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poly styrene neé marianne joan elliot-said ,who announced last winter she was fighting cancer, died april 25 aged 53. one of the only biracial let alone female voices in punk, she leaves us as she was about to release a new album. her daughter celeste bell dos santos is in the madrid band debutant disco.

i'm so pissed i can't post the way i usually do- with videos and music- because of smurfette's fucking limitations and the all encompassing suck that is adobe flash.

poly, although incredibly successful as the early waves of punk flowed over england, left music before the 70s were even over. after a gig she experienced disorienting visual hallucinations and was hospitalized, diagnosed with schizophrenia. by the 90s she was diagnosed with having bi-polar disorder. she joined and left the hare krishnas ( because ,she claimed ,of their female hatred and craziness), had a daughter, and occasionally released music.

poly operated a clothing stall in those days and was often dressed in day glo dresses from the 60s- the early thrift store or stolen or hand made aesthetics that then still characterized the secret cool autistic world of surly youth. punk was self created- there was no hot topic and even the original stores that catered to rock were too expensive for most young people for whom punk in englnad was very much a poor and working class phenomena .( we colored our hair with magic markers as an example.) it wasn't until a few years into the 80s that the music reached comparatively wealthy suburban american teens en masse. i was in college when the clash finally became popular here on the release of the dreadful ' combat rock' album with their anemic passé hippie collectivist commie conspiracy ravings. x-ray spex's 'germ free adolescents', with it's personalized, human/humane attack on main stream society's worst depredations upon the individual was not released stateside originally. it was re-released finally in the early 90s, when punk's handful of survivors were dragging themselves around the globe trying to re-create the magic of a moment that was lost almost instantly after it had passed. no one wanted the truth anymore, they wanted new wave.

i found x ray spex in the cut out bin at Musicland in the westgate mall, brockton in 1978. no one wanted it. at the time everyone else was buying pat benetar and queen. the 80s are always such the object of nostalgic veneration which obscures the fact that the most influential and innovative genres of music that created the 1980s through the 2000's- disco, electro,rap,punk and new wave- began in the oft maligned 70s. the sex pistols, xray spex, siouxsie, wire, blondie, and even devo all began and released material in the 70s.

if you don't have a copy of x-ray spex's "germ free adolescents" you need it ,desperately. the exploitative dehumanizing misogynist and racist consumer society styrene railed against with near chipper pop-iness engages our tastes and dictates our desires more now than it did in the late 70s. we've succumbed instead of prevailed against the machine and we are not the better for it spiritually, artistically, or emotionally. we celebrate the lady gagas, sacrificing cats to her hackneyed parody of madonna crossed with klaus nomi on angel dust, worshipping everything punk tried and failed desperately to destroy and mock. we need a styrene not a gaga- our own identities not manufactured perversity in service to unchecked consumerism, unchecked mass conformity.


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