F*cking West End Girls!

August 5, 2014

Headstuff.org asked me to write something about The Pet Shop Boys ahead of their appearance at this year’s Electric Picnic. This is what I came up with…

westendgirls

   “Well, what about if we meet somewhere half way then?” Terry, Liam and Alex leaned in close to Ricky, hoping to hear the other side of the conversation. Ricky shook his head and rolled his eyes as the reply came back to him. “I dunno, somewhere equidistant for all of us? Old Street maybe?” Terry nodded approvingly. “It’s just that we always seem to be the ones having to go to you. It might be nice, for a change, if you guys came out this direction.”

   Alex extended out his bottom lip, impressed with how Ricky was handling this delicate negotiation. The girls had a habit of getting offended quite easily. This had to be approached with care. Ricky was being firm but not aggressive, clear and concise but not dictatorial, just like they all talked about before he dialled. Ricky was definitely the right man for the job. Terry would have caved at the first protestation. Alex would have flown off the handle – cursed and yelled at them. And Liam, well Liam would have over complicated things. They would have ended up meeting in Luton or somewhere ridiculous. 

   “No-one’s calling you lazy!” Ricky raised his voice for the first time. The other lads patted their palms in mid air, gently encouraging him to remain calm. Ricky nodded gratefully and took a deep breath. “I know there’s nice pubs near you but there’s nice ones round here too.” Ricky’s patience was clearly starting to run dry. “Well, how do you know? You guys never come out here.” Ricky frowned and shook his head. The boys knew exactly what this meant. It wasn’t happening. The girls weren’t going to budge. Every week they had talked about finally bringing it up with them. But every week they put it off. It wasn’t worth the hassle, or the argument. It was just easier to keep things as they were, not rock the boat. But today, for some reason, they had decided that enough was enough. All they wanted was one tiny little grain of compromise. Something they could point to and say ‘See, they don’t get their way all the time.’

   “Hold on a second.” Ricky covered the phone with his hand. “They’ll be in that place on Shaftesbury Avenue from nine. We can either join them or not. It’s up to us.” Terry fell back onto the sofa, deflated.
   “What should we do?” Liam asked desperately.
   “If we cave now, that’s it. There’s no going back,” offered Alex gravely.

   “But what if they meet other lads tonight?” asked Ricky.
   “You mean… boys from the West End?” Terry looked up from the couch in horror.
   “Maybe. It’d be a lot handier for them.” The four lads looked at each other, utterly depressed by their predicament.

   For the umpteenth Saturday night in a row, the East End Boys got their bus, DLR, tube and met their West End Girls in the West End. But from that night on, it was never quite the same between them. Something was broken, never to be repaired. And the Pet Shop Boys had made it all sound so glamourous.

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