|This Months Backdrop
This months backdrop is the Legendary Poly Styrene of X-Ray
Spex done in a specific indigo tinge in homage to her latest
album. Whoever said she wasn't attractive or the best female
vocalist in punk rock is probably fuckin' deaf and blind!
|THIS SITE IS DEDICATED TO...
Last update: May 1st 2011
Really sad news hits the punk world as we lose yet
another outstanding female artist. Poly Styrene (53)
former lead singer with X-Ray Spex whose 1977
punk anthem 'Oh Bondage Up Yours' 45 ignited a
whole generation of dis-enchated youth lost her
battle to fight Cancer.
Poly peacefully passed away in her sleep on 26th
April, 2011 shortly after releasing her new solo
album 'Generation Indigo' in March 2011.
Poly was admitted to St Michael's Hospice, East
Sussex, diagnosed with spine and breast cancer.
She will be sadly missed by her mother, daughter,
friends and, not least, her fans.
Some people think little girls should be seen and
not heard, but I think Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex
should be compulsory audio. Lead singer Poly
Styrene in case you didn't already know had the
strongest female vocal to erupt from the punk
scene since it first kicked up a fuss in the late 70's.
Her aural power could literally strip paint, shudder
yer speakers from their moorings and rip Consumer
Society to shreds in an after thought. X-Ray Spex
are a classic illustration oh how diverse punk rock
can be with creative songs that were so modern
lyrically speaking when they were first penned in
'77, it now seems almost prophetic when heard over 30 years later. What makes Poly even more of an
appealing commodity than say Siouxsie or Arri, is the warmth and wit of her composing and singing.
Powerful, vulnerable and downright fucking rockin! She wasn't a blueprint ice queen or a screeching vamp;
she was an unworldly, futuristic innocence abroad in a wicked world, but armed with an equally wicked
imagination and will be sadly missed.
Poly Styrene (1957-2011)
Who were X-Ray Spex?
One of the more exciting punk bands to come out of the late seventies, fronted by Poly Styrene (Marion
Elliot). There were some ugly blokes in the band too but could
they riff and create the anthems as well as any of the classics
you're likely to find in the punk scene.
What did they sound like?
Exuberant pop punk blasts with great tunes and Poly's
breathtakingly powerful vocal. They were also infectious as hell.
Not ones to outstay their welcome X-Ray Spex (original line-up)
only produced one album 'Germ Free Adolescents' and what an
album and also a handful of totally brilliant singles (some even
came on coloured vinyl), before imploding in the summer of '79,
Check out 'Oh Bondage Up Yours', 'The Day The World Turned
Dayglo' and 'Identity' or 2001's 'Anthology' for the full
compulsory audio ingest.
The single 'Germ Free Adolescence', got to Number 19, while the parent
album reached number 30 in the national charts. This single slows things
down dramatically as they play out a throbbing waltzer of a track that
shimmers with a high tension guitar, pulsating keyboards, moody bass and a
poignant sax in the background. It actually sounds like it could've come from
the sound track of the Barbarella movie, as Poly takes us on the antiseptic
mating ritual of young love with all its clinical pitfalls and that encompassing
yet crucial compassionate vocal. In cred terms it had to be the debut 45 their
most punkiest chewn of their set the immortal 'Oh Bondage Up Yours'. A 2.46
min. bawl which screamed a defiant yell not heard since Rotten roared on
'Anarchy In The UK' the previous winter.This unruly anthem is set alight by
some ingenious sax work of Lora Logic which adds panache to the pounding
rhythms and those defiant vocals sealing its fate in punk folklore forever. Hotly
pursued on the b-side by 'Im A Cliche' which is spat out at an even more
frenzied pace as Poly hollers "yama yama yama, boredom boredom" to
the dog collared Roxy patrons.
What Nihilism On The Prowl said:
'The Day The World Turned Dayglo' was ahead of its time. The fluorescent world that lived in Poly
Styrene's head was a strange world to behold, as we are driven on a futuristic travelogue of urban guitars
and the eccentric saxophone given to us by Rudi
Thomson and providing the band with a truly dynamic
signature. Who'd have thought sitting on a Hastings
shingle beach could inspire such a new world view.
'Identity' however signals the second top 3 hit for the
band and its release came about the same time Poly had
her nervous breakdown which screamed alarm bells in
the X-Ray Spex camp. The song came with some
harrowingly appropriate lyrics "Identity is a crisis, can't
you see" and a crisis was what Poly was actually living in
as she struggled to cope with bipolar.
One of my fave Spex tracks is the dirty low level grunge
of 'Lets Submerge' performed and logged with a resound
resignation of the weird and wacky scene that dwelt in
subterranean clubs and cellars that this new breed of
punks frequented. "If you've got the urge c'mon lets
submerge" she lured us with a raunchy kind of self
satisfaction.'Art-I-Ficial' has a really great vocal, spot
lighting Poly's phenomenal power in all its bawdy glory.
I was lucky enough to capture a live gig by X-Ray Spex
in Wolverhampton in 1978. Poly came on stage with her
yellow school bus bag which she placed in front of the
bass drum and enthralled the audience with her friendly
demeanour and radically enchanting vocal range.
The only punk band i remember seeing in those days that didnt get gobbed on because she was lovely no
big headed snotty attitude just full star quality. She kissed punters after the set signed autographs and
was very genial. The band stayed in a quaint Bed and Breakfast above the Whetsheaf pub in town.
PETER DONT CARE (May 2011)
My favourite British band was X-Ray Spex with Poly Styrene. They were wonderful.
Hilly Kristel - Owner of CBGB's
I loved Polystyrene. She was fantastic - one of the greats. Actually I asked Malcolm and his
spokesman why they didn't use Poly Styrene for Bow Wow Wow. They just felt she had no sex
appeal. But I thought she was wonderful. I just loved her.
Gene Krell - ex owner of Granny Takes A Trip boutique
X-Ray Spex weren't just another stereotypical punk group. Their songs were full of irony about
fakery and commodified culture.
Nils Stevenson - Siouxsie And The Banshees manager.
Poly Styrene was brilliant. It was interesting that after punk both she and Lora Logic (former
member of X-Ray Spex went off into extreme religion.
Viv Goldman - Punk Historian
"I know I'll be remembered for 'Oh Bondage Up Yours!, I'd like to be remembered for
something a bit more spiritual." - Poly Styrene March 2011
Born Summer 1999
reached puberty October 26th 2009
A Punk Rocker Production © 2009-2011
Site best viewed in 1366 x 800