If, as Gore Vidal said, litigation replaces sex the older one gets, then in the case of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, sparkling interviews have replaced songwriting. I’ll get to Elysium in a few days. Dorian Lynskey’s Guardian interview finds the Boys in a less autumnal not to mention somnolent mood:
The pop world has dramatically changed around them. One thing Tennant liked about the closing ceremony was its echoes of the old days of Top of the Pops, when you’d rub shoulders with friends and enemies alike: “Sitting in the green room with One Direction talking to the Spice Girls and Annie Lennox holding court in the corner. You don’t really meet people these days.” Much of the business of selling a record in the 21st century makes them grimace. They cherish record shops and despair at online piracy. “There’s a famous argument: music should be free like water,” Tennant says. “To which I say, have you seen London water rates recently?” They stopped posing for fan photographs because they didn’t like ending up on Facebook pages, though they’re still happy to sign “an old-fashioned analogue autograph”.They gave up Twitter after two years; Lowe thinks social media is “so egotistical, it’s just horrendous really”. Tennant agrees. “There’s a false intimacy, which is I think why people get so angry. People tweet a celebrity and they get no response. It’s a totally fake relationship.”
Contrary to the kneejerk assumption that rock is raw and authentic and pop cynical and ephemeral, the Pet Shop Boys have maintained their core principles longer than most. There are still things they won’t do, like red carpet appearances or anything to do with the Royal Family. “What we have done since the beginning is try to keep the purity of the project,” says Tennant. “We haven’t, as they used to say in the 70s, sold out.” That said, he sighs, “doing everything the difficult way is wearying sometimes”.