BALLERINA
AUDIO
LYRICS
ballerina 2002
BALLERINA (album version without intro) 2003
BALLERINA (Sex Dummy EP version) 2003
BALLERINA (Out To Lunch) BBC Radio 2, 2006
OTHER STUFF
sex dummy 2003 polaroid suitcase 2003
VIDEO
ballerina Edinburgh 2003 polaroid suitcase James Betts 2003
GENERAL INFO The third song I wrote, recorded and performed as Gary Le Strange. It’s the opening track both on the Sex Dummy EP and Gary’s first full-length album, Polaroid Suitcase. It was also the opening song of Gary’s first stage show and the ensuing tour. So basically very important for setting the scene and introducing him to the world. RECORDING VENUES & DATES EP Version: Walthamstow, 18 July 2002 - 28 February 2003 EP intro: 26 February 2003 Album version: 18 July 2002 - 31 May 2003 OTL Version: Villiers Theatre, London WC2, 20 March 2006 INSPIRATIONS Spandau Ballet - especially a track on Journeys to Glory called Mandolin. Also Classix Nouveaux, ABC’s The Look of Love (the bit where he goes “Whoa Whoa Whoa”) and Spellbound by Siouxsie and the Banshees. WHAT IT’S ABOUT Gary sings a song of intense infatuation to a ballet dancer he’s got the hots for. WHAT IT’S REALLY ABOUT As with most of Gary’s early songs, this song’s about something he admires and aspires to be like. So it’s probably about me aspiring to be like the New Romantic pop stars I admired when I was little. ‘Ballerina’ obviously comes from ‘Spandau Ballet’ so I guess the lyrics are basically just me stating outright what I was trying to do - that I was trying to write a song in the style of Spandau Ballet. And at the end, when the Ballerina disappears back off to Russia, that’s me saying “And that’s the end of the song.” The bit in the middle about the ballerina being really funny and having lots of money is a standard wish fulfilment fantasy. I wanted my act to be both funny and lucrative. AND I wanted to move like a train on a river of chrome. I may have occasionally achieved one of those ambitions but I’m not telling you which. Another thing: there’s no proper word in English for a male ballet dancer - the Italian word is ‘ballerino’ but it isn’t really used in English. Consequently we tend to associate ballet with female rather than male dancers. Gary gets similarly mixed up, calling the object of his affections a ‘ballerina’ despite being obviously male. So I was probably saying something about language and gender identity but I’m not sure what. ALT VERSIONS The album version kicks off with a minute-long intro about Gary’s ambition to appear on Top of the Pops, but the earlier version on the Sex Dummy EP starts with a completely different intro about Gary coming to prominence at the end of 1979, as the new decade began - an idea I ditched when I realised I wanted Gary to be a struggling contemporary musician rather than a former star. I also did a live version in the first episode of the BBC Radio 2 show Out To Lunch, during which the only laughter you can hear from the live audience is at the funny bits of dancing I did during one of the instrumental passages. Not ideal for radio. It’s followed by a godawful, cringeworthy bit of panto-inspired chat with host Rob Deering about Gary wanting to find a partner - written by me, but God knows why - which is supposed to introduce the character to a new audience but just comes across as joyless and desperate. No idea whether I was hoping the story would be followed up in future episodes - doubtful, since it’s basically the exact opposite of the asexual loner I’d built Gary up to be - but thankfully it wasn’t. It was also a zillion miles away from the much darker stuff I was writing for my then-current live show, so I genuinely have no earthly idea why it even happened. Rob understandably asked not to be involved in such witless crap in future, so my remaining appearances began with a solo introduction. ANECDOTES & TRIVIA At the Perrier showcase in London after winning the Newcomer Award, I was so nervous that, even though I’d already sung the song hundreds of times, I started with the second verse. Fortunately I had the wherewithal to remember to sing the first verse in place of the second. No one noticed, but I still spent most of the show thinking I’d irrevocably messed things up. THOUGHTS & FEELINGS It’s the third one I wrote but the first I got right, the first that met my ambitions for the character and proved to me that the project had a future. So it’s probably the most important one. It tells you everything you need to know about Gary Le Strange - what he’s into, how clever he isn’t, what social class he hails from, how emotionally challenged he is - without me ever having to say it directly. I like that the jokes aren’t obvious and that, if you weren’t listening carefully, you might think it was a genuinely bad New Romantic song written by a 10-year-old. The production values are creaky but in terms of the writing, it’s as close to perfect as the first album gets and one of the few songs I’ve written that I’ve never disliked. Could be painful to sing live though if I wasn’t fit and healthy.
face academy 2004 face academy Andy Hollingworth 2004 loose lips Living TV 2003 photocopier 2004
BALLERINA
BALLERINA (album version without intro) 2003
BALLERINA (Sex Dummy EP version) 2003
BALLERINA (Out To Lunch) BBC Radio 2, 2006
GENERAL INFO The third song I wrote, recorded and performed as Gary Le Strange. It’s the opening track both on the Sex Dummy EP and Gary’s first full-length album, Polaroid Suitcase. It was also the opening song of Gary’s first stage show and the ensuing tour. So basically very important for setting the scene and introducing him to the world. RECORDING VENUES & DATES EP Version: Walthamstow, 18 July 2002 - 28 Feb 2003 EP intro: 26 Feb 2003 Album version: 18 July 2002 - 31 May 2003 OTL Version: Villiers Theatre, London WC2, 20 March 2006 INSPIRATIONS Spandau Ballet - especially a track on Journeys to Glory called Mandolin. Also Classix Nouveaux, ABC’s The Look of Love (the bit where he goes “Whoa Whoa Whoa”) and Spellbound by Siouxsie and the Banshees. WHAT IT’S ABOUT Gary sings a song of intense infatuation to a ballet dancer he’s got the hots for. WHAT IT’S REALLY ABOUT As with most of Gary’s early songs, this song’s about something he admires and aspires to be like. So it’s probably about me aspiring to be like the New Romantic pop stars I admired when I was little. ‘Ballerina’ obviously comes from ‘Spandau Ballet’ so I guess the lyrics are basically just me stating outright what I was trying to do - that I was trying to write a song in the style of Spandau Ballet. And at the end, when the Ballerina disappears back off to Russia, that’s me saying “And that’s the end of the song.” The bit in the middle about the ballerina being really funny and having lots of money is a standard wish fulfilment fantasy. I wanted my act to be both funny and lucrative. AND I wanted to move like a train on a river of chrome. I may have occasionally achieved one of those ambitions but I’m not telling you which. Another thing: there’s no proper word in English for a male ballet dancer - the Italian word is ‘ballerino’ but it isn’t really used in English. Consequently we tend to associate ballet with female rather than male dancers. Gary gets similarly mixed up, calling the object of his affections a ‘ballerina’ despite being obviously male. So I was probably saying something about language and gender identity but I’m not sure what. ALT VERSIONS The album version kicks off with a minute-long intro about Gary’s ambition to appear on Top of the Pops, but the earlier version on the Sex Dummy EP starts with a completely different intro about Gary coming to prominence at the end of 1979, as the new decade began- an idea I ditched when I realised I wanted Gary to be a struggling contemporary musician rather than a former star. I also did a live version in the first episode of the BBC Radio 2 show Out To Lunch, during which the only laughter you can hear from the live audience is at the funny bits of dancing I did during one of the instrumental passages. Not ideal for radio. It’s followed by a godawful, cringeworthy bit of panto- inspired chat with host Rob Deering about Gary wanting to find a partner - written by me, but God knows why - which is supposed to introduce the character to a new audience but just comes across as joyless and desperate. No idea whether I was hoping the story would be followed up in future episodes - doubtful, since it’s basically the exact opposite of the asexual loner I’d built Gary up to be - but thankfully it wasn’t. It was also a zillion miles away from the much darker stuff I was writing for my then-current live show, so I genuinely have no earthly idea why it even happened. Rob understandably asked not to be involved in such witless crap in future, so my remaining appearances began with a solo introduction. ANECDOTES & TRIVIA At the Perrier showcase in London after winning the Newcomer Award, I was so nervous that, even though I’d already sung the song hundreds of times, I started with the second verse. Fortunately I had the wherewithal to remember to sing the first verse in place of the second. No one noticed, but I still spent most of the show thinking I’d irrevocably messed things up. THOUGHTS & FEELINGS It’s the third one I wrote but the first I got right, the first that met my ambitions for the character and proved to me that the project had a future. So it’s probably the most important one. It tells you everything you need to know about Gary Le Strange - what he’s into, how clever he isn’t, what social class he hails from, how emotionally challenged he is - without me ever having to say it directly. I like that the jokes aren’t obvious and that, if you weren’t listening carefully, you might think it was a genuinely bad New Romantic song written by a 10-year-old. The production values are creaky but in terms of the writing, it’s as close to perfect as the first album gets and one of the few songs I’ve written that I’ve never disliked. Could be painful to sing live though if I wasn’t fit and healthy.
album Sex  Dummy video Ballerina album Polaroid Suitcase pictures Polaroid Suitcase script Sex  Dummy notes Polaroid  Suitcase
lyrics Ballerina song  Photocopier