placeholderMusic for My Beautiful Laundrette

Released - [not yet released]
Chart peak - [not yet released]

It was announced in July 2019 that the Pet Shop Boys had composed music for a new stage production based on the popular 1985 film My Beautiful Laundrette. As Neil and Chris stated in a press release, "It's wonderful to be part of the team bringing My Beautiful Laundrette from the screen to the stage and we've enjoyed writing mainly instrumental music to be presented within a British Asian context." Subsequent news online suggested that they had composed several pieces of background/incidental music for portions of the play as well as two new full-fledged songs.

The original film story written by Hanif Kureshi is a comedy-drama set in South London during the 1980s. It centers on Omar, a young Pakistani man living in London, and his friendship and eventual romance with a troubled young ethnically English man named Johnny. The two end up managing a laundrette—a self-service public laundry, more commonly referred to as a "laundromat" in the United States—originally owned by Omar's uncle.

In September 2019, the new stage adaptation debuted at The Curve Theatre in Leicester, England, its first venue of a U.K. autumn tour. The PSB songs include both previously released tracks from the period in which the story is set and several new numbers. None of them are performed "live" by the characters onstage, but rather are pre-recorded tracks performed by the Pet Shop Boys themselves. Most of the new pieces are instrumentals, but two, "Angelic Thug" and "No Boundaries," are fully realized songs with lyrics (although the former appears first in instrumental form). All of them, aside from those two, are apparently brief in nature, occurring more or less as fragments or "excerpts."

The Pet Shop Boys have confirmed that this new music will be recorded and released at some point on their own x2 label, though there's no word yet on precisely when that will occur. I'll post any additional information here as it becomes available.

The songs featured in My Beautiful Laundrette are as follows. Links to the older, previously released tracks take you to their entries elsewhere on this website, whereas entries for the new tracks appear below"



Johnny's Dark Side

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - [not yet released]
Original album - [not yet released]
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

An instrumental. I have no other information about this piece at this time.


Omar's Theme

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - [not yet released]
Original album - [not yet released]
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

An instrumental. According to an "ear-witnesses," it's somewhat "Asian-sounding" in that it features a real or synthesized sitar—appropriate enough in a musical theme for a character of Hindustani descent. Aside from that it appears twice—once in Act 1 and again in Act 2—I have no other information about this piece at this time.


Beautiful Laundrette

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - [not yet released]
Original album - [not yet released]
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

An instrumental. I have no other information about this piece at this time.


Angelic Thug

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - [not yet released]
Original album - [not yet released]
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

This song appears first as an instrumental midway through Act 1, but resurfaces as a song complete with lyrics at the end of the act. A fairly poor-quality recording—obviously made during a live performance—has surfaced online, revealing that the light, bouncy music has a rhythmic pattern somewhat reminiscent of Bilingual/"Twenty-something. But I can't make our the lyrics, nor I have I seen any lyrics printed out yet. The song's title, "Angelic Thug," echoes the famous oxymoronic line in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in which the heroine describes her lover, who has just killed her cousin, as a "fiend angelical."


Beautiful Laundrette Theme

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - [not yet released]
Original album - [not yet released]
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

An instrumental. Whether this is the exact same recording as the earlier "Beautiful Laundrette" (despite the addition of the word "Theme" to its title), a modified rendering of the same melody, or a completely different number is unknown at this time.


No Boundaries

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2019
Original album - [not yet released]
Producer - Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - (none)

This culminating song of the show—formally released in late October 2019 as a bonus track with the CD single and digital bundle for "Dreamland—expresses in a forthright manner the familiar (yet, in our world, apparently not yet familiar enough) idea that "Love has no boundaries." This is clearly one of the primary themes of the show and of the original film on which it is based, which centers on the growing relationship of Omar and Johnny, two young men from very different cultural backgrounds who grow close and fall in love during the course of the story.

At least among tracks released by the Boys, this song is musically unique. Its opening instrumentation of sitar, tamboura, and tabla (either actual or sampled)—quite fitting in light of the importance of Indo-Pakistani culture to the show's storyline—continues as an undercurrent throughout the track, audible even at those points when it's all but drowned out by more familiar PSB-style dance elements. The melody also seems to bear an "eastern" influence, though not so nearly markedly as the instrumentation.

The lyrics express Omar and Johnny's mutual feelings after what they have been through together during the course of hte story:

              … we're in this for good
Living a new life where love has no boundaries
I'm not the same as you
You're not the same as me
But we both agree that love has no boundaries

One especially nice pair of lines conveys both the cautiousness and uncertainty underlying their relationship and, regardless, their growing sense that together they can overcome the challenges they face:

If I am the question that has to be asked
You are the answer spoken at last

The play, again like the film, closes on a positive, hopeful note as Omar and Johnny come to understand that their love for each other may be sufficient to overcome their differences and the barriers that their cultures and society may place between them.

It's worth noting, by the way, that in an age of same-sex marriage debates, border walls, and growing anti-immigrant feelings, a song like this might have even more resonance today than it would have had in the 1980s setting of the play.

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