Over the past few years, both here and elsewhere, I have from time to time suggested that Robbie Williams is an individual of limited talent whose output has consisted mainly of hamfisted pastiche, northern English karaoke of the sort that belongs alongside the deliberately lighthearted performances of stand-up comedian Peter Kay rather than next to the best of British pop. Despite the efforts of his management, publishers, record company, and many members of the UK media to persuade them otherwise, most of the people of North America also remain unimpressed.

At this difficult time for him, I’d like to join his former bandmates in Take That in wishing Robbie a rapid recovery. I’d also like to add this personal message: Since I involuntarily gave up working in biomedical research, my life has in some ways become less stressful. (Nobody in the States was interested in what I did either.) A change of occupation could bring with it massive therapeutic benefits for you—and for many others, especially those who listen to daytime radio as they go about their business, or indeed attend an unhealthily large number of wedding discos. Give it a thought, Robbie, mate. I can lend you some career guides.