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.