Well, it’s been very quiet around here, recently, hasn’t it? My big secret is that I used to write most of the posts during my commute, and… well, thanks to the pandemic, I haven’t had one for a little over two years now, so it’s been harder and harder to keep up. I’m sure there will be a reboot one day, but for now, I’m sorry – we’ll stay in this holding pattern for a while longer.

I even managed to miss the tenth anniversary of this blog! Just by a few days, and it seems a slightly bitter milestone given that the ninth anniversary was only a few posts ago, but there you go. Time to celebrate a decade of, er, Decadence on this blog, with this lovely collaboration between Pet Shop Boys and Johnny Marr from 1994.


Chart for stowaways – May 2021

May saw some reissues piling into the album chart – here’s the chart for 22 May:

  1. Erasure – Chorus
  2. The Human League – Octopus
  3. The Future Sound of London – Cascade 2020
  4. New Order – Education Entertainment Recreation
  5. Pet Shop Boys – Discovery
  6. Air – Le Voyage Dans La Lune
  7. Air – Love 2
  8. Pet Shop Boys – Concrete
  9. Erasure – Tomorrow’s World
  10. Voodoo Child – The End of Everything

Chart for stowaways – April 2021

Some very old oldies clogged up the chart in April – here are the singles from midway through the month:

  1. Tiësto – The Business
  2. Riton/Nightcrawlers/Mufasa – Friday
  3. Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
  4. Morrissey & David Bowie – Cosmic Dancer
  5. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Enola Gay
  6. William Orbit – Barber’s Adagio for Strings
  7. Alesso & Armin Van Buuren – Leave A Little Love
  8. White Town – Wanted
  9. New Order – Blue Monday
  10. Moby – Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?

BRIT Awards 2021

The 2020 BRIT Awards snuck in just before that pandemic thing, and so it was only a fifteen month wait between awards. Famed as the first indoor music event in the UK in over a year, Jack Whitehall presented the ceremony at the O2 Arena in London on 11 May.

Male Solo Artist


  • AJ Tracey
  • Headie One
  • J Hus
  • Joel Corry
  • Yungblud

Winner: J Hus

Female Solo Artist


  • Arlo Parks
  • Celeste
  • Dua Lipa
  • Jessie Ware
  • Lianne La Havas

Winner: Dua Lipa

British Group


  • Bicep
  • Biffy Clyro
  • Little Mix
  • The 1975
  • Young T & Bugsey

Winner: Little Mix

British Single with Mastercard


  • 220 Kid & GRACEY – Don’t Need Love
  • Aitch & AJ Tracey feat. Tay Keith – Rain
  • Dua Lipa – Physical
  • Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar
  • Headie One feat. AJ Tracey and Stormzy – Ain’t It Different
  • Joel Corry feat. MNEK – Head & Heart
  • Nathan Dawe feat. KSI – Lighter
  • Regard & RAYE – Secrets
  • S1MBA feat. DTG – Rover
  • Young T & Bugsey feat. Headie One – Don’t Rush

Winner: Harry Styles

Breakthrough Artist


  • Arlo Parks
  • Bicep
  • Celeste
  • Joel Corry
  • Young T & Bugsey

Winner: Arlo Parks

International Female Solo Artist


  • Ariana Grande
  • Billie Eilish
  • Cardi B
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Taylor Swift

Winner: Billie Eilish

International Male Solo Artist


  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Burna Boy
  • Childish Gambino
  • Tame Impala
  • The Weeknd

Winner: The Weeknd

International Group


  • BTS
  • Fontaines D.C.
  • Foo Fighters
  • Haim
  • Run The Jewels

Winner: Haim

Global Icon

Winner: Taylor Swift

Mastercard Album


  • Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams
  • Celeste – Not Your Muse
  • Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
  • J Hus – Big Conspiracy
  • Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?

Winner: Dua Lipa

BRITs Rising Star


  • Griff
  • Pa Salieu
  • Rina Sawayama

Winner: Griff

Performances included Coldplay, Olivia Rodrigo, Elton John with Years & Years (performing It’s a Sin, which was apparently also supposed to include Pet Shop Boys but they turned out to be unable to join for rights reasons), Pink, and many others.

There was also some rumbling controversy this year due to Sam Smith identifying as non-binary, and so not fitting any of the common “male”, “female”, or “group” categories. It will be interesting to see how this comes to be addressed in future years, as the categories are as old as the ceremony itself.

You can see the official list of winners here.

Stowaway World Cup – Week 4

Well, what a week that was. If you cared, which you probably didn’t.

Throughout May, we’ve been playing the Stowaways World Cup, an entirely pointless contest in which we pitted 32 of the most-mentioned artists on this blog against one another, based on a mixture of randomness and their past credentials, with a very unhealthy dose of biased refereeing.

There were disappointments right from the start – Sparks could have easily progressed to the latter stages, but never managed to win a single game. The Beloved repeatedly lost their only player due to fouls (that was, in retrospect, a little unfair, so the rules were changed for later rounds). Even Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark failed to progress beyond the group stages due to performing slightly less well than Röyksopp.

The group of 16 saw surprises too, with two group winners and blog stalwarts being knocked out by group runners-up. By the last few matches, the finalists were increasingly closely matched. Erasure suffered a run of games ending with penalty shootouts, Pet Shop Boys, who had had a fairly clear run to the final, snuck an extra goal in at the end of extra time, and won the final, taking away the not-coveted Stowaway Cup. For the record, these were our final top four:

  1. Pet Shop Boys
  2. Erasure
  3. Depeche Mode
  4. New Order

Which is a pretty respectable result. We’ll take a short break on this blog now, but we’ll be back in a week or so with the regular schedule of posts.

Stowaway World Cup – The Final

So, we finally reach the final of this entirely pointless tournament, which sees Pet Shop Boys take on Erasure for the first and last title of Stowaways World Cup Champion. The road to this point has been unnecessarily long and arduous, and will hopefully never be something any of us has to live through again. But at the end of this post, we will find out who the winner is. So let’s begin, as always, with the first half.

  1. 2+3. An early attack! Goal for highest number of views of a post on this blog. Pet Shop Boys claim 780 views for the exploration of the Bobby O Demos, while Erasure have 315 views for the review of The Innocents. 1-0.
  2. 1+4. No goal.
  3. 3+3. No goal.
  4. 2+3. Foul. 1+2. That’s a penalty for Erasure, but they miss.
  5. 1+6. No goal.

At the halfway point, Pet Shop Boys lead by just one goal. But anything could happen in the next five dice rolls, so let’s see where the second half takes us.

  1. 6+2. Goal for best album. Tough. For me that’s probably between Behaviour and either Chorus or Erasure. Erasure equalise. 1-1.
  2. 6+4. Goal for worst performance in previous games. Neither has lost a single game before now. Erasure have scored slightly more, but there’s really nothing in it. No goal.
  3. 1+5. No goal.
  4. 1+5. No goal.
  5. 1+3. No goal.

So, after Erasure equalised at the start of the second half, there was no further goal action. That means we have to play extra time.

  1. 4+4. No goal.
  2. 4+1. Goal for most weeks on UK single chart. Pet Shop Boys have the edge, with about 40 weeks more. 2-1.
  3. 6+4. Foul. 4+5. Penalty for Erasure again, but another miss.
  4. 1+4. No goal.

That’s it! Full time! Pet Shop Boys scrape through to win the championship, with a 2-1 win. We’ll close this series out with some final commentary tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you didn’t mind the slight diversion for a few weeks. If you did, there’s just one post of this nonsense left!

Stowaway World Cup – Semi-Final 2

In the second semi-final, Pet Shop Boys take on New Order. Both have won all their games to date, so this really is a battle between two giants. Each has particular strengths and weaknesses which could make all the difference in this game. Let’s see what happens in the first half.

  1. 3+5. No goal.
  2. 6+4. Goal for worst performance in previous games. So much for dice throws – this seems to have come up nearly every game since it was introduced after the group stages. In this instance, it does little good – neither team has had any particular struggles, so the referee rules that this is no goal.
  3. 6+4. That’s a foul. 4+4. The referee was a bit confused, so no penalty.
  4. 1+2. No goal.
  5. 1+6. No goal.

For the first time in the last couple of rounds, the game is scoreless at the halfway point. There was a bit of fumbling during the second and third rolls, but nothing much happened otherwise. Hopefully there will be a bit more offensive action in the second half.

  1. 1+6. No goal.
  2. 1+3. No goal.
  3. 5+1. No goal.
  4. 6+3. Goal! Finally! Goal for most innovative recording. That has to be Blue Monday, so New Order take a very late lead. 0-1.
  5. 2+6. Goal for percentage of members who have remained. Pet Shop Boys equalise. 1-1.

So, after a couple of late goals, we’re still on level pegging. Maybe extra time can help decide this one.

  1. 4+2. Goal for most single releases. Pet Shop Boys have 65, while New Order have just 44. So PSB lead 2-1.
  2. 2+4. Goal for quality of last album. Little could ever top Music Complete, so New Order equalise. 2-2.
  3. 2+1. Goal for most charismatic performer(s). There’s one more goal chance after this, but it might be the decider. The referee is struggling, as neither has a lot of onstage presence. He rules no goal.
  4. 3+6. No goal.

There’s little change in the score after extra time, so this match goes to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

  1. Pet Shop Boys: 1+2. No goal.
  2. New Order: 6+5. No goal.
  3. Pet Shop Boys: 3+1. Goal! 3-2.
  4. New Order: 6+6. Goal! 3-3.
  5. Pet Shop Boys: 1+5. Goal! 4-3.
  6. New Order: 4+5. No goal.
  7. Pet Shop Boys: 3+1. Goal! 5-3.
  8. New Order: 6+1. No goal, and New Order can no longer catch up.

So that’s it, decided by penalties. Pet Shop Boys advance to the final to play Erasure, and New Order take on Depeche Mode in the decider for third and fourth place.

Stowaway World Cup – Quarter Final 4

Now we reach the last of our quarter finals, where David Bowie meets New Order. Both teams walked the group stages, and both teams led their last stage match by three goals. So both are very strong contenders – which of them will progress? Here’s the first half:

  1. 2+5. Early goal attempt. Goal for best artwork. The referee rules that this has to be Music Complete. 0-1.
  2. 3+4. No goal.
  3. 2+4. Goal for quality of last album. Music Complete again. 0-2.
  4. 4+2. Goal for most single releases. 1-2.
  5. 2+5. Foul. 5+2. Penalty and a chance to equalise for David Bowie, which misses.

So, an aggressive first half for goal scoring, with New Order slightly ahead at half time. Let’s see what happens now in the second half:

  1. 5+6. No goal.
  2. 2+1. Goal for most charismatic performer(s). Tough. Very tough. I think we have to hand this to Bowie. 2-2.
  3. 1+4. No goal.
  4. 5+2. No goal.
  5. 6+4. Goal for worst performance in previous games. This one keeps coming up, and will decide this match. The referee rules that it’s New Order, who scored considerably fewer goals in the group stages, while conceding only one less.

Was the referee biased? Maybe. New Order progress to the semi-finals, where they will meet Pet Shop Boys in a couple of days’ time.

Stowaway World Cup – Quarter Final 3

So we commence the third quarter final, with Pet Shop Boys versus Air. The former team has had a fairly clear path to this stage, blitzing the group stages and then flying through the group of 16 with relative ease. The latter team were the surprise winner of their group, knocking out 80s and 90s stalwarts alike, and have got to this stage fairly easily as well. This might be a surprising statement, but it really could go either way. First half, then.

  1. 1+6. No goal.
  2. 2+6. Goal for percentage of members who have remained. No goal.
  3. 1+6. No goal.
  4. 2+4. Goal for quality of last album. Easy goal for PSB. 1-0.
  5. 2+2. No goal.

So, at the halfway point in the game, Pet Shop Boys are just 1-0 up, so this could still be anybody’s game. Where will the second half take us?

  1. 3+2. No goal.
  2. 1+3. No goal.
  3. 5+2. No goal.
  4. 4+5. Goal for most hits on UK album chart. 2-0.
  5. 1+3. No goal.

So that’s it! The whistle blows, and Pet Shop Boys advance to the semi-finals, after a 2-0 win.

Stowaway World Cup – Week 3

After the relative excitement of Erasure versus Kraftwerk yesterday, this seems a good time to take a quick breather. The last week has seen us work through the group of 16 and half of the quarter finals, so we now know half of our semi-finalists. We’ve had a number of shocks and surprises, and there are two quarter finals left:

  1. Pet Shop Boys versus Air, which will be played tomorrow
  2. David Bowie versus New Order, coming up on Wednesday

So this is what the semi-finals look like right now:

  1. Depeche Mode versus Erasure, which will be on Thursday
  2. Pet Shop Boys or Air, versus David Bowie or New Order, on Friday

Hopefully Depeche Mode‘s match against Erasure won’t involve another penalty shoot-out, as Erasure‘s last two games have been thrilling, nail-biting, events. Would have been, anyway, if this contest were actually of any interest to anybody.

Saturday will see the battle for third and fourth place, and the all-unimportant final is this Sunday. So let’s enter the last week of this “thrilling” competition, and see how it all pans out.