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Happy Sad Land
No Worries
Jack and Zena
The Craic
1900 House

Robbie Williams
- Somebody Someday

SOMEBODY SOMEDAY (2001) - Extract 1

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Extract 1
Extract 2


Front row girls
In Berlin, after a gig, I find myself getting a little too close for comfort to Robbie's private life ...

'Welcome to the world of water,' says Rob, with a smile. To the left of the little corridor from the door there's a group of armchairs around a low coffee table. A sideboard laden with Evian, Coke and other soft drinks stands against the wall. Rob seems thoroughly relaxed tonight. But he didn't enjoy the gig, he says, didn't think it was as good as Hamburg.

He and David are already engaged in a fast Uno two-hander, throwing down the Action, Reverse and Skip cards in their well-worn routine. 'I thank you,' says Rob as he wins a round. Eventually David is out and Josie and Marv join in. Josie's laughing because some fan outside was hassling Franksy for an idea of where Robb-ieeeee was going next. 'Oh ple-e-e-ease,' she begged, 'can you give us a tip?' 'Don't wipe your arse with a broken bottle,' was Franksy's growled reply.

Rob, ever bright and restless, hurries the game along, calling out your name if you're more than a second behind the hand. 'David!' 'Mark!' 'Marv!' But he's patient as well. There's a wanting-to-be-kind, Better Man side of him, but he's still the Prince. 'Open that window for me, would you, David?' he asks. At other times he breaks off to sing snatches of his own songs. Then he suddenly looks round at you and smiles, for no discernable reason.

A little later we're joshing around. I'm telling David and Josie that they remind me, as they stand on the edge of the stage night after night, dancing along to Rob's songs, of characters in Winnie the Pooh. Big bald David, in his loose Nelson Mandela style shirt, comparatively tiny Josie boogying along beside him - what are they? Pooh and Piglet, something like that (though I don't say that now).

'And me?' asks Rob.

'No, you're more Jungle Book.'

'What am I? A troubled gibbon.' He laughs loudly.

It's two in the morning but there are still some fans in the downstairs bar. Drinking tea at a table by the door are Marlene and Haydee, from Rostok on the Black Sea. Marlene, with a ginger mop and almond eyes, is a student. Her friend in black, with long dark hair and a big, strangely mobile mouth, has finished school and is waiting to go to university. They were both in the front row at the gig, Haydee standing out from the crowd with her Draculine good looks. Face to face, they are not just dumb beauties; they both have good English and are bright and articulate. They were only young when the wall came down, they tell me, so don't remember much about the old East Germany. But it wasn't so bad in the old days, Haydee insists. Everyone had a job.

Suddenly Jonah has appeared. He raises his eyebrows at me (I'd said I was going to bed) and starts offering drinks all round. But the girls are driving back to Rostok tonight, so they're only having tea. 'Keep that chair for me,' says Jonah.

When he sits down the conversation becomes altogether more stilted. 'How many men have you got in your cellar?' he asks Haydee. She giggles and looks rapidly between her friend and me. Is this supposed to be a joke, a chat-up line, or what?

After a few minutes of this Jonah's mobile rings. He gets up and steps outside. An earnest conversation is going on, clearly about the girls. He comes back in and sits down, a broad, slightly nervous smile under his moustache. 'D'you like cards?' he asks them. There's a card game going on upstairs and they want one more player. But only one. Would Haydee perhaps be interested?

Haydee giggles fetchingly. No, no, she's quite happy down here with her friend, she says. Jonah's concerned that she's not quite getting his drift. The person he works for would like to play Uno with her. Haydee laughs. 'Oh no, I don't think I want to play Uno. It's a kids' game, isn't it?'she says.

'You don't have to play Uno,' says Jonah. 'Are they stupid?' he mutters under his breath, as his mobile rings again. This time the conversation round the corner is both more hushed and more earnest. The girls fully understand what's on offer. They wouldn't mind going up to meet Robbie, but Haydee doesn't want to go alone with Jonah.

He reappears, still on the phone. He's telling whoever's on the other end that he will be back shortly. 'Accompanied,' he says heavily.

A minute later and Marv appears. He's altogether more direct. 'You know who we work for, don't you?' he says. This person would be very happy to see Haydee in his room.

'This person,' adds Jonah, 'is someone whose gig you've recently been to see.' He nods meaningfully.

'Oh,' says Haydee with a laugh. 'Michael Jackson!'

The two security men exchange exasperated looks, then Jonah turns his biggest smile back on Haydee. Look, why doesn't she just come up and see who they're talking about. They can both go, and then one can stay and play cards and the other can come with them. Him and his colleague.

The girls are not going to be split up and even together they're not going anywhere with Marv and Jonah. 'We'd go up with you,' they say. And foolishly, liking and feeling concerned for them, I agree.

We go up in the lift, an awkward fivesome. Along the corridor, Jonah knocks on Rob's door. A muffled 'come in' and Jonah ushers us through. Rob is there, alone, at the end of the short corridor into the main suite. He sees us, a crowd of people he hasn't asked for, and is suddenly freaked out.

'I'm sorry,' he mutters, 'too many people.'

But he doesn't scream at us, he's polite as ever.

'Good night,' he adds.

We back out and troop down to the bar. When the girls have left, over another vodka Jonah is philosophical. It was a fuck-up, basically. But you learn in these situations to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and carry on for another day.

A little later Marv appears. It's OK, he says. He's been talking to Rob about it and the boss thought it was quite funny.
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