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March 09, 2011

Interview With Alex Bilmes

All seven of the soon-to-be-released Special Limited Editions of Robbie's studio albums are accompanied by all-new sleeve notes and information, written by music journalist and editor of Esquire Magazine, Alex Bilmes. has caught up with Alex to get an introduction to the man whose words you'll be reading as you listen to your favourite Robbie albums… enjoy!

Alex, how would Robbie’s fans best know you?
They wouldn’t know me at all but it’s very kind of you to ask! I interviewed Robbie for GQ in the summer of 2009 so maybe from that and I also wrote the sleeve notes for the In And Out Of Consciousness DVD collection.

When was your first meeting with Robbie and how did this go?
Ha ha! He won’t remember this and I’m embarrassed to say it was in a nightclub in London in 1994 when he was in Take That for the first time. It was late - he was really, really famous and I was a 21 year old student. I went over and we chatted and I remember him being exactly as he is: funny and silly. It was probably another 15 years until our next meeting.

Can you describe Robbie in 5 words?
Our most brilliant pop star.

And how might he describe you in 5 words?
Can he describe me in one word? Who?!

How did you get in to writing about music in the first place?
After college I got a job at my local newspaper which I really enjoyed for a couple of years but my real passion was pop culture. I am mainly an editor but my writing is interviews and that could be with a movie star, a sportsman or an artist. Music tends to throw up interesting people like Robbie, as pop stars tend to be quite extreme characters and are fun to write about.

How many times have you written about Robbie?
Over the years, with the little mentions: loads, but an interview proper: only once.

How did you approach writing the sleeve notes to the Special Limited Editions?
A lot of it I knew, as I am a fan and I have the records and I’m familiar with them. It was a case of sitting down and listening to them again but the cool thing is that as you grow up, the thing stays the same but it might mean something completely different now as you’re ten years older and your life is totally different.

What do you think it is about Robbie that makes him so unique?
Brilliant pop stars don’t come around that often: shiny and weird. I’ve said this somewhere before – but watching his videos it’s like he’s acting out the part of a pop star at the same time as critiquing the part of a pop star. He’s also very funny and doesn’t take himself too seriously – that’s very rare with a pop star.

What’s your favourite Robbie song and album and why?
Come Undone – all the things I’ve said about him, ‘post-modern’ and not taking himself too seriously and then he comes out with a song like that – bitingly honest and merciless with himself. Which is a great way to be, otherwise it’s all just a pose. It’s also a very clever pop song, in the way that the lyrics are so hard hitting and counter-pointed with such beautiful music.

Pre-order these Special Limited Editions now!

Life Thru a Lens

I've Been Expecting You

Sing When You're Winning

Swing When You're Winning


Intensive Care