Tuesday 26 April 2011

R.I.P Poly Styrene

Like Ari-Up's untimely passing last year, it is sad to hear today of Poly Styrene's death. Although I was never a big fan of X-ray Spex, more a casual admirer, the singles Oh Bondage Up Yours, World Turned DayGlo, and the ever brilliant Germ Free Adolescents were striking, the latter always sending shivers down my spine. I didn't need to by their album, as I heard it on near constant replay for an entire summer as it blasted out of the room of someone I lived in a house share with many years ago, (thanks Helen). Poly, like Ari, challenged the male dominated punk movement.

Excepting Pauline Murrey of Penetration and Siouxsie Sioux of the Banshees, there weren't enough women in punk, and Poly would have helped the confidence of strong female fronted groups that were to follow in her wake. Bands such as The Rezillos, The Selecter, (the sometimes female fronted) Crass and Poison Girls spring to mind, and I'm well aware I'm probably missing out plenty of others. Then there were the countless female fronted or all female indie bands of the mid-eighties that formed well after New Wave, Post-punk, Anarcho-punk and 2 Tone had died out. And because of this, like Ari-Up, Poly Styrene's importance can not be underestimated.

And reading Poly Styrene's obituary on The Guardian website just now, I also found that I share my birthday with her. I'll toast you this year Poly, truly, rest in peace.

The Guardian obituary.

1 comment:

Steven Ball said...

Jon Savage would agree and adds a few more names to the list:

"Poly and her peers – Ari Up, Viv Albertine, Tessa Pollitt and Palmolive of the Slits, Siouxsie of the Banshees, Gaye Advert of the Adverts, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders – who, in a short time, redefined what women could do as musicians and performers."


I might add Cosey Fanni Tutti to the list