Forget that the Never Gonna Give You Up singer is touring Australia for the first time in 23 years and looking to sell tickets, he rebutted Brit newspapers comments that Aussie girls at the Melbourne Cup were “disgraceful”.

“I’ve played at Ascot a few times, let me tell you, that’s not the case,” Astley, 46, told the Daily Telegraph after performing at Stakes Day on Saturday.

“I have seen some seriously pissed people at the races in Melbourne over the last few days but I don’t think that’s different to any event anywhere.

“Drink culture in the UK is crazy. It’s mayhem. We used to go out and get trolleyed, I sound like an old man, but we didn’t go drinking five nights a week. That seems to be a normal thing on a Wednesday night in the UK now.”

Astley is driving himself around Oz as he tours and appears to be going down well there. His recently self-released single Lights Out reached number 15 on the radio airplay charts in the UK.

He told a corporate crowd on Saturday: “Thanks for buying my records in the ’80s, and my mum thanks you for paying her mortgage.”

Astley is set to play the Stock Aitken Waterman reunion concert at Hyde Park in London on December 20, which was rained out at Hyde Park, where Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan are said to be reuniting for their hit duet Especially For You.

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