What I’m about to say is going to sound improbable, impossible, and/or downright insane. In fact, you and everyone reading will likely think that I am a liar, but I assure you: this is the truth. Robbie Williams, I did not know who you were until the year 2015 — that’s right! This very year we are in right now.
Strangely enough, I became aware of you while watching a documentary with my friend Alex (an English person), by Stephen Fry (also an English person) about Manic Depression. You were in a segment and Alex was surprised and delighted to see you. And I was like, “who is this guy? Why are they showing clips of him performing in front of tens of thousands of apparent fans?” Alex was incredulous, but we decided that maybe you were a piece of English Culture that didn’t catch on here.
To be sure, I decided to run some casual surveys on my American friends. One hundred percent of everyone polled immediately knew who you were. One hundred percent of those people just could not believe that I did not know you. I was alive in the 1990s. I was the correct age to be aware of your old band, Take That (which also did not ring any bells for me). My life took on the tone of a Twilight Zone episode. I began to notice that you were mentioned, frequently, everywhere. I saw you in magazines, on gossip sites, the radio, television, and so on. How could it be that I just hadn’t realized! Melissa even pointed out that she had shown me one of your videos about a hundred times. She showed me again, and I recognized it.
Robbie Williams, our lives have been like the convoluted plot to a vaguely annoying film. You have busied yourself with apparently becoming the most widely known performer in existence, while I have been either looking the other way or have been in a distracted frame of mind. Or perhaps I have always exited a room three seconds before you were seen, listened to, or mentioned? I nearly became acquainted with you, I had even seen you but you instantly escaped my mind. I knew you without knowing you, but now I know. And I suspect that maybe the manic depression you have experienced in your life could be a feeling of panic and unrest, a feeling that there was something missing in your life.
Maybe it was me. Maybe it was my attention.
If you feel a sense of peace, Robbie Williams, it is because now you have the whole world + me right in your hands. Now EVERYONE knows you.