I’d Rather Watch Drying Paint

Yesterday’s duo (Pet Shop Boys) meet another duo (Electronic) and record a stand out track from the first Electronic album, Patience Of A Saint. Neil Tennant had already worked with Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr on the debut Electronic single, 1989’s gorgeous Getting Away With It, and on this song Chris Lowe joined in on keys as well. Seeing as Marr had more or less refused to play the guitar on the album there must have been a lot of people standing around prodding drum machines, synths and samplers during the recording of this song. It’s a fantastic track nonetheless, with Neil Tennant in withering sarcasm mode (the line that gave this post it’s title for example and ‘If I drove a faster car, I’d drive it bloody well’).

The picture shows the foursome backstage at the Cities In The Park festival held in Heaton Park in the summer of 1991. Held in honour of Martin Hannett who’d died the previous April the Sunday was mainly Factory acts plus some other Manchester bands, and was a good line-up- New FADS, 808 State (very good), Durutti Column, A Certain Ratio, Revenge (they were pretty awful), De La Soul (lots of shouting. Live hip hop and festivals during daylight not mixing very well), Electronic and headlined by Happy Mondays. Security was fairly lax- fences going down left, right and centre followed by hordes pouring in, people working on the gates offering wristbands for a fiver- normal Factory/Hacienda sort of thing really. Electronic went on before the Mondays and at one point you stood looking at the stage with members of New Order, The Smiths and The Pet Shop Boys playing together and thought ‘this is some kind of future we’re looking at here’.

Factory was declared bankrupt just over a year later.

04 The Patience of a Saint.wma

I’m Indebted To A Contact Magazine

The last two posts have featured a duo and duo’s always make me think of the Pet Shop Boys, who strode the mid-to-late 80s and 90s like a 4 legged literate,dance-pop, hit machine, unafraid to tackle the big issues and the little details. Also, Pet Shop Boys seem part of Christmas to me, all that poppiness, inspired and silly videos, Top Of The Pops Christmas Special, Christmas Number One and so on.

I could post any number of their songs- Left To My Own Devices is superb, and so are Rent, West End Girls, Being Boring, Domino Dancing, Can You Forgive Her?, Opportunites, It’s A Sin…. In the end I’ve gone for So Hard with it’s well observed lyrics about infidelity and very 1990 drums, synths and production. This is the extended dance mix, six and a half minutes of dry vocals and stabbing synths and crashing drums. And I love the photo on the sleeve.

Pet Shop Boys – So Hard (Extended Da.mp3 – 4shared.com – online file sharing and storage – download