A Man Could Get Arrested

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1985
Original album - Alternative
Producer - Bobby Orlando, Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - Please 2001 reissue Further Listening 1984-1986 bonus disc
Other releases - b-side of single "West End Girls"

In the booklet that accompanied the Alternative collection, Neil states that this song (written and originally recorded in 1984 and first appearing as the b-side of "West End Girls") was inspired by events that took place the evening that he and Chris met Peter Andreas, who would soon become their good friend. The three of them were walking through London and somehow became involved in an altercation with some "yobs" in Russell Square. Afterward, Neil and Peter were briefly detained by police (Chris had escaped). PSB fans familiar with London have pointed out that Russell Square has long been a popular nighttime "cruising area" for gay men. But Neil has stated that the underlying "story" of the lyric is heterosexual: it's about a guy who can't get his girlfriend to go to bed with him. "He's so frustrated that 'a man could get arrested.' … It's a song about sexual frustration."

Neil has also noted that this song is in part a "portrait" of their first producer, Bobby "O" Orlando (who in fact co-produced this track with them). The lyrics apparently even draw upon a couple of near-direct Bobby "O" quotes:

But perhaps most significantly, the chorus is, according to Neil, "totally Bobby 'O''s approach to life: 'If you want to earn, learn how to do it.'"



Officially released

*There are conflicting reports as to who precisely mixed the 7" b-side mix of "A Man Could Get Arrested." Some sources cite the mixer as Steven Spiro; others cite the Pet Shop Boys and Frank Roszak. All reliable sources agree, however, that Spiro produced the track. I've since learned (from a very reliable source within the PSB organization) that the credit actually belongs to Steven Spiro only.

List cross-references