March 12th, 1997 when
Literally arrives at the studio where This Morning with
Richard and Judy is filmed, on the south bank of the
Thames, the Pet Shop Boys are already there.
explain that, like Literally, the security guard let them
in because they were "with the Pet Shop Boys". But, right
now, sitting in a small make-up room with Dainton, they
are far more concerned with the issue of the moment i.e.
is the new Radio One breakfast show, presented by Mark
Radcliffe and his partner Marc Riley, following the messy
departure of Chris Evans, any good?
I listened this morning,"
says Neil. 'To be honest, I thought it was too Northern."
"They're stupid students," Chris agrees. 'They should grow
up. They were just talking in stupid Northern accents."
Neil drinks some coffee. Chris eats an egg
sandwich. They both wonder why they got here at 9.30.
we were supposed to talk through the whole thing," says
Neil. They had been told to expect a conversation with a
researcher who would work out some interesting topics to
discuss, but clearly that idea has fallen by the wayside.
"Shall we say we don't want to talk about anything in
the past' Chris nonetheless suggests. "'They could play
all five minutes of the video."
"'Why are you here?"'
says Neil, pretending to ask Richard and Judy's first
question for them.
"To see you show the video."
We all move into a bigger room. A woman wearing a
headset pops her head through the door. "Oh," she says.
"You're not who I expected to be here." And she leaves.
through some magazines. "Oh no," he sighs. "Eric Clapton
has made a jungle album." This is vaguely true; he has
made it with Simon Climie who in the Eighties used to be
in the duo Climie Fisher.
"It was the name Climie
Fisher." Neil says. "It sounded kind of spooky. It always
sounded like an inconvenient infection to me."
talk about their Radio One interview the next morning.
There been invited to bring one record each to play.
"I love that Better Midler record," says Chris. "We should
take that and Chris Rn." Chris recently unearthed a whole
series of hi-energy pop records, mostly European cover
versions of songs like "Wonderful", "Unbreak My Heart",
"One Of Us" and "I Love You Always Forever?', which he put
together on a tape and gave to Neil. Two of their
favorite's are Better Midler's "'1'o Deserve You" and a
song, sung by Shrilly Basely but written by (and appearing
on an album by) Chris Rca, "La Passione".
over the show," says Chris.
'It's the new generation
of hi-energy," says Neil. "Everyone will think we're
taking the piss, that's the problem."
We watch the
opening scenes of Richard and Judy's show on TV.
keep thinking they can't wait to have sex," says Chris.
'They can't wait for the program to end so they can have a
quick one." The Pet Shop Boys are trailed, with a snatch
of the "A Red Letter Day" video, as appearing at 11.25.
"Why are we doing this?' Neil sighs.
everyone does it," says Chris.
"You've not arrived
until you've done this." They watch the cookery segment,
discuss what their contribution would be.
"Mine would be Neil's Way Of Cooking Asparagus," says
Neil. "It's fantastic. Asparagus with sesame oil."
"Asparagus," Chris notes, "should never be boiled or
"Well," Neil says, "it isn't in this
recipe." A man called Sam, who is hanging round the
studio, comes in to say hello. It turns out that he has
met Chris before, on the famous night in Manchester when
they first went out with Electronic.
"Why aren't you
singing or miming?" he asks Neil.
"We're showing the
video," Neil says.
"Wouldn't you rather sing?' he
Neil looks aghast. "Most certainly not. Why
do you think you make a video? Do people sing on this
"Mick Hucknall and Charles Aznavour did,"
"They're real singers," says Chris,
Richard and Judy show a little more of
the "A Red Letter Day" video. "So cool," comments Richard.
"'So cool!' Richard!" Chris squeals. 'It's worth it
just for that."
"We should sample that," nods Neil.
They discuss what they will actually say. "We should
remember to mention Jonathan Harvey," says Chris.
"Jonathan Harvey phoned me up to say, 'I will kill you if
you don't mention me on Richard and Judy'," Neil says. "He
left me this funny message with all these voices, asking
me if I'd heard this song in the Great British Song
Contest, 'Yodel In The Canyon Of Love'..."
on-screen trail is tided "Pet Shop Perfection".
walk towards the studio. 'Chris," says Neil, in the
corridor. "You've got to do most of the talking."
won't," says Chris. "I don't like talking while the
program's on." Richard and Judy are talking about some-
thing serious on one set. Neil and Chris are led
behind the cameras to the set on the left, the one with
cosy sofas. During the ad break, Richard and Judy sweep
"Hello," says Judy. "Nice to meet you at long
"Hello, I'm Richard," says Richard. "Nice to
meet you." Richard and Judy both pour themselves coffee.
(It's not just a prop.) They both have milk; Richard has
sugar. Suddenly the cameras are on. "For some
extraordinary reason the Pet Shop Boys have never been on
this Morning," says Judy. "But we know that they've really
been pining for us." And they play the segment from the
TFI! Friday interview where Chris says, "Well, I watch it
every day, do you know what I mean, so I'd quite like to
go on it."
"Said without irony," says Richard, and
they cut to the "A Red Letter Day" video. As the video
plays they talk - rather spookily, as things will turns
out - about Chris Evans and whether he is arrogant.
"He's got something to be arrogant about, I think,"
Seconds later, the interview begins.
(One of the impressive things about Richard and Judy is
the way they seamlessly switch from discussion to
discussion, on and off air, from abortion to cooking to
the Pet Shop Boys.)
"Did you have to force him?" Judy
"No.1 had to explain who you were though,"
There is slightly nervous laughter.
"Must have taken all of five seconds," says Richard, then
he asks Neil about Moscow. Neil and Richard discuss
Russian choirs ("it's kind of a surge," nods Richard) for
a while. Then Judy asks about the nude underwater ballet
Neil saw in a gay Moscow Nightclub. "So it worked as an
artistic endeavor?" Richard asks.
different, you two are," Judy observes. "Completely
"We're not like you two are," says Chris.
"Yeah," she responds, "but we're married." Neil explains
how he only does most of the talking on TV; Chris talks
more in the dressing room. "Neil's a professional talker,"
says Chris. Richard refers to Chris's "happy suasisilence"
and pontificates about the grumpy Mike Nesmith of the
Monkees. Neil ripostes with his Bob Dylan interview story,
about a friend of his who received the same answer over
and over again from him: "yeah, I don't really get
involved in that kind of thinking" and then commented to
his manager afterwards, "weird... he kept asking me all
these questions". Then Neil takes the opportunity to talk
about the Jonathan Harvey musical.
"What is it about
the two of you?" Judy says, looking at Neil. "I don't
know. You sound really learned and educated and artistic
and everything and
"And?" laughs Chris.
one with all the exams," Neil points out, and Chris is
made to talk about his architecture degree. He quickly
steers the conversation towards Blackpool Pleasure Beach,
rollercoasters, and the superiority of Blackpool over Las
"What? What?" Richard asks Judy. 'They're
panicking because we've over run," says Judy.
carries on talking about the inhumanity of Las Vegas hotel
'They're going bananas down my ears," Judy
points out, and they move swiftly towards their weddings
Back in the make-up room, Chris sighs
contentedly. "We can retire now," he says.
the whole time trying to direct the conversation to
Chris," says Neil. But then he adds, "I was so relaxed I
occasionally forgot we were on the telly."
we walk across the Themes. The breeze from the passing
lorries nearly throws us off our feet. We talk about
rhyming slang, and how "Richard and Judy" should mean
something. Literally suggests "moody", and we resolve to
introduce it into the language.
We arrive at our
destination: the smart, sleek London restaurant, Bank.
Chris and Dainton got thrown out of here one night and so,
rather defiantly, they keep returning. Neil phones in to
his answer phone for his messages. Jonathan Harvey has
already phoned, delighted at his mention.
about claustrophobia. Neil says that one day he'll face
his fear of the Channel by taking Eurostar to Calais and
back on his own. Chris says that he wants to go to this
art nouveau restaurant he saw in The World Of Interiors.
Maybe they should arrange some French promotion. "You
always feel like having sex in Paris," he reflects, "and
usually you do."
We eat a large lunch, and various
drinks are consumed. "Drinking in the afternoon - isn't it
great?" says Neil. "Shall we carry on all day till
midnight' This is meant as a joke.
The bills arrives.
"That bill's long, isn't it?" says Chris. "It's six inches
"I sometimes wish that throughout my life I'd
kept the bills," sighs Neil.
Neil is due at the
Groucho Club at 2.30, where he has to meet Vic Reeves,
because he and Bob Monimer may be doing a song for the
Noel Coward album, and he suggests we all come. Just after
Vic Reeves leaves, Chris Evans and Paul Gascoigne arrive,
and invite Neil and Chris up to the snooker room. Everyone
stays drinking and having fun, in various parts of London,
until late into the night, traveling around in a huge,
white limousine which Chris has ordered up. "If you're
going out," Chris will later reason, "you need wheels,
don't you?" At one point in the evening they end up, at
Chris Evans' instigation, round Justine-from-Elastica' 5
house (Damon-from-Blur was away in America), and Neil and
Chris made up a song in their basement studio with a
guitarist who lives at the house and is called Lawrence.
"A jam session," Neil will recount, dolefully, days
afterwards. "The tape will never be released."
Copyright Areagraphy Ltd 1997: All Articles have been
Taken From Literally 1997 Issue 17