks in between. There is a lot to take in. The one thing I properly loved about the Audiobook was the narrator put on all the voices and accents. It was like listening to a Radio drama!
Robbie does not hold back in the book he tells things straight and he doesn’t mince his words. Even though he is a ‘superstar’ he does come across as just a regular guy from Stoke. Robbie is open about his struggles with anxiety and mental health. He is very relatable in fact. The book will take about performances or appearances that Robbie has made on TV or headlines about him in the newspaper and then you will get the story from the other side. Mostly the key headlines or the way the media has portrayed him is totally the opposite of what has really happened. I mean we know tabloids change truths to get a good headline but there are so many instances of unfair treatment of Robbie that you do feel for him. For example, I remember a few years ago watching Take That: For the Record. This was the documentary all about why Take That finished and it ended with them all being invited to meet up. The whole show was leading to a big reunion and then it was a major disappointment when Robbie never turned up instead left a video message. It was so rubbish and he came across so badly. However, the book explains what really happened and all wasn’t as it seemed.
This is maybe the real reason why this book took so long to read because everytime they mentioned a performance on TV interview I found my self in a YouTube vortex of watching performances. Or they would talk about the inspiration behind a song and so I would end up having to listen to the song or album. This book is a complete journey! The one downside of the book I would say is it jumps about from year to year and so sometimes you need to really concentrate on where he is at in his life. You eventually get used to it though!
I highly recommend Reveal, even if you hate Robbie Williams I think its a good insight into his life and behind the headlines. I also highly recommend the Audiobook and if you have never tried an Audiobook, use this link for a free 30-day trial.