Poly Styrene died last night at the age of 53.
Early this morning I downloaded her latest and sadly last album. I've been eagerly awaiting this once since raving about the single "Black Christmas" and getting a thank you via back channels.
Poly was the lead singer of one of the great punk rock bands, X-Ray Specs, a small, pretty girl with a voice like a siren and lyric after lyric that laid waste the wasteland of the UK: a nightmare world of aluminum foil and neon lights, nuclear colors of orange and yellow and green, test tubes and esso stops. "Scrub away" she told us and, in an act of prescience spelled out the reality of 21st century: "I identity is the crises can't you see…" Poly watched us watch her watch her self in a smash mirror.
Along with saxophonist Lora Logic her music was a skronk of outrage that shifted and lifted the shackles.
I was friendly with the band and saw X-Ray Specs all four nights at CBGB's. I wasn't friendly with Poly, her drug of choice was acid and she was spacey and difficult to communicate (this was 1978 or 9 -something like that).
In the annals of UK punk, it goes like this:
1. Sex Pistols
4. X-Ray Specs
Poly was a seer, a giant, a legend. Completely one of a kind.
I am grateful we have one last testament to watch the world turn dayglo, indigo, blue, black
a whiny piece of crap
The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 5-27-22 – 6-2-22, Liam Gallagher’s “C’mon You Know” Reviewed
Liam will be 50 in September
the same mix of local orchestras and the biggest Who hits
The song wakes up with alluring guitars
weaving a fairy tale for us to get lost in
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – July 1973 (Volume 5, Number 2)
“I don’t consider David (Bowie) to be even remotely big enough to be any competition.”
an old school New York feel
oedipal vulnerable and blue collar visceral
An emotional song with Miya’s acrobatic and vulnerable vocals
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1973 (Volume 4, Number 12)
From Robert Johnson to the Ramones – what a life!