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James Millar: Paul McCartney and Pet Shop Boys triumph proves importance of long-term thinking

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If you’d switched off Top of the Pops in the late 1980s and confidently predicted that Paul McCartney and the Pet Shop Boys would headline Glastonbury 30-odd years later, you’d have been laughed out of the room.

The eighties began with John Lennon’s murder and McCartney spent the decade looking profoundly unserious in the shadow of that tragic event. (The Frog Chorus didn’t help his credibility any.) The Pet Shop Boys were an electro-pop oddity, lacking the apparently inevitable longevity of traditional guitar bands.

And, yet. Macca sent the nation to bed last Saturday night later and happier than most had anticipated when they decided to leave the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage on after the news. And the Pet Shop Boys outshone more modern acts like Kendrick Lamar and Charli XCX in closing out the festival.

It’s all a lesson in long-term thinking, in looking beyond the obvious to pick the underlying themes of our times. Fashion comes and goes – talent and human nature vary less wildly.

McCartney could withstand the mockery that came his way, because he has a canon of songs unmatched through human history to fall back on. As long as folk want to dance around (and they will) then they’ll keep coming back to the Pet Shop Boys’ sounds.

These tenets run more widely.

Forty years........

© Evening Express

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