What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

September 17, 2020

I figure my now-ended Pet Shop Boys Trivia Game's answers and top responders are too interesting to let vanish after some period of time, so I've decided to "memorialize" them permanently as a new section in my "PSB Extras" section.

September 13, 2020

After two weeks, I've concluded my Pet Shop Boys Trivia Game. As it turns out, no one answered all of its questions correctly. There were a total of 68 "serious" submissions (that is, people who answered at least one question; you'd be surprised at how many were "blank" submissions with no attempted answers whatsoever), although only 31 of them were "identified"—that is, not anonymous. I've now posted the answers and a list of the Top 10 submissions. Thanks so much to everyone who played along, and thanks as well to Mark Binmore for providing the source (a September 1988 issue of Smash Hits) for the reason for the Boys considering F as the title for Introspective.

September 11, 2020

Thanks to some detailed information shared with me by longtime site visitor Eben Arnold, along with a bit of additional research of my own, I'm able to provide a new bullet-point annotation to my commentary on "It Couldn't Happen Here" that succinctly outlines the process of Ennio Morricone's collaborative contribution to that song as well as the story of its orchestration. Thanks again, Eben!

I haven't received any new submissions of answers for my Pet Shop Boys Trivia Game for the past couple of days. Perhaps it's so tough that people have given up on it. But in case you're still interested in giving it a try, I do plan on leaving it up and running for two more days—that is, until sometime this coming Sunday morning. At that time I'll take it down, post the answers, and also post a list of the high-scorers.

Nineteen years ago today was a very, very dark day in U.S. and, in fact, world history. And it personally resonates with me deeply. That afternoon and evening, I was one of many among of my colleagues at one of the California offices of Franklin Templeton Investments who volunteered to staff a bank of telephones, taking worried, sometimes frantic calls from the family members of other colleagues who were in the Twin Towers when those planes hit. Among the thousands killed, we lost 97 of our colleagues that day. But fortunately many others survived. Speaking on the phone to their family members, trying to help them learn whether their loved ones were among the confirmed survivors—and sharing their tremendous joy in those cases when I was able to tell them that, yes, he or she was indeed alive and accounted for—was one of the most moving and meaningful experiences of my life. It will always remain with me.

September 9, 2020

Thanks to Mireia Pería (whose name I've just added to my Thank You page) for telling me about a song released earlier this year, "700,000 Records," by the Spanish singer-songwriter J'Aime, which earns a spot at #52 in my list of tracks that mention the Pet Shop Boys by name. If you would like to hear this song for yourself, it's available on YouTube; the Boys are mentioned (by guest vocalist Françoiz Breut) at about 2:45 into the track. This video, incidentally, also earns a "sort of" spot at the end of my list of music videos in which Neil and/or Chris make guest appearances.

September 6, 2020

Thanks so much to Dave F. for informing of something that had completely escaped me until now: that the "Techno Funk Mix" of "I Want a Dog" briefly samples the 1982 track "Atomic Dog" by the legendary funkmeister George Clinton. I've now noted this in a new entry for that song at #5 in my list of Pet Shop Boys tracks that contain samples of other artists' music.

September 5, 2020

My Pet Shop Boys Trivia Game has now been up and running for one full week, but thus far no one has answered all of its questions correctly. So I'm going to let it continue for one more week. At this time there have been 56 "serious" submissions (I'm not counting quite a few in which people submitted the form without answering even a single question), and the "top score" at this point is 16 out of 25 answers correct. Only one question—I won't say which—has stumped everybody so far; all the others have been answered correctly by at least one participant. I'll reveal the top scores, as well as all of the correct answers, at the end of the game one week from now. In the meantime, thanks so much to everyone who has participated so far!

September 3, 2020

It's been a long time, years really, since I've added anything to my list of my favorite Pet Shop Boys mashups. It's not that I haven't heard any new mashups in a long time; it's just that none of the more recent examples has very much appealed to me. Actually, I had thought that the "mashup trend" had gone the way of all flesh. But that changes today with my newest addition to that list: Butterfly Roof's mashup of "New York City Boy" with the often overlooked Village People classic "San Francisco." If you would like to hear it for yourself, it's available on YouTube.

September 1, 2020

After two days in operation, there have been 37 submissions of answers so far to my new Pet Shop Boys Trivia Game. And so far no one has answered all of the questions correctly. In fact, the "best scores" at this point are two separate submissions with 13 correct answers—just over half. I knew it was a tough game, but I had no idea it was going to be this tough! Then again, as I've already mentioned to somebody else, I would know the answers to only about half of these questions myself if I hadn't been the one to do the research to devise the questions to begin with. At any rate, I trust further submissions will come in the days ahead, and I hope at least some of them will get even higher scores. Good luck!

August 29, 2020

I've just launched what I hope will prove a fun and popular new, albeit temporary feature: a Pet Shop Boys Trivia Game. And I think it's a pretty challenging one, too. Only a few of the answers can be found here on my website. All the others would have to be gleaned elsewhere—sometimes elsewhere online, but in other cases only in assorted books and magazines related to our musical heroes. I'm going to run this game for either one or two weeks depending on how many all-correct submissions I receive. If I receive, say, 20 or more all-correct submissions within the first three or four days, then I'll announce that it will run for only a single week and will end it next Sunday (September 6). On the other hand, if within those first few days I haven't received at least 20 all-correct responses, then I'll let it run for a full two weeks, ending on Sunday, September 13. At the end of the game I'll post the complete correct responses as well as an ordered list of those of you who answered all of the questions correctly—"ordered" in that I'll list them in the order received, with the first person who answered them all correctly listed first. At any rate, I hope you enjoy it! (Please note that if you don't provide your name when you submit your responses, or at least offer a pseudonym that I can use to "identify" you, I won't be able to include you among the "winners." Also, an email program that works with the game's underlying coding must be functional on the device that you use to submit your answers in order for me to receive them. If I don't receive your submission, c'est la vie. Remember: it's only a game!)

August 28, 2020

Thanks so much to long-time visitor, first-time correspondent Agata Moroz from Poland, who wrote to tell me about the recently released song "Kurz" by the Polish alternative band Fisz Emade Tworzywo. It condemns the homophobia and prejudice that gay people often face, specifically in Poland. At about 1:29 into the song, it mentions the Pet Shop Boys, immediately followed by Freddie Mercury, as examples of LGBTQ people who, despite their obvious talents, are presumably "inferior" to anti-gay bigots. I've now added this track at #51 in my list of songs that mention the Pet Shop Boys in their lyrics, and I've added Agata's name to my Thank You page. If you would like to hear this song for yourself, it's available on YouTube.

August 26, 2020

Once again I've heard for the first time from a long-time site visitor who has some extremely interesting information to share. In this case, Steve Haywood wrote to tell me what he learned from asking a question of Neil last October during the "Neil Tennant in Conversation" session at the Manchester Literary Festival. It concerns what I've long described as "A Surprising Grammatical Controversy." I've made the appropriate update, highlighting this new information in a call-out box near the end of the page. But, in short, Neil revealed that he sang "If I was you" rather than "If I were you" in "I'm Not Scared" simply because he felt that, in the context of the song, that's what the character he's portrays there would say. I've long regarded that as one of the more likely explanations, but it's good to receive "official" confirmation. Thanks so much to Steve Haywood aka Kasterborous for sharing this finding! I've now added his name to my Thank You page.

August 23, 2020

Thanks so much to David Watt—a regular visitor to this site writing to me for the first time, and whose name I've just added to my Thank You page—for sharing the fact that on yesterday's broadcast of Bruce Springsteen's COVID-19 pandemic lockdown-inspired show on BBC Radio 2, From My Home to Yours, he played the Pet Shop Boys' rendition of his song "The Last to Die" and shared his personal observation that it was "a great version." As far as I know, this is his first public statement on the PSB remake, and of course it's great to learn that he really likes it. I've made note of it in a new first bullet-point annotation on my page devoted to that song. If you would like to hear this broadcast for yourself, it's available online—the relevant portion apparently starting about 38 minutes in—although I (and perhaps most other potential listeners outside of the U.K.) can't hear it myself on account of regional blocking. Drat!

Thanks as well to Danny Bende for telling me that the German TV show Der Trödeltrupp (The Junk Troop) has used a brief bit of "Pandemonium" as background music during one segment. I've noted this in the entry for that song at #59 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and television shows.

August 19, 2020

Thanks to Alexander Buleyshvili for pointing out a now-outdated reference to Robert Mugabe still being alive (he died in 2019) in my entry for "Hell." I've now made the appropriate updates.