Thursday, May 18, 2006


I’m With Stupid

The Pet Shop Boys had a new single out last week. Richard’s always been a big PSB fan, we knew they’d turned against Mr Blair over ID cards, and we knew it was going to be about the special relationship between Mr Bush and Mr Blair. We finally got to watch the DVD single tonight. It’s unexpected, and fab. More unexpected, and still more fab, is the extra track The Resurrectionist. I knew what that sounded like; I couldn’t believe it, but it was. Come on and get the driving synth riff of ‘Burke and Hare: The Upbeat Dance Mix’. Fantastic.

That’s not to undersell the main track, which is recognisably Pet Shop Boys but quite a new style for them (both more sinisterly hardcore and a little bit Human League), and takes the conceit of framing disgust at Mr Blair doing everything for Mr Bush within a love song, which is both disturbing and funny. So is the video, which features Mr Walliams and Mr Lucas of Little Britain forcing Mr Tennant and Mr Lowe to watch a fan re-enactment of two of their best-known videos. It’s every bit as strange as it sounds (and owes not a little to a David Walliams / Mark Gatiss sketch of a few years back in which they kidnapped Peter Davison).

Richard was determinedly PSB from the first, but – though, having been a Catholic schoolboy who’d just worked out he was gay in 1987, it was impossible for me not to love It's A Sin – the first of their albums that really got me going was Very in 1993. That’s the bright orange and blue one where in videos for Can You Forgive Her? and Go West the Pet Shop Boys dressed in futuristic jumpsuits and improbable hats and appeared to inhabit their own, surreal, computer-generated world. These were such iconic images that they’re naturally the ones subjected to low-budget amateur treatment in the latest video while, tied up and watching, Mr Lowe has come as that Chris Lowe from the Pet Shop Boys in the shades and baseball cap but top-hatted, black-clad Mr Tennant appears to have come as a resurrectionist.

Some might say the real reason behind all this is simply that the video can show people in a bare space wearing orange jumpsuits without Mr Blair trying to ban it.

The Resurrectionist is one of the strangest uses of the story of Burke and Hare, along with Doctor Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Hammer’s stylish, gleefully unsettling mix of body-snatching, Jack the Ripper and Dr Jekyll, and even a Doctor Who audio play. That one, Medicinal Purposes, has an intriguing setup in Edinburgh 1827, an excellent cast including a forceful Colin Baker, a barbed Leslie Phillips and a scene-stealing David Tennant, but the story loses it a bit. Still, it all makes a change from Boris Karloff doing it straight, doesn’t it?
“We’ve all got to earn ourselves a living / All it takes is a little bit of digging…”

Bit of an ‘80s comeback week, really; what with the sex and soundtrack of The Line of Beauty – in which I pointed out Caroline Blakiston to Richard, as I seem to do weekly in several things we watch from the ‘60s onward – and the return of the definitively overused-in-the-‘80s Doctor Who monster the Cybermen, at the hands of that decade’s most talented Who director for a story whose urban wastelands, rich and poor and sinister security forces makes it seem like an alternative Earth where Thatcherism never fell. Two ‘superb’ and one ‘pretty but I’ll wait for it to get going’ isn’t a bad hit rate, either…

All in all, it’s a shame we didn’t get hold of the single earlier (a few cock-ups later – I meant to get it for him, wasn’t well, couldn’t get out, etc), but we’re looking forward to the forthcoming album Fundamental. Building on their ‘why Neil started voting Liberal Democrat after being a luvvie for Labour’ statement that “The Pet Shop Boys think we should try to increase our freedom, not limit it. They don't believe ID cards are an effective way of countering terrorism,” the song Integral is to also set to attack ID cards directly. Hoorah.

No one understands me
Where I'm coming from
Why would I be with someone
Who's obviously so dumb?

Love comes
Love grows
And power can give a man
Much more than anybody knows

Is stupid really stupid
Or a different kind of smart?
Do we really have a relationship
So special in your heart?

Oh-oh, I'm with Stupid
Oh-oh, I'm with Stupid

Labels: , ,

Who was Caroline Blakiston playing then?
I don't remember her character's name, but you may recognise the role of 'grandly racist dowager'.
Much as I love "I'm with Stupid", it's "The Resurrectionist" which I think is the biggest triumph on the single.

I mean... a pop song about body-snatching? How cool is that?

Even more bizarrely the official website recommended the book that inspired it "The Italian Boy" which turned out to be a darned good read too.
Yep, I entirely agree with you on 'The Resurrectionist'. But then we probably have similarly warped tastes.
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?