When John met Robbie

It transpires that Robbie Williams has been spending the time he’s taking out from his recording career exploring a very serious interest in the paranormal. And, when he decided to go to a conference in Nevada on alien abduction, who on earth else would he call up to accompany him but Jon Ronson?

Here’s Ronson’s resulting Guardian article – written, I thought, with perhaps a slightly less sharpened pen than is usual with him (Williams is a long-standing acquaintance and perhaps friend). But it paints a great portrait of someone wanting to believe and yet unable to overcome their scepticism. And also someone who, by any material scale, could be said to have it all, and yet is still looking for spiritual and emotional resolution.

Here it is:

I’m loving aliens instead

On December 18 2006, Robbie Williams played the last of 59 stadium shows in a row, announced he was going to spend Christmas at his home in Los Angeles, and then basically disappeared. He was hardly seen at all in 2007. He briefly checked into rehab. He spent quite a bit of time hiking and playing football (he owns a football pitch on Mulholland Drive). Then he stopped hiking and playing football. His record company, EMI, announced he had no plans to release an album in 2008. Today he unexpectedly calls me to ask if I want to go with him to the desert in Nevada to meet UFO abductees.

“I’ve been spending so much time at home on the internet on sites like AboveTopSecret.com,” he says. “I want to do something. I want to go out there and meet these people. I want to be a part of this. I want to do something other than sit in my bed and watch the news. And it starts with the UFO conference in Laughlin, Nevada, on Thursday. We can hear people’s testimony about being abducted by aliens. There’s an entire family of abductees going to be there, apparently.” Read full article here…