What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

September 13, 2019

Not being very superstitious—a little paranoid, yes, but not superstitious—I have no qualms about making site updates on Friday the 13th. So thanks to Neil of Delaware for catching a typo in my new entry for "Dreamland," which I've now corrected. And thanks as well to porkchopkid for noticing that the iTunes "more info" button for the song states not only the expected January 24 release date for the new album but also that "Dreamland" will be the fourth out of ten tracks! That's good to know, although I suppose that sort of thing is subject to change at this early date.

I get rather frustrated when I'm caught between conflicting information provided to me by two different site visitors. I won't go into the pertinent details, but that has happened to me over the past 24 hours. And it becomes even more frustrating when, if I don't make the change that one of them suggests, that person responds with a personal insult. So let me be a little blunt about this: I don't need that kind of crap in my life. Largely because of other things going on in my life right now that have nothing to do with the Pet Shop Boys and this website, I'm already this close to giving up on this little hobby of mine. If I "close shop" anytime soon, that's why.

September 12, 2019

Late yesterday I added an entry for the new lyric video for "Dreamland" to my page devoted to the Pet Shop Boys' music videos. Actually, several site visitors have written to me about it, sharing information and their observations. The most informative email was from Jason B, who (among other things) pointed out that the distinct metro map of Berlin appears in the video, only with the word "Berlin" replaced by "Dreamland." He also told me that the Berlin public transit agency, the BVG, has further confirmed this by posting the video on its official Twitter account, joking that the Pet Shop Boys were responsible for the graffiti. Jason and others also observed that the wall-tiling in the video matches that used in a number of Berlin subway stations. In particular, David dB said that he recognized the specific station as Alexanderplatz in Berlin, which he speculated might be a bit of a nod to collaborator Olly Alexander. Thanks, everybody—including Jason B, whom I've now added to my Thank You page—for your valuable input!

Thanks as well to Jeff Durst for suggesting that the sentiments expressed in "Dreamland" clearly apply to more than just the current U.S. political climate, which I may have inadvertently implied in what I originally wrote about it. I've revised my commentary on the song accordingly, specifically in the third paragraph. And further thanks to Andrew Shaw for nudging me toward a very different interpretation of the song, one that is far more conventionally personal and romantic. I briefly touch upon this alternate reading of the lyrics in a new fourth paragraph.

September 11, 2019

The Pet Shop Boys appeared as guests on Zoe Ball's BBC Radio 2 show this morning, during which they debuted their next single. It's the first from their new album, scheduled for release January 24, but they didn't reveal the title of the album, possibly because it's not yet absolutely finalized. The new single, however, is "Dreamland," their long-anticipated collaboration with the band Years & Years. (Be sure to check out the excellent lyric video on YouTube. Thanks to porkchopkid for pointing that out to me!)

They also announced that they will be conducting a Spring 2020 tour, called "Dreamworld – The Greatest Hits Live," with the first scheduled dates in the U.K. The dates and venues have been confirmed by the Boys' own website, so I've updated my PSB Tours page accordingly.

September 10, 2019

I've received several messages this evening from fellow fans who are telling me about "unofficial" online notices concerning the Pet Shop Boys touring the U.K. this coming spring. Until this news is officially confirmed, however, I won't be saying anything more about it here. But considering that a "very special announcement" will apparently be made during their appearance tomorrow morning on Zoe Ball's BBC Radio 2 show, we could well have that confirmation sooner rather than later. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, thanks to Steve N. for correcting me on the approximate length of Musik (about 60 minutes) as it is performed onstage. I've now made that adjustment.

On a much more personal note, those of you who follow me on Facebook (where I focus on other matters, very rarely mentioning the Pet Shop Boys) may know that I recently opted, for the first time in well over a decade—and for the first lengthy period of time in more than two decades—to shave off my beard and go with just a moustache. So I've updated the photo of me near the bottom of my home page to conform with my new look. That being said, my facial hair grows very quickly, so don't be surprised at my near-perpetual five o'clock shadow, which is visible in that photo. All it takes is five or six hours after I shave. It's one of the reasons I grew a beard in the first place. But I do think I'll stick with just the moustache, at least for the foreseeable future.

September 8, 2019

I've posted the end results of my survey of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors their early general, overall impressions of the songs—especially the new ones—from Musik, the Pet Shop Boys' recent collaboration with Jonathan Harvey and Frances Barber. My new poll for the two weeks ahead lists a number of Tennant-Lowe songs that they "handed off" to other artists to record and release before our musical heroes released their own version. I'm asking you to pick the songs that you prefer as performed by those other artists as opposed to by the Boys themselves. Thanks so much to Tobias Gadau for suggesting this most intriguing question!

By the way, getting back to last week's poll outcome for a moment – I was amazed that the choice that received the second-highest number of votes was "I can't say because I haven't yet heard them (or enough of them)." Even if you haven't purchased the official downloads (as I have), all of the songs from Musik are very readily available online for your listening pleasure, such as on YouTube. I encourage you to hear them if you haven't already done so!

September 7, 2019

Over the past few days I've encountered a few additional examples of items that would qualify for inclusion on my page devoted to the iconic status of the Actually album cover photo. But as I prepared to make those additions, I had an epiphany of sorts: I really don't need to do so. As I now explain in a new highlighted note near the top of that page, I'm declaring a moratorium on further additions because I've made my point, and adding more examples would be a never-ending task that merely flogs the proverbial dead horse. Besides, I already have plenty on my personal plate as it is. I hope you understand.

September 6, 2019

I've just noticed that yesterday my website received it's first-ever visit from the south-central Asian nation of Bhutan, at least as tracked by my home page's Flag Counter routine. So I've added Bhutan to my "A World of Pet Shop Boys Fans" page, and I extend a hearty welcome to my Bhutanese site visitor!

September 4, 2019

Thanks to Steve N. for noticing that the expression "hashtag-blessed," used in the Pet Shop Boys' song "On Social Media," was previously used in the 2016 Bruno Mars hit "24K Magic." I've now mentioned this fact on my page devoted to the PSB song, both in the main body of my commentary and in a new annotation.

I've recently learned that many fans didn't initially understand the word "panacea," which occurs in the Musik song "Soup." So I've added a new annotation to my commentary on that song for the benefit of those who henceforth may encounter that difficulty.

August 29, 2019

Thanks to Rory Simpson for informing me that both "Can You Forgive Her?" and "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing" were used in the I Love 1993 episode of the BBC Two series I Love the 1990s, which first aired back in 2001. I've noted these appearances in the entries for these songs (at #5 and #11 respectively) in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows.

In a follow-up to my note yesterday (see just below) about the pending new editions of Chris Heath's two books about the Pet Shop Boys, John M. from SoCal was somehow able to locate the seemingly hidden "placeholder" pages for them on U.S. Amazon: here and here. I'm not sure whether these pages are useful in any way at this time, but it's a promising sign that they even exist. Thanks, John!

August 28, 2019

Over the couple of weeks, several regular site-visitors have written to me about the pending reissue, scheduled for March 2020, of Chris Heath's two classic books focusing on the Pet Shop Boys: Pet Shop Boys, Literally, first published in 1990, and Pet Shop Boys versus America, first published in 1993. Many if not most of you who are longtime fans probably already own these books, as I do. But I'm also confident that many of you do not, especially if you joined the PSB bandwagon, so to speak, only in more recent years. Both books are, in my opinion, very well worth owning and reading if you're a dedicated fan. It's also worth noting that, according to Amazon, the latter book, Pet Shop Boys versus America, is an "updated edition featuring new material from the Pet Shop Boys and Chris Heath." (They don't say this about the first book, Pet Shop Boys, Literally, but that had already been updated with a very small amount of additional material in its 1992 second edition. If that update is any indication, this new material in the second book may also be quite sparse and cursory—but I could certainly be proven wrong about that.)

At any rate, if you're interested in one or both of these books, they can be pre-ordered from Amazon.co.uk. They don't yet appear to be available on U.S. Amazon. Actually, I'll be surprised if they actually are reissued in the States, although it's very likely that eventually they'll be available at least as imports.

August 27, 2019

Thanks to John McFadden for letting me know (and supplying supporting evidence) that English comedian and broadcaster Paul Sinha qualifies for inclusion in my list of celebrity fans of the Pet Shop Boys outside of the field of music, to which I've added him.

Thanks as well to Henrik Guldberg for alerting me to a couple of "Norwegian typos" in the August 24 entry on my "On This Day in PSB History" page, now corrected. Of course, those fixes won't actually appear for nearly a year now.

August 26, 2019

On my page that tracks cover versions of Tennant-Lowe songs I've cited a new remake of "Rent" by the Hungarian duo Black Nail Cabaret. Pretty good if you ask me—sort of "synth goth lite" in style. If you would like to hear it for yourself, it's available on YouTube and various other spots online.

August 25, 2019

I've posted the final results of my poll of the past two weeks, in which I asked my site visitors to pick their three favorite songs from the Pet Shop Boys' "Actually era," aka their "imperial phase." My new survey for the following two weeks asks your general, overall opinion of the songs—especially the new ones—from Musik, the Boys' recent collaboration with Frances Barber and Jonathan Harvey. (Later, after we've all had more time to "digest" these songs, I'll run another poll asking you to rate each one individually.)

And speaking of the results from my previous poll, thanks to Jeff Schapira for catching and reporting a typo there (actually the result of a hasty copy and paste), now fixed.

Thanks also to Gary Beaven from Nottingham for letting me know that "Shopping" could be heard in yesterday's episode of the U.K. TV show Zone of Champions, which I've noted in the entry for that song at #12 in my list of PSB songs used in film and television.

August 23, 2019

Thanks to Oliver Hermes for letting me know that "Taxi to the loo" (or its American equivalent, "Taxi to the john") would be better translations of Taxi zum Klo than "Taxi to the toilet." I've explained the rationale in both my annotations for "Ich bin Musik" and the entry for that song in my list of non-English words and phrases used in Pet Shop Boys songs.

August 20, 2109

Thanks to Raymond for reporting a longstanding typo, now corrected, on my page that lists Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows.

August 19, 2019

It's not something that I, being thoroughly illiterate in German, would have noticed myself. But thanks so much to regular site visitor and native speaker Jens Boldt for informing me that a couple of the lines in German in the Musik song "Ich bin Musik" are grammatically flawed—almost certainly an unintentional result of German not being the Pet Shop Boys' native tongue. I've made appropriate references to these flaws both in my annotations to that song and to its entry in my list of PSB tracks that contain non-English words and phrases.

August 18, 2019

Thanks to Neil of Delaware for noticing another lyrical difference—"Mao's let you down" as opposed to "Mao is obscene"—between the Pet Shop Boys' demo version of "Run Girl Run!" and later Frances Barber versions. I've now mentioned this in a revised annotation to my commentary on that song.

August 17, 2019

Thanks to Andrew Shaw for noticing that I had overlooked updating the release information for the assorted tracks from Musik, which I've now rectified. He also suggested that Frances Barber's reference to Lotte Lenya in describing "Mongrel" might be stylistic in nature as well as thematic, which I happen to agree with, so I've mentioned that observation as well.

Thanks also to Rob Bainbridge for providing a correction and some very interesting additional information about the new film Blinded by the Light, in which "It's a Sin" plays a surprisingly important role. Using the information provided by Rob, I've expanded the pre-existing entry for that film in the section about this song at #21 in my list of Pet Shop Boys tracks used in non-musical films and television shows.

August 15, 2019

Thanks to Alexey from Russia for writing to me about a lyrical variation between Frances Barber's renditions of "Run Girl Run!" and the Pet Shop Boys' own demo, in which the original "Joan of Arc on LSD" changes to the later "Joan of Arc on TV." I'd noticed this long ago but didn't think to comment on it. That was, I suppose, an oversight on my part. I've now noted it in an expansion on a pre-existing bullet-point annotation about that line in my commentary on that song.

August 14, 2019

I've added a new annotation—triggered in part by an observation made to me by regular site visitor Steve N.—to my commentary on "Mongrel" that delves more deeply into the significance of Billie Trix's choice of that word to describe herself. Thanks also to Steve for reminding me that "Mongrel" deserves a spot (which I've placed at #29) in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs with "Russian connections."