Following the Pet Shop
Boys' previous' triumphant stints as guest DJs on Radio
One they were invited to host a two hour show be broadcast
on Christmas Eve, 1995. The programed was recorded on the
evening of December 19th at Radio One in London.
Neil arrives first, then Chris. His hair is dyed blond.
"It's quite good being blond," he says. "People chat to
you more. People think you're a bit more out there." Neil
unpacks t drinks ("I've bought two bottles of champagne -
one expensive and one cheaper") are Chris casts a dubious
eye over the Radio One sandwich selection. "Food always
looks revolting," he comments. "It's like being
backstage." Next door you can see Steve Larnacq and Jo
Whiley broadcasting that night's Evening Session live.
Neil and Chris discuss Radio One's list of the best 90
records of the Nineties. Number one is Pulp's "Common
People'. Number TV is Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
"I think Nirvana should be number one, says Neil.
"That's the 'Stairway To Heaven of the Nineties."
Chris nods. "It crossed all boundaries. It was a rave
record, a rock record, it was English and American, it was
all over the world."
The only Pet Shop Boys record
in the list is "Being Boring", and Neil quickly and
fluently records a few thoughts for Radio Or to broadcast
when they play it: about Zelda Fitzgerald, and about his
teenage friends bad in Newcastle, one of whom died towards
the end of the Eighties. Chris raises his eyebrows at how
effortlessly articulate Neil's explanation was. Neil
laughs. "Suddenly the answer came back from 1990."
Chris sits himself behind the DJ controls:
he is going
to operate the desk. "It's all bloody knobs, isn't it?" he
"Let's work out what we're doing," suggests Neil
in a let' s-stop-messing-about voice. No one says
anything. "I think we should open some champagne," he
"We don't mess about," Chris sniggers.
"Dom Perignon out of plastic glasses."
replies Neil, "I nearly bought some real glasses, but I
thought it was a bit pretentious." Champagne poured, they
think about the radio show. "What are we going to talk
about?" Neil wonders. "The fact is, left to our own
devices we won't say anything remotely interesting." Some
pop stars and celebrities - Jarvis Cocker, Super grass, PJ
& Duncan, Bob and Baz - have recorded messages for the
programed. They play them through to see what they're
like. When Jarvis Cocker begins his by saying,
matter-of-factly, "Hello", everyone bursts out laughing.
"Do you know," says Neil, "that Pulp have been making
records for longer than us?"
Radio One have dug out
some of their old Pet Shop Boy singles, and Neil and Chris
decide to use those too. For a theme tune, Neil suggests
they use an unofficial remix of the original Bobby 0
version of "West End Girls", as released on ZYX Records'
four CD set The Maxi-CD Collection Of The Pet Shop. They
choose Pet Shop Boys "West End Girls (Remix '86)", which
begins with a raucous "Pet Shop boys! Pet Shop Boys! Pet
Shop Boys!" chant. As they preview it, they both laugh.
They are supposed to be annoyed about the way these early
recordings get endlessly recycled, remixed and resold, but
tonight they can't be bothered. "You know," says Neil,
"I've got a lot of enjoyment from these out of the years.
They begin to argue over the song selection. "I
think we should dump Michael Jackson," suggests Chris.
Neil wants to play an album track, "Stranger In Moscow".
Neil argues that they don't have to play the whole
thing: "It's very fadeable."
"Like his skin," says
Chris. He looks through the list. "And we can dump 'Miss
"1 never get to play records I like," Neil
complains. "I didn't even try k.d.Iang."
rather have 'Let's Whip it Up' by the Sleaze Sisters,"
"I thought you didn't want just a dance
programed," says one of the producers.
"I don't," says
Chris, then grins. "Oh, let's face it - it's the best
"We're playing lots of Chris's favorite
records and even a couple I like," Neil sulks.
must apologize for Neil's terrible taste in music," Chris
It's time to begin. Chris says he's nervous.
"I'm not au natural," he explains. "Mind you. I never am
"Yeah," says Neil. "When have you ever
Chris nods. "I've never been
natural." They start. Then they stop, because Chris has
called Livin' Joy "Livin' Dreamer". Next time it goes
better. During Edwyn Collins' "A Girl Like You" Neil says,
"What a great record this is. It's so Quentin Tarantino."
During Supergrass's "Airtight" he does a little dance. The
producers keep asking them to mention that it's Christmas
Eve (which, of course, in the real world it isn't.) "I
hate Christmas," responds Neil, being contrary. One of the
producers says that they haven't been explaining why they
like the records.
"Well, it's like art," says Chris.
"You like it because you like it. You don't know why. I
like any song with the word 'love' in it. [Sings] I love
you baby! That's why I like it."
"Why don't you say
that?" Neil suggests. So he does.
Malcolm Hill (who is from their record company Parlophone
) gets some more champagne and some snacks:
Pringles rippled crisps for Chris and some twiglets for
Just before they play "Disco's Revenge" by
Gusto, Neil messes up his introduction and Chris whoops,
on air, "He's lost it". "I always get stitched up," Neil
sighs when the microphones are switched off. "I always get
stitched up. I've left the group." When they play Pulp's
"Disco 2000" Chris says, "Actually, Britpop's the bollocks
really." When Jarvis Cocker goes, "Oh yeah!" Chris adds,
"How Bowie is that? It's 'Moonage Daydream'." When they
play Billie Ray
Martin's "Your Loving Arms" he
stands up, pushes his hands out and starts dancing.
Because they have impetuously thrown some records off
their original play list (the songs which don't get played
are Take That's "Back For Good" and Ultimate Kaos's
"Hoochie Booty"), there's still a little time at the end
to play whatever they want. They decide to play a second
Oasis song, "Champagne Supernova", followed by the
stomping house screamer, "Let's Whip It Up". Neil
introduces Oasis, Chris pulls down the fader, and the
wrong record starts playing. Chris keeps saying "where is
it? where is it?" and Neil keeps singing "[love you baby"
and everything degenerates into utter chaos before Oasis
finally begins. "This will always remind me of driving
down the M20 in heavy fog," observes Neil, his composure
A few minutes later, it's all over. "You
know," says Chris, it's great having perfect taste in
music. I just feel so fantastic."
done anything like that with personality before," says
Neil. "It's a whole new thing for us: with added
"Do you want to hear it?" a producer
asks. She wants to know if they want to listen through to
the Programed they've just made, to check that they don't
want to change anything.
"I don't think so," says
Chris agrees. Better not. "We might want to ban
it," he points out.
In the end, Radio One cut out a
few moments themselves - the mess up before "Champagne
Supernova", for instance - to shorten the programed to the
required length. This is what the listeners heard:
Neil: Hi, this is Neil Tennant.
Chris: I'm Chris
Lowe. We're the Pet Shop Boys.
Neil: It's Christmas
Eve. We're sitting here in Radio One with a few friends, a
couple off bottles of wine, and some of our favorite
records of 1995.
Livin' Joy "Dreamer"
Definitely one of the records of the year, and a rock
classic: Edwyn Collins, "A Girl Like You".
[Laughs] Oh, it's all going so well.
Edwyit Collins "A
Girl like You"
Neil: Well, that's Edwyn Collins, of
course, with "A Girl Like You". We used to know him in the
198Os when his manager was the ex-editor of Smash Hits,
where of course [worked. The next record is from K-Klass.
Bobby Brown "Two Can Play That Game (KKkusfr Radio
Chris: Well, apparently Bobby Brown doesn't
even like that mix. He must be a complete idiot. Anyway.
Gaz: Hello, I'm Cu from Supergrass. I'm here with
Micky and Danny here. We'd like to say a merry Christmas
for starters, and 1995 has been a particularly good year
for us. I can compare it with the smell of a small child
in winter, and the speed of a fast car, and generally it's
been fine. Thanks a lot. See you later. Bye.
Supergrass "A fright"
Chris: Well. I don't normally
like rock music that much, but I think this year there's
been load of really sort of good tunes around.
This is the Pet Shop Boys on Radio One on Christmas Eve.
Chris: Wishing you all a happy Christmas.
Radio 1 Part 3
Neil: [laughing] A very merry Christmas.
This is a wonderful dance record which was also a big hit.
It's Grace and "Not Over Yet".
Grace "Not Over Yet"
Neil: Well he had two number one hits in 1995, but
this is my favorite track from Michael Jackson's album
History. This is "Stranger In Moscow"
"Stranger In Moscow"
Chris: Oh, he's in pain, isn't
PJ & Duncan: We're PJ & Duncan. And this is very
Pet Shop Boys. On Radio One.
Chris: That's more like
PJ & Duncan "Our Radio Rocks"
is PS & Duncan, "Our Radio Rocks". Ps & Duncan, the Vic
and Bob of the younger generation. We went to their
concert at the Albert Hall and hung out with all the other
boy bands: Pet Shop Boys, Boyzone etc.
De 'Lacy "Hideaway"
Chris: Well, we're the
Pet Shop Boys, and we'll be coming back to you after the
news, keeping it warm with Jinny.
Neil: Next we're going to play an
Chris: From Oasis! One of the best rock
bands...well, in fact the best rock band in Britain at the
moment. Some of the best tunes ever written, as proved by
the cover version by the Mike Flowers Band, I think.
Anyway, hem we go. [The record starts] This is "Imagine"
by John Lennon.
Oasis "Don't took Back In Anger"
Neil: Well, that was our favorite track from probably the
best rock album of the year, (What's The Story) Morning
Glory? by Oasis. That was "Don't Look Back In Anger". I
think it's also the next single. This is Strike and "U
Chris: You sure do it for me.
Chris: Well, we've just about finished all
our Christmas wrapping.
Neil: Yeah, we've got all the
presents in. We're just having a glass of shandy and a
plate of twiglets...
Chris: Shandy! [roar with
Neil: It's a bit like being in the
Groucho club really.
Chris: [still laughing] Neil has
never ever drunk shandy in his life. Not even lager top.
Neil: [laughing] Well, actually this is funny. Anyway,
the next record is by The Original. It was released last
year but it was a hit this year. ICs a great record. It's
called "I Love U Baby".
Chris: I love you baby.
The Original "I Love U Baby"
Chris: Well, I like any
record with love in because, as far as I'm concerned,
right, love's the only thing that matters.
McAlmont & Butler "Yes"
Bob: Hello there.
Baz: I'm Baz.
Bob: He's Baz.
Bob: And you're listening to...well, he's
Ban: And he's Neil.
Bob: And they are...
Bob & Baz: ...The Pet Shop Boys. For you, the
discerning listener, on Christmas Eve on BBC Radio One.
DOP + Lorna Marshall "Manifest Your Love"
[after a second of silence] Ah.
Neil: It's Christmas.
This is the Pet Shop Boys on Radio One.
Chris: Just in
case you want to know, that last record was "Manifest Your
Love" by DO? which I really really like.
Neil: This is
The Passengers and "Miss Sarejevo".
I'll be your passenger de-duh de-duh de-duh...
Passenger "Miss Sarejevo"
Chris: Well, carrying on
the love theme.
Neil: This is Tom Jones, "Love Is On
Our Side", the Tracy & Sharon mix.
Chris: Don't forget
it's Christmas Eve.
Tom Jones "Love Is On Our Side
(Tracy & Sharon Mix)"
Neil: This is Tom Jones, remixed
by Tracy & Sharon. What a great record. Not even actually
released, just made available to the clubs. Of course
we've got a copy of it anyway. It's been a great year for
Newcastle. [Chris laughs] PS & Duncan. Newcastle United
top of the Premier League...
Chris: jimmy Nail.
Neil: One thing that wasn't great is Dubstar released
a wonderful single called "Stars". Dubstar from Newcastle.
a duo. Had a great single called "Stars". only got to
Chris: Well that sums Newcastle up,
Neil: ...But we're going to play it anyway
because it's one of my favorite records, one of my
favorite records of the year.
Chris: Yeah. Well here
we go then. [Tom Jones continues] It won't start. Oh. here
we go. What am I doing wrong here? Have I even loaded it?
[Dubstar begins] Oh yeah. There it is.
Chris: Yeah, one of my favorite records of the
year: "Le Voice LA Soleil". Hello Ibiza!
Cuts "La Voie Le Sofril"
PJ & Duncan: The Pet Shop
Boys, Christmas Eve, Radio One.
Chris: Well, one of
the highlights for me last year Was seeing Prince Nasseem.
Neil: This year.
Chris: Did I say last year ?
Chris: Alright. Aright. Seeing Prince
Nasseem this year having his tight in Cardiff. It was
excellent. And this is what he came down the ramp on. What
Happy Clappers "I Believe"
was the Happy Clappers and "I Believe."
[laughing] And from one Happy Clapper...to Madonna!
Madonna "Bedtime Story"
time now is coming up to S.30 which means it's time for
the news. And after the news we've got jarvis Cocker.
Everything But The Girl
Chris: Well, say summit.
unawares Oh yes. Hello, this is the Pet Shop Boys. It's
Christmas Eve. We've still got the fizzy wine, the
twiglets - which we've discovered am actually wholemeal.
We've very excited about that.
Chris: Actually Neil's
a bit merry, to tell you the truth.
Chris: You see? He's lost it. He's lost it! [Neil
Laughs] Well, this is "Disco's Revenge" by Gusto. I've
still got it.
Gusto "Disco's Revenge"
Cocker: Hello. This is Jarvis Cocker, and I've been asked
to say what 1995 meant to me. And it's difficult, you
know. I think it's going to take a bit of time for me to
realize exactly what it meant to me, but a few little
things are things Like: it's meant too much fun, not
enough sleep. I've developed a taste for brandy, which is
probably a very bad thing. It seemed to me, and I suppose
everybody else in the group. We feel like, it's like
you've been stood outside in the cold for a long time and
you can see a really good party going on in the house and
you're knocking on the window but the music's too loud for
people to actually hear you, and then this year, sometime
around June. Somebody had to turn the tape over in the
music center and so they heard our frantic knocking and
they came to French windows and they let us in, and now
we're in the warm having a good time.
Hip "Disco 2000"
Chris: Let's face it - we're British and we're the
tops. American music is just nothing compared to our far
superior stuff. And hem's Billie Ray Martin.
course Billie Ray Martin's German.
Chris: Who cares?
She's English really.
Billie Ray Martin "Your Loving
Chris: Well, that was my favorite record of the
year by miles. Anyway. Here's another one.
[backtracking] One of mine a". well.
Chris: Oh, was it
Neil: And she was great, do you remember
when she was on Later with lolls Holland?
[thought you only liked rock stuff and classical.
Neil: No, I like the odd dance record.
Chris: Oh, you
do? He likes Eaur6's Requiem over breakfast, Neil does.
Neil: Oh. no.
Chris: Anyway. Here's Farley &
Heller 'N' Farley Project "Ultra FLava"
Neil: One of my favorite dance tracks of the year. Lagging
it there with "Ultra Flava" by the Heller 'N' Farley
Neil: As we've got a
bit of time we're going to play our other favorite track
from the Oasis album (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
This is "Champagne Supernova".
Neil: Well, this is Neil Tennant.
Chris: I'm Chris Lowe. We're the Pet Shop Boys.
Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Chris: With a lot of sincerity. [Laughs] Actually we
do mean it, actually. [They both laugh] No, we're quite
nice really. You know.
Neil: Stop being ironic.
Chris: And detached.
Neil: Wishing you a merry
Christmas, that was Oasis and "Champagne Supernova".
Chris: Anyway. Enough of that, Let's whip it up.
Sleaze Sisters with VIckI "let's Whip It UP"
Neil: Merry Christmas.
Copyright Areagraphy Ltd 1996: All Articles have been
Taken From Literally 1996 Issue 15