||Neil: "Leaving" started off in
2010 as a song called "Heaven is a playground" that we
wrote in our studio in I-ondon. The l1ric went
is a playground / for the kids who like to pray / Heaven
is a playground / for the kids who play
that way I
Heaven only Heaven / can you show the way I Heaven is a
playground / tell me is it time to play?". Atdthen it went
verse: "Our love is dead but the dead don't go
away". So it was very spoo$.It was a song about death, for
some reason. There's definitely something about my
parents dying in that.
Chris: I didn't think the
chorus went with the verse.
Neil: It was from the
dissonant product range- We finished the whole song as
"Heaven is a playground".And then we did a dance version
with sampled lyrics in German for
some reason. We'd
finished the demo, basically. Two versions of it.
Chris: The weak part of it was the chorus- So we dumped
wrote a new chorus. A whole sec-tion was
jettisoned. A new chorus was mitten but the verse staye
Neil: With the same lyrics.
just thought that the verse could have a different chorus
that would suit it more.
Neil: Chris wrote a new chord
Chris: On the spot.
Neil: And then I started
singing "I know enough's enough and you're leaving" - And
suddenly it was amazing. The final version is looking at
the old clich6 of "love
doesn't die", so familiar in
pop songs, and looking at the death aspect of it.
It's comparing the idea of love not dying with the fact
when a person dies there's a sense that they don't
really die because although they're not physically present
their memory is still present and therefore in a way
they have a presence in your life. So if love has died,
the memory of the love is still there, and perhaps in that
instance it's so strong as to mean that it hasn't actually
And so it concludes"I can stillfind some hope to
believe in love" -l always think it's about a man md a
woman, and that the woman is leaving and the man doesn't
her to leave. and he's explaining why he doesn't
really believe that the relationship is over.
That demo with the new chorus is fundamentally what's on
Neil: We did a lot of work on it over the
entire period in I-osAngeles withAndrew Dawson butthis is
one ol those tracks where you kepl going back to the demo
and thinking 'the
demo still sounds better". But then
he put that.. .
Chris: ...the twiddly bit at the
Neil: It sounds very soulful, and American.
Chris: That was written in Berlin.
Neil: We have a
studio we use in Berlin. We wrote some songs before the
Take That tour, and this was the first one we thought was
Chris: There came a point - I can't
remember whether it was during "Invisible" - where I
really wanted the whole album to be ofone mood. I think
that was probably
after this was written.
I think "Invisible" was what really inspired that. At that
point we had "Invisible" md "Leaving" and "Requiem..."
Chris: I wanted it to be quite reflective. Not being very
dance- influenced. Reflecting one's age a bit more. Sort
of a bit moodier. That's how I was feeling. I think it's
good to have an album about
of course a very uncom- mercial thing to say "the new
album's about aging and dearh".
Chris: Also, this was
at the height of EDM in America, so we tumed our back on
something that we could have naturally fallen into.
Neil: In the same way that at the height of Madchester and
rave we made Behaviour.
Chris: For "Invisible", we both
had the same idea.
Neil: Chris remarked he thought
we shouid write a song called "Invisible" and I said,
"That's funny, I already have an idea for a lyric called
Chris: You're aware when you go into a
club that it's about youth. You definitely notice that if
you go into a bar in Hollywood - you're not really a part
of it. It's
funny, because I never see things in terms
of age generally- I've always liked clubs and bars with
complete mixed age groups. One
of the things I like
about Ibiza i that you get all age groups in the
Neil: One of the things I used to like about
Area in New York in the early eighties is that you would
have everyone - you would have street kids and then you
have people who apparently had just arrived from
an Upper East Side dinner party all wearing black tie.
Chris: "The ambassador's just arived..."
thought that was great. I still think it's great. But
we've never really had that kind of up- town downtown
culture in London,
and New York doesn't have any clubs
to do it in anymore. You've got to make a choice now, and
we are never going to choose to go to Annabel's or
somewhere like that.
Chris: I don't even know where it
Neil: My idea about "Invisible" came from an
article in 7he Independent newspaper of a woman saying
something like: "Try being a woman over the age of 40 -
walk into a party and you may as well be
invisible.. And I thought: "Try being a man - it's not
much different." Of course it depends on the party, and it
your fame/wealth/clothes you're wearing/who
And actually there's part of me that
doesn't actually agree with what the woman was saying, by
It's a little bit defeated, and I don't
believe in being defeated. What I really like about the
song is the mood of the music, and I like the
I also imagine that the song is being
sung by a ghost. By a dead person - a bit like that film
where someone's there but no one can seehim,The Sixth
Sezse. That's always fascinated me, the idea of not
knowing that you're dead. The entte lyric could be
interpreted as the person in the song doesn't know he's
Track one was about death, so is track two.
Chris: I think we've got a hit on our hands!
But I really love the mood of the music. As soon as it
happened I thought it was really great. For months I
thought it should have
been the first single. The demo
again is very similar to the finished record, apart from
the backing vocals and some great liftle pro- duction
things. Andrew loves this
track. You'd go into the
studio and he'd just be sitting there listening to it
loudly, He announced at one point that people in hi-fi
would play it.
Chris: They don't exist any
more, do they?
Neil: They do in Hollywood. The backing
vocals, as with "Leaving", are from the tlree Waters
family people and James Fauntleroy. I
have read people
saying that my vocals are auto-tuned on this - well,
actually, they're not.
The person that sounds like
Neil being auto-tuned is James Fauntleroy. It's
piece. In putting the lyrics over the music I was also
person- ally thinking a bit of the Young ,4meicans album
by David Bowie, particularly those songs like "Win"
where the backing vocalists answer the lead vocals-
Chris: This was written on tour with Take That, apart
from the middle bit. The middle bit was written in Berlin.
It's that mid- tempo thing that Take That do.
Chris said, "I think we should write a midtempo anthem."
Chris: Because we only ever dofast or slow. We don't do
anything half-hearted - that's why.
remember we were staying in a hotel in Manchester near
Piccadilly station. We were there lor almost two weeks.
One moming I went into Chris's room and he
chord change up and I just sang, in one take: "It's been a
long time coming/you've been in the running for so long...
you're a winner/I'm a winner etc."
The whole thing.
Then double-tracked it.
[See Diary page 39 for further
debate about whether "Winner" was or wasn't really started
in Manchester,l Then we decided it was too comy and put it
away. Sometimes when something's easy you don't really
appreciate it. It
was very easy. Chris really liked it
and I didn't really like it. Chris: I'm getting all the
for this, dear fans. "Chris re- ally liked this
one, everyone! It's
liked it so much that months later he said that he'd writ-
ten a verse melody "for that song 'Winner"'. In Berlin we
got it up again and Chris recorded his vocal
the keyboard and then I wrote the words and changed the
melody in doing it. And then Chris. while lying in bed,
thought of the middle bit. which in my opinion is
of the best middle-eights in the entire Pet Shop Boys
Neil: Or indeed, oeuyre.
Chris: And we do very good middle bits, so the bar was
quite high to begin with. And what's great is, it goes
effortlessly into a key change. Which is why we then
thought: "It's not for us... boy bandl"
thought boy band and Eurovision.
Neil: We have been approached twice by the
BBC about Eurovision- once to be the contestants in the
Eurovision song contest and once just to write it. Angela
had a meeting with them. And our agreement
with the BBC
was if we ever came up with the right song we would give
it to them. Having flnished this song we immediately
thought it was our Eurovision song. And
then we came up
with the inspired idea that One Direction should sing this
as Britain's Eurovision's entry. We discussed this with
Angela and Angela didn't really like this idea, so we sort
of dropped it. I remem-
ber we had lunch in this period
with Peter Robinson Liournolist and the man behind Popjus-
ticel and told him that we had a tendency nowadays to
write songs that were too young for us to sing.
that was definitely my opinion of this song. When we went
to Los Angeles in January to make the album we were
completely locked into the idea of doing a slow tempo
Chris and I even discussed it on
the first day driving to the studio. Then we went through
all the songs with Andrew, and Andrew just said, "You've
got to have this song on it." And we
said, "Yeah, of course we should."
Chris: I could
just imagine a boy band all singing the key change chorus
with their arms round each other like they do, singing to
Neil: The song itself is actually about
being in something like the X-Factor or Ewovision song
con- test - coming from nowhere and flnding yourself a
winner and the
crowd is all cheering- Part of me was
also thinking about when we got to number otre with "West
End girls" and we were winners,
and I remember
very clearly at the time
wondering whether it was going
to last. And Chris saying at Top Of The Pops whenwe were
number one: "Don't look triumphant." But just thinking of
moment. So there's a sense that it's about
me and Chris getting to num- ber one with "West End girls"
and knowing that it's going to change your life. It's a
song, really. It's also saying: it's
not where you've got to, it's how you got there that
counts. It's the camaraderie that is the really enjoyable
thing, rather than just the
blatant success that
probably isn't going to last.
Chris: Andrew Dawson did
quite a lot on the production of this because it's quite
different from the demo.
Neil: The chorus in
particular. Andrew did the fantastic lift into
chorus. I think it's got a really pretty melody, in the
verse particularly, and Ithink''this is rhe moment we'll
remember every day of the rest of our lives" is
af.an-tastic opening line for a pop song.
reason I didn't think we would ever do it is that it's
written with a harmony built into it. The vocal melody and
the harmony in
the verse are of equal importance - it
has an Everly Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel, John and Paul
harmony built into it, so it's not a solo vocal, and so I
imagined the two main singers in a boy band singing it in
a harmony together and then all the others joining in.
Chris: Originally the music was a bit funny but the jokey
lyrics with the jokey music, it was all too much, so I
just thought "let's make it moody" and then there'd be
some more poignatrcy to the
words. The original music
wasn't very good.
Neil: It was jaunty. I wrote the
lyrics to Chris's jaunty music.
Chris: I rewrote
the chords, and then the melody had to be changed
Neil: And then all of a sudden it made sense.
The backing vocal singing "hey, what's your name?... I
like your early stufP'. The same sort of musical thing
Chris: Some critic tumed
that back on us, didn't they?
Neil: "Even Tennant
himself admits..." You can't criticize us if I'm saying it
as ajoke against us! I'm not admitting anything. I'm
poi-nti-ng out the crassness of the things people say in a
humoured and humourous fashion because I do think
it's quite funny. I even recently had the exact whole
conversation with a taxi driver from Darlington station
actually said to me, "Oh, you're Pet Shop Boys,
aren't you? I only like your early songs." She didn't say
"stufr', to be fair to her. I said, "Have you heard the
later ones?" "No, I only like the early ones."
"How cm you say that if you've never heard the later
ones?" "We11,I only like the early ones,"
long was this journey?
Neil: 45 minutes. Anyway, I
love the pudty of nonsensical argument: "I've never
heardthe later stuff because I only like the early stuff;'
It's actually this doctrine at its pur-
ist. When we
wrote the song I had the tifle "Your early stuff' and one
or two little lines witten down, because itjust occuned to
me how often I had this conversation with
The song is just me in the back of a taxi and the taxi
driver is saying things to me.
Chris: That's one of the
disadvan- tages of being so recognisable, of course.
Neil: It is, yeah.
Chris: In "Your early stuffl'
there's a very subtle reference to "West End girls" in the
Neil: Is there?
Chris: Very subtle.
Neil: So subtle I haven't noticed iL
early stuff! I slipped it in as a little musical joke.
Chris: This was also written on toul with Take That. It
first appeared as a jingle for our old manager Mitch Clark
for her programme Winging It onlbizan radio. Actually it
was a jol1y good
jingle. I'd just written the riff when
Mitch asked for a jingle.
Neil: I know I had the title
"A face like that" written down and when you played it I
said, "Oh, this can be 'A face like that'." Then I wrote
the lyric and the lyric for
some reason was set in the
tropics. It's set in a Caribbean storm. It's another
heterosexual song. I imagine that I am the man ritting in
a bar and there's this incredible
storm blowing, and
suddenly the sort of person Mick Jagger would go out with
walks in. some amazing gorgeous sultry woman with flashing
Chris: Is this the same tropical island as
"Domino dancing"? Are we on the same island a few years i
Neil: Could be. I hadn't thought of that. Maybe
it's "Domino dancing 2". But this lime I thinl\ he's going
to get somewhere with her. In fact
I think he's getting
somewhere, because he's talking to her - " Anrl th?re you
wcre..." He'r reminiscing about how he was sitting in the
bar reading the Guardian or some-
thing, having a pina
Chris: And it's not her inner beauty that
he's interested in, is it?
Neil: Yes, it's a totally superficial song
about sexual attraction. I think I just followed through
from the title. It was always a good track, this.
Chris: It doesn't really fit into the big idea of the
Neil: No. it doesn't.
Chris: You can't just
write misery all the time, can you? So there are often
bursts where an alternative energy comes out.
a long time we assumed that this would be the lirst track
on the album because it has that long introduction. I
thinJ< the original running order was going to be
something like "A face like that", "Winner", "[nvisible",
"Leaving", but actually it sounded a bit
cheesy. As it is now you've just had "Your early stuff'
and then it segues into a tack that in many ways is a bit
like our early stuff. It's the only eighties-sounding
track on the
Neil: It was originally written
by me on the guitar at home. There's nothing remotely
hidden or sub- textual about it - it's just saying I've
got somewhere I can go and get away. I'd just bought a
and I was enjoyed that where I was had a very
hard acoustic from the wooden floors. That's the only
thing I've written on that guitar. We worked on it in
Berlin and Chris thought it sounded a bit
like "If You
Leave Me Now" by Chicago.
Chris: I like that record. so
it's a good thing.
Neil: I was already worried that
this song was a bit wet so when
Chris said that I
wasn't quite sure whether that was a good thing or a bad
thing but the demo we did was lovely.
Chris: I put some
soft seventies horn sounds and seventies drums on.
Neil: Very Smooth FM. Chris's arrangement took away the
singer- songwritery thing that it had. The first demo was
me playing it tive into my telephone. The proper demo,
we'd already started to think
about going to Los
Angeles and we definiteiy thought ir fitted the L.A.
Chris: Andrew did a lot of work on it.
This is probably rhe single track on the album that was
most transformed by Andrew from the demo" He spent a lot
of time working on it. He brought in the guitarist Adam
Tressler, an indie
kind of guitarist, and for the
string arrangement he brought in a film composer friend of
Joachim Horsley. And this is the first time
you get Sonos on the album. They sing a very beautiful
part in the
middle section. A sort of ad lib, but it's
very worked out so it's not an ad lib. It's very L.A..
Neil: It's a title I've had for years, and then it seemed
to be more relevant. Not that it ever really ceases lo be
relevant in pop music.
I suddenly thought of [sings the
ttnel"ego music.-- it's all about me" with that funny
tune. I must have also done "rne me me me yes yes yes yes
you you you you no no no no" because that's exactly
what I had written down in the my computer. That was the
Chris: Then Neil went for a jog and I had
to put some music around it which was fun, I used rlre
recording of Neil as the starting point and built the
music around ir.
I enjoyed that. It's quite an unusual
track for us, this one.
Neil: I love the music for it.
Chris: It's got that half tempo thing, slightly
influenced by dub step. Only slightly, but someone
actually picked up on that which
was amazing. There's
some interesting quantisation. Of course there's lots of
speculation about who it's about.
Neil: It's not really
about one per- son. It isn't. I was really thinking of the
young British female singrs who I sometimes think have an
incredible sense of entitlement ir the things they say in
Chris: I love humble bmg.
It's where you say something "humble" but really it's a
massive brag. Something like 'Just got mistaken for Brad
Pitt on the Tube LOL". It's the LOL thar makes it
Neil: So in a way the song is at base
really about social media and about the relationship of
artist and fan on social media which I think is a
profoundly insincere one. But if you go through the lyric,
for instance, "1 se e myself as a building. . ." goes back
40 years ago to Tony de Fries, David Bowie's manager,
saying, "I see Bowie as a building." I always thought this
was an amazing way of looking at someone but also rather
over the top. I've never forgotten it and that was dredged
out of my subcon- scious thing for this" There might be
the odd thing in rhe song that
people have said. But,
as I said when I introduced it at the Bedin concert, "It's
a franklv bitchy song." And it is, actually. But it is, to
be fair, meant to be funny. It's someone pretending to be
one of the people oniy they're
not. I think the whole
song has got a kind of maddened, buzzy sound to it, like
they're annoying wasps you're trying to swat. I don't
actually really feel that strongly
about it all, but
it's funny in the song and it was funny doing it.
Chris: It's a masterpiece.
Chris: This is an odd one.
This has been quite a divisive song.
Neil: On this
album there are two really divisive songs, "Winner" and
"Hold on", and I think it's because if you dig out the
rulebook You'll discover that the Pet Shop Boys do not
like mindless positivism. ' .
Chris: No, we're meant to
Neil! ...or triumphalism. But then, in my
opinion, these two songs are misinterpreted. As I've
already said "Winner" is not triumphalist, and "Hold on"
is not mindlessly positive. It is in fact apocalyptic.
This song started off when one day on Radio 3 I heard this
very famous piece of music bY Handel called "Etemal Source
Ol Light Divine", and I stafted to sing "Hold on" over it
and I made a
note that maybe this piece of music by
Handel could become a PoP song. In Beriin we downloaded
the Handel music and my idea was that the Iirst eight bars
would be the
"Hold on" thing.
Chris: Then Neil went
for a jog. . .
Neil: I went for a jog, and when I came
back from the jog and had a shower and everything. . .
Chris: I'd programmed the whole lot.
was actually Painstak- ingly going through this piece of
music, which is at least 64 bars, programming the whole
Handel chord change. But not Handel's
synth melodY is bY Handel though of course Handel's is
played tons slower than this.
Chris: Then Neil handed
me a load of lyrics...
NeiL ...which I wrote sitting in
the studio while he was finishing off.
Chris: . ..and
then I wrote a new melody for Neil's lyrics over Handel's
Neil: So it's very much a collabo- ration
between us and Handel.
Chris: I wonder what Handel
would think of that.
Neil: I couldn't help feel that
Handel was quite into it. I had this vision of Handel
being in heaven and bumping into Poulenc or someone and
saying, "I've got a co-write on the new Pet ShoP BoYs
album - amazing!"
Chris: Yeah. "Have you been sampled?"
NeiI: "Oh, hi Beethoven! I was just telling Poulenc,
I've got a co-write on the new Pet ShoP BoYs album."
Anyway, it was obviouslY an unusual song for us because it
sounded a bit like "We Are The
World" or something. A
record, I hasten to add, we've both alwaYs liked.
Chris: In its entirety.
Neil: At the drop of a hat we
will stop everything to watch the video for it in the
Chris: All the way through.
lyric to "Hold on" rea1lY is, as I said, apocalYPtic. It
was definitely the idea being that this is a song for the
recession or about the recession. That the world is
going to end, that money is going to collapse and the
whole world is going to end. Imagining the world ending.
It's written in kind of a biblical apocalyptic sty1e. One
reviewer said "it's a comPendium of clich6s" - I thought,
wow, some clich6s. ObviouslY "hold on" is a clich6 but if
You read the lyric it's like a poem. It's actuallY really
denying the idea of time, so the whole world goes down the
"the sun will melt awaY I the slcy so
dark decaY I and sum- mer, spring and autumn, winter I
melt into a single moment I Poured
into the past I like
stream run dry at ldst.,."
Chris: It's an absolute
clichd. The number of times I've heard that.
Anyway,I think when we Iinished it we thought it was
Chris: And I don't care if it sounds
like a showtune.
Neil: Written in Glasgow. I went up to
Chris's room one day and he was writing this thing and I
said, "That sounds so Celtic I can't believe it." The
melody wasn't played on "sad trumpet' for a change.
Chris: Maybe it sounded like bagpipes.
sounded very. very Celtic and a bit folky. I thought,
"wow, he's really taken on Glasgow". Anyway, it became
"Give it a go". And then we added the - as some- one quite
rightly said, seventies
TV theme bit: "Give it a go!
give it a go!"
Chris: One of the first interoiews we
did for this album said it should be a TV show theme-
Neil: The Times.
Chris: It would make a good TV show
theme, wouldn't it?
Neil: Give It AGo with Chris
Chris: "Are we going to give it go.. . J
Neil: I don't know what's happenirg to me but it's another
heterosexual song, this. I'm imagining the guy singing to
the girl. It's a bit like a Richard Curtis film and you've
got the sort of bmbling Englishman who's saying, "Well,
clearly you could do better than me.. -" It's
a bit like it's sung by Hugh Grant's character in Four
Weddings And A Funeral.'Ihewhole lyric is a
self-deprecating appeal the key to
thatyou canl find yourself someone better.. . but in the
meantime why not giye me a go". Songs like this and "A
face like that" have the least personal significance for
me. I see them as
films, actually. In "A face like
that" I see Mick Jagger meeting Jerry Hall for the first
time or something like that, and in this I see Hugh Grant.
Neil: Written in Berlin. Chris started writing this track.
Chris: The thing that sounds like an arpeggiator isn't
- it's actually played. I just came across /lrore chords
in the chorus and thought, "Oh! I haven't come across
before". Even though it sounds like we should
have used them before. And when I started PlaYing those
arpeggios I imagined it being more like Daft Punk. It's
Neil: The album version is amazingly slow.
The chorus was done firsl. When I slarted to sing "iti
taken all of my lift to find You"
I was really worried
that I had simply lifted a song, maYbe even from the iate
eighties. There was a parlicular song I ended up thinking
that I thought it was like - which I'm pleased to say it's
not. I even-
tually downloaded it to check. But
singing that line I imagined being on an eighties Peter's
PoP Show. When we actuallY recorded it,
the chorus melodY. It was originally the same both times
round but now the melodie are slightly different. I
thought when we wrote this that we'd
written a hit, and
I still think that. Whether it will be a hit is out of our
hands but I think it's a rea1lY strong song.
It's a straightfomard love song, is it?
Neil: Yes, it's
a straightforward love song.
Chris: You don't get many
Neil: I had the title written down and I
was under the illusion that I'd thought of this paradox,
memorY of the future, and then one daY I walked into a
bookshop and on the counter was a book
called Memories Of The Falrre, a Russian novel from the
1920s or '30s. And I was completely thrown bY this and I
wondered whether in fact I'd read about this book and
it down, but I just don't think I did. I think
I just had this idea. It's not a particularly clever
Paradox, memory of the futre, and if you
look on iTunes
there have been other songs wrifien called'Memory Of The
Future". In our song you're remembering something that
hasn't happened Yet, so the
idea is that future
happiness seems so inevitable that you can alreadY
Writing the lyric over Chris's music
of memory, it made me think of Protst, R
emembr anc e Of Thing s Pasr. And, though I've never
actually read the series of novels, I hasten to add,
there's the famous scene where the narrator eats a
madeleine, which is iike a French cake, he dips it in his
tea and it makes him remember his child- hood. I was very
Pleased with this line: "over and over again/ I keep
tasting that sweet madeleine". I
think it's a very
catchY, hookY melody. Also I think that in an album which
already has the best Pet Shop Boys middle-eight ever
written, "Memory..." has got an
amazir.g middle eight
Chris: Yes, very good middle bit-
Autobiographical. "Every- thing means something" is a
title I've had lurking around for a while because I
believe everything does mean something. By which I
that some apparently small insignificant thing can
actually be very revealing. It was in fact at Smash Hirs
the very basis of the Personal File: "Does your mother
play golf?" - an apparently
which is extremely revealing about your background and all
the rest of it. And this song is a report of an argument
between two people which pretty much did happen.
Neil: When we wrote this I didn't
even think it would be on the album because actually the
melody is so dour. In fact this is one of the other songs.
along with "Breathing
space", that Andrew took as his
own project and ran with it, and he really turned it into
this Depeche Mode-esque, even faintly Nine Inch Nails-y
kind of nineties synth thing. It has this classic Andrew
Dawson lift into the chorus and he makes the chorus sound
positively psychedeiic, I think. And at that point it went
on the album. In fact
it's one of my favourite tracks
on the album. I was trying to write it like writing
dialogue. I've often mentioned before how I read about
John Lennon writing the lyrics for "Strawberry Fields
trying to make them like real speech, and
I was trying to do that in this. It has a line about
carelessness: " careles sness means something".Yeah - it
means you don't care. You can't just shrug everything off.
carries with it signifiers
oftheir thoughts and feelings that can be read. Always
throughout my life when people talk to me I don't think
about what they've said, I
think "why have they said
that?" Everything means something-
Chris: The song has
a very unusual time signature. It's quite experimental.
When it was done originally it was done with the quantise
off - it took ages to
Neils I wrote
out the lyric and then you set it to music.
I think there was the backing track and then there were
Neil: Yes, and then I had son of the melody
and Chris said "no, no, no, no" and then Chris wrote the
melody to the lyrics over the backing track.
that's another way of working.
NeiI: I couldn't really
get your melody to begin wirh.
Chris: The timing's odd.
Neil: The timirg's very odd. Actually for "Hold on"
singing the melody with the words was tortuc. It was pure
tortue. It took ages. Hours. About tlree hours. Chris
going, "Nol... up!" Oh god... I really needed to have it
as sheet music.
Chris: But then you'd
have had to have each syllable with each note. It'd take
Neil: This song was written for the last
Chris: In Neil's house in the north.
noticed in my diary that you set the lyrics to music.
Neil: I have no recollection of that
Chris: Well, it was a long rime ago. Again, it
was the backins track first, then the lyrics, the_'n
fitting the lyrics to rhe backing track. l
loved this song when we wrote it but we did think it was
slightly different from the other songs for )ze.r. We
played it for Brian Higgins and he pointed out
bridges -.,Lucien in the scene with David, Brian in a
tux', _ he said. "Didn't you do something else with
names?" And I said,..Oh, 'Mandy\ in the paper because she
tried to go to Spain' ,yeah.It's the same, Yeah, okay. But
that was by us as well. It's not like we're rip- ping off
someone else. It,s one of the things we do."
It's amazing that he was aware of it.
Neil: Bearing in
mind that he said we hadn't written anything good since
1987. And thar of course came out in 1989.
Neil: The lyric is about the funeral of a friend of
ours, our make-up artist Lynne Easton, who suddenly died,
which was a great shock to us and indeed to everyone else
who knew her. At the funeral the coffin
came in on a
motorbike sidecar. And Lynne used to wear denim and
leopardskin. Actually I thought of this phrase at the
funeral: ,.a re- quiem in denim and leopardskin',.
know, you normaly get a requiem in D minor or something.
On top of the coffin was actually a leatherjacket with a
rose on rop ol r(. and rhey played all rhis music _ I
think the coffln came in to ,,Metal Guru" by T. Rex.
We all went to a pub afterwards and Lynne's brother
had got out all these photo albums of Lyme's youth and
life. The lyric is structured like a film so you have the
funeml and the wake afterwads
and tllen you get
flashbmks of Lynne's past. The bridge says..I visualizsd
ths flashbacks: school, punk rock and success", and then
you see school, punk rock and success. The first bridge is
the early seventies in London and the sort of
things that would have inspired Lynne when she was at
school.It is in some ways an elegy for the King's Road and
World,s End as well. So it mentions people
seventies - Lucien is Lucien Freud, David is David
Hockney, Bryan is Bryan Ferry in his tuxedo. There was a
bar called Zanzibar
Chris: There's an error as well.
Neil: Unfortunately there's a mis- take in this. It says a
copy of B/ir3 inZanzibar.
Chris: Which we all know is
Neil: It's meant to be Rirz which was
the 6rst British style magazine it was the British
version, done by David Bailey, of Andy Warhol,s
Interuiew. lt's " old Hollywood reduf'becattse everyone
was ob- sessed by art deco and I 930s film stars and Busby
Berke'ley. This was the same time I came to London.
then the second bridge is when Lynne has arrived in London
and she's aboul to become very successful doing Boy
George,s make-up: it mentions Malcolm
Johrny Rotten, there was a shop called Johnson,s where pop
stars used to buy their clothes from. Keith at Smile is a
hairdress- er."All you need to mke it big is
style" was really Malcolm Mclaren's refrain at the time-
If you were to look at copies of The Face andthe NME and
maybe Smash Hits atthis period it was the
that people likeAdam Ant, who got this from Malcolm
Mcl-aren, would be saying. It
mentions Adam too - he
was in this film made by Derek Jarman, Jubi le e - Let It
Rock was another shop on the King's Road where they sold
fifties clothes. And then ir
brings it all into the
present: ,.Zftj.s is our last chance Jbr goodbye / let the
music begin. .." The music is kind ofdisco-y, though,
Chris: Yeah. And rhere's a slichr Sharon Redd
influence as *etiin the brass riff.
Neil: So it's a
kind of disco elegy. I still really like this song. We
have a tendency to put goodbye song at the end of our
albums - the last
one started "that's it - the end, and
we also have a tendencv to finish with an epic. And it
ends with a motorbike - it was part of
aesthetic that she liked motorbikes and bilers. Andrew
went to the bother of recordine the specifi c Britistr
motortite'tfrat Lynne rode.
Chris l A Triumph.
And I think the song fits on the album because if you look
trough the album - it's a post- rationalisation but
sometimes vou do these things subconsciously -
album is a meditation on time, memory and death. you could
call this album The dead don't so away. Your old music's
still bei"ng discussed. People may be dead but you still
remember them and
they still have an influence on
you. Some things seem inevitable:'iyou seem to be like a
memory of the future." The whole album plays with time -
how things that haye
happened go on having impoftance
in your life. As T. S. Eliot wrore: "Time present and time
past/Are both perhaps present in time future/ And time
future contained in time past."