When You’re Young You Find Inspiration In Anyone Who’s Ever Gone

Pet Shop Boys’ 1990 single Being Boring is one of the songs that summarises life, one of those songs that hits hard and resonates emotionally, that seem to be somehow ‘about’ you (even though the autobiographical details are all specific to Neil Tennant and not me). The tune is lovely beyond words with swelling keyboards and a memorable melody line but it’s Neil’s words about growing up that really strike home- along with the reference to Zelda Fitzgerald’s quote about not being boring because she was never bored- and the details of the verses that show how people change as they get older.

It’s stuck with me also I guess because as I’ve got older I’ve moved through the verses (as they chronicle Neil Tennant getting older). It’s a proper bittersweet and happy/sad song too, the pain and joy caused by sifting through the ‘cache of old photos and invitations to teenage parties’. Neil Tennant would have been in his mid-to-late thirties when he wrote it and that seems to be telling- this isn’t a song that a twenty something would write. Maybe that’s why it keeps giving- when I first heard it in 1990 I was twenty so roughly the age the narrator is singing about in the second verse. Then as you get older you become the narrator of the third verse. A friend said recently this is ‘the finest pop’ which it is but it has a depth that much pop music doesn’t- that’s not to criticise pop music but its often at its most effective when it is ephemeral and surface rather than depth. Being Boring is pop and much more than pop.

Being Boring

The extended mix is over ten minutes long but doesn’t feel forced or anything like ten minutes long.

Being Boring (Extended Mix)

The video, shot by fashion photographer Bruce Weber, is like a Vogue shoot come to life and has the young and the beautiful enjoying themselves immensely.


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