On February 28 the Pet Shop Boys begin a short, four-concert Russian tour, visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg, inspired by their visit to St. Petersburg to see Brian Eno the previous summer. In Moscow they perform twice in one night, once in a large arena then later in the middle of an over-crowded nightclub. The local media ask them whether they speak Russian, "We're very good at saying 'nyet'," they explain.
On April 13, Twentieth Century Blues: The Songs of Noel Coward is released. It is an album of Noel Coward songs covered by contemporary musicians, co-compiled by Neil, who has been working on it for the past eighteen months. He has loved Noel Coward's music since he first heard it in about 1970. "I think as a songwriter he's slightly underrated," Neil says, "simply because his plays are so famous, and people forget." The Pet Shop Boys do a version of "Sail Away", and amongst the other interpreters are Elton John, Paul McCartney, Suede, Robbie Williams and the Divine Comedy. "We tried to choose artists," Neil explains, "who somehow seem to be in the Noel Coward tradition of wit, theatrically and style." To promote the album, Neil appeared along on TFI Friday where he sang along with a busker playing Pet Shop Boys songs on an acoustic guitar.
At the request of their former American record company, the Pet Shop Boys agreed to the release of 'Essential Pet Shop Boys', a compilation of early Pet Shop Boys songs recorded between 1985 – 1990, including a number of rare remixes, as part of a series of limited edition CDs by other artists.
At the behest of director Gus Van Sant, the Pet Shop Boys wrote a new song, with Tom Stephan, at extremely short notice for the soundtrack of Van Sant's remake of 'Psycho'. It is called "Screaming". "It's about an obsessive fan, written from the obsessive fan's point of view," Neil says. "Or actually just by someone obsessed with someone who doesn't love them."
On This Day
The Pet Shop Boys appear on the popular syndicated U.S. TV show Soul Train, which generally focuses on 'black' music and rarely features 'white' artists. They perform 'West End Girls' and 'Opportunities.'
They appear on the syndicated U.S. television show Regis & Kelly.
Neil and Chris meet with Yoko Ono to discuss performing with her at the Meltdown Festival.
The documentary Pet Shop Boys - A Life in Pop debuts on U.K. television Channel 4. (The webmaster of this site makes a few brief appearances in it as a commentator.)
The U.K. leg of the Fundamental tour begins with a show in Gateshead. It's virtually a 'hometown crowd' for Neil, who was born in nearby Bruntun Park and spent most of his childhood in the area.
The Boys and their tour entourage are at Elmstree Studios in Borehamwood, near London, rehearsing in preparation for their upcoming summer concerts.
They headline at the Babylon Soundgarden Festival in Istanbul. Proceeds from the festival will be donated to a charity benefiting families of the victims of the recent Soma mine disaster—the worst mine disaster in Turkish history.