X-Ray Spex singer Poly Styrene r.i.p.

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Apparently her cancer came back and got her. No news links yet, but that's the word.

Sad, considering she was just on the verge of a new album release and some touring.

Johnny Fever, Monday, 25 April 2011 23:54 (seven years ago) Permalink

horrible news

balls, Monday, 25 April 2011 23:56 (seven years ago) Permalink

Wow! Inspired by tune-YARDS, I went through an X-Ray Spex phase last week. RIP.

My mom is all about capital gains tax butthurtedness (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 25 April 2011 23:57 (seven years ago) Permalink

A week ago on her FB page:

Slowly slowly trying to get better, miss my walk along the promenade. Would be so nice to sing again, and play my new album live. Its nice to have something positive to look forward to, Love Poly X


Craiger Lazer (Craigo Boingo), Monday, 25 April 2011 23:58 (seven years ago) Permalink

Why u brake heart? RIP

ELO ENO ONO (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:02 (seven years ago) Permalink

RIP, she was the template.

it's time for the fish in the perculator (Steve Shasta), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:03 (seven years ago) Permalink

aw man, no!


tInA-yOtHeRs (donna rouge), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

Still hunting down a news report/confirmation of it. I'm inclined to believe the news based on who told me, but I'm sort of hoping it's just erroneous gossip.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:08 (seven years ago) Permalink

Oh Poly

immer wieder, ralf & günther (NickB), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:09 (seven years ago) Permalink

Oh cancer, up yours

A Zed and Two Nults (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:10 (seven years ago) Permalink

If true, extremely sad. No one else like her, ever.


clemenza, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

Do we have confirmation?

My mom is all about capital gains tax butthurtedness (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:23 (seven years ago) Permalink

Nothing yet, but people have started posting condolences on twitter and on her facebook page. If it's not true, AW-KWARD!

This is the time of day UK news outlets would be running skeleton crews though, right?

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:25 (seven years ago) Permalink

sad news for sure. Germfree Adolescents is probably bested on my Singles Going Steady when it comes to first wave brit punk for me

Fellini.Kuti, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:26 (seven years ago) Permalink

on my = only by, sry

Fellini.Kuti, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:28 (seven years ago) Permalink

According to an NPR Christgau story I just looked at, her album was scheduled for release tomorrow. Tomorrow.

clemenza, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:37 (seven years ago) Permalink

It was released 3/28 in the UK, but from what I understand she's been too ill to really do any of the promotion she would've liked to.

I listened to some clips and it's REALLY good.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:39 (seven years ago) Permalink

Still nothing anywhere an hour later. Really hoping this does turn out to be a hoax and we won't have to revive this thread for another 50 years.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:52 (seven years ago) Permalink

Oh gosh. Such an inspiration to me as a teen. RIP

Handjobs for a sport (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 01:13 (seven years ago) Permalink

I guess that doesn't really add anything that Johnny Fever hasn't already said.

clemenza, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 01:50 (seven years ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's from my editor at the Weekly there. Nothing specific still.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 01:52 (seven years ago) Permalink

hope this isn't true

the wages of sin is about tree fiddy (WmC), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 01:52 (seven years ago) Permalink

i hate to be the guy betting on death, but she seems like an unlikely subject of a hoax

Fellini.Kuti, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 02:15 (seven years ago) Permalink

really hope this isn't true. :(

germfree adolescents broke my mind in half when i was 17 and still holds up better than just about any other punk album of its time.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 02:17 (seven years ago) Permalink

Symond Lawes
i just spoke to her mother and its very true, she passed away quietly last night, her mother and daughter were with her, bless you marianne. symond xxx

pan loco y salsa loca (get bent), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 07:47 (seven years ago) Permalink

shit... Oh cancer, up yours

Stockhausen's Ekranoplan Quartet (Elvis Telecom), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 09:46 (seven years ago) Permalink

Yes very much up yours. RIP, we'll miss you. :-(

Nathalie (stevienixed), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 10:26 (seven years ago) Permalink

Here's another thread where we curse Cancer. RIP

Mark G, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 10:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

Aww RIP. Such a great voice.

Telemachus Sneezed (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 11:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

didn't realize she would have been 20 in 1977. I dunno if the other Spex were younger, but photos of the band made me think they were closer to 16 than 20 in their heyday.

bendy, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 11:08 (seven years ago) Permalink

christ. r.i.p.

Land of Rap and Homies (kkvgz), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 11:09 (seven years ago) Permalink


probly still my favourite

A Zed and Two Nults (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 11:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

RIP Poly. So glad I went to the reunion gig a few years ago. She looked so great then too.

a fucking stove just fell on my foot. (Colonel Poo), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 11:12 (seven years ago) Permalink

Tragic. RIP Poly.

None'll come and then a lot'll (Tom D.), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 11:16 (seven years ago) Permalink

One of THE great voices in popular music history. RIP

Kevin John Bozelka, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 13:32 (seven years ago) Permalink

Aw, I was hoping to wake up this morning and find out I'd been foolish to start this thread. :(

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 13:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

cancer.grrrr. RIP

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 13:49 (seven years ago) Permalink


grill 'em bake 'em fry 'em burn 'em (snoball), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 13:53 (seven years ago) Permalink


the wages of sin is about tree fiddy (WmC), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 14:09 (seven years ago) Permalink

Maura remembers.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 14:16 (seven years ago) Permalink

fucking sucks. RIP Poly

The Everybody Buys 1000 Aerosmith Albums A Month Club (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 15:19 (seven years ago) Permalink

Anything that still matters to me about punk was embodied in Poly Styrene.

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 15:25 (seven years ago) Permalink

Kathleen Hanna.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 16:51 (seven years ago) Permalink

Just... :(

textbook blows on the head (dowd), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 16:52 (seven years ago) Permalink


gospodin simmel, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 18:17 (seven years ago) Permalink

Aw no! I literally found out TWO HOURS AGO about the new album, played & quite liked, and searched "styrene" to see if anything was said about it on here... RIP Poly :(

anatol_merklich, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 18:37 (seven years ago) Permalink

Everything I read about her over the years suggests she was a decent human being, sad to read about this, the piece in the guardian a while ago made it sound like it was bad, but not hopeless.

Great powerful, foghorn blast of a voice on those old recordings, this is awesome:


Letzte Tage - Letzte Pächmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 19:14 (seven years ago) Permalink

She made me feel better about my teenage orthodontia. RIP Poly.

kate78, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 21:08 (seven years ago) Permalink

Just wanted to save this photo for posterity that Dangerous Minds used:


Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 04:02 (seven years ago) Permalink


Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 04:02 (seven years ago) Permalink

Also, Nitsuh's piece is wonderful.


Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 04:03 (seven years ago) Permalink

It's a good piece. Not sure about the 'great women of post-punk' idea, though. Siouxsie, Ari and Poly were very much class-of-76 and mobilised by the Pistols gigs of early that year, even if it took them all 2-3 years to get records out. You might call some Banshees and Slits records 'post-punk' but they were solidly rooted in the ethos of London 1976. Delta 5 and the Au Pairs were provincial 3rd-wave 1979ers and of course much more overtly political and serious.

But yes, RIP. It's a real tragedy - she was a true original.

Dr.C, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 08:21 (seven years ago) Permalink

Dr.C! Good to see you here, though for an understandably sad reason. And that's an interesting detail you bring up; it's always seemed much more blurred over here/to a later generation.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 12:36 (seven years ago) Permalink

I think it's reasonably straightforward to recognise those that came in xxx's wake but weren't directly influenced by xxx, but whoever xxx were influenced by as well.

i.e. as opposed to the bandwagon-jumpers, and those that could do their make-up "just like Siouxsie"

Mark G, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 12:54 (seven years ago) Permalink

Hi Ned :) I still look in once in a while just to keep an eye on things :)

Dr.C, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 13:56 (seven years ago) Permalink

I'm also not sure about the 'great women of post punk' idea either. There's a tendency to group female artists together (or in other combinations such including as Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith) when what they have most in common is that they are women and quite different as artists.

Bob Six, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 13:57 (seven years ago) Permalink

I think the intimation (at the time) was that the majority of women in "rock" before that were 'similar'...

Mark G, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 14:03 (seven years ago) Permalink


scott seward, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 14:08 (seven years ago) Permalink


scott seward, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 14:09 (seven years ago) Permalink

Grouping together Chrissie Hynde, Debby Harry, Viv Albertine, Siouxie Sioux, Poly Styrene and Pauline Black has a long history, literally


bendy, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 14:17 (seven years ago) Permalink

Ha! - I was listening to Silly Billy this morning. It was mixed in with a load of X-Ray Spex tracks on my ipod.


Dr.C, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 14:19 (seven years ago) Permalink


mike t-diva, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 17:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

this woman was able to project so much emotion through her voice, it leaps and bounds off of the records. so inspirational.


sleeve, Thursday, 28 April 2011 04:45 (seven years ago) Permalink

Agreed about one of the great voices obv, but also 1 x great LYRICIST to my mind. A thing I was surprised by when finding teh ilx @ abt 2001-2 was that people seemed to think maybe she was a bit urm "didactic" about what she thought and ideology and stuff -- while me I'd cherished the songs for being open-ended in any meaning, twasnt clear to which degree did she pose herself as an opponent vs part of what she (surely, possibly or not at all) railed against? I wanna be a frozen pea! Maybe "irony" was just a given in 1978 and/or 2001?

That were many words; in few words: great great LYRICIST.

anatol_merklich, Saturday, 30 April 2011 00:58 (seven years ago) Permalink

Um I see I wasn't extremely clear there... Example:

Genetic engineering
Could create the perfect race
Could create an unknown life-force
That could us exterminate*

Introducing worker clone
As our subordinated slave
His expertise proficiency
Will surely dig our grave

Interpretation a) oh no genetic engineering is scary and bad!
Interpretation b) hi dere I just wrote a hopefully fun scifi pome to go with a song hurrah!

... and I would tend twds b).

*) This is a bit of a clunker I must admit.

anatol_merklich, Saturday, 30 April 2011 01:10 (seven years ago) Permalink

Think you are otm, Ole.

A Bop Gun for Dinosaur (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 30 April 2011 04:14 (seven years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

Why does no one ever talk about Translucence? I get that it pales in comparison to her more famous work, but it's really lovely, although the energy is the polar opposite of her work with the Spex. I have yet to dig any further into her solo work, but I'm glad I discovered this.



Horse Throat (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 16 March 2016 19:07 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Just watched that BBC broadcast from '79, "Who Is Poly Styrene?" (on YouTube). I found it difficult to pick up on all the voice-over commentary. Great document, but I did find it all a little depressing.

clemenza, Thursday, 13 July 2017 16:17 (eleven months ago) Permalink

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