The door closes
and you are in total darkness until the video begins in front of you.
As the music and video starts, you feet as though you are moving with
the camera, swooping downwards and upwards and round and about. It is
all very impressive. There is only one problem.
embarrassing thing," explains Neil, "is that t can't go in it."
They tried it a few days ago. "As soon as I went down the tunnel..."
- an early, particularly stomach-churning scene - "...It was the
most awful feeling. I felt completely terrified." He sighs. "It's
my theory that the reason I get claustrophobia is the memory of being
born, because this is quite like being born." Whatever the reason,
he couldn't stand it. He pressed the panic button. He has no intention
of ever experiencing the complete ride. As he is supposed to spend today
telling people how marvelous the whole thing is, he faces something of
a quandary. "I've got to do press on this thing I can't go in,"
he laughs uneasily. "I'd better work out an angle on that..."
is more interested in other matters. "How was Elton's party?"
he asks Neil. A couple of night's earlier, Neil was one of the revelers
celebrating Elton John's birthday. (For photographic evidence see page
9.) He tells us about it. Bobby Davro was there, but they didn't speak.
He chatted with Stephen Fry. He waltzed with Elton John.
behaved outrageously?" asks Chris gleefully.
the new me," nods Neil, and shares some thoroughly scurrilous gossip.
new you is much better than the old you," comments Chris, "sitting
round at home watching opera on video."
Neil patiently points out, "I've never done in my life."
sorry," says Dainton. "Elton John's party! We did put the John
it were," says Neil.
didn't make it into any tabloids," observes Chris.
famous enough," says Neil.
might as well not have been there," Chris deadpans. He says he's
you want a vegetable samosa from Selfridges?" asks Neil. He's already
eaten lunch, but he bought more than he could eat.
don't want it?"
takes a bite. He looks pleasantly surprised. "It's quite nice really."
today's activities the two of them are supposed to get themselves into
their Brit. Awards Miner's Outfits. Their costume person is outside,
shall we not wear costumes?" suggests Nail, as though he has just
thought of something rather naughty.
let's not," says Chris with indecent haste and enthusiasm. And that's
that. Lynne Easton suggests that they have some make-up done anyway.
agrees, but Chris refuses. "I'm not wearing make-up," he says.
"Not if we're in the street with all those builders." And that,
too, is that. Instead, Chris gets on the telephone. He's trying to get
tickets for Arsenal's Cup Winners Cup semifinal in Paris. Ian Wright hasn't
been able to help, so be is instructing someone to try their French record
company. "It's OK," he mutters. "Just tell them we're never
going to France again."
talk about their Blur remix. Malcolm Hill, who arranges their TV promotion,
offers them a CD promo version of their mixes. "CD promos!"
exclaims Chris. "That'll be worth a bit. Get me a few."
play it, then Neil puts on the unplugged version of "Decadence".
"When I listen to this," says Neil, "I always picture driving
down the Grand Corniche in the south of France in a Rolls Royce convertible."
we not been asked to do MTV Unplugged?" grumbles Chris. "I bet
they think we couldn't do it,"
bloody typical" agrees Neil. "I bet they do."
you want to do it?" asks Lynne. Interested.
snaps Chris, as though he has never heard a more preposterous suggestion.
He picks up one of those scrambled computer images which you are supposed
to stare at for ages until they make sense. "I can never see what
you're meant to see," he says. "I get really angry about it.
It makes you feel like a moron.
should go," says Malcolm Hill.
still feel peckish." Complains Chris.
sympathies. "It wasn't exactly a huge Samoa.
they pile into a rather smart small van.
not driving, are we?" laughs Chris. "The shame of it. We've
got a winnebago to go 200 yards."
step outside, 200 yards later, to be met by Andi Peters, who is interviewing
them for 0-Zone. "Have the miner's outfits been axed?" he asks,
been axed because we're in Selfridges car park," Neil explains.
step into the ride, sitting in front of the screen on which the video
is projected. Also crammed into the tiny capsule are five members of the
0-Zone crew and myself. "There's something reminiscent of The Muppet
Show about this," says Neil. He is aright until the crew say they
need to partly close the door. He refuses. "I'm having a real problem
with this, even now.
reach a compromise - putting some black card over the exit which shuts
out the light but doesn't make Neil feel quite so trapped. As the camera
is set up, they talk to Andi Peters about meeting Take That at a German
TV show. "I think we shamed ourselves in their dressing room,"
says Neil. "It was absolutely like a scene from Absolutely Fabulous,
with two middle-aged drunks.
Barlow was talking tome understanding, like you do to a complete wreck."
And Peters offers some Take That gossip in return. "You've told the
right people," Chris reassures him. "Our lips are sealed."
was the idea for the video?" asks Andi Peters.
idea was not to be in it," says Chris. "The ultimate..."
He splutters to a halt. "Sorry. Start again." They start again.
He turns to Neil. "What was the idea?"
'was the bloody idea?" repeats Neil.
first video was us in a computerized landscape," Chris finally explains
(meaning the "Can You Forgive Her?" video, the first from Very,
"and we've been getting more and more computerized."
Peters asks about the song. "It's a love song," says Neil. "There's
not been many straightforward Pet Shop Boys love songs. And in the video
the idea of liberation is taken as flying. Of all the videos we've made
this is one of the two or three which has really carried the feeling of
the last question, he asks them how they eat Cadbury's Creme Eggs. Apparently
0~Zone are asking this of everyone they interview.
don't eat creme eggs very much," says Chris. "When I do, I think
I tend to bite the top off and shove my tongue in it, and get as much
creme out of it as I can, and do a lot of that and then nibble away at
somehow managed to sound obscene, that," smiles Neil. He tells them
he doesn't eat creme eggs. "I don't like the sticky stuff in the
suggest to Andi Peters that he films them talking about the way "Go
West" has been adopted as a football chant. Chris insists that Neil
does it. "Everyone just thinks I'm football," he Complains And
so Neil tells the story, uninterrupted, until he uses the expression "football
hoots Chris derisively. "You can tell Neil doesn't go to the football."
retire to their bus. After a while Chris goes back out, and is filmed
by 0-Zone inside the ride when it is actually in Moline. Afterwards even
he looked a little overcome by the experience. "The queasy feeling."
He confides, "lasts a while."
has agreed to do a brief interview with a journalist from Melody Maker,
about the ride. After a few minutes they have to start again. The journalist's
tape recorder wasn't working. They talk about animation, and Chris can't
resist joining in.
a pity you can't do it like that film The Running Man," he says,
"to keep yourself alive in a computer when you're dead. Then we'd
never have to make another video."
that an ambition?" the interviewer asks.
definitely mine," says Chris.
don't really want to be real," explains Neil.
van radio is playing. The current number one, the Charleston-techno record
called "Doop", comes on. They hate it, and have a debate about
who could possibly be buying it.
the public," sighs Chris.
The Public'!" exclaims Neil. "That's a good title for a song."
is rude about Prince's single "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World"
("dirgy") and nice about Bruce Springsteen's "Streets Of
Philadelphia" ("the first decent thing he's ever done").
Then Dream come on.
like Dream," says Neil. "They're the Shamen of this year.
only play their album," nods Chris. Re talks about the film Shadowlands,
which he went to see a few days ago. "I didn't think I'd like it
but it's quite good."
Peters pops his head in. One more thing. They need to film the Pet Shop
Boys talking to the camera as a trailer to promote
Shop Boys outside their Liberation ride.
appearance on next week's Top Of The Pops
you happy with the script?" he asks.
says Neil. "Sort of. We're obviously going to change it."
reads it out. It mentions that he will be singing live. "I'd rather
mime, actually, viewers," he says. "Why can't you mime? I sound
much better. Hopefully I'll have flu on the day and we'll pull and they'll
have to show the video." Re pauses. "Not that we do things like
record the trail standing outside the virtual reality vehicle. Dainton
stands in the alleyway, halting traffic whenever they are recording. Some
of the building site workers ask for Neil's autograph. Meanwhile the ride
is ready to be run through again, so I sneak in to see what it is like.
I've never been in anything like this, but it's rather impressive, especially
the terrifying lurches downwards near the beginning. The second half is
rather more gentle, and when you are swooping around computer-space with
the golden-winged birds the song has never seemed more beautiful. Never
mind that afterwards - Chris is right- I feel queasy for absolutely ages.
Areagraphy Ltd 1994: All Articles have been
Taken From Literally 1994 Issue 12