My Involvement with the 2006 Television Documentary
Pet Shop Boys - A Life in Pop

On January 6, 2006, I received an unexpected email from a representative of Isis Productions, a British production company that specializes in television documentaries, often on subjects related to popular music. She asked me whether I might be available sometime during the following month or so to be interviewed on camera for possible inclusion in a documentary that Isis Productions was putting together about the Pet Shop Boys.

Needless to say, I said "Yes!"

On February 19, 2006, I flew to Los Angeles, where I was put up in a very nice hotel, the Sunset Tower (until recently known as the Argyle Hotel), on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. There I met with the documentary's director, George Scott, his assistant Sinead D'Arcy, and several members of their crew. (Incidentally, they had just finished filming an interview with Robbie Williams only an hour or so before at the same hotel. Unfortunately, our paths didn't cross.) After a brief preliminary discussion and a change of venue to a different location nearby, we got down to the business of filming my interview.

For two full hours I spoke on camera with Mr. Scott, responding to his wide range of questions concerning the Pet Shop Boys and their music, lyrics, image, and career. We discussed at length a number of specific songs and albums. We also talked about my website and various other related topics.

After the interview was complete, we all went out to dinner at a delightful "nouveau Asian" restaurant about four blocks away. (It was a Friday evening, so Sunset Boulevard was hoppin'!) There I enjoyed a marvelous chicken-banana curry dish—I know that may sound bizarre, but I assure you, it was delicious—and a round of superb conversation. Along the way, Mr. Scott confided that he was initially skeptical about including me among his interviewees since, in his experience, "superfans" tend to be unobjective, overzealous, and narrow-minded. But he was pleased (and, naturally, I was pleased that he was pleased) to have found me quite the opposite.

Pet Shop Boys - A Life in Pop debuted on U.K. Channel 4 at 11:05 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2006. The broadcast version was a little less than 50 minutes in length once the commercials were removed. It didn't make its U.S. broadcast debut (in a slightly shorter version) until March 15, 2008—nearly two full years later—on the Logo cable channel. (Since then it has aired on the MHD cable channel as well.) In these versions I first appear about halfway through and thereafter make several brief subsequent appearances.

The full-length DVD version, released on October 23, 2006, clocks in at 142 minutes—nearly three times as long! (And that doesn't even include more than 30 minutes of additional bonus materials!) In this longer version I don't show up until nearly an hour into it, but then I start cropping up fairly often. I have to admit that I'm very pleasantly surprised—OK, that's a major understatement—at how often I do appear. I actually have only three regrets, and they're quite minor ones:

  1. That they decided against using anything I had to say about my all-time favorite PSB album, Very;
  2. The way I emphasized Nightlife being so "dance-oriented" when, in truth, it's hardly any more dance-oriented than most other PSB albums; and
  3. That all this took place before I managed to lose nearly 40 pounds. (No, I'm not so chubby anymore.)

The following list of my appearances in the documentary and the associated "starting times" is for the full-length DVD version. Segments that also appeared in the edited broadcast versions are followed by a red asterisk (*), although in several cases those segments aren't exactly the same as on the DVD, sometimes being a little longer or shorter, and in some cases they appear in a different order:

*Interestingly, the shorter broadcast version also includes a brief segment that doesn't appear in the DVD version where I speak about the virtual refusal of American DJs to play PSB on the radio. Other commentators cover that territory on the DVD.

Thanks to YouTube, I can offer here a link to a brief excerpt from the documentary. I'm starting a few seconds before the point where I make my first appearance in the broadcast version (I appear a little earlier on the DVD), although you can scroll back and forth to watch more of it.

I wish to take this opportunity to express my tremendous gratitude to George Scott, Sinead D'Arcy, and their talented colleagues and crew for contacting me and making this such a wonderful experience—one that I will always remember and treasure. And a very special Thank You to Neil and Chris themselves, who, I've been told, recommended to Isis Productions that they get in touch with me. I can't begin to express how much this means to me!