I'm Loving Hearing Neil Loving Noel
In the new series, Mad About The Boy, Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant talks about his love for the songs of Noel Coward.
First we hear a toe-tapping little jazz tune from 1928 - there so Tennant can argue for Noel being a thoroughly modern figure - now as well as then; "The modernity of this music captured the spirit of the time... if you went out dancing you were almost certainly going to hear Dance Little Lady performed by one of the dance bands..."
What made this such a terrific documentary was - to quote The Flirts - its "passion".
For Neil Noel was; "One of the great songwriters of all time… the epitome of British emotional understatement and stiff upper lipness."
According to Tennant Coward's oft overlooked songs are; "Concise works of art which hold up a mirror to our own lives, laugh at the foibles of life, mock the pretensions and contradictions of this world, explore the depths of loneliness and lost love, and cheerfully acknowledge the power of sexual attraction... with a shoulder-shrugging acceptance of life’s reversals and the need to move on."
But can you think of a better description of Pet Shop Boys' songs?
Part Two of Mad About The Boy: The Songs Of Noel Coward is on BBC Radio Two tonight at 11.05pm.
You can listen to the first part here.
PS Neil Tennant is appearing at the Brighton Festival on May 17th, talking about music with Michael Bracewell. As Neil talks about music as well as he writes it, I'd strangle a man with my bare hands to get a ticket. But it'd be a lot nicer if you just bought one here.