Sunday, 31 October 2010

Pet Shop Boys 'Ultimate' Deluxe Edition

Received my pre-ordered copy of this new PSB greatest hits CD and DVD yesterday, and far from actually being their Ultimate singles collection, it's still faultless! The DVD contains many of their BBC TV appearances, from the Boys' first time on Top of the Pops, upto this years's glorious Glastonbury concert. For me, the best video here has to be Can You Forgive Her? Typical PSB! The CD of course includes the superlative new single, Together (released 29/11) which rounds off 25 years of hits in style. My favourite track though, remains What Have I Done To Deserve This! Left to their own devices, the Pet Shop Boys are the ultimate British pop band of the last 3 decades.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Doctor Who-Ever?

It was during The Deadly Assassin (1976) that we learnt TimeLords are able to 'regenerate' only twelve times before they die. Fandom and viewers alike have therefore always assumed that the Doctor's 13th body would be his last, but a passing comment in The Sarah Jane Adventures later this month will redefine TV history by now making the Doctor immortal!
In the 2-part CBBC spin-off story, The Death of the Doctor, Clyde (one of ex-companion Sarah Jane Smith's proteges) asks the current Doctor how many times he can regenerate. The Doctor casually indicates that there is in fact no limit.
Way back in Tom Baker's tenure, Doctor No. 13 would have seemed light years away, but with the 11th Doctor now here, moving the goal-posts was inevitable.
Only recently, JK Rowling admitted that once a hero has conquered the world, he [Harry Potter] never truly goes away. Even Conan Doyle was forced to resurrect Sherlock Holmes from the dead.
Does the last of the TimeLords now share the same ability to live forever, as Captain Jack Harkness? I suspect that Torchwood creator Russell T Davies has wanted to address this issue since Doctor Who returned in 2005.
Unlike the late 1980's, the present BBC execs are thankfully reluctant to end their ever expanding flagship drama programme.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Renaissance of the Pet Shop Boys

2009 turned out to be a year of consolidation for Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. At the BRITS in February they collected a well-earned Outstanding Contribution to Music Award. A month later saw the release of Yes, their best-selling album in 13 years, then in the summer they launched a worldwide stadium tour.
They could well ask What Have I Done To Deserve This? After 25 years of mixed fortune, the Pet Shop Boys are most definately worthy of such accolades.
Since West End Girls reached No. 1 (the first of 4 in the UK) in 1985, Messrs Tennant and Lowe have secured 43 Top 40 hits, and sold over 100 million records. The Pet Shop Boys are the most successful duo in UK music history, and the biggest British act on the US Dance Chart with 10 number 1's there. Next month, the Boys release Ultimate, their 17th album, and 56th single, Together.

Yes is the 10th studio album, and spawned 3 singles (Beautiful People was only issued in Germany). Personally, this is probably my favourite Pet Shop Boys album, the best songs being Did You See Me Coming? and should-have-been-a-single Pandemonium. For me, track 2, All Over The World (with it's brilliant Tchaikovsky sampling), typifies everything the Boys are about: this is a joyous celebration of their global appeal.

The 14-month Pandemonium tour took in 88 performances in 31 countries, and I was lucky enough to attend the Liverpool and Manchester dates. The London show at the O2 arena last December was filmed, and released on DVD this year.