While the world was celebrating the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, another notable event was unfolding halfway across the world in Sydney, Australia.
On October 25, 2019, hundreds of thousands of people were lining up outside the Sydney Opera House to catch a glimpse of the megastar as he arrived for the opening night of his annual musical instrument festival, the Sydney Electronic Music Festival (SEMF). The singer and actor, best known for playing the lead role in the most recent Harry Potter film, Pottermore, was wearing a black cloak with his signature silver pompoms and had a large box tucked under his arm.
Pattinson, whose real name is Ritchie Patchell, has been a part of the Australian music scene since he was a teenager. Besides playing the lead role in Pottermore, he performed several times at the Sydney Opera House and also headlined several festivals in the country.
After the wedding festivities, the 54-year-old singer headed back to the country to spend the winter, while the rest of the world eagerly awaited the next instalment in the Harry Potter series, now that Ron Weasley has married the gorgeous Fleur Delacour.
Pattinson’s Love For All The ’90s Music
The British-born, American-raised singer was probably best known for his work with the band Foosball & His Orchestra, which he founded in the early ’90s. After breaking up the group in 1996, he went on to form a new band, the Robert Pattinson Band, with drummer and childhood friend, Paul Cook. The band’s sound has been described as a “mixture of the Cure and the Verve with just a hint of Echo & the Bunnymen.”
It was during this time that Ritchie Patchell adopted a more prominent stage name, which he still uses today. He had always been the primary vocalist and songwriter for his bands, but decided it was time for a change after nine years playing under the moniker. The result was Robert Pattinson, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who now lives in Sydney and performs regularly around town – and around the world, too.
Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2016, Patchell revealed that he had deliberately chosen a stage name that would make him more accessible to a larger audience. “I wanted something that was easy to remember and that didn’t require me to write down a whole alias, which I find tiresome,” he said. “I needed a name that people would just know and not really question. I wanted something that was the same when I said it or when someone else said it. So, it’s always been Robert Pattinson for the past 20 years, which is a lot easier to remember.”
’90s Nostalgia In The Name Of Fashion
The decade of the ’90s was an interesting one for Australian fashion. From Mullets To Ninja Turtles And Beyond, we take a look back at the best and worst of the decade of the ’90s in Australian fashion.
The decade began with a rather large bang, as 1992 was not only the year of the Australian film The Man from Elysium, but also of the country’s bicentennial.
The following year, Australian fashion gained international notoriety when Kylie Minogue wore a dress made entirely out of newspapers during her 1993 promotional tour for her album, Fluorescent Pink.
The tour was named after the psychedelic-inspired single, which saw the singer walking the streets of London half-naked with her posterior exposed. Minogue later told The Daily Telegraph, “I wanted to do something a little bit different, and the idea behind the tour was to get away from the traditional dress code and do something a bit more liberating.”
The fashion choices during the period weren’t exactly conventional, with a range of bizarre and unique designs emerging throughout the decade.
Pattinson and Cook’s first album, A Little Respect, was released in April 1995 and saw the group’s eccentricities reflected in the artwork for the record, which saw them play with Japanese anime/manga-style imagery and Chinese symbols. The image on the cover of the album was designed to look like a Japanese schoolgirl in a sailor suit.
According to the music blog, Vinyl Junkie, the cover art for the album “is part of a running theme in which the members of Foosball play with the imagery and identities associated with adolescence. The album cover for their 1997 album, Just Like Heaven features a cartoonish drawing of a devilish child with a huge head, which serves as an ironic comment on the band’s music.”
The Millennium And Beyond
The 21st century has seen Australian fashion embrace diversity more than ever before, with designers experimenting with different styles and colours to keep their customers interested.
In the decade that followed, fashion-related articles in the national press covered a range of bizarre trends, including the explosion in demand for green face paint, body paint and strange-looking hair extensions.
Pattinson’s love for all things ’90s is evident throughout his music, with several tracks on the artist’s upcoming album, Dirty Weekend, paying homage to the decade that was.
The album is set to be released in May and will be preceded by the single, In The Morning, the second part of which was premiered late last year. Like the first single, Let’s Get Lost, a track from Dirty Weekend, sees Pat Mitchell exploring ’90s nostalgia and his love of all things grunge.
“Let’s Get Lost is about someone who is nostalgic about the 90s but finds himself in a contemporary world,” Patchell said. “The song is about someone who feels trapped in the present, longing for what is not there anymore – the grunge scene, the alternative music scene, the excitement of the 90s.”
The Manic Street Preachers’ Motorcycle Emblems
In 2019, motorcyclists around the world were treated to the sight and sound of Manic Street Preachers frontman, James Dean Bradfield, as he revved his engine and blasted the music from his new album, Know Your Enemy.
The album, which was released on February 1, sees the former vocalist for the Fallers, embarking on a solo career and taking the music world by storm. According to Dean Forte, writing for Music Business Worldwide, the album is “defiant and brilliant, a classic case of a musician evolving with his material and finding new ways to communicate with his audience.”
Speaking to Rolling Stone about Know Your Enemy, Bradfield said, “I wanted to do something a bit different, something that wouldn’t be heard every day, something that would catch people off guard a little bit.”
The album kicks off with the exhilarating title track, which sees Bradfield’s trademark gravelly, yet agile vocals taking on a life of their own as he belts out: “Let’s burn the past, throw caution to the wind, start a fight with the people we know won’t agree with us — we’ve got a cause, we know where we’re going, we’ve got a scheme — it’s time to see it through.”
Elsewhere on the album, the lyrics to the searing anti-Trump protest song, Resistance, are a call to arms for anyone fighting against the current US president.
The album also includes the dark, brooding Where Did Our Love Go?, which was co-written by and featuring R&B singer, Sia.
Speaking to Rolling Stone about the track, Sia said, “I didn’t want to write something that was just about Trump. I want to make sure that people know that it’s not just about him. It’s about a lot of things, the state of the world, the state of the union, all of that.”
A Bit Of A Fanboy
While it’s always great to see popular culture acknowledged and celebrated, it’s not always great when the people doing so are a little bit (or a lot) obsessed.
For any True Crime fan, the chance to see their favourite actors and actresses come together onscreen is a dream that has been realized with the Netflix Original series, The Room — Solo: A Star Wars Story. The series follows a young Obi-Wan Kenobi as he explores the mysterious world of acting and tries to follow in his idol, Lucas’ footsteps. While the actor is enjoying a varied career, which has seen him play both villains and heroes, the role which will undoubtedly go down in history is that of his on-screen mentor, Ford McCleery.