Pet Shop Boys visit the Orton collection

Photo: Phil Fisk

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, aka Pet Shop Boys, recently visited the Orton Collection at the University of Leicester during a trip to the city to attend a rehearsal of Hanif Kureishi’s play My Beautiful Laundrette at Curve, for which they wrote new music. Neil and Chris enjoyed looking at Orton’s teenage diary, Morocco diary, Edna Welthorpe letters, scrapbooks and other archival material.

Pet Shop Boys, the most successful duo in UK music history, borrowed the title of the screenplay Orton wrote for The Beatles for their song ‘Up Against It’ on their Bilingual Album (1996) and Neil has acknowledged Orton’s influence on the band: "I see us in the tradition of Joe Orton and Noël Coward in that we are serious, comic, light-hearted, sentimental and brittle, all at the same time."

Neil has also cited Lewis Morley’s 1965 photograph of Orton as a favourite portrait in the National Portrait Gallery collection.

Neil Tennant has donated handwritten lyrics to the Pet Shop Boys' song ‘Up Against It’ for auction to raise money for the Joe Orton Statue Appeal led by Dr Emma Parker in English. Tickets to the auction can be booked via Eventbrite.

The Orton Collection can be consulted by members of the public in the David Wilson Library at the University of Leicester.