Minus the baseball cap and massive shades Chris Lowe is virtually unrecognizable to all but his nearest and dearest, closest mates, fellow South Shore tennis players and most ardent fans.
That’s how he likes it. The Blackpool-born half of the Pet Shop Boys is also the heavily costumed half, even in photo calls. He calls them disguises, not costumes.
Who else could pedal around in a rickshaw in a giant pointy hat singing West End Girls to global millions for the Olympics closing ceremony and take the tube home without a second glance from fellow commuters - who may have helped push those 50m record sales over the last 30 years?
Blackpool’s still a bolt hole for Lowe - and suits his determinedly low profile. Yet national journalists and specialist music press have been left in no doubt as to his affection for his home resort and the role it played in making and shaping one of the most influential musicians of the last three decades.
The pair have even commanded their own four-part Pet Shop Boys Documentary on Radio Two this week and last in the run up to their new album - out on Friday.
It’s called Super and it is. For the privileged getting the chance to play the hypnotic Happiness and other tracks it’s proof positive the Boys are back - not that they ever really went away.
Not bad for a former Arnold School boy who once played club gigs in a cabaret band specialising in classic covers. Or collected glasses at the Dixieland Showbar.
Their four gigs in July at the Royal Opera House in London are already sold out. The pair confirm these will be the only UK concerts this year - a shame for those hoping for a return to the Empress Ballroom (last played by the pair in 2014 on their Electric tour),
Fingers crossed Cuffe and Taylor have them in their sights...Meantime, settle for Super out on x2 Records (through Kobalt Label Services), featuring 12 new Tennant/Lowe compositions, produced and mixed by Stuart Price in Los Angeles.