А давайте собирать материалы переводов и старых заметок и статей?
Все желающие - поднимите руки!

Наткнулся сейчас на обложку, которую ранее не видел, а она привела к старенькой статье 1998 в этом журнале Paper Mag.

Старое - не значит плохое.
Я конечно переведу со временем, но, если кто хочет на праздниках попрактиковаться, то буду благодарен :) Срок - к 7 января.





If the throng of girls I'm scrambling past knew what had just happened, they'd tear me limb from limb--or at least leave me standing in the streets of Dublin in my boxers. Just minutes ago, pop sensation Robbie Williams presented me with a special gift: his pants, simply because the color, bright orange, matched my hair.

Who could blame these lasses if they set upon me violently? They've huddled in the cold drizzle all day, waiting for a glimpse of Williams exiting the hotel. Meanwhile, he's been strutting around in his Calvins solely for my amusement. (If it's any consolation, ladies, I've dreamed of Williams dropping his trousers for longer than I care to admit.) You say you've never heard of this guy? Well, if you're not a big fag, an ardent British-music devotee or a very savvy teenage girl, the oversight is excusable for a few weeks more--until Williams officially launches his assault on America.

In England, Williams has released two number-one albums: the quintuple-platinum Life Through a Lens and last year's follow-up, I've Been Expecting You. (His American debut, The Ego Has Landed, on Capitol Records, culls cuts from both.) His single "Angels" ruled the British Top Ten during the 1997 Christmas season, and MTV Europe crowned him Best Male Performer last year. And that's all since leaving Take That, the celebrated boy band with whom he sold over two million albums and racked up eight number-one hits. His split from the group in 1995 heralded the demise of one of Europe's biggest pop acts.

The extraordinary aspect of his story, however, isn't the dizzying height to which Williams has climbed. What's remarkable is how many times he's fallen on his face, literally and figuratively, along the way. For one thing, before the success of "Angels" resuscitated sales, Life Through a Lens had moved barely 40,000 units. He had released three other singles prior to that, each greeted with an increasingly lackluster reception, and his consumption of drugs, alcohol, and food raged unchecked. In photos, he constantly appeared bloated, overweight, exhausted. The press had a field day at every ugly turn.


Williams loves his mother; he wrote the tender "One of God's Better People" in her honor. But if Jan Williams ever scolded her son not to play with his food, he's forgotten. Right now, he's flinging pieces of sashimi across the hotel suite into his buddy Jonathan Wilkes' open mouth, like a trainer feeding a seal. An interview with the 25-year-old star resembles nothing so closely as hanging with Winnie-the-Pooh's spastic pal Tigger. The singer pauses to offer me a take-out tin of raw fish, the same one he's been tapping his cigarette ashes into. "Would you like some salmon?" he asks, straight-faced. "It's smoked."

The adrenaline from last night's sold-out gig hasn't subsided. "We did a two-hour show," Williams proclaims. "I didn't want to get offstage." This evening, he'll play even longer, climaxing with unrehearsed encores of the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" and Primal Scream's "Rocks," then announce that it's been the best set of his life. Yesterday's show also featured another landmark. "I had my first big strop last night too. Do you know what that means?" he asks. I say no and Williams suddenly screams, "Where's my fucking coat?" as I recoil. He smirks, dusting off his hands. "That's a strop." It seems the prop he'd required for a comedy bit hadn't been ready. "I've never shouted like that before," he says. "I even scared myself. Now that I'm playing in arenas and loads of people like me, I'm going to be mean to them."

Not bloody likely. Though he possesses a vicious wit, Williams is exceptionally good natured. At our first, accidental meeting, he extends his hand and announces, "Hi, I'm Rob," in regular-guy fashion, without any prompting from his handlers. There's an Everyman quality about him. Taxi drivers in Dublin all speak highly of him this weekend. Palpable sincerity underscores Williams' enthusiastic delivery, his cocky disposition offset with exuberance. His hit "Let Me Entertain You" captures this ceaseless need to amuse in a video that showcases him strutting about in Kiss drag. This is exactly the sort of good old-fashioned showbiz pizzazz American rock desperately needs today. "Shoe-gazing and being serious and slashing your wrists is all right," he shrugs, "if you like that sort of stuff."

MAN OR PARTY MACHINE? Williams didn't make the transition from teen idol to credible artist smoothly. Extricating himself from contractual ties to Take That demanded time and money and prohibited him from recording for a year. Although he needed time to regroup, he couldn't stay out of the public eye. "I'd worked nonstop: seven days a week for six years," he says. It seemed only natural to continue the breakneck pace. He filled the void with stints as a TV presenter, talk show guest and general rabble-rouser. "I said, fuck work, I'll move to London and drink a lot," he recalls. He became a fixture on the celebrity party circuit. "In Take That, we weren't allowed to go out to these sort of places," he explains. "And to my expense, a shrinking bank balance and rehab later, I found out why."

It's a tribute to the lad's stamina that he maintained the debauchery as long as he did. In his concerts nowadays, a montage of exploding Jack Daniel's bottles and humiliating tabloid headlines flashes onscreen during "Man Machine," which commemorates his downhill slide. "Waking up at 2 o'clock in the morning and going out to start the night for the next day was normal," Williams says. He'd call a cab, hit the clubs and start shoveling coke up his nose.

Williams' new record company wasn't amused. Overexposure was eroding its acquisition's charisma, and Williams had produced little music. His singing ability wasn't in question--he'd handled lead vocals on two Take That hits--but songwriting wasn't proving so easy. "I knew that I could write poetry," he insists. "But I also knew that I only knew three chords, and the combination of those three chords can't last forever." Unless you're the Ramones. "Or Oasis," he says, appearing momentarily startled by his own tongue; the Gallagher brothers are his friends. "Meow," he muses, pursing his lips. "Put the knife back in the drawer, Ms. Sharp."

Williams was shipped off to Miami to visit a famous song doctor, a maneuver that yielded one modest hit, "Old Before I Die," and a clutch of ditties better suited to the Hooters. The ex�boy wonder was hurtling toward the "Where Are They Now?" file with alarming haste.


It's no coincidence that Williams is kicking off his European tour in Dublin. This is where he had the epiphany that eventually set him back on course. He'd come alone, he says, on a "sad, self-destructive mission" during the 1996 Christmas holidays. "I got off the ferry and didn't even unpack--just went straight to the pub," he says. "Then I wandered about aimlessly, drinking Guinness." Through the haze, the pensive lyrics for "Angels" took shape. By praying to be redeemed by a higher power, Williams discovered the key to rescuing himself. "I got back and the record company went"--he assumes a very stern tone--"'Here's a sheet of people you're going to write with. Pick one!'" Mercifully, his shotgun wedding to Guy Chambers (of World Party) clicked. Their collaborations sparkled with the pop polish of Williams' past, but recast in the indie-rock tradition of Oasis, Blur and Manic Street Preachers.

Still, Williams recorded his first full-length album in a stupor. He checked into rehab before the album hit the shelves, then tackled the promotional trail clean and sober. (These days, the singer isn't teetotal, but keeps his vices in check.) But despite a reputation for loving the underdog, the British public had tired of his antics.

Rejection caught Williams off guard. He'd gone straight from school to Take That's protective cocoon of fame. Sales of his first two singles, though hardly breathtaking, had proved impressive. "Then I released the album and," arcing his hand sharply, he imitates an airplane plummeting to the ground. People who'd once cooed over his every quip wouldn't deign to book him on predawn chat shows.

These days, thanks to the belated triumph of "Angels" and the hits that followed--"Let Me Entertain You," "Millennium" and "No Regrets"--the shoe's back on the other foot. Williams says he learned a lot during his exile in the trenches: "Now when I can't do every interview and people go, 'He used to be ever so nice, give us everything we wanted,' I say, 'If I wasn't so fucking famous and selling lots of singles, you wouldn't touch me with a barge pole.'"


One attribute that's never failed Williams is his refusal to play his cards close to his chest. "I expose all my weaknesses, so nobody's got anything on me," he says. Though he's uttered many unkind remarks about his former band and his ex-manager, Nigel-Martin Smith (inspiration for the blistering song "Karma Killer"), he's rarely recanted.

Currently, the charts are clogged with prefab boy bands--Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, Boyzone--for which Take That set the standard. Although Williams crosses paths with them occasionally, members rarely approach him. "Only with sexual advances," he jokes. "Originally, as soon as I'd left, they'd ask me for advice." They stopped queuing up when he checked into rehab.

Williams moves in different circles now. He performed alongside Tom Jones at last year's Brit Awards. The Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant and the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon sang on his recent smash "No Regrets," and the latter is serving as this tour's support act. "I have to be drunk just to speak to [Hannon], because I'm so in awe of his talent," Williams says. But the only person who questions Williams' credibility now is himself. Damon Albarn from Blur is his neighbor. When their paths cross, Williams dissolves into a stuttering schoolgirl. "Is this person thinking I'm a dick?" he worries. The paranoia stems partially from respect for Albarn's songwriting, but the main culprit is the specter of Williams' past. "There's still that built-in reaction: 'I'm from a boy band, and you're immensely credible.'" During the making of Life Through a Lens, Guy Chambers had telephoned Sonya Madan of Echobelly and invited her to sing on a track. She laughed and hung up on him. "I'm not a musician," Williams says. The craft of composition often feels foreign. "I don't pretend to be Marilyn Manson or Billy Corgan or Noel Gallagher. I don't have intistic artegrity."

You read that spoonerism right. Williams has dyslexia, which he lampoons frequently. "I'm going to write a song called 'Just Because You're Dyslexic Doesn't Mean You're Not Thick,'" he announces. "So many people go, 'Ooh, can you check the bill out?' or 'Can somebody spell this for me? I'm dyslexic.' And because it's the 90's and everybody's PC, it's accepted."

Political correctness puts Williams' knickers in a knot, primarily because it's ruined his favorite film franchise. "James Bond is shit since political correctness," he laments. On the cover of I've Been Expecting You, Williams strokes a cat, one eyebrow cocked in an homage to the secret agent. "Millennium," his first U.S. single, continues the trend, lifting a riff from "You Only Live Twice" for the hook and showcasing the singer with a gaggle of Bond beauties in the video.

The Bond parallels point toward why this man stands to succeed in America where other U.K. phenomena have fallen short. Like the secret agent at his best, Robbie Williams is quintessentially British in character yet international in appeal. Women want to be loved by him and men would love to be him.

A few would opt for both. While his Take That costumes often resembled International Male castoffs and his turbulent romance with All Saints' Nicole Appleton looks like a classic beard job, Williams is not gay. But he'd be very good at it if he were. By the end of our interview he has: (a) extolled the physical charms of Elvis Presley, short-lived Bond George Lazenby and even Matt LeBlanc of Friends; (B) shouted, "All right, I'm gay!" and "I'd sleep with Tom Jones"; © stripped down to his underwear; and (d) kissed me good-bye.

Not surprisingly, Williams' combustible character has confounded some critics in the build-'em-up, knock-'em-down U.K. media. Much of the praise he receives is backhanded. "They say that I'm 'humbly arrogant,'" he claims. "You know Prince Naseem [Hamed], the boxer? He's never been beaten. He makes predictions about what round he's gonna knock people out in. And he is accused of being ultimately arrogant, because he says, 'I'm the greatest. Nobody's going to beat me.' Sometimes I get accused of the same thing. But if you don't think that you're the greatest at what you do, you're going to get beaten up. If I don't become the very best entertainer, I'm going to fall."

After a decade in training, Robbie Williams is ready to square off with America. But first, he's going to fetch a change of pants.

Makeup by Mary Young/Mandy Coakley; Assistant stylist: Lee Holden

This story was published on Apr. 1, 1999

Отредактировано Better Man (29.12.2011 21:49)