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Manchester Lit Fest
Electric atmosphere in the RNCM Theatre as we wait for Neil Tennant in Conversation with Andrew McMillan. Ace soundtrack of PSB tunes.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
Replying to @McrLitFest
Andrew does a fabulous introduction that goes beyond listing the many accolades Neil has garnered. 'Everyone's got their story about the Pet Shop Boys.'
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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They begin by discussing turning lyrics into a book. Neil chose the lyrics he thought 'would look good written down and maybe had a story to tell'.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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'Writing a good lyric about dancing is more difficult than writing about eighteenth century grave robbers.'
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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Neil admits that the lyric writing part of his brain never switches off. 'You only tell me you love me when you're drunk' is something he said to someone and realised it would make a good lyric.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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Neil reveals that smartphones have made the band more prolific as he can note down ideas all the time.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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The conversation turns to musicals and the influence they had on Neil as a child. 'We used to listen to My Fair Lady every day.'
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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And Neil can still quote the lyrics, as he proves to much laughter.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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Neil initially thought he'd be in a rock band and auditioned a couple of times. And then he met Chris and started thinking about bass lines.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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'It sort of amazed me how meaningless a lot of lyrics are...you just need a striking phrase...it's a real pop talent.' Neil on checking the lyrics after they'd been typed by Linda at Smash Hits.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
Replying to @McrLitFest
Neil says adding commentary to the lyrics in the book was an opportunity to think about them again, which is something that he doesn't usually do.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
Replying to @McrLitFest
Neil finds the creative process really interesting and loves collaboration. It brings a different dynamic to the process. 'We want what they can do that we don't know how to do. You want to expand what you're doing.'
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
Replying to @McrLitFest
Andrew asks about the political nature of some of the lyrics. Neil says it's part of our lives. It always feels like a political time. He refers to Opportunities as 'one of our Spitting Image songs'.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
Replying to @McrLitFest
Andrew asks a lovely question about whether PSB has created a global community. Neil describes meeting fans in Peru as 'incredible' and describes how great it feels when people sing lyrics back at the band. 'I love it so much.'
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
Replying to @McrLitFest
Pretending you're someone else is a great way of writing. Neil says when he wrote A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi" he was writing from the perspective of Kylie.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
Replying to @McrLitFest
Provocative first q from the audience about whether Neil or Chris would've become a 'God-like Genius' if they hadn't met. 'Neither of us would have.' He says Chris would probably have become an architect and he would've gone on to work at Q magazine.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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The audience are on fine form. 'I'm coming to the Greatest Hits Tour next year; are you doing all of them?' Neil's now crowdsourcing the set list.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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Someone asks about the collaboration with Patsy Kensit/Eighth Wonder and why the lyric is 'If I were you' instead of the grammatically correct 'If I was you'. Neil explains it was an argument on a street and then jokingly says to 'get over it'.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
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There's a question about whether PSB would perform in the Tea-Time Legends slot at Glastonbury. Neil says they'd do Glastonbury again but 'The thing about Pet Shop Boys is we only perform in the dark'. He says this v.seriously followed by 'because the lasers don't work'.
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Manchester Lit Fest Oct 5
Replying to @McrLitFest
The event ends with Neil reading the incredibly moving lyrics to Your Funny Uncle.
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