Post-Disco: The Pet Shop Boys
by Craig Kaczorowski
There has always been a peculiar sense of abandon in the work of the Pet Shop Boys ("voice" by Neil Tennant, "sound" by Chris Lowe). Abandon in the very palpable sense of wantonness, or, because they are British, at least a very dry impetuosity. A lyric from their song 'I Want a Dog' - "When I get back to my small flat/I want to hear somebody bark" [my italics] - is one of the most casually sexy lines in the entire pop canon, far more libidinous than anything cooked up by Smokey Robinson, or Bryan Ferry, or even Miss Janet Jackson herself. (Arguably, the best lyric in this category being from Steely Dan, a group not typically known for its libido: "Throw out the hardware, let's do it right.") But abandon also in the sense of relinquishing all responsibilities and vacating the premises. One gets the impression that Tennant and Lowe have struggled to leave behind the selves they were afraid they would become. As they explained in 'West End Girls,' the song that first brought the Boys to the public's imagination: "We've got no future/We've got no past."
All pop songs, by their very design and structure, are about youthful abandon, encapsulating in three minutes of hooks and beats a healthy sense of the infinitude of youth, the elasticity of time; infused with reckless adolescence, dexterous sex (whether real or imagined), and inchoate rebellion. The Pet Shop Boys, being masters of the pop idiom, understand these simple rules. Even the very titles to some of their songs overtly signal the sense of freedom or release inherent in their music: 'Liberation,' 'This Must Be the Place I've Waited Years to Leave,' 'A New Life,' -'Metamorphosis,' 'Saturday Night Forever.'
"I believe that music can have a major disco rhythm on the background, with swooshing strings and all that, and you can still listen to it quite seriously." - Neil Tennant
Calling the Pet Shop Boys' music "pop" is not an insult - the Boys are dedicated to crafting the perfect pop bauble. Tennant and Lowe sniff at the very notion of "classic" rock with its expert musicianship, and are scathingly brilliant in their disdain of self-pitying guitar groups. Yet, PSB cannot be dismissed as so much limp-wristed fluff. With their astute mix of tight rhythms and elegiac lyrics, the Boys rarely lose sight of the fact that pop music today is supposed to be danceable yet desolate. "Sometimes you're better off dead," as the opening line of their first hit single clarified it for us all. Shamelessly commercial yet serious, and fluent in the vernacular of our culture, PSB's music charts the world that we live in, a world seemingly going through a series of nervous breakdowns; a world ravaged by AIDS, numbed by urban violence, disappointed by modern politics, and unnerved that the party may someday soon come to an end.
A world post-disco, then. A world where "long after the war has ended/we're still in fatigues," where "there are no more lovers left alive/no one has survived." With such a past to remember, with such a future to contemplate, the present is all. "Tonight is forever," as PSB explicated a moral code of sorts, on their very first album. With music as the galvanizing force ("When you dance with me we dance forever/All night long to the latest song"), as well as a safe haven ("Choose a song when the night's too long/We all need love and we want protection/I need a friend at the journey's end").
"The whole club culture used to fascinate me. Chris and I would be fascinated by the fact that Heaven would be full of people who didn't have jobs. They'd be all dressed up. And so I used to write lyrics about it - and I always used to find going out at night exciting, like you were a different person than you were during the day. There was a sort of theatre about it as well. It all happens under artificial lighting, people aren't the same as they are in daylight." - Neil Tennant
The first time I became aware of the Pet Shop Boys, aware not just of the music, for I had perhaps already heard several singles played on the radio or at a friend's house, but aware of the power of the music, was in London, December of 1988. I was at Heaven or Boy or one of the other like-named clubs that dotted London's nocturnal landscape. I was wearing white, button-fly 501s, and a tight white T-shirt with a certain cut of sleeve common at the time which graphically cupped the burgeoning bicep underneath, and a pair of matte black Doc Martens. I was standing near the bar with four friends who were also dressed in white, button-fly 501s and tight white T's which cupped their equally budding biceps, and, of course, the Doc Martens. We were never naïve enough not to know that what we were wearing was a costume, a uniform, the nighttime equivalent to the dark blue suits and pale paisley ties and black, hand-lasted split-toed shoes we wore to the office every day. It was just a uniform we felt somewhat more entitled to wear than others.
I was ignoring my friends, or at least had lost the track of their conversation (which I'm sure had a Thatcher-ite theme to it, since Mrs. Thatcher seemed to be the only topic people talked about the year that I lived in London), and was instead watching, with eager attentiveness, a dark-haired boy out on the floor dancing by himself. Solo dancing was acceptable then. People no longer felt constrained to dance with a partner. Everyone, or rather, anyone on the dance floor was your partner then. The dark-haired boy (as "boy" he was, being only a year or two older than myself, and "boy" I certainly was in December of 1988) was also wearing white 501s, and a white vest (a perfectly suitable alternative to the white T-shirt), and yes, the ubiquitous Doc Martens. The song he was dancing to was a new release by the Pet Shop Boys, 'Left To My Own Devices.' The song has a mocking, dramatic, over-produced intro (some may say a "camp" intro, though they shouldn't, for to be truly camp one must be inherently serious, and this particular introduction is anything but serious). The dark-haired boy stood still, looking down at the floor, or at his DMs, during the mock-classical intro, and then began to dance, slithering slowly side to side like a snake at Tennant's pronouncement of the first line: "I get out of bed at half past ten/Phone up a friend, who's a party animal."
"When we started ten years ago what we wanted to do was to make records that would be regarded as dance music, probably hi-NRG dance music as it was then, and we were trying to marry that to traditional songwriting where the lyrics are interesting and make some kind of personal statement." - Neil Tennant
'Devices' is not a particularly danceable PSB song, and PSB have produced more danceable, or disco, or hi-NRG songs (whatever one chooses to label them) than almost any other group in their particular class. In fact, the seemingly undanceability of the song was what attracted me at first to the dark-haired boy (that and several other obvious attributes which needn't be necessarily enumerated). As a song it belongs in the genre of certain other pop classics: contemporary songs which attempt to defamiliarize the everyday. Some of the best songs in the pop idiom coolly acknowledge the banalities and annoyances of our every day routines, and spin them with the heightened emotion of music: "Woke up, fell out of bed/Dragged a comb across my head"; "I run for the bus dear/While running I think of us dear/I say a little prayer for you"; "I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping"; "Coyote's in the coffee shop/He's staring a hole in his scrambled eggs"; "Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time."
'Devices' speaks in certain codes, with certain cadences, about all our lives - mine and my four friends and the dark-haired boy (I can only presume) and all the other patrons of the bar in their white 501s and Doc Martens, and on and on and on. Lyrics as banal, and as accurate, as "Turn off the TV, look at a book/Pick up the phone, fix some food"; and as deflating as (and this should come as no surprise to anyone who has worn a uniform as rigid as ours) "I was always told that you should join a club/Stick with the gang if you want to belong"; or as painful to anyone who, like me, was watching a dark-haired boy dance by himself in a club, "It's not a crime when you look the way you do/The way I like to picture you."
What I found most particularly meaningful, however, or to put it more honestly, what I found most personally meaningful, was the distress over desire expressed in the song. That repeated refrain of "I could leave you, say goodbye/Or I could love you, if I try/And I could." Leave you … love you … and I could; well, which one is it going to be then? And Tennant so succinctly leaves all options open, with the brilliantly placed "probably" in the last line: "And left to my own devices/ I probably would."
"I think one of the things that made House music so popular is that people don't dance with the opposite sex anymore." - Chris Lowe
I never learned the name of that dark-haired boy, which may be the particular moral to that short story.
Only a group like the Pet Shop Boys, a group untethered to an image of irresolute masculinity, could be so bold as to ask: "To fall in love/Is it so uncool?" ('I Want to Wake Up'). It is in their love songs that the Pet Shop Boys have made perhaps their greatest impact. Pop music, of course, abounds with hymns to love, but PSB infuse their love songs with an honest corporeality. There may have been a time, unfathomably distant, when lyrics such as "When I get home to you/I know the things that you do/Will make me feel all right," were enough. However, with the advent of the Pill, and Viagra, and afternoon talk shows, and with partners as willful and as focused as Ms. Lewinsky, we may never again be able to accept such pallid sentiments as straightforward expressions of love, or sex, or passion even. Instead, we crave lines like: "You're in my soul/My body moves to your control/Baby, I've been thinking about you/All night long/And the neighbors are talking" ('I Get Excited'). To hell with propriety, the Boys seem to be preaching, especially when they write such lines as "I don't care whether it's wrong or right/I want a lover tonight." And which of us has not expressed such an urgent need, usually after four or five drinks and around closing time?
And yet, their love songs also paint heartbreaking pictures with pure simplicity, "All the way back home at midnight/You were sleeping on my shoulder" ('Liberation'), and their lyrics are sometimes as sweet, and as shrewd, as anything written by the brothers Gershwin: "You've got a clever way of haunting me/I'm never scared, but you're still daunting me" ('A Different Point of View'). Their love songs often speak to that almost overpowering sense of awe, something we all feel in the first flush of passion, but something we rarely expect when we, superficially, think of the Pet Shop Boys: "Like Christmas morning when you're a kid/Admit you love me and you always did," ('Red Letter Day').
There is also, often, and typically, the threat of love in the Pet Shop Boys songs. Or as the Boys warned in a song off their first album Please, "Sooner or later, this happens to everyone." And again, from the same album: "Love comes quickly, whatever you do/You can't stop falling." Falling, not in love, for that would be too easy a target to hit, but falling into that black hole, that abyss of the response to love, where language fails us, and where we are violated by our emotions. "You went away, it should make me feel better," they sang with Dusty Springfield, that icon of 60s pop whom the Boys unearthed for their late 80s album Actually. But of course it doesn't make the narrator of the song feel better, instead he is reduced to wondering what he has done to deserve this. Done what, the listener wonders - fallen in love, or been betrayed by it, or perhaps both?
The narrators of PSB songs are often trying to put on a brave face, whistling in the darkness of love, as it were. That old push-and-pull of relationships, of wondering who will be the foolish one to be the first to open a bone in their heart and let out a howl. "Put your arms around me, it doesn't mean you love me/Just that you want me and you need my company," as Tennant explains in the song 'I Want a Lover,' revealing a stronger sense of self-preservation than a declaration of love.
Not to forget shame. PSB seem perversely unable to write simple love songs without a heavy dose of guilt. "When I look back upon my life/It's always with a sense of shame," Tennant sings, and then erupts into a stutter of "it's a … it's a … it's a sin." The song ends, rather heavy-handedly, or at least shamefacedly, with utterances from the Latin mass, which can be translated as "I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, act and omission, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."
"The gay label doesn't really bother me, as long as it's not something that is restrictive. I don't think that sexuality necessarily implies a lifestyle package comes with it." - Neil Tennant
Shame for being gay, one suspects. In early PSB songs there is a certain sense of embarrassment, mortification even, at the very notion of being gay. Blame it on youth, or a silent acquiescence to the star-making machinery; either way, one gets a strong impression that they are not entirely gladdened by their sexual agendas. PSB have written occasional sketches of gay life that have certainly never been chanted at rallies by thousands of ardent supporters. The Pet Shop Boys could never be seen, nor do they see themselves, as gay role models. Bronski Beat they are not. These songs could be misdiagnosed as false or cliché-ridden ("as if gay life were really like that," I overheard a goatee-and-muscle patron sigh once when PSB's 'Bet She's Not Your Girlfriend' emitted from the bar's jukebox) if they weren't so authentic: "You've been sitting there, wondering what to do/I've been standing here, waiting to make the first move" ('I Want a Lover'); "At dead of night, when strangers roam/The streets in search of anyone who'll take them home" ('Jealousy'); "To speak is a sin/You look first, then stare/And once in a while/A smile, if you dare" ('To Speak is a Sin").
In 'Metamorphosis,' off PSB's most recent disk Bilingual, Tennant finally explains himself: "What I wanted to be was a family man/But nature had some alternative plans/So I did without the lot/Put emotion on hold /And hoped my instincts would do what they were told." He decided to come out publicly. As if the rest of us hadn't figured it all out long ago.
"Where can I find the lyrics to Phil Collins' 'Another Day in Paradise'?" my friend David calls me on the phone early one Saturday morning and asks. David doesn't have the best taste in music, I know, but then again, perhaps I also do not, but I wouldn't have thought it had sunk quite so low. Feigning interest, I ask why he would suddenly find a need for the lyrics to that particular song. It turns out that David has been charged with teaching a class on poetry to a group of high school freshman. Poetry: surely a broad enough topic to happily embrace Shakespeare, and Browning, and Eliot; certainly there's a day's worth of Whitman alone, or Dickinson, Hardy, Hopkins, or Yeats. Even if Pound were a little too "dense" for the sensibilities of American high school freshmen, there was always Wallace Stevens, or Hart Crane, or the ever-present Allen Ginsberg.
But no, this particular class, taught to these particular students, in this particular school was studying song lyrics: Lennon/McCartney, which I thought made a certain sense, and Yes ("Tales From Topographic Oceans"), which I thought would seem more dated than anything by Whitman or Dickinson and didn't appear to make any sense at all, and of course, Nirvana, for how could any high school class in this particular year discuss poetry without at least a passing nod to Kurt Cobain? And now they were moving on to the "social conscience" of contemporary music, namely some of Sting's more strident songs, and Pearl Jam's 'Jeremy,' and The Boomtown Rats with their "I Hate Mondays" (opulently meaningful to all high school students), and the dire "Another Day in Paradise," which my friend David was frantically trying to track down the lyrics to. What about some songs by the Pet Shop Boys, I asked. David was silent. Their songs about AIDS. "Oh that," David answered, putting the final finish to the high gloss of our conversation.
The Pet Shop Boys arrived on the music scene at the moment AIDS began to make headlines in the mainstream press (in part because of the turbulence caused by such celebrities as Magic Johnson and Rock Hudson). Around the time of the release of Please, one of Tennant's closest friends was diagnosed with AIDS, and the duo registered their disbelief about this on their next album Actually with the song 'It Couldn't Happen Here' (with classical orchestrations reminiscent of the Beatles' 'Eleanor Rigby,' another song about pain and disbelief). As Tennant explained in an interview, "In 1986, AIDS was still comparatively rare in Britain. It was still very shocking to know someone who had AIDS." In their song, the duo capture the sense of bewilderment and injustice inherent in those early years of the epidemic, with such lyrics as "I don't expect to talk in terms of sense/Our dignity and injured innocence/It contradicts your battle scars."
When his friend died the following year, Tennant wrote a song about going to the funeral, an event where worlds collide, often for the first time, as parents meet the friends of their young dead sons. 'Your Funny Uncle' (one of the most personal songs in the PSB canon) describes the "final destination" of the friend who has died, and the stoic incomprehension of the parents, "One mother's son/His father's distant gaze, regretting/Where they went wrong/He always found it too upsetting."
AIDS, unarguably one of our generation's fundamental obsessions, appears unannounced in countless PSB songs. It's there in 'The Survivors': "Our heads bowed/At memorials/For other faces in the crowd," and 'Being Boring,' considered by many to be the Boy's best work, is even more remarkable when one becomes aware that the song is really an elegy for the casualties of AIDS, as signaled in the lines: "All the people I was kissing / Some are here and some are missing / In the nineteen nineties." Even "Dreaming of the Queen," which begins as a reverie with Tennant taking tea with Queen Elizabeth and Lady Di (pre-Parisian car accident), ends as a fevered night sweat: "I woke up in a sweat/Desolate/For there were no more lovers left alive."
"They're here, they're queer, and they're not going shopping," Boy George announced the Pet Shop Boys at an AIDS benefit, riffing on one of PSB's more controversial songs. The Boys were not amused. When 'Shopping' first hit the air waves and the clubs in the late 80s it was typically received as some sort of campy, or worse yet, jaded endorsement of conspicuous consumption. However, with lyrics such as "We're buying and selling your history," 'Shopping' is, in fact, a very pointed attack on the Thatcher-ite policy of privatization which continues to this day. "We heard it in the House of Commons/Everything's for sale," the Boys chant, as they put a political spin on what would otherwise be a commonplace about the banalities of everyday life in the material world. PSB's overtly political (and I do not use that term loosely or 'ironically') songs such as 'Shopping' and 'Rent' are as misunderstood, in their way, as Madonna's 'Material Girl.' The world in which these songs were produced, Thatcher's Britain and Reagan/Bush's United States, had succeeded in reducing everything to a commodity. People and services were valued, or discarded, according to the gain they brought ("There is no society," Thatcher announced; "Our gain is your loss/That's the price you pay," PSB clarified). When Tennant sang "I love you/You pay my rent," or "You always wanted a lover/I only wanted a job," he was, in his understated way, revealing the basic emotional, moral, and political transactions of our society.
It is, however, difficult to take the Pet Shop Boys seriously sometimes: "The band you'd most like to despise," New Music Express once shrieked about the group. Tennant and Lowe can often come across as effete and sophomoric in interviews, trying far too hard to sound blasé and clever; their music sometimes soulless and muddy; their lyrics overtly obscure or distant. They've worked with Liza Minnelli. And Tennant, with his Al ('Year of the Cat') Stewart pronunciations, can sometimes sound half fag, half ponderous thinker.
They are, at times, over-found of the echo-chamber of quotes and veiled references. PSB delight in quoting from all the big quotables: everything from The Book of Revelations, to John Betjamin, to Debussy, to Edmund Wilson, to Oscar Wilde, to Shoshtakovitch - both the music and the memoirs - to the Mr. Big of the big quotables, T.S. Eliot himself. They even titled one of their songs 'Can You Forgive Her,' although Trollope got there first.
In their defense, however, these allusions rarely draw too much attention to themselves. Still, listeners must sometimes furrow their brows in wonderment over what a glaringly obscure reference to a "roundhead general" is doing in such a benign song as 'Left to My Own Devices,' and why Che Guevara is drinking tea in that same song. (To be honest, even a group as "radical" and seemingly un-commercial as The Clash were themselves not exempt from throwing in the occasional erudite allusion, the best example being 'The Right Profile' from London Calling. One could still enjoy that singular song without ever once dwelling on the sorry history of Montgomery Clift.)
The Boys often don't even take themselves seriously. Although "ironic" is the word most often applied to the Pet Shop Boys, there is something more than that in their music, there is a pungent sense of humor in their songs, a humor both sardonic and self-deprecating. Before anyone else can throw the first blow, they get in there first, calling themselves mannered, expressionless, affected, frauds: "I'm kind of shy, and dry, and verging on ugly" ('Bet She's Not Your Girlfriend'); "Expressionless, such irony, although your voice is weak/It doesn't really matter 'cause the music is so loud" ('Yesterday, When I Was Mad'); "Call it performance, call it art/I call it disaster if the tapes don't start" ('Electricity'), and the ultimate in self-deprecating lyrics: "And someone said: 'It's fabulous you're still around today/You've both made such a little go a very long way'" ('Yesterday, When I Was Mad').
The Boys are also not above covering other artists, oftentimes resulting in some of their most commercially successful recordings to date. Their cover of Sterling Void's 'It's Alright' was a considerable hit for the Boys at the end of the 80s. Their cover is composed of gloriously textured layers of sounds and voices and metronomic beats, and the lyrics sound frighteningly PSB-esque, with dictators in Afghanistan and revolutions in South Africa being juxtaposed against the salvation of music: "Music is our life's foundation/And shall succeed all the nations to come." And again, that beautiful insistence on the endlessness of pure pop: "I hope it's gonna be alright/'Cause the music plays forever."
With 'Always On My Mind' PSB uncovered the egocentric rapaciousness of the song that the Willie Nelson and Elvis Presley versions obscured. Halfway through the Boys' version, "you were always on my mind' is suddenly transformed into "you were always in my house." What was seemingly a lover's plaint that he should have been more emphatic with his feelings (the same feelings Elvis Costello sang about in his ravishing cover of 'Good Year For the Roses') turns into the reproach of someone who feels exploited in a relationship. Regret turns into resentment. Eternal fealty is recast as oppressive ubiquity. Endless love becomes the unwanted guest, stinking like three-day-old fish.
However, the relentless "Chinese water torture" version of 'Losing My Mind' (which the Boys also produced for Liza Minnelli in one of her countless bids for pop, or at least showtune, immortality), adds nothing to one's understanding of that particular Sondheim song, while their cocktail jazz version of 'If Love Were All' by Noel Coward (arguably the beta version of a Pet Shop Boy), is serviceable, although admittedly disposable. Their Latin-tinged version of Kurt Weil's 'What Keeps Mankind Alive' is, if not their worst effort to date, certainly one of their lowest moments. Weil is un-salsafiable, and Marianne Faithfull the Pet Shop Boys are not.
In 1991, PSB turned, rather shockingly to some, U2's earnest 'Where the Streets Have No Name,' into a frisky disco anthem. Swirling strings and synthesizers replaced the noble guitars and drum of the original, making it almost unrecognizable. The irony of the glib, ephemeral Boys covering the work of those righteous, working class rockers was not lost on many, especially Bono and his brethren. U2's guitarist, The Edge, is said to have responded to the news that the Pet Shop Boys would be doing the song by asking "What have we done to deserve this?" echoing the title of the Pet Shop Boys' famous collaboration with Dusty Springfield. The Pet Shop Boys link U2's existential hymn to Frankie Valli's frivolous tune 'Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," coupled by syntax, if not necessarily sensibility. The result is a masterful reinterpretation of the U2 song, as well as the U2 persona, with Bono's ponderous existentialism merging with Valli's giddy teen fluff. U2 have never been seen the same way since. In fact, U2, in their latest reincarnation Pop Mart, seemingly have come to embrace the giddy commercialism they once sniffed at in the music of PSB. One suspects the boys of U2 think this stance very smart, and ironic, and artistic; listeners can only concur that it is … well, very commercial.
PSB's best cover to date, of course, has been their devastating recording of the Village People's 'Go West.' Ingeniously, wickedly, PSB took that classic 70s anthem about the gay dream of living the high life in San Francisco and injected a 90s mordant twist with an undercurrent of how that reverie has been ravaged by the nightmare of AIDS. Tennant's pallid tenor hauntingly underscores the fragility of that 70s club land dream. Even the muscular backdrop provided by the Gay Men's Chorus cannot mask the mock-heroic, and ultimately sorrowful (in light of everything that has come to pass) expressions of such lyrics as: "Go West/ Baby, you and me/Go West /This is our destiny."
The cover of 'Go West' ends, after an 18 second pause, with a bittersweet Proustian postscript, written by PSB and sung by Chris Lowe, about drugged nights, squandered days, lost friends, and forfeited lives: "I believe in ecstasy/The times we've had, you and me/Friends we've met long the way/Partied every night and day/And I know we'll meet again."
On the advice alone of a man I met at a party and talked to for fifteen minutes, I recently bought the Pet Shop Boys' Alternative, their two-disk set of b-sides and obscure formats. It contains some of their more notorious cuts, such as 'Pananiro,' and 'Decadence,' and 'Music for Boys,' (which the man at the party raved about, and which I found entertaining but not the mother lode which had been described to me), and a song which I found much more provocative, and which indeed may be Chris Lowe's masterpiece, 'We All Feel Better in the Dark.' Depending on who you are, and where you are when you listen to it, 'We All Feel Better in the Dark' is a song about clubbing, or sex, or feeling ugly. An incredibly simple set of lyrics (simple for the, at times, baroque style of the Pet Shop Boys) is inlaid over an elaborate driving, electro beat, layered with a chorus of voices, both male and female. One male voice urges, in a plaintive, pained falsetto, to "get down get down get down," while another commands "pump the beat pump the beat." The female voice, rather too typically, moans a seductive "yeah, oh yeah." Over this chorus of voices, Chris Lowe chants (Neil Tennant is generally the voice on PSB songs; Lowe is usually envisioned sulking behind the sequencer and the drum machine; one supposes 'Dark' to be Lowe's personal testimony), "I want it/I want it/You know I really want it." As I've said, simple lyrics.
"I want someone to love me, and I know I want it now/These feelings that I'm feeling must be satisfied somehow," Chris Lowe intones; his need is palpable. In 'Dark' we get a strong distillation of the duo's philosophy and moral code (if one can, without irony, speak of "philosophy" and "moral code" in the context of a dance pop song). It's all there in this deceptively modest song: The power of music to enliven the everyday; the euphoria, and the fellowship, emboldened on the dance floor; the notion of music as a metaphor for infinite sex. "My body surges with energy, shivers down my spine/I look deep into your eyes, and I know that you'll be mine."
It is just a pop song. These feelings that I'm feeling, must be satisfied somehow. We all feel better in the dark. It just may in fact be the summation of how we live today.
"Obviously people are going to look at our songs and read this or that into them. Some of them are quite direct, they're written from experience, so it's quite embarrassing really." - Neil Tennant
Chicago, October 1998