Literally and Versus America musings.

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tottenhammattspurs
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Literally and Versus America musings.

#1 Post by tottenhammattspurs »

Having re-read Literally and Versus America for the first time since their initial release, it’s interesting viewing them through the prism of 30 years. A few things I’ve noticed:

Chris was much more of a raver than I remembered.

How can you expect to be taken seriously?? Is so obviously about Bros, especially when they talk about Bros’s answer to what their music means (Longevity)

America never did “get” them and the way promotion operates hasn’t changed in the following 29 years.

Forgot that In The Night was dropped last minute. Weird how no audio has ever leaked with Katie Puckrik on vocals.

Scottish nightclubs still don’t like English punters in 2019 (as I found out)

Never knew (Forgot) that no one at EMI wanted Its Alright released.

Any revelations you’ve discovered / remembered?
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Danimal
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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#2 Post by Danimal »

As an American kid back then, I can 100% say that EMI sucked in regard to releasing PSB's singles stateside. Many, if not most of their singles weren't released here post Domino Dancing, and even before then it was fairly spotty. I always had to track down the UK imports, which in the late 80s early 90s pre-Internet was tough to do.

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StevePSB
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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#3 Post by StevePSB »

I've got a few US/Canadian PSB 12" singles, mostly post Domino Dancing (1986 to about 1996) as it happens, so they must have been out there, if probably a rarity.

Most, if not all of them are better quality, and often value (as in the tracks you get per record) than their UK counterparts, incidentally.


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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#4 Post by G_Goalden »

I've been meaning to start a thread on the content of the books rather than a thread on the distribution of them, so I'm glad someone has done that for me.

I too re-read them recently (the original versions) and found them really interesting and the prefect way to block out lockdown for a few hours.

My thoughts on the books are that:

1) Chris doesn't come out of them very well.
When I first read the books I would have been in my early 20's. Now as I start my (very) early 50's, I think Chris comes across as a little spoilt (dare I say 'Rock star' diva-ish). I don't particularly mean walking off the Tonight Show, it's more the small things (phrases, behaviours) that build up into a bit of a monster. For someone who is fiercely protective of his privacy I find it strange that he would agree to have this scrutiny all over again.

2) 'Pete' isn't Pete Gleadall
Again not having picked up the books for 30 years, my memories of the content have become a bit sketchy. As Pete Gleadall's role has increased over the years I just assumed that Pete was Pete.

3) Literally is better than 'Vs America'
It is interesting that throughout the first book Chris Heath is unclear on what he is writing and why he is doing it. As a result, it truly comes across as a 'fly on the wall' documentary of the tour. The lack of clarity and 'making it up as he goes along' is pretty much the theme of the book and mirrors the naivety of everyone involved in the tour. Literally is a brilliant account of the minutiae of touring from costings, losses, creased curtains through to "where to go for dinner!" Vs America however tries to do the same thing but it suffers from being 'the same thing'. Sadly Pennie Smith's pictures aren't given the size and scale that they need and as a result it relies on the narrative to carry it. By 'Vs' they have clearly set some personal parameters which means that you mainly get set pieces (like the Tonight Show). As I started reading it I was hoping for more of the cocophony that surrounds the tour - but sadly there is a lot less of this.

4) Neil travels alone
Whilst Chris has a 'personal assistant', Neil seems to be alone. Unless I missed something?

5) The PSB live audience is still not the audience they want
It has always annoyed me that the live audience is very much comprised of the people who buy CDs at supermarkets. It seems that Chris dislikes this too and let's face it, it hasn't changed since.

6) Chris Heath is still a great writer.
The writing style is great throughout and I love how he is just enough in the shadows to allow the reader to feel that they are actually part of the crew.

7) The books haven't dated at all.
There is a real timeless quality to both books

8) Both books make you want to watch each of the concerts in HD (with great sound) or even better, transport yourself back the late 80's/Early 90's and watch them again live.

Anyone have any other thoughts?

G.
Birmingham 1989 | Blackpool & Birmingham 1991| Savoy 1997 | Sheffield 1999 | Middlesbrough 2002 | Manchester 2006/9 | Manchester 2013 | ROH 2016 | RAH 2017

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tottenhammattspurs
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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#5 Post by tottenhammattspurs »

Agree with the Chris observation. He doesn’t come across well in “America”. At the start of America, Chris Heath mentions that he joins the tour once it’s already started and therefore in jokes and friendships have already formed, and the book feels that way too. There’s something missing from it that “Literally” had. Whether it’s the innocent naivety or the (seemingly) edited observations I don’t know.

Interesting that a musical was talked about as early as 1991 though!
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Patrick Bateman
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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#6 Post by Patrick Bateman »

G_Goalden wrote:
Thu 21 May 2020, 2:09 pm
2) 'Pete' isn't Pete Gleadall
Again not having picked up the books for 30 years, my memories of the content have become a bit sketchy. As Pete Gleadall's role has increased over the years I just assumed that Pete was Pete.

4) Neil travels alone
Whilst Chris has a 'personal assistant', Neil seems to be alone. Unless I missed something?
Isn’t Pete Pete Andreas, Chris’ ‘personal assistant’?

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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#7 Post by y3potential »

Yes. ''Pete' is Pete Andreas. Seen in a couple of the photos too.. To this day I don't think Chris has truly gotten over his sad passing. Just my opinion of course..
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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#8 Post by y3potential »

I agree about the way Chris comes across in both books, which frustrates me. He can sometimes appear to be petulant, irascible and 'difficult' but you have to take into account that a lot of that is an act. I was fortunate to meet him at the meet n greets during Performance, the Savoy residency and Nightlife tour and he was absolutely charming and laid back. We chatted football and he was totally relaxed and friendly and signed everything I put under his nose..
Last edited by y3potential on Thu 21 May 2020, 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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spooky
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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#9 Post by spooky »

i just remember that i had a hard time reading them originally. i find Chris Heath's writing "difficult" to understand sometimes. this is probably due to the fact that i have a slight form of dyslexia. being more of a techie, i really wanted to know more about the music side of things on the tour. i guess i was looking for more synth/music production talk. after a few chapters in, i figured out that i wasn't going to have any of that.

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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#10 Post by rehmana »

Never read originals so was very interested in reading these. The boys both come across as a bit too bossy but Chris comes across very bratty. Frankly, going by these books, would probably not like them at all on a personal level.... But dont care as long as the music plays on and on....

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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#11 Post by tottenhammattspurs »

Neil Tennant Tues 2nd April 1991 :- Neil never wants to record in Los Angeles. 😂😂😂
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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#12 Post by bongsteve »

Finished reading vs America recently and agree on the commentary about Chris. Really didn't put him in a favorable light at times. Will hop back in to Literally sooner than later.

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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#13 Post by TallThinMan »

I haven’t read these books since they first came out, but didn’t they say in the foreword of Literally that they were horrified how they came across?

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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#14 Post by Kobalt Blew »

The slipcase edition appears to be available on the recordstore.co.uk website, they didn't have it originally.

https://www.recordstore.co.uk/recordsto ... E2D0000000
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Re: Literally and Versus America musings.

#15 Post by Disco. »

Danimal wrote:
Thu 21 May 2020, 11:46 am
As an American kid back then, I can 100% say that EMI sucked in regard to releasing PSB's singles stateside. Many, if not most of their singles weren't released here post Domino Dancing, and even before then it was fairly spotty. I always had to track down the UK imports, which in the late 80s early 90s pre-Internet was tough to do.
Emi did release most of their singles in the U.S up until 1996 when Atlantic took over. Some of their best selling singles in the U.S sold more than half a million copies, and even singles like Streets... that were mostly a club hit sold almost 150,000 copies.
But then again the U.S is a massive market, so maybe they weren’t distributed well were you live.

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