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

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


Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 04:02 (nine years ago) link


Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 04:02 (nine years ago) link

Also, Nitsuh's piece is wonderful.


Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 04:03 (nine years ago) link

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 (nine years ago) link

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 (nine years ago) link

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 (nine years ago) link

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 (nine years ago) link

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 (nine years ago) link

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 (nine years ago) link


scott seward, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 14:08 (nine years ago) link


scott seward, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 14:09 (nine years ago) link

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 (nine years ago) link

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 (nine years ago) link


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

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 (nine years ago) link

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 (nine years ago) link

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 (nine years ago) link

Think you are otm, Ole.

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

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 (four years ago) link

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 (two years ago) link

two years pass...


xyzzzz__, Friday, 22 May 2020 12:49 (one month ago) link

I contributed to Kickstarter a few years ago for a documentary involving Poly Styrene's daughter. Still waiting--hope it didn't get derailed.

clemenza, Friday, 22 May 2020 12:51 (one month ago) link


Spocks on the Run (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 May 2020 13:42 (one month ago) link

clemenza, this article mentions your documentary being still in production. Seems like an interesting approach. https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidchiu/2019/10/14/poly-styrene-punk-icon-biography-dayglo/#4d2f69ef3685

Meanwhile, a documentary about Styrene directed by Paul Sng (which involves both Howe and Bell) is currently in production. “Its angle is more of a communication between daughter and mother,” Howe says of the film, “with the story unfolding via letters from Celeste to Poly amid interviews threaded throughout. Some of the interviewees appear in both projects, some exclusively were for the book. The letters also appear in adapted or expanded forms in the book, too.”

Spocks on the Run (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 May 2020 13:46 (one month ago) link

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