03
Feb
10

“Oh so Rock ‘n roll” – guest blog by Ged gillmore (sydney)

Ged Gillmore [http://hotdownunder.blogspot.com/] has just spent 48 hours with the most famous band in the world.  Here we publish his exclusive insight into life on Planet Spokanite. [Note: photos can be found HERE]

2010-01-30 Sydney, Australia - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 001 It is difficult to overstate the anticipation which greeted The Spokanites on this, the second leg of their Hitched world tour.  The questions were too obvious not be asked.  Would the recent scandal that has surrounded the band affect their ability to perform?  Would the noise made about them drown out the music they make?  Would the pressure on the them show through in their outfits?  Sonya Zilka and Robert Hylton, for five years now the most successful couple on earth, were clearly nervous on their arrival at Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith airport.  Ever since disenchanted fans bombarded Zilka with rotten artichokes upon the band’s arrival at Narita International last year, the pair have reason to be wary.  But Sydney was quiet.  The band’s now-famous diversionary tactics (a Presidential Election there, false warnings of bad weather here) had once more kept them safe from the public gaze. 

2010-01-30 Sydney, Australia - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 002 ‘I’ll admit I was nervous’ Zilka told me in a rare, candid moment.  ‘I had only 12 hours to do my hair on that flight.  Anything could have happened.’

Hylton was also clearly relieved.  ‘I was worried that 350kg of luggage would be over the limit’ he told me ‘but if you fly business class far enough you can shit all over anyone you want.’

But what about the public?  Would that evening’s concert live up to the hype?  I accompanied the Spokanites to their oh-so exclusive hotel (this reporter sees no point in telling you its name because you couldn’t afford it) and slowly gained enough of their trust for them to reveal details of their recent Sri Lankan event.  The pair had less than 5,000 photographs from Sri Lanka and it was a privilege to see them.  Hylton in particular was happy to discuss the charges of elephant cruelty.

‘Oh that’ he said ‘it was just an outfit.  I know those people find blue satin distasteful, but you know, at a certain point, they just have to get some perspective’.

I asked him who he meant by ‘those people’ but his brush with the Taste Police of Winter 03/04 is clearly not yet a distant memory.  He smiled and moved the conversation on to that evening’s concert.

2010-01-30 Sydney, Australia - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 018‘It’s an iconic location’ he said ‘and we’ve done that deliberately.  The opera house represents the music which we hope to bring into so many sad, little people’s lives.  The harbour bridge represents the many bridges Sonya and I have crossed to be here.  The water represents the fluidity in all of our lives.’

The public was no quite so convinced.   I overheard one fan later that night complaining that ‘you can’t exactly make a lot of noise at the Opera Bar’.

‘But that’s just the point’ says Zilka when I put this to her.  ‘We aren’t about ‘a lot of noise’ any more.  Now, we’re more about making beautiful music together.’

Loretta Campbell is nervous.  The east-coast operations manager’s meticulous eye for planning has never yet failed her but today there is so much that can go wrong.  A split venue, guests unknown to each other, water taxis, land taxis, restaurants, menus, weather.  2010-01-30 Sydney, Australia - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 027She smiles above it all and I’m reminded of the whispers that her flushed, elegant new look is due to the new man in her life, a reclusive supermarket magnate.  Campbell (who later informs us that ‘dildos aren’t funny after thirty’) waves away such suggestions impatiently.  ‘We’re not here to talk about me’ she says ‘We’re here to drink copious amounts of alcohol and fall over.’  And yet Campbell never touches a drop.  All the same, once the small invitation-only crowd is assembled she visibly relaxes.  A who’s-who of Australian rock’n’roll is now standing around the band: Gold Coast metal duo Taratom; folk-gangsta cross-over stars Nicole’n’Pete; upcoming country-outfit Melonwayne; and of course the irrepressible Androodie (you may not have heard of them but they are huge in The Philippines).  Oliver Sands, the band’s senior hair-and-teeth consultant, looks over the proceedings with a cautious eye.   Many of the guests have forgotten to bring sunglasses and with a cloudless sky above there is a real danger of Zilka’s teeth blinding someone.  But all runs to plan, and soon, as Campbell predicted, all are drunk.

So, to answer the sixty-four million dollar question, did the gig live up to the hype?  This reporter believes it surpassed the hype.  Mama Cass’s voice dropped an octave after she was hit by a brick and it was her new voice that led the Mamas and Papas to such lasting success.  In the same way, the transformations which have recently effected The Spokanites have raised their performance to a new high.  2010-01-30 Sydney, Australia - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 048Hylton’s addiction to frequent flyer miles may have caused him years of suffering, but now it is flying him around the world.  Zilka’s addiction to big hair and teeth may have hampered her success in past years, but now she has made them her own.  Is she sorry about the artichoke years?  Is she hell.  No green vegetable is safe now from this woman who is clearly entering her prime, unrepentant at eating slower than anyone else at any table, unscared about being the Loud American In The Room.

And if there was any concern that the most famous band in the world are now perhaps stars rather than musicians, they were laid to rest at the spontaneous Woodstock-style outdoor gig which followed Saturday night’s main event.  A dedicated core of followers (i.e. everyone from the night before) gathered on the verdant shores on north Coogee on Sunday to hear an unplugged version of Zilka’s seminal hit ‘That song no-one’s ever heard of’’.  The beach may have been crowded, the shade of the trees full of fans, but during Zilka’s acapella solo you could have heard a pin drop.  The love in Hylton’s face as he watched her perform was adorable / nauseating.  And when, moments later, an over-adoring fan picked Zilka up and threw her into the surf, she was typically elegant in her lyrical response.  ‘You asshole’ she screamed ‘You douchebag.  You assholey, douch-baggy, db asshole.  I so hate you right now.  Asshole.’

And now they are gone.  The Coogee Bite Café is still rearranging its tables, the Cleveland Bar is wondering what hit it, the Ripples Restaurant is introducing a new policy of no groups larger than eight (or four if Americans are included) but all this is to be expected.  For, as Oliver Sands puts it ‘You can say what you like about The Spokanites, but they are SO rock’n’roll’.

2010-01-31 Sydney, Australia - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 012

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1 Response to ““Oh so Rock ‘n roll” – guest blog by Ged gillmore (sydney)”


  1. 1 Mel
    February 4, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Bugger ACDC, George Michael and Spandau Ballet, this is THE tour of 2010. I’ll remember its magic for the rest of my life (or as long as my few remaining brain cells last)


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