| Neil: “Leaving” started off in 2010 as a song called “Heaven is a playground” that we wrote in our studio in Iondon. The l1ric went|
“Heaven 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 into the
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 that and
wrote a new chorus. A whole sec-tion was jettisoned. A new chorus was mitten but the verse staye the same-
Neil: With the same lyrics.
Chris: I just thought that the verse could have a different chorus that would suit it more.
Neil: Chris wrote a new chord change.
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 that
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 died.
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 want
her to leave. and he’s explaining why he doesn’t really believe that the relationship is over.
Chris: That demo with the new chorus is fundamentally what’s on the album.
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 start.
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.
Neil: 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
Neil: It’s 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 ‘Invisible’.”
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 would
have people who apparently had just arrived from an Upper East Side dinner party all wearing black tie.
Chris: “The ambassador’s just arived…”
Neil: I 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 is.
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 – you
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 depends on
your fame/wealth/clothes you’re wearing/who you’re with.
And actually there’s part of me that doesn’t actually agree with what the woman was saying, by the way.
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 dead.
Track one was about death, so is track two.
Chris: I think we’ve got a hit on our hands!
Neil: 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 shops
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
a mood 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.
Neil: 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.
Neil: I 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
had this 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 blame
for this, dear fans. “Chris re- ally liked this one, everyone! It’s
Neil: Chris 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
melody on 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
one of the best middle-eights in the entire Pet Shop Boys catalogue.
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”
Neil: We 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.
And 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 contemplative album.
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
just immediately 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 each other.
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 that amazing
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 transience-of-fame
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
the 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.
Another 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 slightly.
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 actually as
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 good-
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 who
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.”
I said, “How cm you say that if you’ve never heard the later ones?” “We11,I only like the early ones,”
Chris: How 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
taxi drivers. 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 bassline.
Neil: Is there?
Chris: Very subtle.
Neil: So subtle I haven’t noticed iL
Chris: Your 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 eyes.
Chris: Is this the same tropical island as “Domino dancing”? Are we on the same island a few years i ater.
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 colada…
Chris: And it’s not her inner beauty that he’s interested in, is it?
Chris: It’s pure 1ust.
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 album.
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.
Neil: For 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 guitar
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. thing.
Chris: Andrew did a lot of work on it.
Neil: 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 his,
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 whole lyric.
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 inleruieec-
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 be ironic.
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.
Neil: Chris 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
melodies. The 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 music.
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 studio.
Chris: All the way through.
Neil: The 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 plughole:
“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.
Neil: Anyway,I think when we Iinished it we thought it was rather anthemic.
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.
Neil: It 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 Tanant.
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
itis:”1’mnot saying 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 those
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 quite s1ow.
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,
Chris changed 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.
Chris: It’s a straightfomard love song, is it?
Neil: Yes, it’s a straightforward love song.
Chris: You don’t get many from us.
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 secondhand
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 written
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 remember it.
Writing the lyric over Chris’s music and thinking
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 too.
Chris: Yes, very good middle bit-
Neil: 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
mean 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
insignificant question 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.
Chris: That’s intriguing.
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 Forever”,
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. People’s behaviour
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.
Chris: No, I think there was the backing track and then there were the lyrics.
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.
Chris: So 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 *ritten out
as sheet music.
Chris: But then you’d have had to have each syllable with each note. It’d take forever.
Neil: This song was written for the last album.
Chris: In Neil’s house in the north.
Neil: I noticed in my diary that you set the lyrics to music.
Neil: I have no recollection of that at all.
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
Neil: We 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
that the 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.”
Chris: 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’,.
You 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 about
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
from the 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 the eighties.
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.
And 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
Mcl-aen and 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
sex and 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
sort ofthing 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, isn,t it?
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
Lynne’s 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.
Neil: 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 –
the 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.”