|Discovery Tour Prt 1 & Prt 2|
| During the first leg of the Discovery tour,|
Neil Tennant traveled with a tape recorder and kept an audio diary of events.
This is it.
12.42am, Wednesday 26th October.We arrived in Singapore at about half past six – about six hours ago. It was interesting, arriving, because for the last half hour of the flight it was very smoky. We thought it was a fog or something, but in fact it’s because in North Borneo and Indonesia forests are burning for some reason, and smoke blows all the way to Singapore, so there’s a misty foggy smoky haze everywhere.
The flight was good. We were on Qantas; the first time we’ve been on an Australian airline Very different from British Airways or a European airline. Talking about the food in the first class cabin – the chef’s special – I gait “oh, what is it?” and the steward said “oh, it’. Funny you should say that – it’s something called moonfish. We have no idea what it is. Do you know what it is?” So it was very different from the kind of unctuous service you get on British Airways. And actually it was friendly. We took a sleeping pill, which we got prescriptions from the doctor last week, and I slept for about eight hours. I didn’t wake up until about half past five, about an hour before we landed, and had a little cup of coffee and stuff. I was most annoyed, by the way, that having agonized for
ages about whether to take a Walkman or the mini-disc player Chris gave me for my birthday, I decided to buy a portable compact disc player, because they’re quite good now and two batteries last for eight hours, and when we were taking off the pilot said you couldn’t use computers or compact disc players all the way through the flight. I’d bought all these compact discs and this compact disc player specifically to listen to on flights and you can’t use them, Most annoying.
It’s very very hot here, Humid, It’s totally dark, but very humid indeed, People are very
friendly. This is the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza Hotel, I checked into the room and looked out of my room window and there was a view of a car park – a son of multistory car park so I changed rooms. I’ve now got a view overlooking a swimming pool several floors up. And then we went out for dinner – that’s Chris, Paul Dowie [a friend of Chris ‘s], Dainton, me and Pete Nash [the Pet Shop Boys’ booking agent]. It was Pete Nash’s birthday. We went to the famous Raffles hotel for dinner, Ivan [Kushlick, tour manager] had made a reservation for us in the Tiffin room which turned out to he a son of curry self-service place which we didn’t like the look of, Anyway, Dainton as per usual managed to swing it so that we could eat in the Grill – there was a dress code, but they brushed that aside for us. We had a very nice meat and at the end of it we had a little cake for Pete Nash. And then Chris and Dowie and Dainton have gone off to Sparks, the famous local nightclub. In fact Chris was in a vague mood about me not going, but I’m sure he’ll get over it. And now I’m taking another sleeping pill and going to bed, reading my biography of Evelyn Waugh by Selina Hastings I bought yesterday. And tomorrow is the first gig.
6.20pm October 26th.
I’ve just got back from the last rehearsal/ sound check. It didn’t go very well, The film’s not in sync, and in “Absolutely Fabulous” and “Go West” it’s absolutely crucial that the film’s in sync, because in “Absolutely Fabulous” the lead vocal, in effect, is being spoken on the film. At the moment there’s no time code or something to make that happen, so we wasted a lot of time on that and in fact they’re still trying to do that. Then we did “Go West” twice, rehearsing the costume change from “It’s A Sin” through to “Go West” – the second time we did it was actually probably quite good.
The venue’s quite nice; a very modern arena. The sound was good, which I suppose is important. I still think the whole thing is rather unrehearsed but we’ll see how it goes in a couple of hours time. And I don’t know whether it’s nerves or something I’ve eaten, but I’ve got rather a dodge stomach, typically.
3.22am, Thursday, October 27th.
Well, we’ve had the first show. [Laughs] It went sort of well. I was quite nervous. Anyway, we got ready and all the wigs on and everything fine, and the first part of the show went very well – we got a great reaction when ‘we went on stage. We’d had the problem in the afternoon of the film not being in sync, so I was worried about that, but in fact the audience tight in the front were standing up and they knew all the words to everything. And everything went very well. I went up the stairs at the end of “One In A Million” and took my wig and glasses off and they all went mad. And then after the acoustic hit…as this was the first show I just to make up everything I was going to say in between the songs and I managed to do that. The thing I found most difficult was sort of getting them to clap along which I think I looked rather unconvincing doing, but I managed it anyway. Katie Kissoon [singer] is rather good at doing that, and I think in future we’re going to get her and maybe the conga players to do that. Anyway, in the acoustic bit – which I got a laugh in when I said “you know, you may wonder why we’ve never done MTV’ Unplugged – it’s because we’ve never been asked” – there was a lot of noise. Katie’s microphone, it turned out, had some kind of faulty attachment and was making a noise right across the PA which was really annoying, and it took them three songs to discover that, However we all got through that. “So Hard” was good and then we did “Where The Streets Have No Name”, When we went backstage in the interval, there were loads of policemen talking to Ivan, which was weird. I thought “Oh God, it’s the dreaded nudity”. And it was the dreaded nudity. The police said
that if the dancers didn’t wear something more decent than the little clip things they wear, to protect their decency, then in the second half they’d turn the lights on and stop the show. So we did agree that in “It’s a Sin” they would wear shorts or something instead.
The second half, I came on and I started to sing, and I couldn’t hear anything and it rapidly became obvious that the audience couldn’t hear anything, so I told Pete Gleadall [Programmer] to stop. It was quite funny, actually. It was quite a good audience – about 5,000 people -and I said “stop!” and he stopped. And my microphone wasn’t switched on and then I released that my headphones weren’t actually switched on so l switched them on. Then it was all fine.
“Absolutely Fabulous” went well – apparently the film was more or less in sync – but then we had a couple more problems with the noise of the microphones which was really annoying. When we went off stage for the start of “It’s A Sin” and Kade came on and started singing “I Will Survive” it was a great moment the audience went wild. They were all clapping and going wild. And then when we all came on for the procession and I appear as the Pope they all went completely wild, so actually that was rather a good bit really, it has to be said. (Yawns) I’m tired. And then when we went off the applause was great. They were all chanting “we want more! we want more!” Then “Go West” went down very very well indeed. It’s a bit of a bugger, that change. The costumes take absolutely ages to get into. Absolutely ages. And when I got to the top of the stairs Chris wasn’t there because his change wasn’t ready. But, anyway, it kind of more or less worked. It all seemed to go down very well.
Afterwards, the flight staff from Qantas were all there backstage, tons of them. 14 tickets or something. And the promoter and some Levis people or something.
And then Dainton, Chris, me and Dowie went to the The Mandarin Hotel, for dinner. The funny thing was, tons of people came up to us in the restaurant and t got the impression that they’d ail been to see the show and gone there for supper afterwards, Tons of people came up to us and said things like “oh, great show” and asked for autographs and stuff. Then I came back to the hotel. Chris went to bed. And the dancers were in the lobby, and Les, the choreographer, and Alan Keyes [wardrobe] came down, and Lynne Easron, make-up]. Anyway, we all went to this club, the name of which I’ve forgotten already…The Velvet Underground, it was called. They have a Velvet Underground in London. And ii was quite good. And we all drank champagne and sat round and chatted. Gossiped. It was fine. And it’s now 3.29 and I think I’m going to go to sleep. But overall the reaction people kept telling me seemed to be pretty good, because I still think the show is a little bit of a shambles. So, bon unit.
5.l6pm, Thursday, October 27th.
Well, I must admit that Singapore is a bit of a boring place. Got up this morning quite late, went into Ivan’s room where Serge, the photographer from Australia who has photographed the show for syndication, was. I went through his pictures. Actually I thought the show looked quite impressive in his photographs. The costumes looked particularly good. He did great pictures of Flavio and Henrique [dancers]. and Chris and I didn’t look that bad.
Not a very good review in one of the local papers, the afternoon paper, though the pictures look great again It said that we weren’t really a live act [laughs]. I suppose there’s something to be said for that. Although he singled out “the lovely acoustic performance of ‘Rent”‘ I always feel a bit depressed when I read those reviews because they make me feel embarrassed about doing a tour like this, because I don’t really think I am a performer and therefore I wonder what I’m doing on a stage in front of all those people. It says how there’s little personal rapport between us and the audience and I sort of feel that I don’t really know how to get through it. I always feel like there’s a barrier there. But then I don’t know if people expect us to be those kind of performers either. We went for lunch: me, Dainton, Chris and Dowie. Actually I must say several people stopped – as they did last night and said how good they thought the show was, and that they thought it wasn’t long enough. Several people have said that. It’s two hours including the interval; it seems quite long to me. Then we decided to get the tube for something to do, so we got the tube, which is terribly clean.
Everywhere in Singapore is terribly clean; there’s no litter. It’s a very ultramodern underground railway. The rails are glassed off with a screen and the train drives in and the doors of the train match exactly the doors in the glass screen. Quite impressive. And we went down to Marina Bay, thinking that it would be a bay and a marina, but in fact it was a sort of a rather boring park. Extremely boring, actually. So we walked there for live minutes and then got the tube back to Orchard and came back to the hotel where I’ve just finished packing. They’re going to collect the luggage soon and we go off to Perth this evening. For some reason we’re flying at half past nine and get in at half past two in the morning, but never mind.
I think my lasting impression of Singapore is that it’s very clean and very modem but rather soulless. I asked one of the promoter’s families yesterday what it was like living here, and they said that the quality of life wasn’t very good and that all everyone was interested in was money. And a woman who we had dinner with from Raffles Hotel said that if you bought a new dress people wouldn’t say “what a nice dress” or “where did you get it from”, they’d just say “how much did that cost you?” But [guess that’s the whole point of the place. It’s about the size of the Isle Of Wight and it’s a sort of a Hong Kong; it’s all about making money. But the Hong Kong I remember from five years ago seems slightly more exhilarating than this place does. But anyway, we’re leaving for Perth in two hours.
Just after 1.00 in the day, Friday, October 28th.
We flew from Singapore last night and had the most hilarious plane journey. After we had all had dinner, and [watched Speed with Keanu Reeves on the video player, which was a very silly and disappointing film. Keanu Reeves isn’t a very good actor. Then [ noticed that Chris had disappeared to the back on the plane and I went to see what was happening and right at the back galley of the plane there was a party starting with the Qantas air crew right behind the economy class passengers. And eventually there were about twenty of us is the galley at the back of the plane drinking beer and champagne, and talking and laughing and taking photographs. It was actually a really, really, really good party, everyone chatting and gossiping and Henrique drinking champagne and getting a bit drunk, and one of Qantas air crew saying he fancied Nicole or Mirelle [dancers]. It was hilarious, and that lasted until ten Minutes before we landed in Perth, where we were met by ‘the promoter and someone from EMI and driven to the hotel.
The hotel seems to be in a rather dreary part of town. It looks like you might expect Australia to look like, but it’s very sunny – 32 degrees apparently – and I think we’re going to go to the beach.
Les calls everyone “children”, even me and Chris. He’s worked with Andy Bell and he said “Andy Bell really likes you – he’s a huge fan” and I said “No, he’s not’ and he said “Really. He loves the Pet Shop children. He wants to do one of your tunes.”
I told Henrique and Flavio that when we did the open air concert in Columbia on the stage we were going to change the concert and they were going to have to jump out of a helicopter at the start of the concert and parachute down naked onto the stage. And Henrique said “Oh, it will feel so fresh!”
12.30pm, Sunday, 30th October.
Just about to go down to rehearsal at the Entertainment Center in Perth. On Friday night we went out to dinner with Michael Koppel, the promoter. Rather an indifferent meal. Michael Koppel is quite likable -intelligent and interesting to talk to. Afterwards Chris, Dowie, Dainton, me and Dixie, who is from EMI Western Australia and has worked here for twelve years and seemed to know all about us, went to a club which had two rooms, one playing kind of disco music and one playing techno / house. The music was quite good. We had a limo driving us around which we lost, so Chris and I ended up being driven home by a friend of the security guard on the doors. We didn’t get home that late – about half past two. Two o’clock even.
Yesterday I got up late and lay by the pool at the hotel.’ swam and had a sauna. Chris and I got a taxi to Northbridge where we ate the night before and had a very late lunch at half past four at a cafe on the sidewalk. [Strange flushing noise] The strange thing about this hotel is that on the ninth floor, which I’m on, the toilets constantly keep flushing and no one can do anything about it apparently Anyway, then we walked back to the hotel through the railway station and then I went for an even longer walk by the side of the river. I was bored to death. Perth is a bit boring, quite frankly. It’s got a kind of German Saturday afternoon quality where there’s not much going on really. So I phoned up Dainton and we went down to the venue where they were getting the set together. The two big cones at the front of the stage have arrived, and the two mid-sized cones that we put on the platform. And it looks very good. I had a chat with Abby [lighting designer] and Ivan about various things. We’ve decided to keep Les, the choreographer,
on for the whole tour – first to look after the dancers, and also to add him for three songs, “West End Girls”, “Domino Dancing” and maybe “Absolutely Fabulous”, dressed in drag as an extra element to the show, because at times it needs an extra element. We also discussed maybe getting rid of the interval if that was somehow possible, because Abby feels that it slows the whole show down and she’s probably right. So we discussed through those things, and she was carrying on doing her lighting and stuff. We phoned up Chris from the venue about Les and he agreed with that, and we spoke to Les and he was delighted though he says he has to go home for a couple of days to sort out his bills and his cat and stuff. But I think that’s a good idea and I’m quite pleased about that.
Then yesterday evening at about ten o’clock we went to an Italian restaurant, quite posh, somewhere past the Entertainment Center. I think it was in West Perth. We had a very nice meal, and then I didn’t go clubbing afterwards. Chris and Dowie went back to the club from the night before, but I decided to -come back and make some phone calls.
Jill [Wall, manager] phoned upon Friday to say there’s a journalist called John Gill who used to work for Time Out and who has got a bee in his bonnet about us has written some book where he stags us off as being hypocrites all the way through. I think it must be a son of gay book – he’s using us a kind of touchstone for all that’s hypocritical and bad. Anyway, of course the publishers won’t give Murray [Chalmers, press officer] a review copy, because there arc review copies about and Murray had heard about it, so he’s trying to dig out a review copy, so we’ll see what all that’s about. That’s kind of interesting. But potentially rather boring. To be honest. I don’t want to waste a lot of energy on that. Anyway, it’s now twenty to one and we were meant to be leaving here at half past twelve so I’m going to phone up lvan and see what is happening.
3.OOpm, Tuesday, November 1st.
Just about to go off for the -final sound-check for the first Australian gig. We’ve spent the last two days rehearsing in the Entertainment Center here in Perth and we’ve made some changes to the show. We had already dumped -the introductory fanfare, the Shostokovitch thing that we had, and Abby had the idea of having a kind of silhouette of me and Chris on the screen at the back while I sang “Tonight Is Forever”. That’s now developed into Henrique and Flavio wearing pointy hats doing sort of moving, a tableau silhouette, while we sing that, because there wasn’t time for Chris and I to change out of our pointy hats into our wigs for the start of “I Wouldn’t Normally…
” We’ve got rid of the interval. What happens now is that there is a break for [tine minutes during which we play the Jam & Spoon remix of “Yesterday, When I Was Mad” and there is a bit of light show. The house lights go half on so that you know it’s sort of break, then the lights go down and we go back on for “Do I have To?”. It’s a bit nerve-wracking in a way, this, because it gives Pete Gleadall and Derek Simpson, keyboard technician] the bare minimum of time to reload everything for the second half, burl think it will work. But it makes me slightly nervous, and of course the big nightmlare is when something screws up.
I saw the other reviews from Singapore. The Straits Times ore ‘was very good. One -Business News Daily or something – was a typical Pet Shop Boys patronising review. We’ve done some more press here – three telephone interviews, two for Sydney, one for Adelaide. They all seemed to go quite well. Melissa from EMI arrived here a couple of days ago. Me, her and Mitch [Clark, from EMI in England], who arrived on Sunday as well, went out for dinner last night. A bit of a drive out. All the best restaurants here seem to be Italian. The night before we went to a fish restaurant which ‘was very nice – but of Perth five miles from Freemantle – and funnily enough Melissa and Dixie from EMI were entertaining some local media at the same restaurant totally by coincidence.
Dowie has gone home and Dainton has had to go back. This was a bit of a blow. Dainton, it turns out, had to have his court appearance yesterday in London or wherever for this football offense two years ago which he’s already been in court for. We thought everything was OK with that but, no, he had to fly back. So he was obviously totally gutted about it. He couldn’t even talk to me about it really – I only found out this from Chris and Ivan. Then I was rather surprised yesterday when Dowie had gone back as well. So we have no security, but Mitch is now security. Not that we need it anyway, let’s face it, here. The idea is, I think, that Dainton will rejoin us in Puerto Rico for the whole South American thing where we will definitely will, I imagine, need more security.
We had a full run-through of the show yesterday and it’s actually coming together pretty well now. We’ve just done a couple of little of things extra. During “Boys And Girls” the boys with footballs are going to run round me so that I’ve slightly involved in it. [n “Can You Forgive Her?” I go over to the big cones which are on stage and they kind of lean out in a rather erotic manner when I go towards them. Just little things like that. And the film is now in sync, thankfully, during “Absolutely Fabulous” and “Go West”. It’s surprisingly technically difficult to get the film in sync and to try not to get a big gap between that and the previous number. So tonight will be the first Australian gig. Actually it’s quite exciting really. Anyway I’d better get ready to go down to the sound-check.
1.30arn, Wednesday, November 2nd.
I’ve just got back from our first gig in Perth which actually went pretty well. I was a bit nervous. I realize what makes me really nervous in the first half of the show is having to do “To Face The Truth” on the guitar, and all the way through I was thinking “oh God…” because the chords are quite complicated and I’m not quite used to it Anyway, it all went quite well and then I screwed up “To Face The Truth” on the difficult bit: the “all the nights that you have said” bit and I actually stopped playing for a couple of seconds and Pete Gleadall carried on and then I joined in again, so it sounded aright. Anyway, it all went down well. All you can see in the audience – it’s a very dark venue, which is good so all you can see is the front row, really sweet and dancing and smiling and singing along. “Rent’ went down very well. Actually pretty much everything went down very well. “Streets Have No Name” and “It’s A Sin” always go down fantastically well. They all seem to know “Boys And Girls”, and then “Go West’ was really fantastic. But I felt slightly thrown because I screwed up playing the guitar in “To Face The Truth”. Also, this kind of show which relies on performance, and particularly on me making contact with the audience, is very exhausting. You have to think all the time what you’re doing. I’m sure I’ll get more used to it, but you really have to think all the time what you’re doing.
The dancers were good tonight. They’re all very sweet. Everyone involved in the show is very sweet and nice. Ollie and Lilliana, the percussionists, are really nice people, and Pete Gleadall and Derek the keyboard technician put in so much work, and Abbey doing the…God, there’s the most enormous moth flying around the room! You’ve never seen anything like it in your life… Abbey doing the lighting. Everyone, I think, is enjoying it. Crikey, it is a moth – I might have to get out of here.
Afterwards we had a meet ‘n’ greet backstage which seemed to take forever, but all the people seemed to like the show and there were two funny drag queens. And then we went to DCs, the nightclub. They opened it for us. And we went there – Mitch, Ivan, me and Chris – and we sat there downing a glass of champagne, Chris and I eating McDonands because we were hungry. And now I’m going to bed because we’re getting the eleven o’clock flight to Sydney. Dainton, by the way, his case has been dismissed and he’s going to join us in Sydney, thankfully.
Just before 9.00pm, Wednesday, November 3rd.
Just listening to Chris DJing on the radio. He’s playing records, taking phone calls, and it sounds really good. We arrived in Sydney yesterday evening staying in n hotel called the Park Grand or something, and it’s actually a nice suite I’ve got here. Nice bathroom. I went swimming, I went out to dinner with Mitch, Consular – Ivan’s wife, she’s also doing wardrobe – and Katie Kissoon. Consuela, I didn’t realize, used to do a similar job to Mitch in Brazil for WEA Australia,
which is kind of fascinating. Today we had to do an interview for the television news. It was a bit of classic, this interview. [Laughs] She asked Chris if he was really just a minor talent or something, which I don’t think went down particularly well, and Chris gave relentlessly negative answers to everything. And then we all went out on a boat trip into the harbor by the Sydney Opera House, which is a beautiful building – looks like a collection of shells. And we went across the bay in this beautiful boat. Actually the EMI people here are really nice and they organized us champagne and oysters and caviar and then we stopped at this place called Doyle’s for lunch and it was excellent, though by the end of it you were kind of glad to get back to the hotel. I got off the boat at the end and I walked back to the hotel through Sydney. It was a beautiful sunny day today.
And then this evening – we decided the other day at the show to change “To Face The Truth” to an acoustic version of “Suburbia” – so Pete Gleadall and land Katie Kissoon went down to this nightclub in the basement and rehearsed it, On the way down the lift didn’t work and we were slightly stuck inside the lift for a second and I thought I was going to completely freak out. I think as I get
older my claustrophobia gets worse and worse. It was only for a couple of minutes. Anyway, we rehearsed this version of “Suburbia” going through various keys and it sounds aright. We’ll try it out at the rehearsal tomorrow. The problem with me playing guitar is that I’m not used to playing the guitar standing up. I find it much easier sitting down. But anyway I think it’s a good idea doing “Suburbia” because it’s a more familiar song and it actually sounds quite good with acoustic guitars. So now I’m just going off to meet Chris.
2.25am, Friday, November 5th.
Quite late, in other words. Well, we had the first show in Sydney tonight. The audience reaction was fantastic. When the lights went down it was almost frightening how loud the audience were. When I started to sing “Tonight Is Forever” the mix in my headphones was terrible and all I could hear was the hi-hat. It wasn’t very good, the first few numbers. Today we added “Suburbia” -Chris, me, Pete Gleadall, Katie, Ollie and Lilliana rehearsed it this afternoon at the sound-check. We spent about 40 minutes rehearsing that and actually we didn’t do it too bad in the show although I screwed up various bits of it.
In the interval, when the music plays, ‘we went backstage and by the time we got changed I put my headphones in and I heard “Do I Have To?” starting at the start of the second half and I was still in the dressing room. I had to run from the dressing room to the stage so I arrived at the stage completely out of breath. I managed to get the key right, which was a relief because it’s difficult, the key when you come in for “Do I Have To?”. “Absolutely Fabulous” went down unbelievably well, but the whole thing the audience was fantastic, cheering, singing along, everything. The cheers for “It’s A Sin” were deafening.
It’s very nerve-wracking though, this show, for me. Afterwards it seems like it was fantastic but during the show I’m thinking all the time what I’m doing next, and where do I move now and what kind of movement to do with my hands. And also there was one guy right in the middle right at the front with a stony face, just staring at me. It kind of spooked me out slightly. I’m sure he was trying to spook me out, and he succeeded.
Afterwards we had a meet ‘n’ greet. There were people who had won a competition with Kahlua who have sponsored the tour, and all the EMI people, but also there was Rose, Susan’s friend, and Liz who Susan [Neil’s sister] went to Leeds Polytechnic with and who I first met 22 years ago when she was at Leeds Polytechnic, and another friend of theirs. I had a nice chat with them – in fact I think they’re going to the party tomorrow. And then we came back to the hotel and sat in the bar. There were some Arsenal fans there, classically. And then we went down to a private room by the side of the nightclub in the bottom of the hotel. I was talking to Mitch’s mother who’s sweet. We were talking about why we really like music.
This afternoon I went to Oxford Street the top of Oxford Street has got some good clothes shops but I didn’t actually get that far because it’s a very very long street; a bit of a Broadway kind of thing. Anyway I bumped into a man who drove us in a limo last night, and then I met a man from Triple M, and then I met a friend of Lynne Franks called Jerry who was in Majorca last year. I was shopping for a pair of white jeans but I didn’t by anything because I ran out of time. I kept going to bookshops. I bought a copy of The Fifth Queen by Ford Maddox Ford.
Then it started to rain and I got a taxi back and went to the sound-check and we did “Suburbia”. This morning I went for a swim and a sauna and all the rest of it. It was quite a nice day, really.
Dainton, by the way, is back on the tour and last night Dainton, Chris and I went out for a meal, after Chris DJed on the radio on Triple M. He was great-I heard it while I was in the bath.
4.l5am, Saturday, November 6th.
Just got back from the EMI party after the gig. Actually the gig went really well. There were no problems like there was last night. I felt much -more confident. There were less people there – apparently six and a half thousand, which is still quite a lot. They were quiet in the first half but they really reacted well in the second half, and I found the whole thing enjoyable.
Afterwards we came back to the hotel. Molly Meldrum, the TV presenter over here, who is a nice funny guy came round and we had a chat with him about this and that, and then we went back to the hotel and then we ended up getting a McDonalds on the way to the party, and we got to the party quite late. When we got in I saw Liz and Rose, Susan’s friends, and then a guy came up to me and said “howdy” and I said “howdy” and he said ‘5 that it And then a funny guy came up who was drunk, trying to ask for my autograph and spilt beer over me. And then someone else asked us to do something for some AIDS charity, and the whole thing was a bit intense, so I went upstairs with. Mitch and Lynne and people,
and actually we had quite a fun lime in the manager’s office, chatting, and we had endless bottles of champagne, so I sound a bit slurred now probably. And eventually we descended downstairs and Rose was still there so I chatted with her, and also a girl called Clare from the Australian Smash Hits. Lisa Anthony, who used to work at Smash Hits had been, but I missed her, so I must give her a ring tomorrow. And it suddenly occurred to me on the way to the party that Steve Bush who used to work at Smash Hits lives here – he’s the publisher of various-magazines and I wish I’d seen him because I like him. –
The party wasn’t great though. We were getting bugged by people and eventually we left at 4 in the morning. Some creepy guy had been staring at me all night long, and I think staring at Chris too maybe. He followed our car on-the way back and Dainton had to stand at the door of the hotel to stop him coming in. It was a bit strange.
[Click off then on] It’s now half past four in the morning. I forgot to mention that Sylvia [Mason-James] happened to he in Australia. She’s got a record that’s doing quite well on the charts and so she came backstage and it was very nice to see her. She’s about four months pregnant, and she was with her nephew who looks about the same age as her.
It’s interesting the reaction to us here in Australia. t was just thinking about the party, and I guess, because we’ve never been here before, people aren’t so used to us or something. Like in the club, people kept coming up. It gave me a strange feeling. I’m not used to doing all that.
The staff at the club were very nice tonight. A guy called Alan was the manager and made sure we had drinks and all that, and there was a bodyguard attached to me, a guy called Peter. They’d gone to a lot of effort.
3.15pm, Sunday, November 7th.
Just to carry on from the party, that creepy guy who followed us home got into the hotel and was running round the eighteenth floor, banging on Flavio’s door, saying know Neil Tenant’s in there – I’ve got to see him” until he was removed by security. Yesterday afternoon Chris, Dainton, Mitch and I flew to Adelaide: a two-hour flight. Adelaide for some reason has a half hour time difference – I don’t think there’s too many of those in the world. It’s half an hour behind Sydney, which is really weird.
We arrived here and it was cool and windy -there are winds all over this part of Australia at the moment. We dumped our bags and went straight out with Debbie from EMI’s Adelaide office to a nouvelle Australian cuisine restaurant where they served not only kangaroo but also wallaby and possibly possum – or have I just made that up? Anyway, we had a very nice meal. I didn’t eat kangaroo. I ate lamb with artichokes. Chris and Mitch and Dainton and Debbie went off
to a Pet Shop Boys pre-tour party at a bar or a club somewhere, which apparently was really good, I discovered today. But I came home and had a bath and went to bed, because I was knackered after that party. Of course, we singers have to watch our voices.
Today I got up and Ivan and I went to have some passport photos taken with one of those little machines, because my passport hadn’t got any free pages for my American visa for the Puerto Rican concert. The American Embassy demands that I have a completely free page so I’ve got to get a new passport and the application has got to go off to Canbena to the American Embassy there, so we re hoping it will be back in time for me to go to Los Angeles next week. Anyway, we shall see.
I went and walked round after that. Adelaide has a lot of European-style classical buildings. One building, I don’t know what it was, has that kind of sturdy color that you get in former Austria-Hungarian empire countries. And then I went into the Virgin Mega-store, just to see if we had any records on sale, and in the “P” section there were no Pet Shop Boys CDs at all. Normally we’re just above Tom Petty and all the rest of it. None at all. Bearing in mind I hadn’t seen many in Sydney either, they wasn’t very happy about this. They do have this boxed set that EMI have done which contains Very and the Performance live video – rather an irrelevant combination if you ask me. They had a load of them, and they had Discography on cassette, but no CDs, which I was really narked about. So then I walked to the record shop over the road:
a couple of copies of Very, a couple of those boxed set things and nothing else. No displays. “On tour”. Nothing like that. I don’t think the back catalogue is actually available here. So I came back and spoke to Mitch and she spoke to the head office here and I’m going to speak to Jill about later and get onto EMI International in London, because actually I think it’s disgraceful that we’ve come here and…even if we’re not here it’s ridiculous that you can’t actually buy our CDs here, It’s completely ridiculous. Disco 2 comes out this week and of course you can’t find it. I’ve found Sting’s one alight, but not ours, which I just think is absolutely ridiculous. Then I came back and had a swim, and now I’m going to get ready to go to the sound-check. But it’s very windy here. It’s very cool. I only came to Australia with summer clothes and it’s actually very cool, and on the twelfth floor you can hear the wind whistling round the building. I woke up in the middle of the night, freezing cold. Ivan told me he did the same. Quite surprising.
12.50, Thursday, November l0th.
It’s lunchtime in Melbourne. The show in Adelaide went very well apart from the fact that I tripped up walking up the stairs for “Go west’. After the show something strange happened. There was a man who got backstage, looking for Nicole, one of the dancers, and he burst into the dressing room with Lilliana and Katie where Litliana and Katie were changing and weren’t wearing very much and started taking photographs of them and ran out. And then Dainton ran after him and got him, and he was screaming and shouting. And there was a bit of scene. A bit of spookiness.
The weather here has been dreadful. It’s fine now. I spoke to Rosemary from Adelaide and she said how cold it was. It was nine degrees in Melbourne when she was speaking. Someone told me it was going to snow, but in fact when we got to Melbourne – Chris and I changed our flights at the last minute because we don’t like flying Ansett, we’d rather fly Qantas, so just Chris, me and Dainton went on Qantas an hour before everyone else it was chilly but not that bad. Melbourne’s a very interesting city. Its funny, because everyone says “you’re going to think it’s so English” and it in fact it looks like Chicago, and actually some of it looks like a German city. It doesn’t look remotely English. Maybe the suburbs do. But I like it.
There was also another drama because one of the three trucks leaving Adelaide went over on its side – the truck carrying all the speakers – and at one point there was a possibility that the show would be canceled, but of course it went ahead. They got another truck and the equipment wasn’t damaged. But they were late setting everything up and we had a late sound-check and I stayed at the venue which is a tennis center. It was a very very good gig. Eleven and a half thousand people were there, apparently. People were throwing things on-stage. Underwear. During “Rent” when I was playing the guitar a pair of men’s underpants landed on my guitar, and I stopped and everyone laughed and everything, and I said “thank you” and put them on the floor and carried on playing. The audience was quiet in the first halt then in the second half it was very enthusiastic. I said, when! was saying thank you,
you’re a great audience and all that stuff l “I don’t want to be tribal about it but you’re a louder audience than Sydney” and everyone cheered. And then when I was singing “Being Boring” I suddenly felt quite…almost tearful, singing the bit about “all the people I was kissing, some are here and some are missing” because of course Rosemary was in the audience. Actually I always find that song…actually Kafie Kissoon said afterwards “that song always makes me want to cry”, and Abbey says that she’s always nearly in tears listening to it from the lighting desk. But that night, for some reason, because Rosemary was there.. It made me think of Christopher being dead and…I don’t know, I find it very sad, singing it.
Then afterwards we had these two mega-quick meet ‘n’ greets. Mitch raced us through them all in about three minutes each one. Almost embarrassingly quick. (Laughs] And then Rosemary was backstage with some friends and so we sat in the dressing room and drank and chatted for a while and the backstage people brought in sandwiches which was very
nice of them. But then for some reason we had to go…Mitch said there was a Barbra Streisand party. Some party to do with Barbra Streisand’s live album and they’d got a drag queen miming some of it and I didn’t really want to go, actually, but Mitch said “they won t go on-stage till you get there, Neil”, so me and Rosemary and her friends all went to this bar where this drag queen came on, and didn’t look remotely like Barbra Streisand. She had the right dress and everything but she didn’t look remotely like her, and she mimed to four numbers not very well and it was extremely boring, the whole thing, and I had my photograph taken about one million times which you start to get a bit sick of by the end of it. I left at about half past one arranging to meet Rosemary for lunch the next day. And Chris was in a bad mood because he’d had to go to this thing and-he didn’t want to be there.
Then yesterday Rosemary came round for lunch with her baby, Eve, who’s only eight weeks old, a big baby, and we had a very nice lunch, A room service lunch- – pasta and salad and wine. We chatted about people who used to work at McDonald Educational. She looks very well. Actually she’s very much the same, laughing a lot. It was very nice to see her. [Is interrupted Of course they never leave you alone for a second in a hotel. After she left I went for a walk. It was a beautiful late spring afternoon. I went through the park -past -the Catholic cathedral It reallysmelt very much of late spring. Very nice, that lovely spring smell; things growing. Consequently I -started to get hay fever.
Then I went and had a swim downstairs, and had a very good steam bath and sauna down there, and Chris, Dainton and I went out for dinner in South Yarrow which is-the trendy area. A very good French bistro called France Soir. They kept us waiting for ages because it was so full, but they gave us pate and oysters while we were waiting which was very nice of them. Came home and went to bed
[ clicks off then clicks On ]- I forgot to mention that Chris recorded his appearance in Neighbors yesterday. Backstage at Melbourne Mitch case in with a script: they wanted Chris to drive down Ramsey Street in a limo and ask someone the way to a recording studio. And be said he wouldn’t do it if it was a limo. He said “I’m not going to do it otherwise”. Then I had the bright idea: “why not a Porsche in that case, if they want a flash car?” and so anyway I think Chris assumed it wasn’t going to happen and he went out quite late and yesterday morning Mitch phoned up and said “yes, they’ve got a white Porsche so it’s all on”. So they all went down there and he filmed this little scene where he drives up Ramsey Street and -asks these women where the recording studio is and they say “are you British?” and he says he’s in a group called the Pet Shop Boys and they -say they’ve never heard of them, and then he drives off and one of the other characters comes along and can’t believe one of the Pet Shop Boys was on Ramsey Street. Anyway, it’s going to be broadcast here in six weeks time and-in Britain in nine months time. He really enjoyed it and he’s got pictures of it and all the rest of it. It’s typical – I do a load of poxy phone-in press interviews and Chris just does live national radio and Neighbors.
Tuesday, -November 15th,
We’ve finished the Australian tour and we’re now in Puerto Rico. On Friday we flew from -Melbourne up to Brisbane. It was very hot in Brisbane. Very sunny. We were there for less than 24 hours.-On the way to the venue we did an interview – for the radio in the car. The audience was quite quiet at the show apart from the front few rows. In the second half I introduced ‘-‘Absolutely Fabulous” and there was a rather a long pause and I thought “Oh God, what’s happening”.
There was evidently a problem synching the -film with the music so I went over to Pete Gleadall in front of everyone, so I told him just to start the music so the film wasn’t in sync. And I immediately thought “Oh God, that means something’s going to go wrong with ‘Go West”‘, because that’s where the sequences are driven by the code from the film, to make the film be in sync. So anyway the audience livened up, particularly during “It’s A Sin” as usual, all standing up, cheering, and then we came on for “Go West” and it rapidly beacon obvious that the samples of the choir were out of time. Robbie, out front, very rapidly faded the choir out of the ‘mix so that I had to sing all of the “together” myself, and I tried to get the audience to sing the “Go West’ bits which actually they did. So I had to be real show-business trouper at this point. We all marched off and then all marched back on again. But it was a hit of shambles, though I think it was quite funny in a way.
Anyway Chris said “let’s do it again” so l whispered to. Pete Gleadall “can we do that again with the samples in this time and without the film?” and he said he thought so I talked for 20 seconds while he investigated that, and then we did “Go West’ all over again with the samples and without the film, and actually this time it went down unbelievably well. Then we did “Being Boring” and that was that.
Afterwards we had quite a long drink with Boxcar, the support group on the Australian tour who we’d never really met and who were very nice. Actually they. Seemed to have watched all the shows they told us how good the sound in Adelaide was, particularly. They’d supported in the past New Order, Erasure and Depeche Mode, so I told them they’d now collected the set.
Then we went back to the hotel. The next morning we had to get up quite early. We had this ridiculously long day where we crossed the date line, flying from Brisbane to Sydney; and then we had to wait in Sydney a couple of hours, everyone roaming around the airport. Lynne bought a pink personal electronic organizer. Then we had the flight to LA from Sydney and I took a sleeping pill and actually I slept for about eight hours on the flight which was pretty amazing. Then we arrived in LA. The dancers and. Ivan etc. were flying on to Miami. Chris, Dainton, Mark and I got off. Mark the accountant comes from LA and was met by his mother, and Chris, Dainton and. I went to the Beverley Wiltshire hotel in Beverly Hills which was very nice. We just went out for dinner in the evening and walked round the shops in the afternoon in Beverly hills, Rodeo Drive. In the evening we had a car and we went to a Japanese restaurant and we got the driver to drive us round LA a hit. Round Hollywood. But we were all falling asleep, so l was in bed quite early. And I slept until 10 o’clock the next morning.
On Sunday Chris had a cold and stayed in bed all day long. Dainton and I went to Book Soup, the bookshop on Sunset Boulevard opposite Tower Records which has now got a cafe attached to it. I bought some magazines and books and we had brunch and we hired a jeep and we were going to drive to the beach but actually it was chilly. This tour seems to be of hot places when they’re cold. So we went back to the hotel and then early evening Dainton and I went to see Priscilla, Queen Of The Dessert, the Australian film about three drag queens who drive through the outback to do a performance at Alice Springs in the middle of Australia. In Australia everyone kept talking about it and saying we must see it. And, typically, it was rather disappointing. The dialogue was dreadful, even though it was a funny idea, these drag queens going through the outback on a bus.
Then we went for a meal opposite the hotel and went to bed and I couldn’t get to sleep at all. I slept for about half an hour all night. Yesterday on the news when I got up they said there’s a tropical storm blowing in Miami, so we flew from LA to Miami. But in fact the landing wasn’t bad; though there was actually a storm blowing. Gusts of wind, as the captain politely put it.
The flight then from Miami to Puerto Rico was very bumpy for the first half and then it calmed down, and now it’s Tuesday morning and I’ve just spoken to Jill and apparently Ivan and the dancers don’t know if they can leave Miami today, because of the tropical storm Gordon, as it’s called, blowing. But no doubt we’ll hear later
Copyright Areagraphy Ltd 1995: All Articles have been
Taken From Literally 1995 Issue 14