Published Novels That Mention "Pet Shop Boys"

It's not surprising that the Pet Shop Boys are mentioned in literally hundreds, if not thousands, of books. But the vast majority of them are works of nonfiction, usually about music. What may be far more surprising is the relative frequency with which they're mentioned in novels—book-length works of fiction.

Here's a list, in chronological order by year of publication (books published in the same year are listed alphabetically by title), of more than one hundred published novels of which I'm aware that name-drop the Pet Shop Boys. I provide the pertinent brief excerpt, adhering to guidelines of Fair Use. After the author's name I cite his or her nationality. Page numbers are, as best I can tell, for the original published editions.

Please note that I do not include plays, short stories, poems, poetry collections (yes, there are some) and, again, works of nonfiction, which includes biographies and autobiographies. The list is quite long enough as it is. I also don't include those novels in which the Pet Shop Boys are mentioned only in subsidiary material, such as acknowledgments, references, bibliographies, and endnotes.

Rich Men, Single Women (1988) by Pamela Beck and Patti Massman (U.S.), page 12:

I'm in my element, Paige thought, dancing with abadon to the orchestra's lively rendition of the Pet Shop Boys' new hit song, enjoying the loud pulsating music, the glorious moonlight, and all the admiring glances being cast her way.

The Sisters (1988) by Pat Booth (U.S.), page 163:

Jane wore a leather handkerchief sporting the badges of the wild night bands—Flesh for Lulu, Gene Loves Jezebel, Fine Young Cannibals, Pet Shop Boys.

The Black Marble Pool (1990) by Stan Leventhal (U.S.), page 43:

"Pet Shop Boys."

"They're pretty good," I said and then decided to toy with him a bit. "Did you know that Neil Tennant used to be lovers with George Michael? Of course, that was before the relationship with Morrissey." This little lie seemed to have the desired effect.

"No shit?!"

"Well, that's what Neil told me last time he was in New York."

Little Peg (1990) by Kevin McIlvoy (U.S.), page 72:

Molly hugged me through The Bangles and Simply Red and DeBarge and Pet Shop Boys before Larry and Francis showed up.

The Past Is Another Country: Untitled Novel (1990) by Lois Battle (U.S.), page 206:

She had started the trip to Australia in full sail, bouyant and full of expectation. Now she felt sucked into the backwaters of the past. "Mind if I turn on the radio?" She found a rock-and-roll station. The Pet Shop Boys were singing "What Have I Done to Deserve This?"

Steam (1991) by Jay B. Laws (U.S.), page 32:

Now Jack's face was an empty chalkboard, clean as on the first day of school. "What Sylvester song?"

"The one we just—" The words stumbled on his tongue. The flesh on his arms crawled. —listened to. Didn't you listen?

The latest hit from the Pet Shop Boys pounded over the speakers. Barbells hoisted above heads with grunts of exertion.

A Firing Offense (1992) by George Pelecanos (U.S.), [page unknown at this time]:

They were playing some Pet Shop Boys now and the dance floor was packing up. Lee was with a group of friends at one corner of the floor, pointing up at me and smiling. I raised my beer to them, and one of them laughed and said something to Lee, who winked at me, then turned back to her friends.

Unreal City (1992) by Neil Powell (U.K.), page 102:

A wave of smoke, sweat and noise engulfed him, The Pet Shop Boys in what sounded like at least the fifteenth remix:

Your life's a mystery,
Mine is an open book.
If I could read your mind,
Maybe I'd take a look.
I don't care,
Baby, I'm not scared.

The Angel Carver (1993) by Rosanne Daryl Thomas (U.S.), page 98:

She wondered if Buddy could put her with Prince Charles or the Pet Shop Boys.

"Hush." He meant, Don't think, don't speak. "Don't distort yourself."

"Wow," said Lucille. Then he kissed her, leaning over the table just like in the movies. It wasn't the best kiss she'd ever had, but it was Buddy's kiss, and she acted the difference between how she felt and how she thought she ought to feel.

Thirst (1993) by Stephen Amidon (U.S.), page 87:

"As long as it isn't the Pet Shop Boys. You buy me the Pet Shop Boys, I'll kill you in your sleep. Knife, pillow, whatever, you're history."

Black Blade (1994) by Eric Van Lustbader (U.S.), page 117:

He made a full circuit of the main room without spotting her, so he headed toward the smallest of the rooms, a dizzying mirror-lined restaurant with fake fur-covered chairs and postage-stamp-sized tables that seemed to lurch with every crash of bass, percussion, and drums of the wildly amplified music of Redbox and the Pet Shop Boys.

Faserland (1995) by Christian Kracht (Switzerland), page 40:

Ich gehe ins Wohnzimmer, wo gerade die Pet Shop Boys laufen und ein Mädchen in der Mitte so einen sexy Tanz aufführt, richtig mit Hüftwiegen und so. Ich sehe mir das eine Weile an, obwohl ich die Pet Shop Boys nicht so richtig mag, trinke dabei noch ein Glas Prosecco und rauche eine Zigarette.

Here's a translation provided by Robert Schulz, the German site visitor who brought this to my attention, although I've made a few slight modifications into more idiomatic English:

I enter the living room, where the Pet Shop Boys are playing and a girl is doing a sexy dance, her hips slowly swaying. I watch for a while, although I don't like the Pet Shop Boys, and I drink a glass of Prosecco and smoke a cigarette.

Fluo: Storie di giovani a Riccione [Fluo: Stories of Young People in Riccione] (1995) by Isabella Santacroce (Italy), page 67:

Laura se ne sta stesa a terra, davanti allo specchio, atteggiando le labbra colarate con lo stesso rossetto usato da Nadja Auermann in una foto di Steven Meisel. Si guarda con curiosità e parla di una sua vita lontana. Videomusic sempre più scadente illumina video futuribili di Pet Shop Boys sempre più odiosi. Qualcuno in qualche giardino sta tagliando l'erba.

Being quite ignorant of the language, I'm very grateful to one of my Italian site visitors, Angelo P, for providing the following tranlation (only slightly modified by me):

Laura is lying on the ground, in front of the mirror, posing with her lips coloured by the same lipstick Nadja Auermann wore in a Steven Meisel photo. She looks at herself with curiosity and talks about a remote life of her own. Videomusic, increasingly poor-quality, lights up futuristic videos of the increasingly detestable Pet Shop Boys. Somebody is cutting the grass in some garden.

[Webmaster's note: Videomusic was an Italian all-music channel—sort of an Italian MTV—that aired from the mid-eighties to the mid-nineties.]

The Long Shot (1995) by Stephen Leather (U.K.), [page unknown at this time]:

She savagely punched at the buttons on her car radio, hunting for a halfway decent station that would make the crawlspeed less frustrating. Eventually she found a Pet Shop Boys track and she tapped her steering wheel as she followed the snowbird at precisely five miles an hour below the speed limit.

Passage to Lahore (1995) by Julian Samuel (Canada), page 76:

From the Pet Shop Boys to Tracy Chapman. A visiting Englishwoman told me how bad the telephones were in Calcutta.

Damaged Goods (1996) by Russell T. Davies (U.K.), page number 19:*

The men at the fountain had been watchng the trees throughout, alert, heads twitching in unison like nervous meerkats. Their view was obscured by the bushes. They had seen the pretty boy slink into the brittle foliage, followed by the regular they had christened "Harry Worth," little knowing they had got his first name right. They had thought the coupling unlikely, but not suspicious, and toasted the old man's success by swigging cans of Heineken and slapping the Pet Shop Boys into the tape deck: "It's a Sin."

*Also, Neil Tennant is mentioned on page 138.

Polaroids from the Dead (1996) by Douglas Coupland (Canada), page 47:

At the suggestion she attend tonight's show, Skye rolled her eyes and plunked a new Pet Shop Boys CD into her CD-Man….

The Big Kiss: An Arcade Mystery (1997) by David Huggins (U.K.), page 119:

"Hey," he said, poncing one of my Marlboros. "Have you heard that song by Nirvana called 'Lithium'? You should really think about pop stardom, Steve. You've got the credentials now and it's never too late. That bloke in the Pet Shop Boys was older than you when he started."

Death Wore a Smart Little Outfit (1997) by Orland Outland (U.S.), page 89:

Seeing three heavy metal heads enter the store, he replaced it with a thumping disco Pet Shop Boys mix. He soon had the whole store to himself, so he settled back into his chair to read a book.

High Lonesome (1997) by Barry Hannah (U.S.), page 70:

She was dancing with one of the owners under great speakers full of Donna Summer and the Bee Gees. There was a billiard table lit in the corner and big dying ferns of all nations set around. Big pulse, a raised platform for styling where sad queers offered themselves up to the lonely passion of the Pet Shop Boys.

Jack Frusciante Has Left the Building: A Love Story (1997) by Enrico Brizzi (Italy), page 132:

Just under three hours to departure and the tough guy had nothing to do and would've rather done anything—dance to the rhythms of the lamest Pet Shop Boys album at a rave party, stay back to help the desk manager or scrub the floor—than just stay there twiddling his thumbs, which was too ludicrous a damnation to deal with.

Orange Rhymes with Everything (1997) by Adrian McKinty (U.K./Ireland), page 100:

Oh wait a minute, "The Smiths," I thought you meant the "Pet Shop Boys," aye I like them. They're good.

They are good. The "Pet Shop Boys" are wankers.

The Salaryman's Wife (1997) by Sujata Massey (U.K./U.S.), page 52:

The restaurant served multicourse dinners heavy on meat that started at thirty-five dollars, so I almost gave up. The maitre d' confided that prices were lower in the bar across the lobby. I elbowed my way in through a mass of skiers getting drunk and singing along with The Pet Shop Boys.

Audacious Perversion (1998) by Mark Sanderson (U.K.), page 10:

Arvo Part had given way to the Pet Shop Boys and, although the volume had remained constant, everyone had raised their voices. Alex was explaining how the duo were rumoured to have got their name. Toothless hamsters and clawless gerbils….

Call Me (1998) by P.P. Hartnett (U.K.), page 3:

The distraction failed. When I looked up he was still staring, glass in hand, tapping a tired foot along to simple thudding computer pop courtesy of The Pet Shop Boys.

Glamorama (1998) by Bret Easton Ellis (U.S.), page 139:

A long table is covered with white roses and Skyy martinis and bottles of Moët and shrimp and cheese straws and hot dogs and bowls of jumbo strawberries. Old B-52 records blare, followed by Happy Mondays and then Pet Shop Boys, and Boris Beynet and Mickey Hardt are dancing.

Glove Puppet (1998) by Neil Drinnan (Australia), page 174:

We had a little bit of an overlap in our tastes to it was mutually agreed CDs we would play.… What was never allowed by Owen was Pet Shop Boys or Kylie. I'd put them on and he'd go ballistic.… I'd prance around doing Pet Shop Boys' songs, "Being Boring" was my favorite, and whatever else they might have said about me, no one could say I was being boring.

Guide (1998) by Dennis Cooper (U.S.), page 50:

"Will do. Hey, I don't know if you remember, but I tried to find something to play while you were tripping. And your only CDs that ar close to my tastes are the Pet Shop Boys and ABBA, and I really like them both, but they would have sounded so wrong on acid.…"

Iseseisvuspäev [Independence Day] (1998) by Kaur Kender (Estonia), page 16 (of its 2007 reprint):

"Järjekordne öö, silmad pärani lahti. Liiga hilja, et uinuda, liiga vara, et ärgata." Tõlkisin mõttes Pet Shop Boysi.

Translated from Estonian to English, including a quotation from the lyrics of "Can You Forive Her?":

"Another night, with open eyes, too late to sleep, too soon to rise." In my thoughts I translated the Pet Shop Boys.

Soloalbum (1998) by Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre (Germany), pages 50-51:*

Wenn ich unter Oasis oder Pet Shop Boys nach CDs suche, ist das eigentlich immer ziemlicher Unsinn, da ich ja ALLE erhältlichen Alben und Singles (zumindest auf CD) besitze.… Was ich aber immer mal wieder gerne klaue (das ist ziemlich risikolos, da es nicht piepen kann, und gewiß auch straffrei bleibt), sind die sogenannten "Lagerfachkarten"- also diese überall anders beschrifteten (optimal zum Sammeln!) Plastikscheiben, die die Pet Shop Boys von zum Beispiel Robert Palmer zwar ordnend trennen, jedoch nicht annähernd dem Coolness-Graben zwischen beiden Künstlern Rechnung zu tragen vermögen (hinter den Pet Shop Boys zumeist: Tom Petty; vor ihnen fast immer ein gewisser Ray Peterson…).

Here's an attempted translation based on input I've received from two different German site visitors:

Each time I search a record shop for Oasis or the Pet Shop Boys, I'm quite aware that this is actually nonsense since I already own their whole available output (at least on CD).… What I really like to swipe from time to time (since there's no risk of a beeping anti-theft device, and it would probably go unpunished anyway) are those so-called "storage index cards"—those differently labeled plastic cards (ideal for collecting!), that separate the Pet Shop Boys from, for instance, Robert Palmer, without being able to bridge the wide gap in coolness between these artists (often right after the Pet Shop Boys: Tom Petty; before them in most cases a certain Ray Peterson…).

*This is apparently only one of various places in the novel where the Pet Shop Boys are mentioned. It's the only excerpt I could find, but it will do as an example.

About a Boy (1999) by Nick Hornby (U.K.), page 101:

When he got home he put a Pet Shop Boys CD on and watched Prisoner: Cell Block H with the sound down. He wanted to hear people who didn't mean it ….

Black and Blue: An Inspector Rebus Mystery (1999) by Ian Rankin (U.K.), page 22:

Allain Mitchison was in a fridge in the Cowgate. He'd died strapped to a chair. Rebus didn't know why. Pet Shop Boys: "It's a Sin." Segue to the Glimmer Twins: "Fool to Cry."

Bruised Fruit (1999) by Anna Livia (Ireland/U.K./U.S.), page 19:

"Oh, wow, the Rainbow!"

"Hung out there every weekend. Saw every band that played from 1980 to 1988."

"Joan Armatrading, Boy George, Elvis Costello, Pet Shop Boys…"

Поколение П [Generation P] (1999) by Viktor Pelevin (Russia), page 89:

«Go West». Это из песни этих пед-жоп-бойз, которую они из нашего гимна сделали, да?

In this passage, a character refers to the Pet Shop Boys by an intentionally homophobic mistranslation—"Ped Jop Boys," which means "Ped(erast) Ass Boys"—that is unfortunately, as I understand it, rather common in Russia. Aside from that, his statement alludes to the fact that the chord structure of "Go West" is essentially the same as that of the Russian national anthem. Here's a rough translation:

"Go West." The song by those Ped Jop Boys, who made it from our anthem, yes?

Misadventures in the (213) (1999) by Dennis Hensley (U.S.), page 724:

"There are three reasons to take this class: Hah-Vee-Air," I say, referring to Javier, the Spandex-clad spin instructor. "He is hot as a pistol. There's a moment after the first song where he takes his T-shirt off revealing a tight tank underneath that's not to be missed. And he plays stuff like the Pet Shop Boys and the Spice Girls."

City Come A-walkin' (2000) by John Shirley (U.S.), page 74:

The jukebox played a very old Pet Shop Boys tune.… The bartender looked into Cole's eyes and understanding dawend on him. He shrugged and poured Cole's drink. He poured a double.

Murder at Willow Slough (2000) by Josh Thomas (U.S.?), page 316:

Four beats came, then the sound of a midget saying, "Twenty seconds and counting."

Jamie screamed, homosexual anthem! Dancetime. He headed for the floor, killer or no. Lightning cracked. It was a sin not to dance to the Pet Shop Boys, and he was a very good dancer.

Normal Girl (2000) by Molly Jong-Fast (U.S.), page unknown

The two-dimensional quality of the starkly furnished room makes me feel like I'm in a Pet Shop Boys video. Everything is flat, flat, flat.

Prospero's Children (2000) by Jan Siegel (U.K.), page 29:

Fern made omelettes and they ate in the kitchen listening to Will's ghetto-blaster pumping out the latest from the Pet Shop Boys.

The Wild Colonial Boy (2000) by James Hynes (U.S.), page 119:

"So this is traditional music," she said when the barmaid went away. In their droning West End drawl, the Pet Shop Boys were extolling the virtues of money.

Can't Buy Me Love (2001) by Chris Kenry (U.S.), page 80:

He arrived at seven-thirty and brought a case of red wine as a house-warming gift and a Pet Shop Boys disc that he had borrowed from me some months ago.

The Cosmology of Bing (2001) by Mitch Cullin (U.S.), [page unknown at this time]:

And Nick liked the fact that his roommate wasn't effeminate. In fact, in Nick's mind, Takashi was as masculine as they came—had he been a total queen, prancing around their room, dancing to RuPaul or ABBA or Pet Shop Boys, getting crazy over Leonardo DiCaprio, wishing he was some character in an Anne Rice book, some creepy vampire—then, Nick figured, he'd have cracked his skull by now.

Good Bad Woman (2001) by Elizabeth Woodcraft (U.K.), page 214:

Margo started to sing softly, "You Don't Know Like I Know" by Sam and Dave. Then Saskia joined in. Their voices fell into the harmonies, and I felt like an unimportant triangle player at the back of the auditorium. Perhaps they weren't having an affair, they were just a singing duo snatching a few moments of rehearsal. Like the Everly Brothers or the Pet Shop Boys.*
*Webmaster's note: Seeing as how the Pet Shop Boys hardly constitute a "singing duo" (can you think of a single instance in which their voices have "harmonized"?), I suspect the author really doesn't know much about them but simply recognizes that they're pair of guys who make hits together and thereby assumes they sing together.

What She Saw… (2001) by Lucinda Rosenfeld (U.S.), page 171:

They were a motley group—an AIDS activist with pock-marked skin; a raven-hared [sic] graduate student of interdeterminate sexuality who was writing her dissertation on eighteenth-century witchcaft; a British guy named Todd who'd been invited to Hoover to deliver a paper on the Hegelian infinity in relation to the British pop-rock act the Pet Shop Boys; a Mary Shelley scholar with a large flat butt, and her semiestranged husband, Ron, a labor-history guy with a comb-over.

Body Language (2002) by Daniel Gunn (U.K.), page 150:

If she'd had the courage to scrap the mementos: The Pet Shop Boys poster commemorating the one concert she convinced Japes to go to; Raeburn's painting of the skater that he gave her in the second month; the dog-earned map of the Isles of Spetses.

Getting Past Almost (2002) by Donovan Lee (U.S.), page 131:

"I'm sure he does," I said, excusing myself to the dance floor, where I danced alone to Depeche Mode, New Order, and (of course) Pet Shop Boys.

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (2002) by Christopher Morrill (U.S.), page 212:

After that, he put on a CD from the Pet Shop Boys and mixed a screwdriver.… Humming along to the CD player, he started an Internet search on the words "St. Louis Gay Bars."

Hunk House (2002) by Ben Tyler (U.S.), page 6:

Hamilton tried a different tack. "Would I still be suffering a broken heart because my sweetheart and I split up a year ago if I were gay?… Do I wear an earring? Do I play Pet Shop Boys tapes in my car or own a pair of ruby slippers? Do I have a Ricky Martin calendar in my office?

I Only Smoke on Thursdays (2002) by Georgie Nickell (U.S.), page 86:

Gay Man Island would be very clean and well thought out. Their cities would be carefully planned and every home, restaurant or retail establishment would have a good view and manicured rooftop garden. The outrageously themed dinner parties would obviously be fabulous with tons of food and drink. Every home would smell good and the dry cleaning industry would be very well supported. So would the gym. If Cher, Bette Midler and the Pet Shop Boys ever went on tour, all the shows would be sold out on Gay Man Island.

Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married (2002) by Marian Keyes (U.K./Ireland), page 215:

"Are you going to take poppers and wear a check shirt and dance to The Pet Shop Boys?"

"God, Lucy." He was disgusted. "That's outrageous stereotyping."

"But are you?"


Manny Lesko: The Erotic History of Estelle Antoinette Francine Chevalier (2002) by Lilly Paige White (pen name of Jeffrey Lilly) (U.S.), page 201:

"Mind if I put on some music?" he asked.

"Knock yourself out," said Manny, keeping a lookout through the rear window of the taxi. The Pet shop Boys declaring that "Everything's a sin."

"You don't have to tell me," Estelle said to herself wearily, sitting back in the seat. "I've written the book."

The Mermaids Singing (2002) by Val McDermid (U.K.), page 154:

"Have you been here, Andy?" he asked himself. "Does this feel like you, smell like you? Would you watch these videos? Are these your CDs? Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli? The Pet Shop Boys? I don't think so. You're not camp, I know that much about you.…"

Running in Heels (2002) by Anna Maxted (U.S.?), page 94:

"Get it together, Natalie," I growl. I force myself to sing along to the Pet Shop Boys and tell myself that my redundancy is a threat, not a certainty.

Zonenkinder [Children of the Zone] (2002) by Jana Hensel (Germany), page 167:

Ich habe die Kassette damals nicht oft gehört und obendrein nie verstanden, was er mit dem Versprechen der Pet Shop Boys «Go West, Life is peaceful there»….

Here's an attempted somewhat "loose" but idiomatic translation done with the help of an online translation tool and information provided by a German site visitor:

At the time I rarely listened to and never really understood what he meant to tell me with his tape and the Pet Shop Boys’ promise “Go west, life is peaceful there”….

Different People (2003) by Orland Outland (U.S.), page 177:

The music of his youth. mostly: New Order and Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys — not the music of the new youth. who favored "authentic music." meaning guitars….

Every Nine Seconds (2003) by Joseph Brockton (U.S.), page 149:

Andy and Lisa headed for the dance floor. The music continued to not suck as the Pet Shop Boys sang their remake of Elvis Presley's "Always on My Mind."

The Fifth Season (2003) by David Docherty (U.K.), page 48:

As Malkie drove, he stole glances at Johnny, who had his eyes closed and was humming along to a Pet Shop Boys song. Killing Johnny would be hard. But the alternative was worse.

The Fire Within (2003) by Jon Washington (U.K./U.S.), page 70:

Dusty's first reaction was, "Who are the Pet Shop Boys ... Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe were the Pet Shop Boys. They were the techno "wunderkind" of Great Britain.…

Gay Blades (2003) by Ben Tyler (U.S.), page 23:

Jay winked lasciviously. "Yummy. What a stud. Hell, my coach had a basketball for a stomach, and more hair on his back than on his head. But I did what I had to for extra ice time or to pay for lessons whenever I used up my parents' skating money allowance on Pet Shop Boys CDs, or concert tickets to see Dame Edna.…"

Getting Over Jack Wagner (2003) by Elise Juska (U.S.), page 74:

I toy with canceling the date.… I don't need a boyfriend. I am perfectly content the way I am: curled on a couch with a cat and a baseball cap and the aging Pet Shop Boys.

King of Hollywood (2003) by Robin Tamblyn (U.S.), page 150:

Thomas smiled, Herman-like, a spitting cobra. "Come, come, now, Daniel, we both know that you're about as much a breeder as The Pet Shop Boys."

The Puppet Show (2003) by Patrick Redmond (U.K.), page 365:

It was growing dark and shadows began to creep across the room. He lifted her on to his knee, the two of them cuddling together in the twilight, while the pigs observed them placidly and the Pet Shop Boys sang about the virtues of West End girls.

Rainbow High (2003) by Alex Sanchez (Mexico/U.S.), page 107:

As Nelson talked Jeremy flipped through CDs, picking out the latest Pet Shop Boys. Nelson put it on, then bounced onto the bed—the only place to sit since he'd cleverly removed his desk chair, side chair, and every other sittable surface.

Shit-Kicks and Dough-Balls (2003) by Ben Watson (U.K.), page 23 (and others):

Webmaster's note: This published (but now out-of-print) "underground" novel contains a number of references to the Pet Shop Boys, particularly in Chapter 2, where they are mentioned by name no fewer than seven times, starting with the following—

Froth moved his slippered feet away from the heat of the fire and poured himself another glass of claret. The sounds of the Pet Shop Boys—his favourite—rose from the diminutive cassette-machine propped against the window sill.

A Cowboy Summer (2004) by Debra Salonen (U.S.), page 90:

Anne pointed out two sheets obviously printed from some Internet site. Linda scanned both pages. "Oh, wow, this is great. Peter Gabriel, U2, Guns N' Roses, Pet Shop Boys… I hate to admit this, but I love the music of the eighties."

Diary of a Viagra Fiend (2004) by Jayson Gallaway (U.S.), page 204:

Perhaps I should assume a gay personality. Put on the Pet Shop Boys and ABBA and panties some stripper had left at my apartment and hope for the best.

Game Over (2004) by Adele Parks (U.K.), page 245:

"And I take it that Lloyd Cole, Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Pet Shop Boys and Scott Walker are attributable to your student years?"

"Spot on. Phil, Paul, Iain, Greg and, er, mark respectively."

The Lives and Times of Jerry Cornelius: Stories of the Comic Apocalypse (2004) by Michael Moorcock (U.K.), page 226:

She had found a player and was hooking it up to the computer. "Here we go-go." The Pet Shop Boys were soon strutting their stuff over the microwaves.

Playing with Fire: A Novel of Suspense (2004) by Peter Robinson (U.K.), page 42:

Annie recognized an old Pet Shop Boys number, "Always on My Mind." … She had liked the Pet Shop Boys."

Terror from Beyond Middle England (2004) by Sarah Crabtree (U.K.), pages 3, 88, 89, and 216:

[page 3]

They were playing a compilation of the Pet Shop Boys, her favourite group. And so, to the ecstatic drummings of "Yesterday When I Was Mad," she rehearsed her unforgtettable entrance by sneaking behind some very tall hollyhocks and taking stock of what the party had to offer prandially and sexually. She already knew what it had to offer musically.

[page 88]

She had a brainwave: there was that Pet Shop Boys CD staring out at her from somewhere in the siting room. Better still, it was in the CD player, ready to go.

[page 89]

The Pet Shop Boys were never being boring very loudly. So she excused herself again to put them on hold.

[page 216]

The CD player was yelling out something new. Ace of Bace had replaced the Pet Shop Boys: life was no longer a sin, it was a flower. What a bad sign that was.

Too Weird for Ziggy (2004) by Sylvie Simmons (U.K.), page 35:

Over the years, people had made all sorts of attempts to bring him out of retirement. There was a vogue for a while of young popstars dragging all these oldies back into the limelight, like the Pet Shop Boys did with Dusty Springfield—Cal liked Dusty.

The Boy with the Sun in His Eyes (2005) by James Derek Dwyer (U.S.), page 268:

It was low tied in the hot sun—reminds me of 10 year old me, lying on Daytona Beach listening to the Pet Shop Boys Please cassette tape with a Walkman I bought at Saers.

D'Amour Road (2005) by Sigrid Macdonald (Canada), page 13:

Lisa had been listening to an old song by the Pet Shop Boys, which reminded her of her party days.

Deader Than Disco (2005) by David Hiltbrand (U.S.), page 212:

Incense burned, keeping the subway's more acrid aromas at bay. A few customers were seriously rifling through the stacks of music, but there were more pairs of men scattered in the aisles, chatting casually. Hanging speakers punched out a song with a heady, mincing beat. I think it was the Pet Shop Boys.

Run for Freedom: Kick Up the Sectarian Dirt (2005) by Kevin William Muir (U.K.), page 20:

Like a stuck record, he roared over and over so loud that the lively congregation all stood silent. Even the jukebox, which had perpetually pumped out the Pet Shop Boys rendition of "Always on My Mind," had other things on its mind as it stopped to allow him the centre stage.

Священная Книга Оборотня [The Sacred Book of the Werewolf] (2005) by Viktor Pelevin (Russia), page 208 (of the Russian edition; page 179 of the English translation):

- То, что вы сейчас услышите, - сказал лорд Крикет, - принято относить к области эзотерического знания. Поэтому просьба сохранять услышанное в секрете. Информация, которой я собираюсь с вами поделиться, восходит к ложе "Розовый Закат", еще точнее - к Алистеру Кроули, Дэвиду Боуи, Пет Шоп Бойз и их линии тайной передачи. Требование секретности, о котором я говорю, принципиально не столько для ложи, сколько для вашей собственной безопасности.… -

The following translation restores the Pet Shop Boys (and David Bowie) references that have been unaccountably omitted from Andrew Bromfield's "official" English-language translation, which inserts Aldous Huxley in place of Bowie and PSB. Legal concerns, perhaps?

"What you are about to hear," said Lord Cricket, "is normally regarded as esoteric knowledge. Therefore I ask you to keep what you hear secret. The information I intend to share with you originates from the 'Pink Sunset Lodge,' or, more precisely, from Aleister Crowley, David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, and their line of secret transmission. The condition of secrecy that I have mentioned is essential, not so much for the sake of the lodge, as for your own personal safety.…"

The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs (2006) by Irvine Welsh (U.K.), page 72:

One exception was a fur-headed, dry-mouthed Danny Skinner … enthusiastically recounting his recent adventures to Shannon McDowall. – The weekend there, Kibby said in his high, almost girlish nasal whine, – we were up in Glenshee, he explained as Shannon nodded indulgently, sipping black coffee from her Pet Shop Boys mug.

Dannyboy & kärleken (2006) by Daniel Åberg (Sweden), many references:

I'm afraid I don't have any pertinent excerpts from this novel, which is written in Swedish and hasn't yet been translated into English, but it apparently makes a great many references to the Pet Shop Boys. In fact, I understand that its young protagonist is so obsessed with them and their music that he is described as suffering from "Pet Shop Boys disease."

Les Diamants du Louvre [The Diamonds of the Louvre] (2006) by Kävin'ka (France), page 92:

Pour évacuer le stress, il écoute de la musique avec son baladeur. Les palpitations du cœur retrouvent la sérénité sur Boeing Boring des Pet Shop Boys et le balancement du TGV filant à 300 km/h.

Roughly translated—and retaining the pun* on the title "Being Boring":

To alleviate his stress, he listens to music with his Walkman. The palpitations of his heart find serenity in Boeing Boring by the Pet Shop Boys and the swaying of the TGV* passing by at 300 kilometers per hour.

*TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, "high-speed train") is the French high-speed train service. The juxtaposition of the undoubtedly noisy train with "Being Boring" strongly suggests that the apparent "mistake" in referring to it as "Boeing Boring" is actually a pun—and a particularly outrageous pun at that.

Hard (2006) by Wayne Hoffman (U.S.), epigraph (front matter):

"Why don't we try not to break our hearts and make it so hard for ourselves?"
                                                                                    – Pet Shop Boys

Webmaster's note: On January 8, 2012, I caught part of an interview with the author, Wayne Hoffman, on Larry Flick's Sunday afternoon SiriusXM OutQ talk show, in which Hoffman affirmed that his novel Hard was directly inspired by the PSB song "So Hard" (thereby explaining the epigraph, which of course quotes a line from that song). In fact, he had originally planned on also titling the novel So Hard, but subsequently decided that just plain Hard "sounded better."

An Inextricable Tale (2006) by Paul Allgood (U.S.), page 54:

I always was and still am a huge pop, new wave and disco junkie. I love Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, and Soft Cell.

Kick Back (2006) by Val McDermid (U.K.), page 65:

I figured I'd be quicker picking up the motorway than going home by the more direct crosstown route. A few minutes later, I was doing eighty in the middle lane, the Pet Shop Boys blasting out of all four speakers.

Love and Punishment (2006) by Wendy Harmer (Australia), page 178:

There was not much left in the room from that time—her Pet Shop Boys and Bros posters had long gone.

Love from London: The Principles of Love (2006) by Emily Franklin (U.S.), page 201:

We spend the next hour playing DJ, taking turns trying to find the cheesiest lyrics from the albums in Monti's old collection. From Cilla Black to The Pet Shop Boys to Sheena Easton, the records span two and a half decades of pop, funk, and flat-out fabulously bad music.

Seventy Times Seven (2006) by Salvatore Sapienza (U.S.), pages 31, 35-36, 38, 39, and 41:

[page 31]

I had to admit it was a good picture of me. I remember when Tim took it with the cheap pink plastic-cased Hello Kitty camera he brought with him to P-Town that summer. We had just walked over to the balcony overlooking the water after dancing to the Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin" remix during Tea Dance at the Boatslip.

[page 35-36]

"I called Tim earlier this morning to wish him a happy birthday, and I told hiim I'd cook dinner for him one night later this week. It's the least I can do, since I can't afford to buy him a gift. He told me you guys are taking him to see the Pet Shop Boys at Radio City tonight. It's supposed to be a great show."

[page 38]

The night of the Pet Shop Boys concert, Hall sang, "Open up your loving legs, I want someone's son," as Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" played over Radio City's sound system as we walked down the aisle to find our seats.

[page 39]

"She told me boys didn't do that. When I asked her why, she said, 'Boys aren't meant to be objects of beauty.' Isn't that a great line?"

"Yeah," I said. "I could see the Pet Shop Boys using that as a title to one of their songs. Hey, I thought Neil Tennant's voice sounded pretty good live, considering he's not much of a singer."

Hal began to sing his dirty version of "It's a Sin,"….

…"Yeah," said Hal. "He can get us into VIP room at the Roxy for the after-party tonight. The Pet Shop Boys are supposed to show up."

[page 41]

Fifteen minutes till morning prayer. I rush over to the sink to brush my teeth and inadvertently step on the poster Tim bought me at the concert last night. His birthday, and he hends up buying me gifts. The poster is a shot of the Pet Shop Boys taken by Bruce Weber during the "Being Boring" shoot. Neil and Chris are surrounded by all these beautiful fashion models looking bored.

Undead and Unreturnable (2006) by MaryJanice Davidson (U.S.), page 115:

Sinclair was flipping through the top shelf of CDs. "Greatest Hits of Duran Duran. All Dance Hits of the Eighties. Eighties, Eighties, Eighties. More of the Jammin' Eighties. Madonna: True Blue. The Pet Shop Boys. The Beastie Boys."

ДУХless: Повесть о ненастоящем человеке [Mindless: Tale of the Non-Real Man] (2006) by Sergey Minaev (Russia), page number unknown at this time:

И жидкокристаллические экраны транслируют давно забытый мной клип Лайзы Минелли "I'm losing my mind". Я вспоминаю, что музыку этой песни написали "Pet Shop Boys". Удивительно, зачем память хранит всю эту ненужную информацию?

The first word in the novel's title is an amalgam of Russian and English, "ДУХ" being Russian and "less" English. Here's a very rough translation of the excerpt above, complete with (if I'm translating it correctly—a big assumption considering that I know virtually no Russian) an error regarding the authorship of "Losing My Mind," which was actually written by Stephen Sondheim:

And liquid-crystal screens transmit something long ago forgotten by me, Liza Minnelli's cut "I' m losing my mind." I recall, the music of this song was written by "Pet Shop Boys." It's amazing, why does memory store in its entirety such unnecessary information?

After Dark (2007) by Haruki Murakami (Japan; English translation by Jay Rubin), page 62:

Mari is washing her hands in the Skylark restroom. She is no longer wearing her hat—or her glasses, From a ceiling speaker at low volume an old hit song by the Pet Shop Boys is playing: "Jealousy."

Bad Monkeys (2007) by Matt Ruff (U.S.), page 141:

The Pet Shop Boys. Remember the Pet Shop Boys? They dropped off the chart, what, a decade ago? But suddenly they were in heavy rotation again.

The Blonde (2007) by Duane Swierczynski (U.S.), page 146:

What was that Pet Shop Boys song about brains and looks and making lots of money? Well, he had the perfect killing machines. She had the contacts. It stood to reason that lots of money would follow.

Blood of Paradise (2007) by David Corbett (U.S.), page 88:

She grabbed the nearer pole and did a few routine swings, shaking out her long red hair. Her eyes were rimmed with eyeliner so thick she looked Egyptian, and glitter sparkled across her chest. She'd lipsticked her nipples too, and old trick.

As though on cue, the Pet Shop Boys chimed in:

Admitting, I don't believe
In anyone's sincerity, and that's what really got to me

Busted (2007) by Phil Bildner (U.S.), page 87:

What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this? The refrain from the Pet Shop Boys' song played in his head. What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?*

*Webmaster's note: Although Busted consists of four short stories, and I generally disqualify short stories from this list, the four stories in this book are intertwined, with overlapping characters, in such a way that they can be seen as constituting a novel. (For a "classic" example of this technique, consider Go Down, Moses by the great American author William Faulkner.) So I'm giving it the benefit of doubt and including it.

Cupcake (2007) by Rachel Cohn (U.S.), page 52:

I looked toward the stairwell door, but Danny intercepted my attempt at exit. "SULKING MUCH?" he yelled over the Pet Shop Boys song coming from the DJ booth.

Cyclizen (2007) by Jim Provenzano (U.S.), page 52:

"Naw, these hands were all over me, and I kept worrying about my wallet. It wasn't fun or playful. It felt like a scene from Dante, the red light and everything, the stupid Pet Shop Boys song playing."

"Which one?"

"You won't believe me."


"'It's a Sin.'"

Falling Upwards (2007) by Kassandra Sims (U.K.), page 38:

"Hey, honey," Tony was obviously in his car, Pet Shop Boys blaring out of the speakers.

Just Say Cheese (2007) by Luke Hudson Fox (U.S.), page 117:

A third party joined the crowd that stood below, one in sixties-a-go-go, swigning a mod flowered tote blaring Pet Shop Boys. LaChuChu-Wanda picked up the beat for a bit of show-off dancing before gloriously descending the stairs to his cheering fans.

Nine (2007) by Andrzej Stasiuk (Poland), transl. by Bill Johnston, page 9:

In the main room he circled around the spot where once a table would have stood. He broke away at the fourth lap, drawn to a white bookcase. His hands in his pockets, he studied the objects on it. They reminded him of nothing and served no purpose. A china ballerina, glass receptacles filled with knickknacks, an Egyption dreambook, a Chinese I-Ching, a phonebook, four volumes of an encyclopedia, a row of cassette tapes: Marillion, the Pet Shop Boys, English for Beginners, Smolen and Laskowik, Kora with Maanam.

Out Late: A Memoir, a Fiction (2007) by Larry Corse (U.S.), page 86:

The Grecian doll wanted nothing, but did not understand my desires. He still can't. If only for a moment he could focus. Is the whole of his generation-x lost to MTV and the Pet Shop Boys?

Plot Loss (2007) by Heinrich Troost (South Africa), page 53:

The girls are sitting in front and he and Johnson, the hands, at the back with the pedestal and the cooler bags. He feels as if he's decorating a float in a rag parade. It is not helping any that the girls and the Pet Shop Boys are seranading the town from the front cabin as they drive along Lynnwood Road.

Room for Love (2007) by Andrea Meyer (U.S.), page 55:

Trevor's frantically inputting changes that the rest of us are throwing his way. Then it's lunchtime and we're ordering burritos from the taco stand around the corner. Chester's blasting the Pet Shop Boys and shaking his hips like the wily gopher in Caddyshack when he should be proofreading, while Trevor's brand-new Jack Russell puppy named Maximus runs laps around the office, barking incessantly.

Underachievers (2007) by Steve Janes (U.K.), page 316:

There was also a picture of a pale, wan youth named Tarquin who had alerted Damien to his "gayableness" whilst dancing to the Pet Shop Boys at Glastonbury festival (and later in Tarquin's one man tent).

When You Don't See Me (2007) by Timothy James Beck (U.S.), pages 59 and 61:*

[page 59]

The only music all of us ever agreed on was the Pet Shop Boys, and it was their Behaviour CD that Gavin was playing when I went in. It made me happy.

[page 61]

Gavin stopped and tilted his head toward the stereo speaker. We both grinned as the Pet Shop Boys sang "Nervously."

"Is that the way it was for you?" I asked. "Two boys from different places, too shy to talk about it?"

*Also, every chapter in When You Don't See Me takes its title from a PSB song.

Whitecap (2007) by James Woodford (Australia), page 55:

Tas walked over to the jukebox, selected the Pet Shop Boys' "Red Letter Day" and weaved back with red, glazed eyes. The fishermen all knew what it meant when Tas put on that song—she was pumped, and it was only a matter of minutes before she either thumped someone or fell asleep.

An Agent for Change (2008) by Paul Xavier Jones (U.K.), page 258:

As we approached it, I noticed the sign hanging over the door, which read, "The Pink Bells & Blue Shells."

Strange name for a pub I thought to myself, then shrugged and went in behind Horgan. Inside, the Pet Shop Boys were blasting from the sound system as we made our way towards the bar, Peter tapped me on the shoulder and nodded at the toilets, screaming in my ear, "I'll have a tonic water," at the top of his voice.

El canalla sentimental [The Sentimental Bastard] (2008) by Jaime Bayly (Peru), pages 170 and 171:

[page 170]

Cuando leímos en un periódico que los Pet Shop Boys darían un concierto en Miami, Martín me dijo con ilusión:

—No me lo puedo perder.

My attempted translation, given my limited familiarity with idiomatic expressions in Spanish (but with a little help from regular site visitor and native Spanish-speaker FormerEnfantTerrible), is as follows:

When we read in a newspaper that the Pet Shop Boys would be giving a concert in Miami, Martin said to me with anticipation:

—I can't miss it.

[page 171]

Hacía mucho que no tomaba. Pero estaba tenso y necesitaba escapar un poco de mi cuerpo y volver al pasado, a aquellas noches en que me agité felizmente, en compañía de unos amigos que ahora estaban lejos o que ya no estaban o que ya no eran mis amigos, al ritmo de los Pet Shop Boys.


I hadn't drunk in a long time. But I was tense and needed to escape a little from my body and go back to the past, to those nights when I danced happily, in the company of friends who are far away now, or who are not my friends anymore, to the rhythm of the Pet Shop Boys.

City Dog (2008) by Alison Pace (U.S.), page 278:

"Come in," he says. I turn the handle. There is, of course, music playing. I listen closer. I think I've heard this song before. I think it's the Pet Shop Boys' cover of "Always on My Mind," and I'm not even surprised I know that. There was a time that I didn't. I take a deep breath, and as I walk through the door, Nick looks up.

Code of Conduct (2008) by Rich Merritt (U.S.), pages 210–211:

"That's cool," she said, taking a sip of chardonnay. "What music do you both like?"

Chris smiled. "Erasure, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Bronski Beat—what else, Patrick?" Patrick couldn't speak as he felt like he might have a cornonary. Thankfully, Chris had omitted Madonna and Cher—too obvious, no doubt—but he had listed four very gay bands.

Gone to Ground (2008) by John Harvey (U.K.), page 328:

Will kept turning it over in his mind while he was driving to work, something he quite liked by the Pet Shop Boys, but couldn't name, playing quietly on Radio 2.

Good Deeds Society (2008) by Susan Smith Nash (U.S.), page 131:

I planned to sit next to the dining car, and then relax with a book and my mp3 player as I listened to tunes from the 80s and 90s. I like the Pixies, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, and all the Euro-dance tunes I could find. They would help calm me while I made my way as fast as I could to try to do something to help a human being in need.

Instructions for Living Someone Else's Life (2008) by Mil Millington (U.K.), page 108:

"… It was the Pet Shop Boys when I left."

"The Pet Shop Boys are now regarded as classic." Andrew held Chris's eyes. "I'm not joking."

Webmaster's note: Context will help make sense of the preceding excerpt. The novel's protagonist, Chris, has mysteriously traveled in time from the late 1980s to the 2000s—or has he merely forgotten the past 20 years of his life? Whatever the case, he tells his new friend Andrew that the music of the 1980s was, in general, not very good. But he then mentions whom he believes was making the best music of the period: "It was the Pet Shop Boys when I left."

The Lighted Rooms (2008) [also known as Natural Elements] by Richard Mason (South Africa/U.K.), page 324:

Halfway through September, in a bid to change the intellectual atmosphere decisively, he abandoned Mozart and switched first to the Pet Shop Boys, and then (but only late at night, when there was no one but the building's security guards to hear him) to a range of increasingly glossy mood sustainers: Duran Duran, Madonna, the Trammps, Rose Royce; twice even, in desperation, to Jean-Michel Jarre.

Not by Choice (2008) by Vincent N. Scialo (U.S.), page 73:

Now, after pressing the button that displayed 95.5, which turned out to be WPLJ, Val drove to music from the eighties, which calmed him down. Having been a young kid at the time, his parents loved to listen to music in the house. From the Pet Shop Boys to Tears for Fears and even Madonna. Val would see his mother or father bopping to the tunes.

Rules for Saying Goodbye (2008) by Katherine Taylor (U.S.), page 65:

I found the Pet Shop Boys on the radio. "Gay eighties disco," I said, pleased. I bobbed my head and bounced in my seat.… I sang: "I love yououou, you pay my rent."

Shuck (2008) by Daniel Allen Cox (Canada), page 99:

A burst of applause and the pop of Möet and Chandon, one of those giant magnums only a rich gay couple would buy. Ted and JohnSilas handed out rolls of hundreds and slow-danced with each other. Someone put on the Pet Shop Boys' "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)."

Stories for Boys* (2008) by Tripp Millican (U.S.), page 256:

The rain is about to begin. I'm listening to Pet Shop Boys. It's becoming more and more clear that I am a hopeless romantic idealist.

*Webmaster's note: Although the title would lead one to believe this is a collection of short stories, it actually is a novel.

Surreal-ism (2008) by Paul Cox (U.K.), page 70:

The DJ, with the night being fuggy and extremely busy, does his best to keep everyone entertained—with him playing music by Adam and the Ants, Pet Shop Boys, Gary Newman [sic], to name but a few. And as the night comes to a close they are all totally shattered and on their last legs.

The Alternative Hero (2009) by Tim Thornton (U.K.), pages 26-27:

But in 1987 or 1988, as far as the cautious, conservative me was concerned, you had shit pop—and that was pretty much it. It ws Stock/Aitken/Waterman acts (Kylie, Jason, Rick Astley), almost-as-bad non-Stock/Aitken/Waterman acts (Five Star, Yazz, Swing Out Sister), pointless bands signed on the back of U2 (Then Jerico, T'Pau), watery trios signed on the back of A-ha (Breathe, Johnny Hates Jazz), rapidly declining Nowegian trios (A-ha), rapidly declining former teen idols (Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet), desperate attempts to find new teen idols (Bros, Wet Wet Wet), deperate attempts to find the new Smiths (The Housemartins), woefully worthy adult pop (Dire Straits, Phil Collins), woefully worthy stadium rock (U2, Simple Minds) … and the Pet Shop Boys. It's an anxious state of affairs when the Pet Shop Boys can be described as a saving grace.*

*Webmaster's note: I know this reads like non-fiction, but rest assured that the book is indeed a novel. Considering, however, that the author has had a career in the music business as a professional drummer, it seems highly likely that his protagonist (a former music journalist) speaks with a voice greatly shaped by the author's own personal experience and perspective.

Angelinas Røv (2009) by Kristian Himmelstrup (Denmark), page 199:

Jeg introducerer Angelina for Gunther, og han hader hende. Jeg ved med mig selv, at det er enden på dét venskab. Det kommer til et sammenstød på en bøssebar downtown, hvor jeg kommer til at ligne den forsmåede elsker, da jeg brat rejser mig og skrider ud af baren til tonerne af Pet Shop Boys' »Suburbia.«

Translated from Danish:

I introduce Angelina to Gunther, and he hates her. I know for myself that it is the end of the friendship. It comes to a clash at a gay bar downtown, where I was going to look like the jilted lover, when I suddenly get up and slip out of the bar to the tune of the Pet Shop Boys' "Suburbia."

Bite Marks: A Vampire Testament (2009) by Terence Taylor (U.S.), page 228:

Perenelle left the table when she finished her drink, drifted upstairs to the grand ballroom. The floor was filled with dancers that bounced and whirled to the music of the Pet Shop Boys. It reminded her of street festivals in Paris when she was young and alive.

The Danger Game (2009) by Kalinda Ashton (Australia), page 254:

On the radio, the Pet Shop Boys sing "We were never being boring. We were never being bored."

Demon Chick (2009) by Marilyn Kaye (U.S.), page 41:

He glanced out at the boring landscape. "Hell."

I could see what he meant. If I lived in a neighborhood like this, that was what I'd call it. I remembered some old techno song about "suburban hell." Pet Shop Boys, maybe.

A Divine Comedy: The Sacred and Profane Journey of Tom Spotted Tail Augustine Stearns (2009) by Cecil Donald Leighton, Jr. (U.S.), pages 438-439*:

He continued, "I've been invited to a party in Silver Lake, where The Pet Shop Boys are supposed to play. Tomorrow night … want to go? You can be my 'support.' Not that I intend to enter Better Ford, until after Ashley has left for Stanford and you and Catherine for Tours."

Tom said nothing, scanning his brain for any information on the terms "support" and "The Pet Shop Boys." Finding none, Tom pulled out a clove and examined it, whilst he pondered the invitation, and all it meant.

"'Support?' Pet Shop Boys? I don't know," placing the amusing little hip cigarettes back into the pack.…

"So, you are coming to The Pet Shop Boys?"

"Yeah, I can spend a night checking out The Pet Shop Boys—up close and personal—whoever they are. I'm game. Seems I've read something about them in the trades. Working on their first album, I believe, set for release next year.…"

*Webmaster's note: This pagination is for the 2015 edition of the novel, which appears to have also been issued under an alternate title, One: The Death of Tom Spotted Tail Augustine Stearns. The Pet Shop Boys are mentioned on several subsequent pages as well, nearly always in the context of them being a brand new band about whom, at the time the novel is set (1985), the characters know little or nothing.

Ein einziger Kuss [A Single Kiss] (2009) by Diane Krüger (Germany), pages 6 and 154:

[page 6]

Er wippte im Takt der Musik und beobachtete ein Pärchen, wie es zu ,,Always On My Mind” von den Pet Shop Boys tanzte und dabei nicht eine Bewegung zum Takt passte.

[page 154]

Da der langsame Song endete und ,,Heart” von den Pet Shop Boys mit seinem poppigem Beat erklang, ergriff Tylor einfach Carens Hand und drehte sie erst in seinen Arm ein und in die andere Richtung wieder aus.

Thanks to the help of others, I can provide the following translations of these two segments, respectively:

He moved in time to the music and watched a couple dance to "Always on My Mind" by the Pet Shop Boys, though their movement wasn't keeping time at all.


As the slow song ended and "Heart" by the Pet Shop Boys with its pop beat started, Tylor simply took Caren's hand and turned her into his arm and then in the other direction.

Match Fixer (2009) by Neil Humphreys (U.K./Singapore), pages 207-208:

Simon staggered over to a wall in the hallway. He stopped in front of a framed photograph of the Pet Shop Boys and smiled.

"This is what we need," he shouted.

Simon unhooked the framed photograph and meandered back into the living room before ceremoniously placing it carefully on top of the coffee table.

"We've certainly got some West End guys in here tonight," Simon said, gazing across the room…. "We've got some East End boys in here, too."

Vince emptied the packet slowly onto the Pet Shop Boys' photograph, making a small pile over Neil Tennant's head. He took out a credit card and chopped up the powder.

My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, & Fenway Park (2009) by Steve Kluger (U.S.), page 297:

He says the reason the Pet Shop Boys never made it to the A-List was because they weren't color-coordinated.

Object of Desire (2009) by William J. Mann (U.S.), page 92:

"Come on, hot stuff, give it to us," someone shouted from the crowd. Kim Wilde was mixing into the Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin," and I shook my ass and tightened my abs to prove just how sinful it really was. A large black man with very cold fingers was stuffing several dollars into my thong. By the end of the night, I'd probably bring home about three hundred in tips.

One Track Mind (2009) by Bethany Campbell (U.S.), page 92:

She feigned a hearty appetite, but the jukebox unnerved her and made her feel that although she sat there, thirty-seven years old, she was simultaneously only sixteen.

Now the Pet Shop Boys sang "Always on My Mind." The sound brought back, all too vividly, when she'd loved Kane. And lost him.

Su casa es mi casa [Your House Is My House] (2009) by Antonio Garcia Ángel (Colombia), page 95:

El Pollo me cocinó una pasta-3-minutos mientras yo, indignado por lo que me acababa de suceder, renegaba simbólicamente del barrio donde vivían: puse Where the Streets Have No Name, en la versión de Pet Shop Boys porque a Jaime le empezó a gustar U2 desde Achtung Baby.

Here's my extremely crude attempted translation, my Spanish being quite rusty:

The Chicken cooked me a 3-minute pasta dish while I, indignant how it was done, symbolically abandoned my faith in the district where they lived: I put on Where the Streets Have No Name, in the Pet Shop Boys version, because Jaime had begun to like U2 from Achtung Baby.

End of Story (2010) by John M. Bowers (U.S.), page 147:

Eddy noticed his partner bought CD releases of the same recordings that he already owned on 33⅓ albums, so that the Broadway production of My Fair Lady was again alphabetized next to Meistersinger von Nürnberg on the shelf where his discs were neatly lined up. Eddy teased him for adding only one new pop group to his collection because Pet Shop Boys recorded disco tunes like their version of Go West.

Krakow Melt (2010) by Daniel Allen Cox (Canada), page 68:

The Pet Shop Boys get royalties from the Holy War, because most of the chants are set to the melody of their hit "Go West."

Panthera (2010) by Jonathan S. Hawkings [aka Janosch-Jonathan Wolf] (Germany), page 61:

…I get along, get along… den ganzen Tag dröhnen die Pet Shop Boys aus dem Radio. Aber auch Shakira kommt häufig, und wir klatschen alle mit.

Here's my attempted translation:

"… I get along, get along…" resounds the Pet Shop Boys all day long on the radio. But Shakira also comes on often, and we all clap along.

Rare Bird of Truth (2010) by Neal Drinnan (Australia), [page unknown at this time]:

A stupid Australian girl who was working at the bar put a song on the jukebox and Walter had to walk around the block because it was Domino Dancing by Pet Shop Boys, one of the worst songs when it came to bad messages. He had seen Neil Tennant on Delia's show some time back and he feared at that very moment Neil Tennant might be sending out signals to her up in Cumbria.

Seaweed in the Soup (2010) by Stanley Evans (Canada), page 90:

Clubbers were coming and going in and out of a billiard room, two bars, an illegal cigar lounge, and a private room labelled The Landlord's Snug. The Pet Shop Boys were performing inaudibly on one big flatscreen television. Prince was eating a microphone on another big screen.

The Things We Do for Love (2010) by Imogen Parker (U.K.), page 488:

On the drive back to the hotel, the boys fell asleep in the back. Neither Julia nor Bruno spoke. Eventually, Julia leaned forwards and switched on the radio. The Pet Shop Boys were singing "You Were Always on my Mind" [sic].

Tokio Vampire [Tokyo Vampire] (2010) by Florine Roth (Germany), page 61:

,,Kannst du singen? Oder ein Instrument spielen? Dann solltet ihr als Duo auftreten", witzelte Veit

,,Aber die Pet Shop Boys gibt's doch schon", meinte Marc ein wenig scharfuzüngig.

Here's my undoubtedly deeply flawed translation, complete with my attempts to replicate idiomatic expressions:

"Can you sing? Or play an instrument? Then you should form a duo," quipped Veit.

"But the Pet Shop Boys already have that covered," replied Marc somewhat sharply.

The Contractor (2011) by Frank Okolo (Germany), [page unknown at this time]:

Julie laughed. "I was examined by one creep who looked like he was sound engineer for the Pet ShopBoys."

Don't Be Afraid (2011) by Steven Hayward (Canada/U.S.), page 173:

It's the first time I've met Grant, but I find out pretty quickly that all his most deeply held convictions have to do with fashion or music. Vince Clarke, Grant says, even before he starts to take off his boots, is the only member of Depeche Mode with any talent; the Pet Shop Boys are the most important duo in the twentieth century, next to Batman and Robin.

Erotic Amusements (2011) by Justine Elyot (U.K.), [page unknown at this time]:

"His master's vocie," Flipp said sardonically, watching Rocky attempt to squeeze the phone back into that confined space below his hipbone.

"I'm sorry, Flipp. He pays my rent. He buys my time. I have to gone."

"I love you, you pay my rent." Flipp sang the Pet Shop Boys line halfheartedly, watching Rocky gather himself, offering her upturned face for a swift goodbye kiss.

40: A Novel (2011) by Travis Thrasher (U.S.), [pages unknown at this time]:

If someone ever arrested me and went through my iPod, they'd probably have a few questions.

First, they might wonder why I have all those Pet Shop Boys and Erasure albums. Then they might ask me if I have a boyfriend.

Second, they would surely want to know why I have this assortment of photos on here.

Just like those fabulous synth-pop albums, the pictures are a guilty pleasure.

The Fuller Memorandum (2011) by Charles Stross (U.K.), [page unknown at this time]:

I'm an experienced computational demonologist; I can program zombies, plan the perfect Pet Shop Boys album… but running code in your head, that's a one-way ticket to Krantzberg syndrome.

Funeral for a Dog (2011) by Thomas Pletzinger (Germany, English translation by Ross Benjamin), page 228:

In 1985, on the occasion of the delivery of a mail order catalogue with skin-colored corsetry, first self-gratification under the reproachful poster look of the Pet Shop Boys, subsequent irrational crises of conscience (sex makes you weak, pale, and unsuccessful) and development of compulsive neuroses focused on gaining strength, a healthy complexion, and success (push-ups, vegetarianism, tanning salon).

Hard Whispers (2011) by Pamela Martin and Carl Henegan (U.S.), pages 156 and 158:

[page 156]

He began speaking in a voice that carried across the table but was still quiet enough to be masked by the eighties and nineties pop music that oozed constantly from the restaurant's sound system. A distant corner of Pam's mind registered that a Pet Shop Boys song she had loved as a kid was playing.

[page 158]

Pam had to smile. The Pet Shop Boys song was still playing, its final chorus fading:

All day, all day… watch them all fall down…

Pam looked around the bar at the people laughing, smiling, drinking, eating. She imagined them dinimishing one by one as she helplessly watched them dropping like dominoes.

Jimmy, Mrs. Fisher and Me (2011) by Eric Bishop-Potter (U.K.), page 161:

Pebbles gives a hopeless kind of smile and leaves the room.

While he's away I take a look at his records and see names like George Michael and Jason Donovan. The Pet Shop Boys. Names like that. Kids' stuff, really.

A Mile in My Off Brand Shoes (2011) by Shane McMunn (U.S.), page 9:

I damn near leaped from my mother and began an impromptu karaoke jam fest with the Bee Gees, Dexys Midnight Runners, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and many more. I was killing Pet Shop Boys when… OK, I'll stop there. Most of that didn't happen.

My Strange Little Oasis, Book 1: The Stranger in the Mirror (2011) by Steven Kerry (U.S.), page 83:

He turned off the Tiffany lamp on his piano and stumbled to the bedroom, where he crashed, his brain a jumble of cartoonish images. The stereo, its volume reduced to a barely audible hum, played on, and the Pet Shop Boys sang "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" like a tiny chorus of bees.

My Strange Little Oasis, Book 2: Brotherhood of the Fire (2011) by Steven Kerry (U.S.), pages 16 and 101:

[page 16]

Ren explored the hallway, stopping to peek into each room he came upon. As he did so, he was reminded of a song by Pet Shop Boys called "We All Feel Better in the Dark," for the minimal lighting helped him relax and invited one's imagination to dance at will.

[page 101]

Hell, even A Flock of Seagulls was still playing "I Ran" at a club in Redondo Beach. He remembered the night he tried in vain to recreate the lead singer's hairdo, and the result had left a winsome fuck-buddy in stiches. Thank God the Pet Shop Boys kept churning out albums.

Patricia's Place (2011) by Mel Mongie (South Africa), page 270:

He quickly made a decision. Banging around in his room, he discovered that his record player was missing, and some of his LPs: Pet Shop Boys and U2. He wasn't going to say anything. Too embarrassing. But most important of all: when she came the next afternoon, he would be at the office or gone to a movie… or something.

Reign on Cloud Nine (2011) by Dean Monet (U.K.), page 191:

Trixie eventually climbed out of the car and walked towards the club. She had her pillbox hat and her bob-style wig in her hands, with her shoes. Her makeup had all but disappeared, the air bag taking most of it and her eyelashes too. The eyelashes had actually been borrowed from Lisa Minnelli [sic], or Len as he was known on the site. They wouldn't be missed so much when she was doing the Pet Shop Boys years, but they were a definite must for the Sally Bowles period. Len would not be happy, but that was the least of her problems.

[Webmaster's note: "Lisa Minnelli" above is not a typo; rather, it's a drag queen who goes by that name in the novel.]

Tod im Jungbusch (2011) by Nora Noé (Germany), page 111:

Eigentlich war das gar nicht die Musik ihrer Generation, Jennifer war eher mit Michael Jackson, Madonna oder den Pet Shop Boys groß geworden. Aber sie hatte diese Titel in den letzten Jahren so oft gehört, dass sie Swing mittlerweile liebte.

Here's a translation (edited by me into more idiomatic English) provided by Frank Müller, the site visitor who brought this passage to my attention:

Actually this was not the music of her generation; Jennifer grew up more with the music of Michael Jackson, Madonna, and the Pet Shop Boys. But she had heard these tracks so often in recent years that she had come to love swing.

When You Were Mine (2011) by Elizabeth Noble (Australia/U.S.), [page unknown at this time]:

By the time the DJ at the Christmas sixth-form disco played that year's big hit, the Pet Shop Boys' version of "You Were Always on My Mind"—the one that so offended Mum, a major Elvis aficionado—it felt like they'd been together always. Or maybe it was just that Susannah felt like life hadn't started until he'd held her hand in the firelight.

Broken Like This (2012) by Monica Trasandes (U.S.), page 32:

They danced for hours in what Angela thought of later as a warm orange-and-purple embrace of a world where everything was a revelation, from the taste of the olives and tonic waters they had for "dinner" ("Mustn't eat too much, or the high won't be as good") to the sound of Erasure and Pet Shop Boys on the sound system.

Formigas de Camisetas Pretas [Black T-shirt Ants] (2012) by Paulo Lima Soraggi (Brazil), page 158:

Um desfile tedioso como aquele já teria nos mandado pra nossa casa, o Porão, não fosse por um acontecimento lindamente estranho: "Agora, com vocês, Mônica, a representante do Posto Caipirão!" Deixando como rastro a franja do tecido em tiras da porta que dava acesso ao palco, a tal falsa magra ganhou a passarela ao som de "West End Girls", do Pet Shop Boys. Não houve uma alma sequer que deixasse de olhar para a passarela, que se estendia até o meio do salão de baile.

Here's my rough translation:

A tedious parade like that would already have sent us home, o Porão, were it not for a beautifully strange event: "Now with you, Monica, Posto Caipirão's candidate!" Leaving a fringed trail of striped fabric from the door that provided access to the stage, this slim queen took over the catwalk to "West End Girls" by Pet Shop Boys. Not a single soul could stop looking at the runway, which stretched to the middle of the ballroom.

The Invisible Ones (2012) by Stef Penney (U.K.), [page unknown at this time]:

One of the worst things about living in a trailer is that you can't ask people back to yours. I've noticed this at school, with girls, especially: they'll be talking and stuff and the end of classes, or walking to the bus stop, and one of them might say casually, "Come back to my house. We can study/have tea/listen to the Pet Shop boys LP." Easy. No big deal. Then they get on the bus and go and have a lovely time.

That Time I Joined the Circus (2012) by J.J. Howard (U.S.), [page unknown at this time]:

An unusual case. Each chapter of this novel opens with a brief excerpt from the lyrics of a song, after which the artist's name and song title are credited. The Pet Shop Boys earn such a mention at the beginning of Chapter 16, titled "If Only":

"It's about getting out of a rut, you need luck
But you're stuck and you don't know how
– Pet Shop Boys, "Love Etc."

Todo lo que deberías saber antes de amarme [Everything that you should know before you love me] (2012) by Gerard Guix (Spain), [page unknown at this time]:

Dicen que la música es una buena manera de aprender un idioma extranjero. Yo mismo, de pequeño, aprendí inglés básicamente con las canciones de Pet Shop Boys.

Here's my rough idiomatic translation:

They say that music is a good way to learn a foreign language. I myself, as a child, learned English basically from Pet Shop Boys lyrics.

You Had Me at Hello (2012) by Mhairi McFarlane (U.K.), page 212:

'What would you have as your first dance?' Olivia asks me, sharply.

Ben glares at her, presumably to communicate that you don't ask someone who recently broke off an engagement what their first dance would have been.

'Rhys said he wanted "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" by the Pet Shop Boys. So I dodged a bullet there.'

A Beauty Uncovered (2013) by Andrea Laurence (U.S.), page 146:

Brody was tossing the last of his things in his suitcase when his cell phone rang. It was Wade's ringtone, "Opportunities" by the Pet Shop Boys. The song was upbeat, but for some reason, it made his stomach ache with dread.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2013) by Haruki Murakami (Japan; English translation by Philip Gabriel), pages 68 and 71:

[page 68]

Occasionally he'd bring over some old LPs of his own. Tsukuru had a fairly decent stereo system in his apartment, but the only records his sister had left behind were of the Barry Manilow and Pet Shop Boys variety, so Tsukuru had hardly ever touched the record player.

[page 71]

Even now this three-disc boxed set [of Franz Liszt's Years of Pilgrimage suites] was still in Tsukuru's apartment. Nestled right next to Barry Manilow and the Pet Shop Boys.

Duck! (2013) by Samuel Conrnruff (U.K.), [pages unknown at this time]:

The Pet Shop Boys themselves as well as several of their songs, albums, and lyrics are mentioned at various times in this book. The following passages are only those that mention the Boys themselves.

After perusing the catalogue for quite some time I finally plumped for Introspective by the Pet Shop Boys.

Alex was not sure he did but when faced with a hammer-wielding Pet Shop Boys loving maniac seeking revenge he was hardly going to argue.

I thought the music of the Pet Shop Boys could save the world and that everything would be alright. How wrong I was.

Eisenkinder: Die stille Wut der Wendegeneration [Iron Children: The Silent Rage of the Turning Generation] (2013) by Sabine Rennefanz (Germany), page 44:

Bei ihr durften wir verbotene Musick hören, die Pet Shop Boys und Michael Jackson.

Here's a translation (edited a bit by me) and a bit of parenthetical context provided by Robert Schulz, who brought this passage to my attention:

With her [in her classroom] we could hear forbidden music, the Pet Shop Boys and Michael Jackson.

The Girl You Left Behind (2013)* by Jojo Moyes (U.K.), [page unknown at this time]:

"No single man keeps color-coordinated scatter cushions on his bed."

"Neil Brewster does," Jess said.

"Neil Brewster's music collection is sixty-seven percent Judy Garland, thirty-three percent Pet Shop Boys."

[Webmaster's note: Curiously, this novel appears to be published under at least three additional alternate titles: Ship of Brides, and Me Before You, and One Plus One. I really don't know what to make of this; it strikes me as suspicious, though suspicious of what, I really can't say.]

He Loves It When She Smiles (2013) by Karl Bimshas (U.S.), [page unknown at this time]:

"Can I borrow your floor tonight? My roommate is having sex," he said.…


"What's he playing?" Adam sat up.

"Peter Gabriel. The Smithereeens."

"What about the Pet Shop Boys?" Adam asked excitedly.

In the Moors (2013) by Nina Milton (U.K.), page 33:

I elbowed my way through the crowd and ran my hands along the racks, searching out artists I liked. I felt the close proximity of a sharp warm aura behind me just as my hand lighted on a Pet Shop Boys album. People do that at boot sales—breathe all over you as they try to snatch the bargain you spotted first.

You Send Me (2013) by Tony Rocca (U.K.), page 25:

Marc surprised Alex by confessing he was locked into soul. Yes, he said, he knew everyone else his age was fond of the Pet Shop Boys, Madonna and Chris de Burgh; the airwaves were awash with their music. But the songs he was humming came from the likes of Ray Charles, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin.

Cure for the Common Breakup (2014) by Beth Kendrick (U.S.), page 28:

She turned on the car radio and scanned through the static until she found a local station, which was playing an old Pet Shop Boys song she remembered from middle school. She turned up the music and forced herself to sing along.

How to Be Both (2014) by Ali Smith (U.K.), page 281:

Her mother starts singing the words of a Pet Shop Boys song.

They were never being boring, she sings. They dressed up in thoughts, and thoughts make amends.

It's not thoughts, George says. It's fought.

It is, George says. The line goes: we dressed up and fought, then thought, make amends.

No, her mother says. Because they always write such intelligent words. Imagine. Dressing up in thoughts because thoughts make amends. Thoughts make amends. It ought to be a figure of speech.

How to Build a Girl (2014) by Caitlin Moran (U.K.), pages 96 and 218:

[page 96]

"Whenever anyone goes wrong, I turn them into Slash from Guns N' Roses," Ali says. "You just scribble in lots of hair, and put a top hat on it. That one," she points, to a Slash in a Puffa jacket, behind a keyboard, "was Chris Lowe from the Pet Shop Boys."

[page 218]

"What do you do with music?"

"Dance," Krissi says. "The KLF, and Pet Shop Boys, and Public Enemy, and Ice T, and NWA."

One Man's Island (2014) by Thomas J. Wolfenden (U.S./Australia), [page unknown at this time]:

After that they packed up and headed out north, and this time Tim took the IVIS pad into the cab with them so they'd have music to listen to along the way. Tim was in an 80s mood, and played all the CDs from the post-modern era he was fond of: Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears, The Fixx, Madness, Ice House, Men at Work, and a bunch of others. Robyn loved the mix.

Sybil: Seize the Future… Before She Seizes You (2014) by Simon Sloane (U.K.), page 85:

An EDM remake of the Pet Shop Boys classic “It’s a sin” was her final attempt to salvage her career. It failed to enter the charts despite the video featuring a barely clothed Xhérie cavorting around the Vatican.

Courageous Cain (2015) by DJ Davis (U.S.), page 8:

I worked at a kennel with Darby Gibson. We spent our days with the dogs and the radio, listening to Huey Lewis and the News, Robert Palmer, Van Halen, and The Pet Shop Boys. We called ourselves the Pet Shop Girls.

89/90 (2015) by Peter Richter (Germany), pages 298-299 (2017 paperback edition):

Und wie schwul und links die Communards sein mochten, das war hier genauso entweder unbekannt oder ebenfalls scheißegal, denn 'Don't Leave Me This Way' war immer noch ein Superhit, genauso wie 'It's a Sin' von den Pet Shop Boys, und nur 'She Drives Me Crazy' von den Fine Young Cannibals war nicht so ihr Song, dafür mochten den aber ihre Mädchen.

Here's a loose, idiomatic translation kindly provided by the site visitor who told me about this novel, although I've modified it a bit myself:

And however gay or leftist the Communards might be was either similarly unknown or they simply didn't give a shit about it, because 'Don't Leave Me This Way' was still a super hit, as was 'It's a Sin' by the Pet Shop Boys, and it was only 'She Drives Me Crazy' by the Fine Young Cannibals they didn't like, a song that their girls, on the other hand, were fond of.

La Falce D'oro [The Golden Scythe] (2015) by Christian Stocco (Italy), [page unknown at this time]:

Aveva messo su un album dei Pet Shop boys, e ora suonava The Power of Love. Relax, dieci minuti prima, l'aveva addirittura canticchiata.

Here's my attempted translation. It's important to note that, assuming I'm translating correctly, either the author himself or the narrator of the novel—in which case it would be a device employed by the author to express something about the personality of the narrator—appears to have confused the Pet Shop Boys with Frankie Goes to Hollywood:

He had put on an album of Pet Shop Boys, and was now playing The Power of Love. Relax, ten minutes before, he had even hummed.

Immaculate Blue (2015) by Paul Russell (U.S.), [page unknown at this time]:

Many Leigh Gerrards out there—Jessica Leigh Gerrard, Brittany Leigh Gerrard, Annabel Leigh Gerrard, all female. But intriguingly, he found a Leigh Gerrard living in Newburgh, New York, twenty miles south of Poughkeepsie.

Age 44, Social Worker. Likes Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, Lady Gaga, Scissor Sisters, The Funky Knickerbocker Café, Harvey Dark's Homespun Tatoos, Barack Obama, Queers for Economic Justice.

Memoirs of a Dipper (2015) by Nell Leyshon (U.K.), pages 142-142:

The bar's still fully stocked and there's a DJ's kit up the end, boxes of records still in covers. I rifle through them, pull out a black disc. Drop the needle. A crackle then an intro. The song starts. I turn it up high. Pet Shop Boys.
I've had enough of scheming
and messing around with jerks
My car is parked outside,
I'm afraid it doesn't work
I'm looking for a partner
someone who gets things fixed
Ask yourself this question
Do you want to be rich?

I've got the brains
You've got the looks
Let's make lots of money
You've got the brawn
I've got the brains
Let's make lots of money

The Realm (2015) by John W. Rankine (U.K.), [page unknown at this time]:

"That's who?" Claire asked, her tone showing some irritation with her passenger's suddden outburst, which not only distracted her from the road ahead but, more importantly, from one of her favourite Pet Shop Boys' sound tracks blasting out from her CD player.

"Oh, sorry Claire. Just thought I saw someone I knew," she tried to explain away casually, whist quelling her excitement as best as possible.

"Who did you see?" James asked in a hushed tone.

Claire returned her attention back to the Pet Shop Boys….

Thank You, Goodnight (2015) by Andy Abramowitz (U.S.), page 161:

This was the familiar Alaina, the one constantly aquiver with a marketing angle. Everybody had to fit in somewhere. The Pet Shop Boys were still at it because the musical tastes of Eurofags hadn't evolved in the past quarter century. The few members of Lynyrd Skynyrd who hadn't ridden over themselves with their own motorcycles could still do "Gimme Three Steps" to a crowded barbecue because somebody had to make music for dirtballs. So where did that leave me?

Working with Heat (2015) by Anne Calhoun (U.S.), [page unknown at this time]:

"Pet Shop Boys," the quizmaster continued

"Is that the answer?" Billy asked, looking up at the quizmaster.

"No, 'West End Girls' is the answer," Milla said and hummed the song's chorus. "You know. East End boys and West End girls."

War Porn (2016) by Roy Scranton (U.S.), pages 80-81:

"Whatcha wanna listen to?" Captain Yarrow yelled over the engine.

"Whattaya got?" I shouted back.

He waved his MP3 player at me "All kinds of stuff," he shouted.

I shrugged. He pushed a button. The Pet Shop Boys blasted from the speakers, singing "West End Girls."

The Black Hand: A Novel (2017) by Jeffrey Walker (U.S.), [pages unknown at this time]:

[page XX]

"But the Pet Shop Boys aren't punk. Why's everyone dressed like this is a Misfits show?" Eliot asked with authentic curiosity.

[page XX]

At the age of thirteen, he and Alex Hunter bought tickets to a Pet Shop Boys show from an older kid at school.

[page XX]

Eliot laughed, reading about Carrie Rossignol's backyard and the Pet Shop Boys concert.

[page XX]

Eliot assumed that the Pet Shop Boys had a large fan base in the punk rock scene that he hadn't been aware of.

Sturmherz [Stormheart] (2017) by Corina Bomann (Germany), [page unknown at this time]:

Ich hörte bis spät in die Nacht die Rolling Stones, die Pet Shop Boys oder David Bowie.
Here's a translation kindly provided by the site visitor who told me about this novel, very slightly modified by me:
I listened until late at night to the Rolling Stones, the Pet Shop Boys, or David Bowie.

The Blood Road (2018) by Stuart MacBride (U.K.), [page unknown at this time]:

The Pet Shop Boys' 'Go West' belted out of the Superintendent's pocket and he hauled out his iPhone. Smiled at the screen, then grimaced at Logan. 'Sorry, got to take this….'

Hatten wir nicht mal Sex in den 80ern? [Didn't We Have Sex in the '80s?] (2018) by Timo Blunck (Germany), pages 69 and 70:

Webmaster's note: This fictional scene is set in the early 1990s. Several characters in the novel have a chance meeting in London, including German novelist Günter Grass and the Pet Shop Boys.

[page 69]

Er ist Mitte 60, aber er hat den Charme eines junges Mannes. Und kennt sich aus: „Sind das nicht die Pet Shop Jungs?“ Tatsächlich sitzen Neil Tennant und Chris Lowe am Nebentisch. Tennant erkennt Grass und nickt ihm zu.


He is in his mid-60s, though he has the charm of a young man. And he knows his stuff: "Aren't they the Pet Shop Boys?" Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are indeed sitting at the next table. Tennant recognizes Grass and nods to him.

[page 70]

Mit doppeltem Handkuss und leicht torkelnd verlässt er den Tisch, verabschiedet sich im Vorbeigehen bei den Pet Shop Jungs. Ich bin schwer beeindruckt. Ein grandioser Mann.


With a double-kiss on the hand and staggering slightly, he leaves the table and says goodbye to the Pet Shop Boys as he passes. I am deeply impressed. A great man.

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (2019) by Andrea Lawlor (U.S.), pages 100-101 and 220:

[pages 100-101]

The owner left them to their own devices in most ways, primarily musically. Paul couldn't have worked in a regular gay bar with the booming techno all night long. He'd much rather the Pet Shop Boys or the disco divas the DJ threw as bones to the queens. [sic]

[page 220]

Paul had gone west, as the Pet Shop Boys had advised, and he was new. He needed to be where the new people were.

Gay Giant: A Memoir (2022) by Gabriel Ebensperger (Chile), page 178:

But the risk of death didn't stop me: I was reckless all summer. MTV was my channel and "Se A Vida E (That's the Way Life Is)" by the Pet Shop Boys was my porn.

Finally, two "special cases"

  1. The 2012 novel Death Drops: A Natural Remedies Mystery by U.S. author Chrystle Fiedler makes repeated references to "pet shop boys" (invariably with initial lower-case letters), but these references are always to a pair of characters named Lenny and Billy who indeed run a pet shop. So while these are not actual "mentions" of our Pet Shop Boys, the author's repeated use of the phrase is undoubtedly a playful allusion inspired by the very existence of Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant as a famed duo in popular music—who, of course, themselves adopted their collective moniker from their nickname for a couple of friends who worked in a pet shop. And I wonder whether Ms. Fiedler's choices for those characters' names are merely coincidental of if they might have been inspired by the "real" Pet Shop Boys having previously adopted the pseudonym of "Lenny Snatch" as the producer of a recording by their Closer to Heaven character Billie Trix.

  2. The 2018 German novel Die Tränen der Kinder (The Tears of the Children) by Alex Thomas (a pseudonym for the co-authors) includes the dedication "Für Neil & Chris"—confirmed by one of those co-authors to be our very own Messrs. Tennant and Lowe.