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Robbie Recording Chambers Music?

Although Robbie Williams is keeping schtum about the possibility of a Take That reunion (which, if the comments on my last blog entry about it are anything to go by, suits the vast majority of TT fans just fine anyway) recent news reports suggest a rapprochement with another key figure from his musical past - Guy Chambers.

As you may be aware, Guy Chambers was Robbie Williams writing partner on pretty much all his biggest hits; Rock DJ, Let Me Entertain You, and the all-conquering Angels to name but three.

They fell out towards the end of 2002 after the recording of Robbie's fifth solo album, Escapology. It may or may not be a coincidence that Williams' two albums since then are the lowest-selling of his career to date.

So, has Robbie learned how to swallow his pride and admit mistakes? Does it offer any clues as to the likelihood of him joining Take That on tour?

It's hard to say from this. Reforming a business partnership (which, however matey they might once have been, was always the essential nature of his relationship with Chambers) isn't the same as making up with friends. The jury's still out on whether we'll ever see a five-man Take That again.

Having said all this, I watched a documentary about the band on Channel 5 last night. It was tabloid-level stuff and didn't offer much in the way of revelations (and I'm fairly sure it was a repeat anyway) but it did make me soften my stance on Robbie a bit.

I long ago lost patience with his constant carping about Take That and all that "I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams!" stuff left a nasty taste in the mouth but I'd forgotten (if indeed I ever really knew) how charmlessly ambitious Gary was back in the 1990s.

Also, I specifically criticised Robbie for leaving Mark, Jason, and Howard in the lurch when he left, but of course it was Gary who pulled the plug on Take That the first time around on the rather smug assumption that solo success was his for the taking.

That, of course, was much of the reason the public got behind Robbie and why we indulged his all too successful efforts to turn Gary into a national laughing-stock.

The twists and turns of their contrasting fortunes have made for a fascinating soap opera. Pride came before a fall for Gary but, all credit to him, he's emerged a better man for the experience, relinquishing his stranglehold on songwriting duties and allowing Take That to become a democracy.

He also seems at peace with himself, which, as Robbie knows, is something money can't buy.

What we're all waiting to see is if Robbie can respond to his own setbacks with equal maturity.

If resuming his working relationship with Guy Chambers is the first step on that road, then I for one wish him every success.

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