PHOTOCOPIER
AUDIO
PHOTOCOPIER (a cappella mix) 2004
PHOTOCOPIER (album version) 2004
GENERAL INFO The fifth song on Gary’s second album, Face Academy RECORDING VENUE & DATES Walthamstow, East London: January 11 - June 6, 2004 INSPIRATIONS The early, all-male incarnation of The Human League - most especially The Black Hit of Space, though musically it’s more reminiscent of Almost Medieval, and there are references to Boys and Girls, A Crow and a Baby, Empire State Human, Tom Baker and The Sound of the Crowd. The anti-mainstream theme is probably inspired by Adam Ant’s work around 1980-81, most notably Antmusic and Stand and Deliver, but it might have been subconsciously influenced by his 1979 single Zerox and, with its big tribal drumming, maybe even Kings of the Wild Frontier. WHAT IT’S ABOUT A photocopier that grows to such an enormous size, it manages to photocopy the entire universe. WHAT IT’S REALLY ABOUT Unusually for a Gary Le Strange song, I stated the subtext outright by having Gary explain the song at the end. He tells us that “the photocopier is a metaphor for our corrupt consumer society, which insatiably regurgitates the same old trash over and over again while feebly trying to convince us that everything we see and hear and taste is new.” This strikes right at the heart of Gary’s ‘Face Academy’ concept, positioning him totally at odds with the mainstream, Adam Ant style, ready to wage war on modern British culture (and its endless parade of musical talent shows) with his own brand of 1980s-style fashion pop. But that’s just what Gary thinks. It’d be extraordinarily hypocritical of me - a guy who was scraping a living making pastiches of other people’s work - to complain about people copying things. I think, like a lot of the stuff I did as Gary Le Strange, it’s about me taking ideas for a spin and seeing how they sound in his mouth. And here I might just have wanted to see how it sounded when he got political about something. Then again, I’ve never really been much of a fan of mainstream entertainment, and Pop Idol really did make me physically sick, so in many ways Gary’s thoughts were actually my own. I’d also spent most of my career thus far deliberately avoiding copying other people - trying to forge my own path, whatever that meant - and it hadn’t exactly been a roaring success. Only to find myself suddenly successful when I stood up and said “Hey, does anybody remember the New Romantics?” So I suppose I found myself caught between these two extremes - viscerally hating the endless rehashing of other people’s ideas, while simultaneously selling myself as Britain’s foremost 80s nostalgia merchant. All of which is a long-winded way of saying this song might be an almighty expression of self-loathing, in which I used Gary Le Strange to tell everyone how much I hated Gary Le Strange. Or maybe I was aware how silly it was and just thought it would make a good piece of comedy? I don’t know any more. ALT VERSIONS There was an earlier, sillier song I wrote for Radio 2’s The Day The Music Died called Invasion of the Pop Snatchers, which pitted itself more outspokenly against TV talent shows - referring to them as a “pop photocopier”. But that used the same backing track as one of my other songs, so it’s not really a version of this. I did however find a vocal-only mix and an alternative intro (which is actually the first attempt at doing an intro for the live show - I went with something else in the end). ANECDOTES & TRIVIA I only ever sang Photocopier live once, at the Albany pub on Great Portland Street. But it was too difficult to sing and I couldn’t remember the words, so I had to read them from a sheet of paper and even then didn’t manage to get half of them out of my mouth. I was also perilously close to having to get the live Face Academy show on the road. So, despite having conceived of it as the stunning centrepiece of my show, I made the practical decision to drop it from the set list. And that’s just one of the many reasons why Gary Le Strange ultimately failed. THOUGHTS & FEELINGS I was very, very chuffed with this at the time and gutted that I couldn’t do it justice on stage. It’s got a great sense of melodrama that would have helped make the live show more dynamic. But I just found it way too uncomfortable to sing. So it’s remained this unknown song, hidden in the middle of the middle album. I’d do it differently these days - I wish the bass was more electronic and the rhythm’s pretty clunky - but it’s bold, confident and, despite its obvious inspirations, somehow manages to be its own thing. Whether it’s funny is another matter, but I’m not sure that’s what I was aiming for. Lyrically, this was me trying to blend funny with serious and see if anyone was still listening by the end. Musically, I just wanted to see if I could take some samples from a PlayStation and make them sound like a sci-fi apocalypse. Somehow those two ambitions came together to make this the best track on Face Academy.
LYRICS
PHOTOCOPIER (alt intro) 2004
photocopier 2004
OTHER STUFF
sex dummy 2003 polaroid suitcase 2003 polaroid suitcase James Betts 2003 face academy 2004 loose lips Living TV 2003 ballerina 2002 face academy Andy Hollingworth 2004 chinese ghost 2003 chinese ghost London 2014 out to lunch 2006 the day the music died 2003
PHOTOCOPIER
album Polaroid Suitcase pictures Polaroid Suitcase notes Polaroid  Suitcase
album Face Academy video Loose Lips pictures Face Academy lyrics Photocopier notes Face Academy
PHOTOCOPIER (a cappella mix) 2004
PHOTOCOPIER (album version) 2004
PHOTOCOPIER (alt intro) 2004
GENERAL INFO The fifth song on Gary’s second album, Face Academy RECORDING VENUE & DATES Walthamstow, East London: January 11 - June 6, 2004 INSPIRATIONS The early, all-male incarnation of The Human League - most especially The Black Hit of Space, though musically it’s more reminiscent of Almost Medieval, and there are references to Boys and Girls, A Crow and a Baby, Empire State Human, Tom Baker and The Sound of the Crowd. The anti-mainstream theme is probably inspired by Adam Ant’s work around 1980-81, most notably Antmusic and Stand and Deliver, but it might have been subconsciously influenced by his 1979 single Zerox and, with its big tribal drumming, maybe even Kings of the Wild Frontier. WHAT IT’S ABOUT A photocopier that grows to such an enormous size, it manages to photocopy the entire universe. WHAT IT’S REALLY ABOUT Unusually for a Gary Le Strange song, I stated the subtext outright by having Gary explain the song at the end. He tells us that “the photocopier is a metaphor for our corrupt consumer society, which insatiably regurgitates the same old trash over and over again while feebly trying to convince us that everything we see and hear and taste is new.” This strikes right at the heart of Gary’s ‘Face Academy’ concept, positioning him totally at odds with the mainstream, Adam Ant style, ready to wage war on modern British culture (and its endless parade of musical talent shows) with his own brand of 1980s- style fashion pop. But that’s just what Gary thinks. It’d be extraordinarily hypocritical of me - a guy who was scraping a living making pastiches of other people’s work - to complain about people copying things. I think, like a lot of the stuff I did as Gary Le Strange, it’s about me taking ideas for a spin and seeing how they sound in his mouth. And here I might just have wanted to see how it sounded when he got political about something. Then again, I’ve never really been much of a fan of mainstream entertainment, and Pop Idol really did make me physically sick, so in many ways Gary’s thoughts were actually my own. I’d also spent most of my career thus far deliberately avoiding copying other people - trying to forge my own path, whatever that meant - and it hadn’t exactly been a roaring success. Only to find myself suddenly successful when I stood up and said “Hey, does anybody remember the New Romantics?” So I suppose I found myself caught between these two extremes - viscerally hating the endless rehashing of other people’s ideas, while simultaneously selling myself as Britain’s foremost 80s nostalgia merchant. All of which is a long-winded way of saying this song might be an almighty expression of self-loathing, in which I used Gary Le Strange to tell everyone how much I hated Gary Le Strange. Or maybe I was aware how silly it was and just thought it would make a good piece of comedy? I don’t know any more. ALT VERSIONS There was an earlier, sillier song I wrote for Radio 2’s The Day The Music Died called Invasion of the Pop Snatchers, which pitted itself more outspokenly against TV talent shows - referring to them as a “pop photocopier”. But that used the same backing track as one of my other songs, so it’s not really a version of this. I did however find a vocal-only mix and an alternative intro (which is actually the first attempt at doing an intro for the live show - I went with something else in the end). ANECDOTES & TRIVIA I only ever sang Photocopier live once, at the Albany pub on Great Portland Street. But it was too difficult to sing and I couldn’t remember the words, so I had to read them from a sheet of paper and even then didn’t manage to get half of them out of my mouth. I was also perilously close to having to get the live Face Academy show on the road. So, despite having conceived of it as the stunning centrepiece of my show, I made the practical decision to drop it from the set list. And that’s just one of the many reasons why Gary Le Strange ultimately failed. THOUGHTS & FEELINGS I was very, very chuffed with this at the time and gutted that I couldn’t do it justice on stage. It’s got a great sense of melodrama that would have helped make the live show more dynamic. But I just found it way too uncomfortable to sing. So it’s remained this unknown song, hidden in the middle of the middle album. I’d do it differently these days - I wish the bass was more electronic and the rhythm’s pretty clunky - but it’s bold, confident and, despite its obvious inspirations, somehow manages to be its own thing. Whether it’s funny is another matter, but I’m not sure that’s what I was aiming for. Lyrically, this was me trying to blend funny with serious and see if anyone was still listening by the end. Musically, I just wanted to see if I could take some samples from a PlayStation and make them sound like a sci-fi apocalypse. Somehow those two ambitions came together to make this the best track on Face Academy.