| Radio 1|
Following the Pet Shop Boys’ previous’ triumphant stints as guest DJs on Radio One they were invited to host a two hour show be broadcast on Christmas Eve, 1995. The programed was recorded on the evening of December 19th at Radio One in London.
Neil arrives first, then Chris. His hair is dyed blond. “It’s quite good being blond,” he says. “People chat to you more. People think you’re a bit more out there.” Neil unpacks t drinks (“I’ve bought two bottles of champagne – one expensive and one cheaper”) are Chris casts a dubious eye over the Radio One sandwich selection. “Food always looks revolting,” he comments. “It’s like being backstage.” Next door you can see Steve Larnacq and Jo Whiley broadcasting that night’s Evening Session live.
Neil and Chris discuss Radio One’s list of the best 90 records of the Nineties. Number one is Pulp’s “Common People’. Number TV is Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.
“I think Nirvana should be number one, says Neil. “That’s the ‘Stairway To Heaven of the Nineties.”
Chris nods. “It crossed all boundaries. It was a rave record, a rock record, it was English and American, it was all over the world.”
The only Pet Shop Boys record in the list is “Being Boring”, and Neil quickly and fluently records a few thoughts for Radio Or to broadcast when they play it: about Zelda Fitzgerald, and about his teenage friends bad in Newcastle, one of whom died towards the end of the Eighties. Chris raises his eyebrows at how effortlessly articulate Neil’s explanation was. Neil laughs. “Suddenly the answer came back from 1990.”
Chris sits himself behind the DJ controls:
he is going to operate the desk. “It’s all bloody knobs, isn’t it?” he says.
“Let’s work out what we’re doing,” suggests Neil in a let’ s-stop-messing-about voice. No one says anything. “I think we should open some champagne,” he suggests.
“We don’t mess about,” Chris sniggers.
“Dom Perignon out of plastic glasses.”
“Well,” replies Neil, “I nearly bought some real glasses, but I thought it was a bit pretentious.” Champagne poured, they think about the radio show. “What are we going to talk about?” Neil wonders. “The fact is, left to our own devices we won’t say anything remotely interesting.” Some pop stars and celebrities – Jarvis Cocker, Super grass, PJ & Duncan, Bob and Baz – have recorded messages for the programed. They play them through to see what they’re like. When Jarvis Cocker begins his by saying, matter-of-factly, “Hello”, everyone bursts out laughing. “Do you know,” says Neil, “that Pulp have been making records for longer than us?”
Radio One have dug out some of their old Pet Shop Boy singles, and Neil and Chris decide to use those too. For a theme tune, Neil suggests they use an unofficial remix of the original Bobby 0 version of “West End Girls”, as released on ZYX Records’ four CD set The Maxi-CD Collection Of The Pet Shop. They choose Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls (Remix ’86)”, which begins with a raucous “Pet Shop boys! Pet Shop Boys! Pet Shop Boys!” chant. As they preview it, they both laugh. They are supposed to be annoyed about the way these early recordings get endlessly recycled, remixed and resold, but tonight they can’t be bothered. “You know,” says Neil, “I’ve got a lot of enjoyment from these out of the years.
They begin to argue over the song selection. “I think we should dump Michael Jackson,” suggests Chris. Neil wants to play an album track, “Stranger In Moscow”.
Neil argues that they don’t have to play the whole thing: “It’s very fadeable.”
“Like his skin,” says Chris. He looks through the list. “And we can dump ‘Miss Sarajevo
“1 never get to play records I like,” Neil complains. “I didn’t even try k.d.Iang.”
“I would rather have ‘Let’s Whip it Up’ by the Sleaze Sisters,” says Chris.
“I thought you didn’t want just a dance programed,” says one of the producers.
“I don’t,” says Chris, then grins. “Oh, let’s face it – it’s the best music.”
“We’re playing lots of Chris’s favorite records and even a couple I like,” Neil sulks.
“And I must apologize for Neil’s terrible taste in music,” Chris retorts.
It’s time to begin. Chris says he’s nervous. “I’m not au natural,” he explains. “Mind you. I never am au natural.”
“Yeah,” says Neil. “When have you ever been natural?”
Chris nods. “I’ve never been natural.” They start. Then they stop, because Chris has called Livin’ Joy “Livin’ Dreamer”. Next time it goes better. During Edwyn Collins’ “A Girl Like You” Neil says, “What a great record this is. It’s so Quentin Tarantino.” During Supergrass’s “Airtight” he does a little dance. The producers keep asking them to mention that it’s Christmas Eve (which, of course, in the real world it isn’t.) “I hate Christmas,” responds Neil, being contrary. One of the producers says that they haven’t been explaining why they like the records.
“Well, it’s like art,” says Chris. “You like it because you like it. You don’t know why. I like any song with the word ‘love’ in it. [Sings] I love you baby! That’s why I like it.”
“Why don’t you say that?” Neil suggests. So he does.
Halfway through, Malcolm Hill (who is from their record company Parlophone ) gets some more champagne and some snacks:
some Pringles rippled crisps for Chris and some twiglets for Neil.
Just before they play “Disco’s Revenge” by Gusto, Neil messes up his introduction and Chris whoops, on air, “He’s lost it”. “I always get stitched up,” Neil sighs when the microphones are switched off. “I always get stitched up. I’ve left the group.” When they play Pulp’s “Disco 2000” Chris says, “Actually, Britpop’s the bollocks really.” When Jarvis Cocker goes, “Oh yeah!” Chris adds, “How Bowie is that? It’s ‘Moonage Daydream’.” When they play Billie Ray
Martin’s “Your Loving Arms” he stands up, pushes his hands out and starts dancing.
Because they have impetuously thrown some records off their original play list (the songs which don’t get played are Take That’s “Back For Good” and Ultimate Kaos’s “Hoochie Booty”), there’s still a little time at the end to play whatever they want. They decide to play a second Oasis song, “Champagne Supernova”, followed by the stomping house screamer, “Let’s Whip It Up”. Neil introduces Oasis, Chris pulls down the fader, and the wrong record starts playing. Chris keeps saying “where is it? where is it?” and Neil keeps singing “[love you baby” and everything degenerates into utter chaos before Oasis finally begins. “This will always remind me of driving down the M20 in heavy fog,” observes Neil, his composure regained.
A few minutes later, it’s all over. “You know,” says Chris, it’s great having perfect taste in music. I just feel so fantastic.”
“We’ve never done anything like that with personality before,” says Neil. “It’s a whole new thing for us: with added personality.”
“Do you want to hear it?” a producer asks. She wants to know if they want to listen through to the Programed they’ve just made, to check that they don’t want to change anything.
“I don’t think so,” says Neil.
Chris agrees. Better not. “We might want to ban it,” he points out.
In the end, Radio One cut out a few moments themselves – the mess up before “Champagne Supernova”, for instance – to shorten the programed to the required length. This is what the listeners heard:
Neil: Hi, this is Neil Tennant.
Chris: I’m Chris Lowe. We’re the Pet Shop Boys.
Neil: It’s Christmas Eve. We’re sitting here in Radio One with a few friends, a couple off bottles of wine, and some of our favorite records of 1995.
Livin’ Joy “Dreamer”
Neil: Definitely one of the records of the year, and a rock classic: Edwyn Collins, “A Girl Like You”.
Chris: [Laughs] Oh, it’s all going so well.
Edwyit Collins “A Girl like You”
Neil: Well, that’s Edwyn Collins, of course, with “A Girl Like You”. We used to know him in the 198Os when his manager was the ex-editor of Smash Hits, where of course [worked. The next record is from K-Klass.
Bobby Brown “Two Can Play That Game (KKkusfr Radio Mix)”
Chris: Well, apparently Bobby Brown doesn’t even like that mix. He must be a complete idiot. Anyway.
Gaz: Hello, I’m Cu from Supergrass. I’m here with Micky and Danny here. We’d like to say a merry Christmas for starters, and 1995 has been a particularly good year for us. I can compare it with the smell of a small child in winter, and the speed of a fast car, and generally it’s been fine. Thanks a lot. See you later. Bye.
Supergrass “A fright”
Chris: Well. I don’t normally like rock music that much, but I think this year there’s been load of really sort of good tunes around.
Neil: This is the Pet Shop Boys on Radio One on Christmas Eve.
Chris: Wishing you all a happy Christmas.
Radio 1 Part 3
Neil: [laughing] A very merry Christmas. This is a wonderful dance record which was also a big hit. It’s Grace and “Not Over Yet”.
Grace “Not Over Yet”
Neil: Well he had two number one hits in 1995, but this is my favorite track from Michael Jackson’s album History. This is “Stranger In Moscow”
Michael Jackson “Stranger In Moscow”
Chris: Oh, he’s in pain, isn’t he?
PJ & Duncan: We’re PJ & Duncan. And this is very Pet Shop Boys. On Radio One.
Chris: That’s more like it.
PJ & Duncan “Our Radio Rocks”
Neil: This is PS & Duncan, “Our Radio Rocks”. Ps & Duncan, the Vic and Bob of the younger generation. We went to their concert at the Albert Hall and hung out with all the other boy bands: Pet Shop Boys, Boyzone etc.
Chris: Top night.
De ‘Lacy “Hideaway”
Chris: Well, we’re the Pet Shop Boys, and we’ll be coming back to you after the news, keeping it warm with Jinny.
Jinny “Keep Warm”
Neil: Next we’re going to play an album track.
Chris: From Oasis! One of the best rock bands…well, in fact the best rock band in Britain at the moment. Some of the best tunes ever written, as proved by the cover version by the Mike Flowers Band, I think. Anyway, hem we go. [The record starts] This is “Imagine” by John Lennon.
Oasis “Don’t took Back In Anger”
Neil: Well, that was our favorite track from probably the best rock album of the year, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis. That was “Don’t Look Back In Anger”. I think it’s also the next single. This is Strike and “U Sure Do”.
Chris: You sure do it for me.
Strike “U Sure Do”
Chris: Well, we’ve just about finished all our Christmas wrapping.
Neil: Yeah, we’ve got all the presents in. We’re just having a glass of shandy and a plate of twiglets…
Chris: Shandy! [roar with laughter]
Neil: It’s a bit like being in the Groucho club really.
Chris: [still laughing] Neil has never ever drunk shandy in his life. Not even lager top.
Neil: [laughing] Well, actually this is funny. Anyway, the next record is by The Original. It was released last year but it was a hit this year. ICs a great record. It’s called “I Love U Baby”.
Chris: I love you baby.
The Original “I Love U Baby”
Chris: Well, I like any record with love in because, as far as I’m concerned, right, love’s the only thing that matters.
McAlmont & Butler “Yes”
Bob: Hello there. I’m Bob.
Baz: I’m Baz.
Bob: He’s Baz.
Baz And he’s Bob.
Bob: And you’re listening to…well, he’s Chris.
Ban: And he’s Neil.
Bob: And they are…
Bob & Baz: …The Pet Shop Boys. For you, the discerning listener, on Christmas Eve on BBC Radio One.
DOP + Lorna Marshall “Manifest Your Love”
Chris: [after a second of silence] Ah.
Neil: It’s Christmas. This is the Pet Shop Boys on Radio One.
Chris: Just in case you want to know, that last record was “Manifest Your Love” by DO? which I really really like.
Neil: This is The Passengers and “Miss Sarejevo”.
Chris: [sings] I’ll be your passenger de-duh de-duh de-duh…
The Passenger “Miss Sarejevo”
Chris: Well, carrying on the love theme.
Neil: This is Tom Jones, “Love Is On Our Side”, the Tracy & Sharon mix.
Chris: Don’t forget it’s Christmas Eve.
Tom Jones “Love Is On Our Side (Tracy & Sharon Mix)”
Neil: This is Tom Jones, remixed by Tracy & Sharon. What a great record. Not even actually released, just made available to the clubs. Of course we’ve got a copy of it anyway. It’s been a great year for Newcastle. [Chris laughs] PS & Duncan. Newcastle United top of the Premier League…
Chris: jimmy Nail.
Neil: One thing that wasn’t great is Dubstar released a wonderful single called “Stars”. Dubstar from Newcastle. a duo. Had a great single called “Stars”. only got to number 40…
Chris: Well that sums Newcastle up, doesn’t it?
Neil: …But we’re going to play it anyway because it’s one of my favorite records, one of my favorite records of the year.
Chris: Yeah. Well here we go then. [Tom Jones continues] It won’t start. Oh. here we go. What am I doing wrong here? Have I even loaded it? [Dubstar begins] Oh yeah. There it is.
Chris: Yeah, one of my favorite records of the year: “Le Voice LA Soleil”. Hello Ibiza!
Subliminal Cuts “La Voie Le Sofril”
PJ & Duncan: The Pet Shop Boys, Christmas Eve, Radio One.
Chris: Well, one of the highlights for me last year Was seeing Prince Nasseem.
Neil: This year.
Chris: Did I say last year ?
Chris: Alright. Aright. Seeing Prince Nasseem this year having his tight in Cardiff. It was excellent. And this is what he came down the ramp on. What a dancer.
Happy Clappers “I Believe”
Neil: That was the Happy Clappers and “I Believe.”
Chris: [laughing] And from one Happy Clapper…to Madonna! “Bedtime Story”.
Madonna “Bedtime Story”
Neil: The time now is coming up to S.30 which means it’s time for the news. And after the news we’ve got jarvis Cocker.
Everything But The Girl “Missing”
Chris: Well, say summit.
Neil: [caught unawares Oh yes. Hello, this is the Pet Shop Boys. It’s Christmas Eve. We’ve still got the fizzy wine, the twiglets – which we’ve discovered am actually wholemeal. We’ve very excited about that.
Chris: Actually Neil’s a bit merry, to tell you the truth.
Chris: You see? He’s lost it. He’s lost it! [Neil Laughs] Well, this is “Disco’s Revenge” by Gusto. I’ve still got it.
Gusto “Disco’s Revenge”
Jarvis Cocker: Hello. This is Jarvis Cocker, and I’ve been asked to say what 1995 meant to me. And it’s difficult, you know. I think it’s going to take a bit of time for me to realize exactly what it meant to me, but a few little things are things Like: it’s meant too much fun, not enough sleep. I’ve developed a taste for brandy, which is probably a very bad thing. It seemed to me, and I suppose everybody else in the group. We feel like, it’s like you’ve been stood outside in the cold for a long time and you can see a really good party going on in the house and you’re knocking on the window but the music’s too loud for people to actually hear you, and then this year, sometime around June. Somebody had to turn the tape over in the music center and so they heard our frantic knocking and they came to French windows and they let us in, and now we’re in the warm having a good time.
Hip “Disco 2000”
Chris: Let’s face it – we’re British and we’re the tops. American music is just nothing compared to our far superior stuff. And hem’s Billie Ray Martin.
Neil: Of course Billie Ray Martin’s German.
Chris: Who cares? She’s English really.
Billie Ray Martin “Your Loving Arms”
Chris: Well, that was my favorite record of the year by miles. Anyway. Here’s another one.
Neil: [backtracking] One of mine a”. well.
Chris: Oh, was it really?
Neil: And she was great, do you remember when she was on Later with lolls Holland?
Chris: [thought you only liked rock stuff and classical.
Neil: No, I like the odd dance record.
Chris: Oh, you do? He likes Eaur6’s Requiem over breakfast, Neil does.
Neil: Oh. no.
Chris: Anyway. Here’s Farley & Heller.
Heller ‘N’ Farley Project “Ultra FLava”
Neil: One of my favorite dance tracks of the year. Lagging it there with “Ultra Flava” by the Heller ‘N’ Farley project.
Neil: As we’ve got a bit of time we’re going to play our other favorite track from the Oasis album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? This is “Champagne Supernova”.
OasIs “Champagne Supernova”
Neil: Well, this is Neil Tennant.
Chris: I’m Chris Lowe. We’re the Pet Shop Boys.
Neil: Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Chris: With a lot of sincerity. [Laughs] Actually we do mean it, actually. [They both laugh] No, we’re quite nice really. You know.
Neil: Stop being ironic.
Chris: And detached.
Neil: Wishing you a merry Christmas, that was Oasis and “Champagne Supernova”.
Chris: Anyway. Enough of that, Let’s whip it up.
Sleaze Sisters with VIckI “let’s Whip It UP”
Chris: Merry Christmas.
Neil: Merry Christmas.
Copyright Areagraphy Ltd 1996: All Articles have been
Taken From Literally 1996 Issue 15