Remember When Robbie Williams Used Hand Sanitizer After Touching His Fans?

It's the face. The face really makes it.
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB
March 20, 2018, 12:16pm
Screenshot via

Remember When is a Noisey column where we remember silly music things that once happened and laugh about them. It's pretty simple really.

In the pie chart of my brain, some ideas, concepts, and events take up unreasonably large chunks of space. Who or what is actually inside the Mr Blobby suit (Chris Evans? A genuinely malevolent poltergeist?) easily gets its own ten percent. The fact that "Sledgehammer" by Fifth Harmony remains as underrated as it is? Seven percent. Dog memes and Quorn vegan nuggets? Easily five percent each, if not more to be honest. But there's one thing that would probably get the largest pie slice of all, if I had to really consider it: the time Robbie Williams sanitised his hands on stage after touching the audience. For the uninitiated, welcome:


Robbie Williams, of course, is a British national institution. Imagining the UK without his influence feels almost impossible: there would be no "Rock DJ," no shit jokes about Gary Barlow being crap (a national pastime). And honestly, the above video kind of proves why he's so legendary: performing on literal television on New Year's Eve 2016, Robbie Williams went into the crowd, touching the shitmunchers who had come to watch him play, before getting back on stage and rubbing his hands with a bottle of sanitiser in full view of both camera and audience, doing this face:

Perhaps one of the greatest elements to this lies in the fact that, once this moment became A News Item, Robbie then had to address it. “It was only a bit of panto and then people go, ‘Oh, he fucking hates the general public’," he told NME last February. "I didn’t realize until the next day that it was a thing."

The real hilarity lies in the very idea of Robbie Williams, the man who released a Rat Pack-era covers album entitled Swing When You're Winning, pulling a move more appropriate for a Mariah-like figure. The grandeur on display here is utterly ridiculous, but isn't that the essence of Robbie? This, of course, is the man who tore off his own CGI skin in a music video: he is the master of going over the top but in a kind of distasteful way, that resonates with everyone who has ever fell on their arse dancing to "Toxic" in a pub (NOT me) (me). This moment is 100 percent pure Robbie—and even if you disagree with my analysis, it is also just extremely funny isn't it?

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This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.