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Recalling the hypnotic orchestral grandeur of The Divine Comedy’s 1994 album Promenade, the latter song alchemises the commute home into an existential .
“I’m lucky in so many ways,” says Neil, “I don’t have to sit on a crammed tube train twice a day, but I’ve done it enough to understand why people have disengage when descending that crowded escalator.
In its own way, this song is one of the most remarkable pieces of music bearing The Divine Comedy imprint, spidering out from a simple voice memo into a stirring climax, blown into the blue by a full-pelt choral finale.
A process that began with a non-specific feeling about the nature of modern life ended late in 2018 when Neil Hannon looked at the songs he had and realised that one song was needed to complete the emotional picture.
“I had two phrases written down in my notebook,” explains Neil, “One was ‘synthesiser service centre’ and the other was ‘super summer sale’.
So obviously, I joined them together and the rest took care of itself.” On the album’s other “ad break” moment, Neil imagines what Philip Glass and Steve Reich might come up with if tasked with the job of creating a theme tune for a sit-com called .
“It felt,” he says, “like the songs and the characters in it emerged faster than I could keep track of them.” Included among those characters are beleaguered banker and star of the title track, Sir Hillary Oldmoney, who who, in his zeal to attain a promotion, contrives to bump off the star of a previous Divine Comedy song (no spoilers here).
Much of her time over the past five years has been taken up with the animal charity My Lovely Horse Rescue, co-founded with her partner, musician Neil Hannon.
They live surrounded by many of the creatures they have rescued, re-homed and restored with love and care.
Along with Office Politics, he’s been working with Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews on their musical adaptation of Father Ted – the classic Channel 4 sitcom for which Hannon’s was used as the theme music.
Included on the Deluxe CD and Deluxe Digital editions of Office Politics will be Swallows and Amazons – The Original Piano Demos, an album comprising Hannon’s original demos for the acclaimed musical adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s 1930 novel.