Revelation - Official ILX Pet Shop Boys tracks poll results

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Somewhere in a shoe box in the basement, I've got an interview I did with Tennant and Lowe in '88. It was slated for the next issue of the magazine I worked for at the time, which promptly went bankrupt before it ever went to print. I've been telling myself the past few years to sit down and transcribe it and post it on my site, but I'm just too lazy. (It would also be major work to find it; the shoe box is filled with cassettes.) Anyway, I did, circumspectly, bring up the dreaded question, and got an icy stare and evasive answer from Tennant. Big surprise: he handled 97% of the talking during the interview. I've always felt pretty stupid for doing so. As I wrote on my site when I recounted the story a few years ago, it was like asking Stevie Wonder if it was true he was blind.

clemenza, Thursday, 7 July 2011 14:52 (six years ago) Permalink

I distinctly remember when I became aware of their homosexuality: it was in a 1990 review of Behaviour in a local music magazine, which casually described Tennant's new lyrics as those of "a more mature gay man, having come to terms with x and y, in an era of z" or some such thing. It was mentioned in passing in a matter-of-fact fashion, such that I remember thinking I must have been inattentive to have not picked up on this previously. Not sure it felt like anything more than a piece of interesting trivia, as their sexuality was not something I had pondered up to that point either.

I was still relatively young and it may have had more resonance if I was gay myself. I suspect it changed my perceptions of them only insofar as certain lines in "Rent" or "It's A Sin" or "Being Boring" might suddenly have been open to different intepretations. Actually, it may have seemed kind of apt more broadly, as the one other fan I knew, my slightly older neighbour whose PSB 12"s I borrowed, was widely understood to be gay himself.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Thursday, 7 July 2011 14:54 (six years ago) Permalink

Anyway, I did, circumspectly, bring up the dreaded question, and got an icy stare and evasive answer from Tennant.

I've learned that their policy with most journalists before '93 was to admit Tennant's sexuality off the record.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 7 July 2011 14:58 (six years ago) Permalink

as someone who only discovered the group through Bilingual and Nightlife as an out gay teenager, their evasiveness seems silly and anachronistic. Only a gay man would write and perform the songs they did in the way they did; it takes what feels like an almost willful ignorance to separate their music from their sexuality. Of course times were different back then.

skip, Thursday, 7 July 2011 15:29 (six years ago) Permalink

As a straight kid living with a gay dad (who only did his business outside the house), PSB were about as oblique and transparent as everything else around me. I bought Please when I was 15-16 and loved it; my Dad, mostly a folk and new-age guy, came home one day with the Opportunities 12".

Lazy Lay (Eazy), Thursday, 7 July 2011 15:42 (six years ago) Permalink

xpost It takes what feels like an almost willful ignorance now, but yeah, times are different. If they weren't, they likely would never have had much chart success in the US, I bet. I mean, even Boy George's sexuality was more often than not totally elided back then.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 7 July 2011 15:48 (six years ago) Permalink

John Gill's "Queer Noises" has a section on the Pet Shop Boys - I remember thinking at the time that it was well-written and thoughtful but that was a few years ago. IIRC he takes a pretty negative view about their semi-non-closeted status.

skip, Thursday, 7 July 2011 16:17 (six years ago) Permalink

^^^ YES. That was the journalist I was trying to remember. He was very offended.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 7 July 2011 16:27 (six years ago) Permalink

It didn't change my own perception but what I really, really hated after "Very" and Tennant's coming out was that the general public/media perception (at least in North America) immediately went to "lol the gay duo who makes gay music for gay people" and that was pretty much that. So sometimes I wish Tennant hadn't come out, but then it would've probably not make much difference.

daavid, Thursday, 7 July 2011 16:52 (six years ago) Permalink

In America their profile is "lol the gay duo who did 'West End Girls.'"

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 7 July 2011 16:54 (six years ago) Permalink

I recall a friend recounting telling me, "It must be obvious? well it wasn't to me."

Gukbe, Thursday, 7 July 2011 16:54 (six years ago) Permalink

Well I kind of see why it wasn't obvious to everyone. I mean in the eighties everyone looked (and acted) gayer than the PSB.

daavid, Thursday, 7 July 2011 16:59 (six years ago) Permalink

That was part of the joke too: they were less, er, flamboyant than their peers.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 7 July 2011 17:02 (six years ago) Permalink

So pre'93, were their shows not 75% gay men like they are now? I don't think I saw them live until the Nightlife tour.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 7 July 2011 18:54 (six years ago) Permalink

That percentage is wrong in Germany and the UK.

Gukbe, Thursday, 7 July 2011 19:07 (six years ago) Permalink

Yeah, not true at all of any PSBs shows I've been to.

Strictly vote-splitting (DL), Thursday, 7 July 2011 19:56 (six years ago) Permalink

Since Miami is one of their US strongholds, the percentage of straights attending their shows is MUCH higher.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 7 July 2011 19:59 (six years ago) Permalink

Hadn't heard their own version of this, really into it tonight.

Lazy Lay (Eazy), Friday, 8 July 2011 05:36 (six years ago) Permalink

TBH, as a straight fan, I never thought about their sexual orientation or whether it even mattered to how I listened to the songs until they released "Go West", which I didn't like to the point of actively avoiding everything associated with Very (which was really, really easy to do in the US)

Except in gay clubs.

As a straight kid living with a gay dad (who only did his business outside the house)

Define "business."

Kevin John Bozelka, Sunday, 10 July 2011 15:50 (six years ago) Permalink

A friend posted this old Drudge headline this morning--he can't remember the context. I think you might call this Soto bait:

clemenza, Friday, 22 July 2011 17:59 (six years ago) Permalink

how can you expect to be taken seriously?

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 22 July 2011 20:10 (six years ago) Permalink

i don't think they were *so* evasive about it, i was at school in 88/89 when there was a (Channel 4?) tv special made by Jon Savage that at one point had the boys sitting together, with one saying clearly that they first heard disco 'in all the gay clubs'. also there's plenty of lines to read between in the '... Vs America' book.

piscesx, Friday, 22 July 2011 20:37 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah but they're British, and most Americans assume they're all gay.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 22 July 2011 20:38 (six years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

"Heart" was the album's FOURTH single (and it hit #1, to their and everyone's surprise).

The lowest-selling ever No 1 or something at the time, I seem to recall from my Record Mirror reading days.

Alba, Wednesday, 17 August 2011 22:02 (six years ago) Permalink

Enjoyed today's Introspective article by Tom

oppet, Wednesday, 17 August 2011 22:35 (six years ago) Permalink

Sadly Tom didn't vote in the poll, I don't know if he even lurks around here. Would've been interesting to see his choices.

The multi-talented F.R. David (Billy Dods), Thursday, 18 August 2011 08:35 (six years ago) Permalink

Just finished Pet Shop Boys: A Life in Pop. Would I ever have loved to be at that Potemkin presentation in Trafalgar Square--any British people who were there? It reminded me a bit of seeing Daniel Lanois preview Neil Young's album at Nuit Blanche last year, with video screens all around Nathan Phillips Square, but of course there was no Neil at that. Loved the West End Girls too--much better than the West End Girls who were from Vancouver 20 years ago. Anyway, good film. Didn't even mind having to listen to so much of someone from the Killers--seemed like a knowledgeable fan.

clemenza, Saturday, 27 August 2011 04:23 (six years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I was at that Potemkin show, am sure some other people here were too. It was good - I have a vague memory of some rain, but perhaps I'm imagining that? It was the first time I saw Potemkin, too, which helped.

toby, Saturday, 27 August 2011 11:10 (six years ago) Permalink

The rain was real--somebody in the documentary said that people were politely putting away their umbrellas so other people behind them would be able to see okay.

clemenza, Saturday, 27 August 2011 15:24 (six years ago) Permalink

I was there as well. There was a lot of rain, but as I recall the rain stopped just before the performance, and umbrellas were duly lowered. Great event, but I remember the film more than I remember the music, to be honest.

mike t-diva, Tuesday, 30 August 2011 09:44 (six years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

countdown from 50 - 1, five tracks missing because I couldn't find them (stupid Spotofiy, missing Behaviour) plus 2 versions of "I Want A Dog" (the superior original version and the boring Introspective version)

sick yr finger up his butt (DJP), Friday, 16 September 2011 20:45 (six years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Format, a new B-Sides collection coming in February.

encarta it (Gukbe), Friday, 18 November 2011 20:25 (six years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

aww, RIP. A big reason why Catalogue is my favourite coffee table book.

stay in school if you want to kiw (Gukbe), Thursday, 22 March 2012 20:37 (five years ago) Permalink

RIP. Those sleeves and videos are burned into my brain.

And I have been called "The Appetite" (DL), Thursday, 22 March 2012 23:20 (five years ago) Permalink

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