Pet Shop Boys versus America (英語) ハードカバー – 2020/3/19
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No other pop group in recent history has faced fame with such intelligence, humour and shrewdness as the Pet Shop Boys. In 1991, the band toured North America for the first time shadowed by journalist Chris Heath and legendary rock photographer Pennie Smith. They visited fourteen cities in one month, confronting the American music industry and colliding with the likes of Liza Minnelli, Steven Spielberg and Axl Rose. This is more than a documentary of a tour; it is an unusually intimate portrait of two maverick British musicians always reluctant to compromise.
‘There was a time when the Pet Shop Boys seemed to exist entirely on radio, television and in magazines. This is the other world of the Pet Shop Boys in concert, travel and backstage, as they bring their art and glamour to America. It’s funny too.’
‘A brilliant book, to be read over and over again. How could anyone not love these men?’
Chris, an investigative news writer, has written for Rolling Stone, Details, Telegraph and Sunday Times, amongst many others. His subjects have varied from Madonna and Lisa Marie Presley to politicians, murderers and artists.
Much can be said about the format: a transcription of a few conversations the boys had during their eventful American tour. At first you may fear to get bored by this format, but strangely enough it's quite the opposite. Because nothing is really interpreted by the author, it gets a very authentic feel to it. The quite remarkable -not always generally accepted- opinions of Chris and Neil are left untouched, and ready to be put into perspective by the reader himself. That in itself proves the courage of the `boys' to allow such a report to be published. I can imagine that people tend to get a bad opinion -to put it mildly- about the egos of both artists, because what is in this book is not all nice and happy. But if you allow yourself to look behind this curtain of the two personalities, you can only appreciate the dedication they produce for their `art'. Not many artists are prepared to put their image at risk in favour of authenticity.
The black-and-white pictures shot by Pennie Smith are completely in line with the works of the Pet Shop Boys. Sombre settings dictate most of the pictures, but at the same time illustrate the feeling of detachment the `boys' suffer while travelling through that strange, but fascinating land: America.
To conclude: a warning! Although this book is a must-read for everybody who likes (or dislikes) to be referred to as a `Pet Shop Boys-fan', it might not have the same effect on people who only `like' what the Pet Shop Boys create. This book is a bit too `fan-focussed' to be appreciated by a broader audience, to my humble opinion. As some kind of a footnote: I belong to the first category.