Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scrub Away the Entire Day

Poly Styrene was different, X Ray Spex was different, while other punk bands marched in lockstep, they were clearly out of step. They were self professed "deliberate underachievers" their sound was driven by a saxophone, (Lora Logic was the band's original saxophonist) this alone separated them from the crowd. A trained vocalist with actual operatic talent, she didn't sing, instead Poly was the female version of Johnny Rotten, but without the snarly attitude and shock factor. Her vocals could be described as an adolescent bray, she would spew forth about her favorite topics of discussion;  conformity, anti-consumerism, O.C.D. and the obsession with fashion. Poly Styrene was born Marian Joan Elliott-Said, she was of British-Somali parentage, which made her quite different in the lily white British punk scene. Onstage she was somewhat stiff, she moved her arms about, her dancing often seemed forced.  Poly didn't pose a threat to anyone, in fact she seemed quite normal. "I didn't just wear braces as a fashion statement" Marian would later explain. Neither Poly nor the band were really part of the burgeoning punk scene, they set their own agenda and followed their own path. By design they were never meant to be world beaters, "play music, have fun" would've been their motto and after one very successful album "Germ Free Adolescents" the band broke up. Marian like Lora Logic before her would join the Hare Krishnas, she stayed below the radar with the exception of occasional reunion shows and a brief reformation of the band in 1991. Marian Joan Elliott-Said, forever our Poly Styrene, passed away April 25th, 2011 on the eve of the release of her solo album.
      r.i.p. Poly Styrene