SYDNEY (Reuters) - Sun, sand, stupidly-big sunglasses and A$600 ($500) tips.
Those are the new ingredients of the Australasian summer, as music celebrities from quirky Icelandic icon Bjork to U.S. rocker Jon Bon Jovi escape winter to play the concerts and festivals that typically mark the start of the year Down Under.
Visiting U.S. rocker Jon Bon Jovi was crowned biggest tipper in town on Tuesday by the Daily Telegraph newspaper after leaving a A$600 tip to an astonished Sydney waiter.
“It’s the biggest single tip I’ve ever received in the four years I have worked here,” waiter Ed Tomlinson, 28, said. “To get A$100 is a bonus, so this was pretty substantial.”
Celebrity mania of another sort broke out days earlier at Queensland’s Big Day Out festival, as fans donned a very 2008 fashion trend: the oversized yellow sunglasses worn by teen Corey Delaney, who shot to global fame as “MySpace party boy.”
Hundreds among the 53,000-strong crowd, and performers from Australian bands Regurgitator and Silverchair, sported the trademark day-glo shades worn by the infamous teen, who was arrested after a near-riot at his house party, the Courier Mail newspaper reported.
Across the Tasman Sea in Auckland, New Zealand, the first stop on the six-city Big Day Out tour, the music stars left behind another trail of gossip and waiter interviews after the festival kicked off last Friday.
Auckland’s most famous surf spot, Piha Beach on the city’s west coast, became celebrity central as Bjork and Rage Against the Machine band members relaxed on the black sands before facing the crowds, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Bjork, who is headlining upcoming Big Day Out shows in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, and will play a sold-out set at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday, turned heads in kiwi surf shops and restaurants.
Despite grabbing headlines for ripping the shirt of a paparazzi photographer upon touching down at Auckland airport, it was the singer with a reputation for unconventionality’s “normality” that most impressed locals.
“It was very exciting for me,” a woman from Piha’s general store told New Zealand media.
“Bjork was just wearing normal beachwear. She looked absolutely normal.”
Chef Daniel Morini, who served Bjork two separate meals at the Piha Surf Lifesaving Club restaurant, said he also tried to act normal in the starlet’s presence.
“Everyone was saying, ask her for an autograph. I said, nah - didn’t want any ‘talk to the hand’,” Morini said, referring to the celebrity’s often-used first line of defense against the public — a raised hand signaling that they do not want to chat.
“I thought of putting her fork on eBay,” the chef confessed.
“But I didn’t.”
Reporting by Gillian Murdoch, editing by Rob Taylor