What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

November 25, 2020

Thanks to Nigel Brand for calling my attention to a quotation by Chris (which I had already cited here on this website but which had slipped my mind) that earns "The Dead Can Dance" a spot at #15 in my "Pet Shop Boys rock!" list.

I'm going to be very busy for much of the rest of today as well as all day tomorrow, so allow me to take this opportunity to extend very Happy Thanksgiving wishes to my fellow Americans and to everyone else who observes the holiday. Despite the far less than ideal circumstances imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, I nevertheless have many, many reasons to be very thankful. I hope you do, too, and I wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season!

November 24, 2020

Thanks to one of my newer site visitors, Julian Schick (whose name I've just added to my Thank You page), for sharing his observation about an interesting recurring percussion effect in "Heart," which I describe in a new second bullet-point annotation to my commentary on that song.

November 22, 2020

Thanks so much to Jim Crownover for informing me of this evening's use of "It's a Sin" as brief bumper music on U.S. NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcast. Ordinarily I don't include such bumper music appearances in my list of uses of Pet Shop Boys songs on television and in films, but this is so exceptional that I'm making—well, an exception.

Long-time site visitor Matteo wrote to ask me about the sampled voices that occur starting at about 2:25 in Andrew Dawson's HappySad Remix of "Leaving"—where they're sampled from and what they're saying. I'm afraid I don't know anything about them myself, and they're so greatly distorted that I can't make any of it out aside from a woman saying "What is it… [unintelligible]…. You and me" near the end of that section, just before Neil's vocal resumes. I've checked Issue #39 of their erstwhile Fan Club magazine Literally, in which the Boys talk about the "Leaving" remixes, but I haven't found any discussion of the samples there. So before I make any such terribly uncertain mention of this subject in a new annotation to my entry for that song, I'm throwing it open to all of you, my site visitors. Do any of you know anything about these sampled voices in the HappySad Remix of "Leaving"—their source and/or what they're saying?

November 21, 2020

About two weeks ago I noted here the new cover of "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas" by the Canadian rocker Lee Aaron. If you like, you can now listen to her rendition on YouTube. I think it's pretty darn good myself!

Thanks to "Londonnoise" for writing to share the results of his attempt to solicit input on the Pet Shop Boys Community Forum on what the distorted "synth voice" near the start of "Hoping for a Miracle" (and recurring later on in the song) is singing. The best guess so far: "Dog eat dog world"—but that is just a guess at this time. It may have to do unless we actually hear from the Pet Shop Boys about it. Whatever the case, I've included a new first bullet-point annotation to my entry for this song to address this perplexing matter.

November 18, 2020

Thanks to John Doe for calling attention to my use of the less common "Krushchev" Cyrillic-to-Roman transcription of the former Soviet premier's name, as opposed to the much more widely accepted spelling "Khrushchev," in several locations here on my website, such as in my entry for the song "The Dead Can Dance." I've now made these adjustments throughout, including my list of Pet Shop Boys songs with "Russian connections," where John also pointed out a longstanding typo that I've now corrected. Thanks again!

November 17, 2020

Thanks to Julián Puga for reporting a typo on my page devoted to "King's Cross." I've now made that correction.

November 13, 2020

Thanks to David Baker—whose name I've just added to my Thank You page—for pointing out an error in some information provided in one of my annotations to my commentary for "King's Cross," which I've now corrected via a footnote. You see, a previous site visitor had noted the name of a gay pub in the vicinity where the song's video was filmed as having been "London Apprentice." But David noted that the pub's actual name was "City Apprentice." Further research has confirmed this fact.

November 12, 2020

Thanks to Mark Binmore for reporting a broken link, now removed, in my entry for the song "Liberation."

November 11, 2020

Long-time site visitor Steve N. has asked me a very interesting question for which I'm unable to provide an answer. Anticipating this possibility, he suggested that I might ask all of you, my other site visitors, this same question in hopes that someone can answer it. So here goes:

Does anyone know the name and/or composer of the tune (apparently a march of some sort) being played by the sampled brass band at the beginning of the Pet Shop Boys' rendition of "I'm Not Scared" on Introspective?

I have no idea myself, but I'd love to find out! Thanks, Steve, for a great question, thanks to the rest of you for considering it, and, I hope, advance thanks to at least one of you in particular for answering it.

UPDATE – It didn't take long for regular site visitor Nigel Brand to come up with the answer to this question! He wrote to inform me that the brass band at the start of "I'm Not Scared" is performing a French revolutionary anthem from 1794 titled "Le chant du départ" (translated "The Song of Departure" or "The Parting Song"). It was written by Étienne Méhul (music) and Marie-Joseph Chénier (lyrics), and became the official anthem of the First Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte. We don't know for sure which performance of the song is being sampled in "I'm Not Scared," although Nigel pointed out that a recording by French singer André Dassary sounds as though it could be the sampled rendition; I'm not really convinced myself—I suspect it might be a live performance from the radio or television. But if you would like to hear Dassary's version for yourself, it's available on YouTube. Thanks so very much to Nigel for sharing this information, which I've used to provide a pertinent new annotation to my entry for "I'm Not Scared."

November 9, 2020

Thanks so much to Alexander Buleyshvilli for pointing out a typo, now corrected, that I had made in one of the Russian words, большинство, in one of the annotations for my entry on the song "Bolshy."

November 8, 2020

A personal note completely (well, almost completely) unrelated to the Pet Shop Boys – I was very saddened to learn of the death earlier today, at the age of 80 following a long and well-publicized battle with pancreatic cancer, of the Canadian-American television personality Alex Trebek, host for more than 36 years of the U.S. edition of the popular game show Jeopardy! He had continued hosting the show for more than a year after announcing his cancer diagnosis. Those of you who live outside the U.S. may not be familiar with him, but here in the States he was a much beloved and truly iconic figure, known for his affable personality, wit, and easygoing but obvious intelligence. Born and raised in Canada, where he got his start in television, he moved to the States in the early 1970s and became a U.S. citizen in 1988. My husband George and I are dedicated fans of Jeopardy! and watch it nearly every evening. We, as well as countless others, will miss him greatly; it's hard to imagine anyone filling his shoes on the show. I'll echo the words of another commentator: I feel almost like I've lost a member of my family. (Episodes are videotaped well in advance, so, as already confirmed by the producers, he'll continue to appear for another six weeks or so.) As for the almost complete "non-relation" to PSB, our musical heroes (like many other pop artists, to be sure) have figured into Jeopardy! clues on a number of occasions, as I've documented here on my website.

November 6, 2020

Canadian rock singer Lee Aaron had several hits in that country back in the 1980s and '90s. I'm very pleased to note that her new holiday album, Almost Christmas, scheduled for physical release tomorrow, contains a cover of the Pet Shop Boys' "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas." I've now noted this release on my page that lists remakes of Tennant-Lowe songs. Details about the album itself are available on the BraveWords website, dedicated to "hard rock" and heavy metal.

November 4, 2020

Thanks to John Doe (yes, that's how he identified himself) for reporting a typo, now corrected, in my commentary on "The Sound of the Atom Splitting."

An intriuging sidenote: I learned today from my monthly Google Analytics report that the most visited page on my website during the month of October was my "Notorious rumors about the Pet Shop Boys" list. In fact, it had more than twice as many visits as any other single page, including the home page. In other words, people were accessing it directly via Google, bypassing my home page in the process. Obviously a lot of folks have a burning interest in PSB rumors.

November 3, 2020

Thanks to James H. for pointing out that I've long misheard how Martin Fry refers to himself in ABC's "The Look of Love" (he actually says "Martin," not "Marty" as I've thought all these years; I double-checked and he's right!), which I mention in one of my bullet-point annotations to the Pet Shop Boys' song "Single." I've now made the appropriate correction.

Thanks as well to Steve N. for sharing a quotation by Neil that provides interesting information about opera singer Sally Bradshaw's role on "Left to My Own Devices," of which I was already well aware but which I had never seen fit to mention here (at least not that I can recall). I've now rectified this oversight with a new fifth bullet-point annotation to my commentary on that song.

Finally, thanks to Marc R. for catching and reporting a typo, now corrected, on my PSB Song Chronology page.

November 2, 2020

Thanks to Race M. (whom I've added to my Thank You page) for writing to suggest that "Disco Potential" deserves a spot in my "Pet Shop Boys rock!" list. Having re-listened to that song and mulled it over, I agree that it belongs there at least as much as—and, in a few cases, even more than—other tracks already in that list. So I've added it at #14. Thanks again, Race!

Seeing as how this website is rapidly approaching its 20th anniversary, now less than six months away, and how I'm not getting any younger, either, I figure it's time for me to start seriously considering how I might "convert" it at least in part into book format so that it may survive beyond the time of this site's—and my own—inevitable, eventual passing (still many years from now, I hope). I know that, given the sheer amount of content and its interactive (and often redundant) elements, it's not practical to think that every single page can be transferred to the print medium. But I'm thinking that at least the individaul song commentaries, in many cases edited and shortened, should make the cut, so to speak, probably organized chronologically (as in my PSB Song Chronology). I expect to be turning my attention to this task in the days ahead, though I'm in no rush about it and will likely be taking my sweet time. But this note is just to let you know that it should soon be in the works. I'll keep you posted.

November 1, 2020

Having found a pertinent quote, I've added "Only the Dark" to my "What it's about" list. And in that same list I've changed the quotation for the song "Jealousy," now using a statement made by Neil with more than a touch of humor during an interview posted to YouTube that regular site visitor Danny Bende was kind enough to point out to me. The relevant quote occurs at about the 1:40 mark. Thanks, Danny! And, in case you're wondering, I'm using this "new" quotation not only because I think it's amusing but also because the "old" one was identical to that for "I Want to Wake Up."

October 30, 2020

One of my site visitors (whose name I'm withhholding pending my hearing back from him about it) pointed out to me that the phrase "the smack of firm government" heard in "King's Cross" did not originate with the Pet Shop Boys. After doing some research into the matter, I was able to confirm that he's correct. So I've added a new bullet-point annotation to my commentary on that song briefly describing the phrase's origin and use. I really appreciate being alerted to this fact—thanks!

October 29, 2020

Based on a recent video capture from her home that showed the Pet Shop Boys well represented in her personal media collection, I've added Australian-born, U.S.-based journalist and media personality Melanie Camp to my list of celebrity fans of PSB outside of the field of music. Thanks to Matt Fitch—whose name I've just added to my Thank You page—for letting me know about Ms. Camp's fandom and providing the appropriate evidence.

Thanks as well to Nenad P. for alerting me to the existence of an officially unreleased alternate demo version of "Friendly Fire" of which I was previously unaware. I've now added this alternate demo, notably marked by Neil's unusual pronunciation of the word "tirade," to the "Mixes/Versions" section of my entry for that song.

October 27, 2020

Thanks so much to Nigel Brand for telling me about two statements by Neil (in these cases regarding the songs "Baby" and "In His Imagination"), gleaned from Issue #39 of the Pet Shop Boys' now-defunct official Fan Club magazine Literally, that I've newly added to my "What it's about" list. He also pointed out that a statement of my own that I had made in my entry for "Baby" is outdated and needed to be excised—now done. Thanks again, Nigel!

October 26, 2020

I'm delighted that a number of music journalists have been taking note of the recent (October 22) thirtieth anniversary of the release of the Pet Shop Boys' now-acknowledged-as-classic album Behaviour. Among them:

These certainly aren't the only such online commemorations, and there may be others yet to come, but I believe these four provide especially good examples.