facebook
email
twitter
home General Discography Lyrics Interviews Reviews Litterally   lo
lo
lo
Literally Issue 21 PARTY IN THE PARK
Back

Saturday, July 3rd. Today, Capital Radio are hosting Party In The Park, an event at which an endless stream of pop stars including, for example, Ricky Martin, Boyzone, Catatonia, Elvis Costello, Madness and The Eurythmics have agreed to play two or three songs each in London's Hyde Park. The Pet Shop Boys have agreed to appear. It is to be the first public unveiling of their new guise, and the first public performance in any form of their new single.

They have arranged to meet at Neil's house. "Right," says Chris, striding through the door. "Let's have some champagne." "I don't have any," Neil says.

Chris doesn't look too bothered. Perhaps his suggestion was mostly bluff. "I'll raid the fridge," he announces. "I'm hungry." He finds some olives and tucks in. They sit around the table and examine some photos of themselves - they need to approve them for an article in the German edition of Rolling Stone. "We've released," Neil sighs, "that, typically, these wigs have the effect of making my face look fat and Chris's look thin..."

.when you want to look thin," Chris says to him, "and I want to look fat..." Chris approves one photo which Neil likes but rejects another. "I can't see any difference in you in these two pictures," Neil says. "Well, I can," says Chris, "and I'm me." "That's why you can," says Neil, arguing one way. "Exactly," says Chris, arguing the other.

It is still a little too soon to head off to Hyde Park. "Shall we go down to the pub?" Chris suggests. "I can give you a glass of wine," Neil says. "No,"Chris replies. "I've gone off wine. I don't think it's good for you." "I'll ignore that," says Neil, a regular wine drinker. "I'll assume that's deliberate provocation." Instead of a drink, Chris looks through a new Larry Clark photo book of teenage killers. Soon afterwards, they leave.

They reach their backstage mobile home

without any fuss at all. "It's very well organized," says Chris. "I'm very impressed. That was all done without one walkie-talkie." Neil greets his family and has a brief chat with Mike Rutherford from Mike And The Mechanics and then another with Elvis Costello. (They natter about Charles Azneavour.) Chris, whose family are also here but who can't find them, gets himself a burger. Then they are called in to do an interview for Capital Radio. The interviewer's first question is to ask how their performance was. "We haven't been on yet," Neil points out. "Oh," says the interviewer. "I thought I'd missed you." He then suggests that people think the Pet Shop Boys have split up.

"We were listed as the 21st most successful singles group of the Nineties," Neil says. "You've had all sorts of peaks and troughs..." the interviewer begins, and Chris grins, mostly at how insolent this sounds. They're asked whether they suffer from pre-performance nerves. "I'm very nervous about performing in front of Prince Charles," lies Chris, deadpan. "I've got the utmost respect for the man." "Are you meeting him at the end?" they are asked. (They have already refused.) "Can't wait," says Chris. "I'm going to pinch his bottom."
Chris offers his thoughts about the event. "It's great you only get three songs from each group. Most rock groups are so boring."

Afterwards, they are bemused by what has just happened. "I think it's rude," Neil says, "asking questions like that. 'People might think you've broken up'. Waffling on about peaks and troughs and things. I thought it was rude. This is ultimately a PR event he's not interviewing us for The Guardian or anything." To further dampen their mood, Boyzone are on stage. Neil and Chris only perk up a little when Ian MacNeil, who masterminds their costumes, and theater director Stephen Daldry turn up. "Are you boys Alright?" Stephen Daldry asks. "Wish we weren't doing this," Chris says, and adds, "we're not doing the royal lineup." He spots something in Ian MacNeil's hand. ~Are you drinking Pimms?" he exclaims.

Ian MacNeil nods. "There's a Pimms tent," he says. "There's a Pimms tent," Chris cries, "and we're drinking cheap white wine?" "Are you singing?" Stephen Daldry asks Neil.
Neil nods. "Yes. Singing to track." (This means that, as with most of the acts appearing today, the backing music is prerecorded but the lead vocals are live.) "It's not the Eighties, you know. You can't mime any more. It's not the good old days." Dantani prepares a drink for Neil. He is asked what it is. "White wine and H20," Dantani replies. ~A blend of secret herbs and spices. 'A blend of bulishit rarely bettered," says Neil.

"I'm not wearing glasses," says Chris. He always wears glasses. "It's going to send shockwaves through the pop industry," Neil says. "I'm going to keep my head down," Chris adds. They wonder whether Prince Charles will watch them or whether he'll go and have a cup of tea. "He'll have heard we're anti-royal," Neil says, "and he'd think, 'Well, I'm anti-PSB. Let's go, Harry and Wills, and talk to Debbie Harry. Let's go and talk about the Northern Ireland peace process with Ronan Keating. I thought they'd broken up, since their heyday in the Eighties..."' "Their peak," says Chris.
"Their so-called peak," says Neil. Chris sits in the make-up chair. "Shall I have the works? False eyelashes. Dusty Springfield eyes." He stares at himself. "There's not a lot to work with, is there?" They are cheered up by the arrival of Mrs Merton, Caroline Aherne. "Isn't she fantastic?" says Chris afterwards, and speculates what fun it would be to be married to her. "Imagine how funny she'd be around the breakfast table, reading the papers.

And what a pair of knockers." They wait on the side of their stage. There are two stages - on the other, Catatonia are just finishing their new single, "Londinium". "She's singing a song slagging off London," Chris laughs. "Isn't that great?" There's a cameraman lingering by his keyboard. "Look how close that camera is to me," he frets, and gestures to his fingers. "I don't know any of the parts." "It'll be OK," Neil insists.

They go on, and begin "West End Girls". Chris looks behind at the video screen projecting Pet Shop Boys footage. The crowd are quieter during the new single "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More" then perk up for "Go West". At the back of the stage they are watched by Dave Stewart and by the tennis player Monica Sales.

It goes fine, but it's also a bit of an anticlimax: when you have this many pop groups being wheeled on and off stage so quickly, none of them seem so special or memorable. Afterwards, they are led into a TV studio to be interviewed for ITV2. "Don't ask me any questions about Prince Charles or the event," Chris suggests before the interview begins. "I can't stand him, and it's not an honor for us to be doing this." They have to pretend that they haven't been on yet.
So are you looking forward to playing in front of 100,000 people?" Toby Anstis asks. "Yeah," says Neil, with as much enthusiasm as he can muster.

Walking back to the mobile home, they meet Prince Naseem, carrying his baby. 'Isn't Nas just too fantastic?" says Chris, when he's gone. Neil chats a little with Cerys from Catatonia, and then they retire to the mobile home, and discuss where to have dinner. They decide to go for a curry. Neil's brother Phillip turns up.

He has just bumped into Prince Charles, who asked him whether he was working here. He explained that, no, he was here to see his brother in the Pet Shop Boys. Oh," Prince Charles replied. "They've been around some time, haven't they?"

Saturday, July 3rd. Today, Capital Radio are hosting Party In The Park, an event at which an endless stream of pop stars including, for example, Ricky Martin, Boyzone, Catatonia, Elvis Costello, Madness and The Eurythmics have agreed to play two or three songs each in London's Hyde Park. The Pet Shop Boys have agreed to appear. It is to be the first public unveiling of their new guise, and the first public performance in any form of their new single. They have arranged to meet at Neil's house. "Right," says Chris, striding through the door. "Let's have some champagne." "I don't have any," Neil says.

Chris doesn't look too bothered. Perhaps his suggestion was mostly bluff. "I'll raid the fridge," he announces. "I'm hungry." He finds some olives and tucks in. They sit around the table and examine some photos of themselves - they need to approve them for an article in the German edition of Rolling Stone. "We've released," Neil sighs, "that, typically, these wigs have the effect of making my face look fat and Chris's look thin..."

.when you want to look thin," Chris says to him, "and I want to look fat..." Chris approves one photo which Neil likes but rejects another. "I can't see any difference in you in these two pictures," Neil says. "Well, I can," says Chris, "and I'm me." "That's why you can," says Neil, arguing one way. "Exactly," says Chris, arguing the other.

It is still a little too soon to head off to Hyde Park. "Shall we go down to the pub?" Chris suggests. "I can give you a glass of wine," Neil says. "No,"Chris replies. "I've gone off wine. I don't think it's good for you." "I'll ignore that," says Neil, a regular wine drinker. "I'll assume that's deliberate provocation." Instead of a drink, Chris looks through a new Larry Clark photo book of teenage killers. Soon afterwards, they leave.

They reach their backstage mobile home

without any fuss at all. "It's very well organized," says Chris. "I'm very impressed. That was all done without one walkie-talkie." Neil greets his family and has a brief chat with Mike Rutherford from Mike And The Mechanics and then another with Elvis Costello. (They natter about Charles Azneavour.) Chris, whose family are also here but who can't find them, gets himself a burger. Then they are called in to do an interview for Capital Radio. The interviewer's first question is to ask how their performance was. "We haven't been on yet," Neil points out. "Oh," says the interviewer. "I thought I'd missed you." He then suggests that people think the Pet Shop Boys have split up.
"We were listed as the 21st most successful singles group of the Nineties," Neil says. "You've had all sorts of peaks and troughs..." the interviewer begins, and Chris grins, mostly at how insolent this sounds. They're asked whether they suffer from pre-performance nerves. "I'm very nervous about performing in front of Prince Charles," lies Chris, deadpan. "I've got the utmost respect for the man." "Are you meeting him at the end?" they are asked. (They have already refused.) "Can't wait," says Chris. "I'm going to pinch his bottom."
Chris offers his thoughts about the event. "It's great you only get three songs from each group. Most rock groups are so boring."

Afterwards, they are bemused by what has just happened. "I think it's rude," Neil says, "asking questions like that. 'People might think you've broken up'. Waffling on about peaks and troughs and things. I thought it was rude. This is ultimately a PR event he's not interviewing us for The Guardian or anything." To further dampen their mood, Boyzone are on stage. Neil and Chris only perk up a little when Ian MacNeil, who masterminds their costumes, and theater director Stephen Daldry turn up. "Are you boys Alright?" Stephen Daldry asks. "Wish we weren't doing this," Chris says, and adds, "we're not doing the royal lineup." He spots something in Ian MacNeil's hand. ~Are you drinking Pimms?" he exclaims.

Ian MacNeil nods. "There's a Pimms tent," he says. "There's a Pimms tent," Chris cries, "and we're drinking cheap white wine?" "Are you singing?" Stephen Daldry asks Neil.
Neil nods. "Yes. Singing to track." (This means that, as with most of the acts appearing today, the backing music is prerecorded but the lead vocals are live.) "It's not the Eighties, you know. You can't mime any more. It's not the good old days." Dantani prepares a drink for Neil. He is asked what it is. "White wine and H20," Dantani replies. ~A blend of secret herbs and spices. 'A blend of bulishit rarely bettered," says Neil.

"I'm not wearing glasses," says Chris. He always wears glasses. "It's going to send shockwaves through the pop industry," Neil says. "I'm going to keep my head down," Chris adds. They wonder whether Prince Charles will watch them or whether he'll go and have a cup of tea. "He'll have heard we're anti-royal," Neil says, "and he'd think, 'Well, I'm anti-PSB. Let's go, Harry and Wills, and talk to Debbie Harry. Let's go and talk about the Northern Ireland peace process with Ronan Keating. I thought they'd broken up, since their heyday in the Eighties..."' "Their peak," says Chris.
"Their so-called peak," says Neil. Chris sits in the make-up chair. "Shall I have the works? False eyelashes. Dusty Springfield eyes." He stares at himself. "There's not a lot to work with, is there?" They are cheered up by the arrival of Mrs Merton, Caroline Aherne. "Isn't she fantastic?" says Chris afterwards, and speculates what fun it would be to be married to her. "Imagine how funny she'd be around the breakfast table, reading the papers. And what a pair of knockers." They wait on the side of their stage. There are two stages - on the other, Catatonia are just finishing their new single, "Londinium". "She's singing a song slagging off London," Chris laughs. "Isn't that great?" There's a cameraman lingering by his keyboard. "Look how close that camera is to me," he frets, and gestures to his fingers. "I don't know any of the parts." "It'll be OK," Neil insists.

They go on, and begin "West End Girls". Chris looks behind at the video screen projecting Pet Shop Boys footage. The crowd are quieter during the new single "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More" then perk up for "Go West". At the back of the stage they are watched by Dave Stewart and by the tennis player Monica Sales.

It goes fine, but it's also a bit of an anticlimax: when you have this many pop groups being wheeled on and off stage so quickly, none of them seem so special or memorable. Afterwards, they are led into a TV studio to be interviewed for ITV2. "Don't ask me any questions about Prince Charles or the event," Chris suggests before the interview begins. "I can't stand him, and it's not an honor for us to be doing this." They have to pretend that they haven't been on yet.
So are you looking forward to playing in front of 100,000 people?" Toby Anstis asks. "Yeah," says Neil, with as much enthusiasm as he can muster.

Walking back to the mobile home, they meet Prince Naseem, carrying his baby. 'Isn't Nas just too fantastic?" says Chris, when he's gone. Neil chats a little with Cerys from Catatonia, and then they retire to the mobile home, and discuss where to have dinner. They decide to go for a curry. Neil's brother Phillip turns up.
He has just bumped into Prince Charles, who asked him whether he was working here. He explained that, no, he was here to see his brother in the Pet Shop Boys. Oh," Prince Charles replied. "They've been around some time, haven't they?"

Copyright Areagraphy Ltd 1999: All Articles have been
Taken From Literally 1998 Issue 21

 

 

logo1 logo2 logo5 logo3 logo4
This web site, including all text and images not otherwise credited, is copyright © 1997 - 2012 Markie Price No part of this web site may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the Webmaster.. All details are believed to be accurate, but no liability can be accepted for any errors.