Polyester Prince Bob Downe Makes Viva Bob Vegas
Bob Downe’s last tour, Viva Bob Vegas, hit Australia’s east coast on May 8 and will end in Melbourne on May 30, just in time for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival where he will co-host Adelaide Tonight in June. !
During the phone call with the charming Bob Downe, otherwise known as the equally delicious Mark Trevorrow, it was interesting to hear that as he was growing up in a house full of musicians, he was much more interested in the reporting and journalism, only through a show.
“No, I was obsessed with journalism! I didn’t know I was going to be an artist, it was really weird. I wanted to be a journalist since I was very little, I made my own little newspapers and magazines. I was at The sun for nearly five years, straight out of school, but it was while making my junior there that I discovered that there was something that obsessed me much more, it was show business!
THANK YOU BRIZ VEGAS! What a welcome you gave us for the opening weekend of Viva Bob Vegas! # twelfthnighttheatre… now for the Gong! @merrigongtheatreco bobdowne.com
“And so the combination of interviewing actors and directors and doing stories about plays and show business, then doing the pop column for The sun in Melbourne (now The Herald Sun), I met and interviewed everyone!
“Tina Turner, Roy Orbison, Sting, Bette Midler, George Benson… I mean it was just outrageous that I was meeting and of course it was the absolute pinnacle of Countdown, it was the absolute pinnacle of Australian pop music, which went through the roof!
Top 20 hits, thanks to Michael Gudinski!
When asked how the two singles he got when he debuted as part of cabaret duo, The Globos, came about, he tells a pretty delightful story that includes the late great Michael Gudinski.
“Before we knew it, because of my connections as a journalist, I knew all the publicists and was friends with a publicist in Mushroom and convinced them that Tintarella di luna was a great song to cover and they won over Michael Gudinski. He didn’t want to do it but they hammered him with it, they would continuously play it in Mushroom’s big open office until he finally said ‘okay just to shut you up stop playing it , okay, they can save it! “”
“And it was a f-ing hit and then we hosted Countdown! “
Homophobic attitudes to begin with
The character of Bob Downe appeared at a time when open flamboyance was rare for men and when asked, Trevorrow mentions that he was the target of some anti-gay attitudes when he first started out.
“At the very beginning, absolutely! I had some really tough gigs at the start when I went solo in the late 80’s and early 90’s to Australia and UK because of course here I was the only gay in the bloody village! Me and Molly Meldrum! And he hadn’t even come out!
And what would you say now?
“It was a long evolutionary journey! Bob’s outing has been a parallel thing to everyone from the late ’70s until now, it’s fascinating and one of the nicest things is when I’m approached by people who tell me everything seems to be okay. .
“One of the people who told me this was Matt Lucas. He told me that at the age of 14 he saw me on his little TV in his bedroom in the suburbs of London – a live show from Edinburgh – and he knew it was going to be alright . Which was really beautiful to hear.
The final details of Bob Downe’s tour
Viva Bob Vegas plays Brisbane, Brunswick Heads, Wollongong, Sydney and Melbourne in May, tickets via bobdowne.com then in June, he went to the Adelaide cabaret festival to perform in The Famous Spiegeltent with Anne ‘Willsy’ Wills from Adelaide, tickets here.