Punk icon Poly Styrene Marianne Elliot (aka Poly Styrene) died last night at the age of 53 after a long battle with breast cancer.
Poly Styrene, frontwoman of X-ray Spex, was a groundbreaking presence who certainly left a mark on the musical landscape.
“Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard but I think oh bondage up yours!” Poly Styrene once said.
The influence of Poly and her band X-ray Spex has been felt far and wide ever since. Their landmark album Germ Free Adolescents was hailed as a landmark work and a primary influence on Britpop and the Riot Grrrl movement.
Poly Styrene, a bi-racial feminist punk was born in Bromley, south-east London. The half-Somali singer ran away from home when she was 15 to hang out at music festivals. Her trademark braces and dayglo clothes were a rejection of the status quo and of conformity and complacency with songs that dissected gender politics, consumer culture, and the obsessions of modern life.
In her recent 6 Music interview Poly Styrene spoke optimistically about her battle with the disease.
“I’m doing everything I can to fight it. I’m taking herbal medicines, and I’m also taking homeopathy and conventional medicines. So I’m attacking it from all angles. Touch wood, I’ll make it,” she said.
At the core of Poly’s work from Germ Free Adolescents through Generation Indigo, is a revolutionary with a genuine love for this world and the people and things in it.
Poly Styrene’s album Generation Indigo is out now through Future Noise Music and was produced by Youth (The Verve, Killing Joke, The Fireman, Edwyn Collins).
Poly Styrene and the X-ray Spex, Oh Bondage, Up yours!