In the stunning close to Hosking Week, Pete Douglas goes on a desperate, seemingly fruitless, but ultimately cathartic search for The Hosk’s true feelings about pop icon Taylor Swift. Click here for the rest of our Hosking Week coverage.
Anyone who has ever listened to or watched Mike Hosking in action will know that Mike loves sharing his opinions. Those which get the most airtime are generally the slightly offensive, politically-motivated ones, however his ardent belief in the importance of his own views sometimes leads to some nuggets when you might least expect it. None more so when the 51 year old millionaire dips his toe into pop culture, both past and present. Given his grand baby-boomer appeal, Hosking’s deep and abiding love of a musician who has not really produced a great album since about 1976 is hardly surprising, but the real gold appears when Mike delves into modern pop music.
Being a music lover myself, and feeling strangely connected to Hosk, you can only imagine my delight when late last year he proclaimed on an episode of Seven Sharp that “I’m a bit of a fan of old T-Swizzle”. To think Hosking was actively engaged with the music of Taylor Swift, and was fond enough of her to call her by an admittedly terrible nickname was sheer joy to me. I imagined Hosk dancing like a demented rooster to “Shake it Off” while no-one was looking. Perhaps he ripped around Tamaki Drive in his latest sports car whilst pumping “Bad Blood” out of the stereo and singing at the top of his lungs? Ah Hosk, maybe you’re not so bad after all. Maybe listening to 1989 on repeat will eventually melt that heart of ice of yours, and turn you into that decent, caring human being that must be under there somewhere. Good old Hosk!
I clutched to this rose-tinted vision of my anti-hero for many months, happy in the knowledge that whatever terrible things he said, at least Hosk liked Taylor Swift. All was well with the world. Or at least it was until last month, when I tuned into Seven Sharp again, eager to be faux-outraged by something off-hand Mike said, and instead witnessed him hit his former friend with a stinging rebuke. “I find her increasingly average,” he said after the video for Taylor’s hit “Out of the Woods” brought the show back in from a commercial break. What? How could you, Hosk? I was bereft – Hosk had ditched TS with one huffy double-pull on the lapels of his horrifically overpriced sports jacket, and he wouldn’t even say why.
This cataclysmic event sent me reeling. When did the Hosk love for Taylor die? I needed to know more. I trawled old Seven Sharp episodes for Taylor mentions. I searched ZB audio for some trace of him turning on TS. I hunted through his Herald columns for some callous aside about T-Swizzle. Nothing.
Even Facebook only seemed to reinforce the view that Hosk really loves Taylor:
I racked my brain – I was lost for any reason why Mike could turn on Taylor so cruelly. Then I was passed a possible lifeline. It came to my attention that Seven Sharp (or more specifically Toni Street) was starting to take requests from viewers on which songs should bring the show back from the commercial break. I requested Taylor Swift and waited.
Night after night I tuned into this desultory show, waiting for my Taylor clip to play, and for Hosk to admit he actually loved T-Swizzle all along. Night one, song one is “Funky Town” by Pseudo Echo. Mike chastises Toni for dancing at her desk: “God, it’s not a nightclub!” I snigger because I secretly know Streety wishes she was in the club rather than spending another dark night of the soul working with Hosk. Streety baits Hosk into an enormous Liz Lemon-style eyeroll by saying “This is exactly what you’d hear on Coast or The HITS, and I LOVE IT.”
Next up is some Bollywood, courtesy of Deewani Mastani. Hosk sits back in his chair and openly mocks the song, followed by further open mocking of Toni and the entire viewers’ choice segment. “Now you are down to World music. Why don’t you just go hang out at WOMAD?” spits Mike sarcastically. Hosk calls the segment a bust, and looks forward to getting rid of it in their “review meeting” – which I can only assume involves Hosk using a red pen to veto all the things he dislikes doing on the show, while Toni gets to listen.
Another night, another song: the Koi Boys from The Voice Australia. Still no dice. Hosk outs himself as a Ronan Keating fan by saying he was the judge to go with. “Life is a Rollercoaster” does sound like a piece of advice he might pass onto Aucklanders living in their cars – so the shoe fits, so to speak.
No Taylor again the next night, but finally some real Baby Boomer music to hook in Hosk – “Take it Easy” by the Eagles. Is there a more quintessentially Seven Sharp song than this? Hosk immediately confirms it’s one of the greatest songs of all time, and reveals his motto in life is “stay in your lane”. Who knew Hosk’s love of free market individualism was so closely tied to his love of The Eagles? It’s revealed by Toni that the viewer requesting the song is an aspiring journo, which causes Hosking to wince and dispense the advice to give it away as it’s all “cardigan-wearing and hand-wringing.”
I sure as hell didn’t request the song, but it appears Hosk is now directly talking to me through the TV. I’m scared.
Onwards I push, day after day, sending my requests in for songs, listening to way too much Mike, searching Kate Hawkesby’s Instagram for a hint, anything to give me some closure. Then, at the exact point when I was ready to give up and roam the world pitifully bereft and devoid of answers, it happened:
Of course you are upset about Taye Taye Hosk, because you’re a real fan, and when the chips are down real fans are there for their heroes! Ah, maybe you’re not so bad after all, Hosk.
Good old Hosk.