What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

April 20, 2019

I've posted the final results of my previous survey, in which I asked my site visitors whether they believe the Pet Shop Boys, when the time comes, should formally announce a "retirement tour." My new poll for the next two weeks is a "sequel" to one I ran nearly 14 years ago, in May 2005, when I asked which PSB single b-sides my site visitors preferred to their respective a-sides. At that time, "Miserablism" (the b-side of "Was It Worth It?") came out on top. When Danny Bende recently wrote to me to suggest that I make this the subject of an upcoming survey, I replied that the number of b-sides—especially considering that so many PSB singles have more than one "b-side"—was now so daunting that I would have to split it into at least two polls. But since then I've decided against asking again about all of those earlier singles and b-sides. Instead, I'll focus exclusively on the singles and b-sides released since that previous survey. So that's the subject of this new poll: which Pet Shop Boys single b-sides released since May 2005 do you prefer to the a-side? Thanks so much, Danny, for suggesting this question!

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Carl Magnus Palm's name to my Thank You page in recognition of his correction yesterday, noted just below.

April 19, 2019

A big "Thank you!" to Carl Magnus Palm for alerting me to an longstanding careless error here on my website, one that I'm astounded that neither I nor anyone else had apparently noticed until now. As it turns out, I've long listed the release year of Dusty Springfield's half-PSB-produced album Reputation as 1991, when in fact it was 1990. I've now corrected that mistake on several of this site's pages. Thanks again, Carl!

April 18, 2019

In anticipation of eventual additional news about MUSIK, which the Pet Shop Boys announced yesteday (see just below), I've put together a new page devoted to that upcoming cabaret show. Naturally, it's in an embryonic stage right now, but I'll expand it as we learn more, particularly with regard to its new songs.

April 17, 2019

Some exciting news today from the Pet Shop Boys' official website, which I will summarize here with an edited excerpt:

Writer Jonathan Harvey and Pet Shop Boys are to present the world premiere of a new cabaret show at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe. MUSIK is a 50-minute, one-woman show with an outrageous book by Jonathan Harvey and six songs by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, including four new ones written for this show. It will star multi-award-winning actress Frances Barber reprising her role as Billie Trix from the 2001 musical Closer to Heaven. MUSIK will run from 5 to 24 August….

Further information about the venue and the availability of tickets can be found there on their website. This will undoubtedly mean a number of updates and new entires here (eventually) on my own site, but it remains to be seen if, when, and how those four new Tennant-Lowe songs will find their way beyond the confines of the theater. Let's hope we won't have to wait too long!

One other bit of more "local" news is that, on account of an extremely busy Easter holiday I have ahead of me, I'm going to end my current poll and deploy my new one roughly 12 hours earlier than usual this weekend. What that means is that for my site visitors here in the Western Hemisphere, my survey-changeover will probably occur late Saturday morning or early afternoon; for those of you in Europe, it will be late Saturday afternoon or early evening; in India it will be late Saturday night; and if you're in East Asia, it should be more like the wee hours of Sunday morning, when everyone but the party people, midnight-shift workers, and insomniacs should be fast asleep. I apologize if this poses any inconvenience, but the alternative would have been to let this survey run a day longer than usual. I think ending it about 12 hours early is the lesser of two evils. wink

April 16, 2019

I haven't received my copy of Annually 2019 yet, and ordinarily I wouldn't be very pleased about someone who has received it sending me "spoilers." But I don't mind at all one special case today seeing as how it's directly relevant to an update I made here less than a week ago, when I added "On Social Media" as a "maybe" entry in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs on which Chris's voice can be heard. Well, it's not "maybe" anymore. Danny Bende was kind enough to tell me that the new Annually confirms that, yes indeed, that's Chris (along with co-producer Tim Powell) providing "vocoderized" backup vocals in the song's chorus. So I've now "elevated" that song in the list. Thanks so much, Danny!

Thanks as well to one of the pseudonymous authors of the 2018 German novel Die Tränen der Kinder (The Tears of the Children) for letting me know that their dedication "Für Neil & Chris" is indeed to the Pet Shop Boys. This fact earns this book a special acknowledgment at the very end of my page that lists published novels that mention them.

Finally, thanks to Nigel Brand for a couple of clarifications. The first involves item #18 in my list of "PSB/Doctor Who connections," where I had very tentatively suggested that the PSB video that had been filmed at the same site as an episode of Doctor Who may have been "It's a Sin." But Nigel provided ample evidence for that not being the case, so I've removed my unfounded speculation from that entry. Second, Nigel also informed me, "As a committed [Dead Can Dance] fan with all of their albums, let me affirm that the music in the PSB song ["The Dead Can Dance"] bears no resemblance at all to [their] music." Hence, I've modified my bullet-point annotation on that subject to my main entry for the song accordingly.

April 13, 2019

Yesterday Amazon delivered my copy of the Pet Shop Boys' new Inner Sanctum set, and last night we watched it with friends (who, by the way, raved about it, proclaiming it one of the best live concert videos they had ever seen). I've made a few corresponding updates to my site, including one that I find myself a bit uncertain about—namely, posting a new "album" page for Inner Sanctum, just as I had for their previous live CD, Pandemonium. Why the touch of reluctance? Because it doesn't have a single-word title, that's why. Of course, strictly speaking, it's not their first such album if you consider releases like Battleship Potemkin and The Most Incredible Thing. But, then again, those were "Tennant-Lowe" albums rather than "Pet Shop Boys" albums. Whatever the case, I've now done it and certainly not going to let it bother me. There are more important things to worry about than absolute consistency in such matters.

April 11, 2019

I don't often go out on the proverbial limb, but since I'm including it as a "maybe" item, I'll take the plunge. (How's that for mixing clichéd metaphors?) I've now added "On Social Media" to the concluding group of "uncertain" tracks in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs on which Chris's voice can be heard (not counting his lead vocals, which are delineated in a different list). I've suspected this since the first time I listened to Agenda, but now that I've read another writer's article (warning: not a very flattering one) revealing I'm not alone in this speculation, I'm going public. And I'm sticking with it unless/until we somehow get indisputable confirmation or denial.

Incidentally, I received an email today stating that my copy of the 2019 Annually (including its copy of the aforementioned Agenda on CD) has shipped. Since this year (unlike last) I sprang for the higher-priced express delivery option, I shouldn't have to wait too long for its arrival. Knocking real hard on wood there! wink And my copy of the Inner Sanctum blu-ray/DVD/CD set, ordered separately from Amazon, should be on its way soon, too, if it isn't already! Woo-hoo!

April 9, 2019

I happened upon a new acoustic "live in the studio" rendition of "Rent" by Pete Fij (British guitarist/vocalist Peter Jeremy Fijalkowski, formerly of the alternative rock bands Adorable and Polak), which I've noted on my page listing cover versions of Tennant-Lowe songs. It's not exactly my cup o' tea, but it could well be yours. If you'd like to have a listen, it's available on YouTube.

April 8, 2019

Following up on my post here on April 3 (see below), Andrew Shaw reminded me that I've previously cited documented repeat live performances on my page devoted to remakes of Tennant-Lowe songs, so I ought to include the After Edward rendition of "Liberation" there as well. Point well taken! I've now made that addition. Thanks, Andrew!

April 7, 2019

I've posted the final results of my poll of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors to choose their three favorite "non-studio" Pet Shop Boys albums. My new survey is inspired by a negative comment made not so long ago by Rod Stewart in which he criticized Elton John's current "farewell tour." In short, I'm wondering which of several statements comes closest to your own feelings about the possibility down the road of a PSB farewell tour. Thanks so much to porkchopkid for suggesting this intriguing question!

Until last night, I hadn't had any dreams about the Pet Shop Boys this calendar year. But I indeed had an unusually simple, straightforward one last night, my first in a little more than eight months. If you're interested in that sort of thing, I invite you to read about it.

April 6, 2019

For the first time in quite a while—more than a year if I'm not mistaken—I've found a new novel that mentions the Pet Shop Boys by name: War Porn by U.S. author Roy Scranton, published in 2016. Hence, I've now added it to my chronological list of such books.

April 5, 2019

Thanks to Daniel B. for calling my attention to the apparent fact that the "Disco Mix" of "Domino Dancing" is the same as the Introspective album version except for a very slight difference in timing (only a few seconds). So I've accordingly adjusted the "Mixes" list on my page devoted to that song.

April 4, 2019

Thanks to Ady Williams for telling me about an occurrence of "Love Comes Quickly" on non-musical TV show way back in 1987. Amazingly, after all this time, it's the first such use of that song that I'm aware of, thereby earning it a brand new spot at #89 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in that way.

April 3, 2019

Thanks so much to Felicity for letting me know that the Pet Shop Boys' song "Liberation" is being used in a play currently running on the London stage, actor/playwright Tom Stuart's After Edward, a fact that's documented in a couple of recent reviews, such as this one. I really don't have a place here on my website to note this permanently, although if this work ever makes it to film or television, it should qualify for my list of PSB songs used in those media. So, for the time being, I'll content myself with at least mentioning here for a month's time. Thanks again, Felicity!

March 31, 2019

I'm grateful to Alex Brien for calling my attention to a possible historical error (there seems to be some room for uncertainty on the matter) in my entry for the track "'Comrades!'" at #20 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows. So I've simply deleted the possibly faulty information, which wasn't essential to the core purpose of what I was writing there, anyway. Thanks, Alex!

Also, as a new entry at #88 in that same list, I've added "Boy Strange" by virtue of it playing over the closing credits of the new BBC documentary The Man Who Used HIV as a Weapon, which first aired March 19, 2019 (although it was available on the BBC iPlayer as early as March 15). Thanks so much to Paul Chapman for telling me about this!

March 30, 2019

Thanks to Rory Simpson for letting me know that "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" was used as background music during a segment on "Brexit" on the March 21 edition of the BBC current affairs show This Week. I've noted this in the entry for that song at #30 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs that can be heard in non-musical TV shows and films. And if you would like to see and hear this segment for yourself, it's been posted on YouTube.

March 28, 2019

Thanks to Gavin for telling me about a cover of "It's a Sin" from 2014 that I wasn't aware of until now. Yes, it's yet another "Sin" remake, but at least this time it's not by a metal group. Instead, it's by Mr. Wilson's Second Liners, a U.K. band that specializes in irreverant performances in a quasi-dixieland, New Orleans jazz style. They documented their live instrumental rendition in 2014, which, if you wish, you can watch on YouTube. (Caution: It has a long, silent textual introduction.) Needless to say, I've now made note of this on my page devoted to cover versions of Pet Shop Boys songs.

March 27, 2019

The popular Argentine rock band Babasónicos has released a cover of "Suburbia" as the b-side/bonus track of their latest single, "Bestia Pequeña." So I've now noted this on my page that lists remakes of Tennant-Lowe songs. And if you would like to hear it for yourself, you may do so on Spotify, although I believe you'll have to log in to Spotify to listen. (It may be available elsewhere as well, but that's the only online source that I'm aware of at this time.)

Thanks to Fré Nieuwenhuis (whom I've just added to my Thank You page) for alerting me to a longstanding typo, now corrected, on my page that introduces Liza Minnelli's album Results, produced (of course) by the Pet Shop Boys.

March 24, 2019

I've posted the final results of my previous survey, the latest installment of my ongoing "Rating Project," in which I asked my site visitors to rate the songs on the Pet Shop Boys' recent Agenda EP on a scale of 0 to 10 as the compare to all other PSB songs. And if you would like to see these results in the context of all the other PSB songs, please visit my "Rating Project" page. (To make it easier for you to find them, these four latest additions are highlighted in pink.)

When I run polls focusing on the Pet Shop Boys' albums, I usually deal strictly with their studio albums. But what about all their other albums—their compilations, their live albums, their Disco albums, their "special projects"? So my new poll for the following two weeks zooms in on those other oft-neglected albums. Which three official PSB "non-studio" albums are your personal favorites?

March 23, 2019

I'd like to share with you a delightful online account by Brazilian site visitor Javier Battilana of what he describes as "the best and happiest moment of my PSB fan life," which involves an unexpected encounter with Neil while the Pet Shop Boys were in Rio de Janeiro in 2017. The Boys themselves linked to it from their Facebook page more than a year ago, but I had never read it before. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks so much, Javier!

Speaking of good things to read, you might also like a really great article from today's edition of the South China Morning Post, "How the Pet Shop Boys' story links to Hong Kong, from Tiananmen protest to 'umbrella movement.'" (The Boys are scheduled to perform in Hong Kong this coming Thursday.)

As a quick heads-up, on account of an "outside" commitment, I may be a little later than usual switching over from my current poll to the next one. But if I am late, I don't expect it to be by much more than an hour or so. I hope this doesn't pose any serious inconvenience.

March 22, 2019

The Pet Shop Boys' official website has just announced that, unfortunately, their April 4 concert in Bangkok has been cancelled due to "circumstances beyond our control." I've modified my PSB tour-dates page accordingly.

I'm very grateful to Stefan Burk (whom I've just added to my Thank You page) for telling me about a brand new book about the Pet Shop Boys, which I've now noted at the end of my page devoted to such publications, listed in chronological order. This new book is in German, however—a language in which I'm totally illiterate—so I can't read it myself. But I imagine that at least some of my German site visitors (not to mention other fans proficient in the language) will find it of interest. Its cover, by the way, also qualifies it for a spot on my page that lists takeoffs on the cover of Actually. Thanks, Stefan!

March 21, 2019

Thanks so much to a longtime correspondent, Jeff Schapira, for pointing out a typographical error on my FAQ page about knowing and meeting the Pet Shop Boys—an error that, though typographical in nature, actually resulted in an unwitting factual flaw, now corrected. (It has to do with when my photo with Neil was taken.) And I was quite surprised to see that Jeff wasn't already listed on my Thank You page, to which I've now added his name. Thanks again, Jeff!