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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den spin­doc@

THERE have been very few sight­ings of cheeky Brit­pop­per Rob­bie Wil­liams in re­cent months, but sud­denly re­ports are com­ing in of a life form look­ing very like him in all sec­tions of the me­dia. This could be some­thing to do with the fact the for­mer and re­cently re­united mem­ber of Take That has a new solo al­bum com­ing out in Novem­ber. fea­tures the up­com­ing sin­gle which was writ­ten by Wil­liams and his Take That buddy Gary Bar­low. Wil­liams has more than records on his mind, how­ever. His wife, Ayda Field, is about to give birth to their first child. The cou­ple turned up this week at the Men of the Year Awards in Lon­don, where the singer was re­ceiv­ing the icon award. He takes the cake for in­no­va­tive ex­plo­ration of real es­tate as well. While he was pick­ing up his gong in Lon­don it was also re­vealed that the new Wil­liams fam­ily is hop­ing to pur­chase an is­land off the Cal­i­for­nian coast so they can use it to spot UFOs. Wil­liams claims to have seen such things be­fore. Now he plans to do it from the com­fort of his own home, or at least a re­sort that he hopes to build on the is­land should the pur­chase go ahead. Wil­liams spent some of his re­cent down­time grow­ing a beard and mak­ing doc­u­men­taries about the UFO phe­nom­e­non. We can ex­pect to see him back in Aus­tralia next year, we hear. SPEAK­ING of pop icons from Blighty, al­beit one a gen­er­a­tion older, David Bowie’s pro­file has been even lower than Wil­liams’s of late, in­deed for some time. The singer hasn’t toured since 2006 and turned down the of­fer to ap­pear a the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Lon­don Olympics. Ru­mours per­sist about the state of his health. Vis­i­tors to Lon­don next year at least will be able to take a gan­der at the many faces, hair­styles and brightly coloured welling­tons of the Thin White Duke. The es­teemed Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum is to host an ex­hi­bi­tion called what it de­scribes as the first in­ter­na­tional ret­ro­spec­tive on his ex­tra­or­di­nary ca­reer. The ex­hi­bi­tion runs from March un­til July and traces Bowie’s ca­reer from his early days as a folk singer through five decades and even more per­sonas. Among the items on dis­play will be hand­writ­ten lyrics, some of his own art­work, a range of cos­tumes and many of the in­stru­ments he has used through the years. MEM­BERS of the mu­sic in­dus­try cognoscenti from across the globe gather in Bris­bane next week for the an­nual Big Sound Con­fer­ence and mu­sic show­case. The three-day event, which be­gins next Wed­nes­day, has a stel­lar line-up of lo­cal acts show­ing their tal­ents, among them Cub Scouts, King Giz­zard and the Lizard Wizard, and Owl Eyes, along­side the more es­tab­lished David Bri­die, Hun­gry Kids of Hun­gary and Cather­ine Britt. The con­fer­ence opens with a key­note ad­dress from Amer­i­can roots leg­end Steve Earle. Also up for dis­cus­sion dur­ing the three days are the changes in the live mu­sic in­dus­try, the im­pact of stream­ing ser­vices and mak­ing sense of how roy­al­ties work. SD was sad­dened at the death last week­end of leg­endary song­writer Hal David, who as lyri­cist with Burt Bacharach cre­ated

and among many oth­ers. In 2002 I had the plea­sure of ask­ing him about the se­cret of his craft. ‘‘A great song is try­ing to make it as real an emo­tion as pos­si­ble,’’ he said. ‘‘My by­word is to ex­press an emo­tion and try to do that with as much hon­esty as pos­si­ble. With a love song it has to be that way.’’ May he rest in peace.

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