Finish “classical” piece. Decide to call it
“Particle “. Add drums to “Gin and Jag”.
Finish mix of “Gin and Jag” with Pete
Work with Stuart Price on Brits medley.
Work with Stuart on Brits medley
January 16, 2008.
Chris and Neilfly from Berlin to Amsterdam to
Newcastle, on their way to Neil ~ house to begin
Chris: I don’t remember that. Are you sure I did
that? What airline was that?
Chris: I flew KIM via Amsterdam? It doesn’t
sound like the sort of thing I would agree to do.
Start in studio at 11 and write a new song called
Neil: It’s actually a song sung from the point of
Dainton about his wife Mandy. I can imagine
Suggs singing it. <
Carry on working on “Without you “. Chris leaves
for Blackpool. <
Chris returns to Neil ~ house in the evening.
Neil: We watched a programme on television
called How Pop Songs Work <
Snowing. Neil ~first driving lesson cancelled
Chris writes “Moronic “. Then they write “King of
Rome” then change title to “King ofpop “. After
dinner start work on new song “Youth
Chris: Wow — on day one.
Neil: “Moronic”’s now the opening of the ballet. <
Change “Youth” to “Gin and Jag” and work on it.
Before dinner, vocal put on “King ofpop “. Carry
on after dinner Chris starts to programme slower
trackfor “Gin and Jag”. <
Neil sfirst driving lesson, 11am. Chris works on
“Gin and Jag “. Neil returns to play guitar on
it and sing. After dinner, Chris writes music for
Neil~ lyric, “Requiem in denim and leopardskin”
and Neil sings guide vocal. <
Another driving lesson. Chris adds chorus to
“Requiem in denim and leopardskin “. Neil adds
Train to London. Go to see Morrissey in concert
at the Roundhouse.
Neil: Of course he cancelled after three songs.
Meeting with Dave Dorrell to discuss possible
album producers. Names considered: whoever
produced Roisin Murphy s album, Damon Albarn
Chris: Damon Albam! Wow. I don’t know how
that would have worked.on new song “Dreaming
Neil: I can’t remember what that is.
Maybe it became something else.
Back up north. Write new instrumental, “Pedal <
Driving lesson. Chris works on new song, “Did
you see me coming?” Work together on it for rest
Writing new song, “This used to be the future ‘ to
lyrics already written by Neil.
Work on “This used to be the future’ adding
two new verses. After dinner, start new song
Neil does vocal on “Vulnerable “. Chris starts
writing new song, “Get over it “. Neil writes
Finish structure of “Get over it”. Neil does guide
New vocals for “Get over it’ now renamed
“Legacy “. Work on a song called “Even
Neil: “Even” is now in the ballet. And it’s rather
Chris back to London. Neil has driving lesson.
Kevin kills a rabbit. February 5.
Back at Westerham. Work with Tim and Matt on
dub mixes for bonus album.
Hearfirst play of “Love etc. “on Radio 2.
Neil: I was in London. It’s quite a big moment,
hearing the first play of the first single from
your new album. I remember Zoe Ball playing
“I don’t know what you want but I can’t give it
anymore” on Radio 1, and I got up specifically
to listen to it on her breakfast show and she
said~”Thought that was a bit depressing.” I felt
a bit depressed she said that. And with “Home
and dry” I remember being in a hotel room
in East Anglia, and Radio 2 they had a sort of
roundtable thing and played “Home and dry”
and people slagged it off a bit but the DJ liked it,
and I thought it sounded really good. The guitar
sounded nice. The first single off the last album,
“I’m with stupid”, I don’t remember hearing that
for the first time. For “Love etc.” I turned the
radio on specially because I knew it was going to
be on Ken Bruce. I thought it sounded good.
Chris: I don’t know if I heard it.
Pete Gleadall comes up. Work on “Je ne sais
quoi “. Neil sings lyric changes and harmonies.
Chris arrives. After dinner work on “Did you see
Neil: “Je ne sais quoi” is a song we wrote in
Finish mix of “Did you see me coming?” Work
on “One night “. Neil does vocal changes.
Neil: “One night” is a song we wrote for Kylie.”
Worked on “Pandemonium “. Neil re-sings it
after driving lesson.
Neil: Another song we’d written the previous
Neil goes for a drive with Chris to practise
roundabouts and traffic lights. Pete Gleadall
finishes mix of “Pandemonium “. Work on
“Legacy”. Neil sings new lines, and “Legacy”
Back to London.
Back north on the train. Start new song “We’re all
Worked on “We ‘re all criminals now “. After going
to bed, at 12.4Sam feel earthquake tremors.
Reversing round corners in today s driving lesson.
Write new song, “Pandering”.
Carry on working on “Pandering “. Chris
changes rhythm track. Neil writes more lyrics for
“Vulnerable” and sings them.
Driving lesson while Chris writing new track. It
becomes “A wall
Neil: That eventually becomes ‘Building a wall’.
Chris comes up from London.
Start new song, “I’m not crying I’m laughing”.
Finish “I’m not crying I’m laughing” demo. Work
A5 is traditional following the release of a
new Pet Shop Boys album, Neil has shared with
Literally the pertinent details from his diary
covering the period in which Yes was written
and recorded. These follow, with occasional
clarifications and comments from him and Chris.
We went back to David Walliams’ house with
Jonathan Ross, and David Baddiel came round.
Driving lesson. Worked on “Dreaming”. At 6
o ‘clock started writing new song, “BeautWul
people “. After dinner,finish rough demo of
Neil watches Sam Taylor-Wood beingfilmed for
“I’m in love with a German film star” video.
Chris: I don’t think I did. Because I don’t like
Pete Gleadall comes up. (Chris not there.)
Work more on “Beautiful people “. Neil re-sings
Finish mix of “Beautiful people”. Change lyrics
on “We’re all criminals now” and sing them.
Chris now in studio. Finish “We’re all criminals
now” mix. Rewrite some lyrics to “I’m not crying
New vocals on “I’m not crying I’m laughing
Work on “My side of the story’; speeding it up.
After dinner start demo of “My girl” by Madness,
then watch documentary about Frankie Howerd
Neil: “My side of the story” was written in 2007
as an idea for Madonna.
Work on “My Girl” then “Building a wall”.
Everyone returns to London.
Neil, Chris and Dave Dorrell go down to
Westerham to meet Brian Higgins. Afterwards, get
left to Oxted station and take train back
Meeting at Sadler ~ Wells about ballet.
Rehearsal for Heaven concert.
Soundcheck at Heaven; Suggs and Carl don ‘t turn
up. Concert in the evening.
Start working, now in London studio, on
“Requiem in denim and leopardskin” then “This
used to be the future
May 7. Work on “This used to be the future ‘ then start on
remix of MGMT’s “Kids.
Chris and Pete Gleadall work on “Kids “. Neil ill.
Neil: I can’t remember now. Flu or something.
Neil back. Work on “Kids
Work on “Kids”.
Lunch in the garden at Westerham with whole
Xenomania team. Then Neil and Chris work with
Brian and Miranda on melody and lyric ideas for
songs based on Xenomania backing-fracks: “The
loving kind’; “The next big thing’; “Random’;
“Where the wild things are
Neil: There’s a few Xenomania songs that weren’t
finished, or it was decided weren’t good enough. I
think “Random” was finished. The chorus goes: “I
have nothing to say / but what I’m saying today /
is just random”. I imagine nothing will happen to
it. The song I think is actually quite good is “The
next big thing”: “Something tells me baby you’re
the next best thing...”
While Brian Higgins collates previous days
ideas, Chris and Neil drive to Sevenoaks, walk
in Knole Park. Back at studio, work with Brian
and Miranda going through melody ideas from
Neil writes downstairs with Miranda for “Where
the wild things are “. Chris writes new melodies
upstairs for “The way it used to be
Back at Westerham. Work with Brian and Miranda
on new songs. Miranda and Neilfinish lyrics for
“The loving kind” and “Random “. Neil records
vocals. Chris upstairs.
Miranda and Neilfinish more lyrics for
“Random “. Neil records vocals on “The loving
kind”. Chris upstairs.
Miranda and Neilfinish lyrics for “Where the wila
things are “. Neil records vocals for “Random”
and “Where the wild things are “. Chris upstairs.
Miranda and Neil write lyrics for “The way it
used to be” and “The next big thing”. Chris
Neil sings vocals on “The way it used to be” and
“The next big thing”. Chris upstairs.
Miranda and Neil work on lyrics for new track,
“Love etc. “. Chris upstairs.
Chris: I went upstairs and wrote melodies on
Xenomania’s backing tracks, some of which
haven’t been used by anyone so they must still
be lurking around. I was in the red room, I think.
Actually sometimes I was in Nick Coler’s room,
which might be the green room.
Chris and Neil visit Chartwell. Listen to comp of
Back at Westerham. Work on “Love etc.”
Miranda and Neil write new lyric for new song,
“Revelation ‘~ based on “Where the wild things
are” music. Neil sings vocals.
Neil: “Revelation” is what eventually becomes
“More than a dream”.
Work on structure and lyrics of “Love etc.”
Work more on structure and lyrics of “Love etc.”
Neil sings some alternative lyrics.
Listened to work that ~ been done on “Did you see
Spent the day with Brian deciding which songs
would go on the album: “Love etc. ‘ “Did you
see me? ‘ “Pandemonium ‘ “Beautiful people
“Crying, not laughing’s “Legacy’s “The way it
used to be ‘ “Vulnerable ‘~ “King of Rome” (re-
renamedfrom “King ofpop’). “This used to be
Chris: There were a couple of songs we didn’t
like, that weren’t that great. But these discussions
were always entertaining.
Work with Brian on sfructure of “Love etc. “In
afternoon decide “Building a wall” should go
on album. Work on structure of “More than a
dream “. Neil writes extra chorus lyrics for “Love
Neil sings chorus lyrics on “Love etc. “. Chris
works with Tim on new version of “Building
a wall “. Neil writes new lyrics for it. Finalise
structure and lyrics of “Love etc.
Back at Westerham. Girls Aloud there. Record
Carla, an in-house singer doing duet with Neil on
“The way it used to be “. Chris and Neil work with
Tim on “Building a wall”.
Back at Westerham. Brian plays through tracks
that had been worked on; Neil and Chris make
comments etc. Neil and Chris work with Nick
on “Building a wall”. Neil puts down new vocal
Phil Qakey arrives at Westerham, sings vocals on
“This used to be the future
Chris and Neil work with Tim on “The way it used
Finish working with Tim on “The way it used to
be “. Chris starts working with Tim on “This used
to be the future “. Neil sings full vocal for “King
Work more with Tim on “This used to be the
future”. Record some new lyrics for “The loving
kind”. Listen to “The way it used to be”for
Brian ~ comments.
Work with Tim on “The way it used to be “. After
lunch, Neil, Chris, Brian and Tim travel, via Oxted
station and Clapham Junction, to Matrix complex
at Parson ‘s Green, where Jeremy (mixer) has his
studio. Chris and Neil do interview for Radio 4
programme about b-sides. Play five new tracks
to record company representatives and discuss
possible release dates.
Chris: I was glad that they liked them.
Back at Westerham. Talk to Brian. Neil writes
“More than a dream” lyrics with Miranda while
Chris works on music with Tim. Put down guide
Start working on “I’m not crying, I’m laughing”.
It becomes new song, “All over the world”.
Work with Tim all day on “All over the world”.
Work with Tim on “All over the world”. Neil adds
middle vocals. Then work on “King of Rome” and
Pass driving test.
Abbey Road Orchestral session conducted
by Andy Brown. In morning record strings on
“Legacy” and “Beautiful people “. In afternoon
record brass on “Legacy’; “Beautfiil people”
and “All over the world”. Travel in taxi to Soho
for meeting with Javier de Fruitos and Emma
Gladstone re: ballet.
Back at Westerham. Johnny Marr plays guitar
harmonica and tambourine on “BeautWul
people’; and guitar on “All over the world” and
Chris: That was great, when Johnny came down.
We stayed with him at a hotel in Tunbridge Wells,
so we got to socialise and catch up with him.
Johnny plays guitar on “Building a wall”, “Did
you see me coming?’; “More than a dream” and
Johnny plays acoustic guitar and harmonica on
a Girls Aloud track. Startfinalising mix of “Love
etc. “ to be played at Parlophone 2009
presentation. Neil re-sings all vocals on
Chris works with Tim on “Building a wall”. Neil
does vocals with Mat on “Building a wall” and
“All over the world”. Backing vocals recorded on
“Beaut~ul people” with Jason and Jesse.
Spend most of the day going through songs on the
album determining what else needs to be done
with Brian and Tim.
Work on “The way it used to be” structure, then
“More than a dream
Work on “Building a wall” and “This used to be
At the Farrow office, talk to Mark and Gary about
ideas for new album packaging.
Chris: We wanted the whole album to be
colourful, pop, Perspex, shiny — the opposite of
Fundamental, which was a very dark piece.
Neil: They’d already mocked up a grid of Perspex
squares, and we liked it.
Work on “Pandemonium “. Record backing vocals
with girls, then boys. Go upstairs to work with Tim
on the track.
Work with Tim on “Pandemonium” trackfor most
of the day. Neil changes some vocals on “King of
Nick records brass on “Pandemonium “. Neil and
Chris work with Tim on “King of Rome”. Brian
arrives and they finish structure of song. Chris and
Tim work on “Pandemonium
Miles Leonard from EMil calls to say we will get
Outstanding Contribution award at the Brits next
Back at Westerham. Worked with Tim on
“Pandemonium “for most of the day, then on
“King of Rome”.
Neil works with Stuart Price and Brandon
Flowers on the Killers ‘Christmas record, and
sings afew lines on it. Speaks to Elton John on
Brandon ~ phone.
Up north. Start work on writing ballet — scene
one. Pete Gleadall programming.
Neil: Matthew Dunster, who’s a playwright and
director and actor, had taken the story and created
what he called “a map for music” so we started
at page one, line one, looking at the script and
writing stuff to go with it. It was so useful having
that, because you knew what you were writing for
and you could sort of picture the scene.
Chris: The music we used for this first scene I’d
done earlier in the year — I actually wrote in my
head as I was cleaning my teeth in the bathroom. I
called it “Moronic” because I thought it was very
moronic, which it is. But it seemed to fit the ballet.
It worked because it’s during the daily grind of
everyone’s existence in this town, so the moronic
quality fitted the daily drudge.
Work on ballet. Finished scene one after lunch and
then start on scene two.
Work on scene two. Then Neil records next
scene on piano. Pete Gleadall corrects piano on
Neil works with Pete Gleadall in the studio
recording the vocals for the Killers & Elton John
Christmas single, “Joseph (Better you than me)
Neil and Chris start work on next scene in the
Work in studio all day on ballet, scene four
Work in studio all day on ballet, scene four
Work on ballet, scenes four andfive. Download
some album mixes by Jeremy
Neil: It was a most enjoyable couple of weeks,
working on the ballet.
Taxi to Es Devlin s house. Dinner with her to
discuss Brits performance.
Meeting at Farrow at 12.30. Discuss Gary s’
Christmas card design and new album cover
Visit Jeremy Wheatley finishing mixes for album
at Matrix studios. Make changes to mixes of all
tracks except “Love etc.
Matrix. Finish mixes of “Love etc. “and “King of
Rome ‘ then make a running order
Chris: We all had our running orders — me, Neil
and Brian Higgins — and Angela had a point of
view as well. I’d shoved all the mega-pop ones
at the beginning. In the end it was a compromise.
Neil wanted to start the album with “Legacy”. It’s
bizarre that anyone would want to start the album
Neil: Actually, I only had “Legacy” as the first
song before we even started making the album. By
now I thought “Love etc.” should be the first track.
I think I wanted “Vulnerable” to be the second
track, and then may be “Did you see me coming?”
Mastering of album.
Album playback atAbbey Road for record
Work with Stuart Price on the Brits medley Neil
speaks to Brian on phone about bonus “Dub”