Sunday, June 10, 2012

Poly Styrene

I missed this week's Punk Britannia but I did get home in time to see the Arena documentary on Poly Styrene. I feel sure that she would have resisted having it broadcast had she still been alive, in particular because of the footage of Falcon Stuart, who went on later to try to destroy her when she would not do what he wanted her to.
Nobody helped her when she got mobbed when she left the stage at Liverpool Eric's. She seemed so alone in the band, even though she said she liked being on her own. There is a difference between the two, of course.
I liked the parts where they were writing songs. X Ray Spex's songs often jolted about from time signature to time signature, much as conversations do, and that is exactly the way they were written; as the thought changes, so does the melody and the rhythm. Truly written in the vernacular, Poly sang the melody and the band followed her, often led, it seems, by the sax player, who was having chord-sequence-assertiveness competitions with the guitarist in the film; I found this very funny, having written songs as a 'non-musician' in bands so often.
Poly was a really intelligent and resourceful young woman and this came across well in the documentary, as did the discrepancy between the serene person who glided down escalators in her long cream-coloured knitted coat, selected brightly coloured packets with mock-seriousness from the supermarket shelves, or sat patiently in the tour bus as the driver got lost; and the military-style siren belting it out at the sweaty crowds in Eric's.
X Ray Spex to my mind had the best punk lyrics, full of sly politics. Poly was enigmatic, at once part of it all and separate from it all.
Long live her memory!


foolish girl said...

I caught the tales end of that too.. hear hear Helen x

foolish girl said...

tails end? tale end!