Yesterday, Poly Styrene succumbed to cancer and “won her battle to go to higher places.” She only ever made three albums, two of which nobody bothered listening to after she helpfully described as “more spiritual”. But that pioneering X Ray Spex release, ’Germ Free Adolescents’... that was enough in it's own right.
It’s classic British punk at it’s best – noisy yet tuneful, brimming with inspiration and energy, disdainful of all convention. (Alas that such frenetic creativity couldn’t be maintained, and it all became yet another sorry uniform.) It contains two of the great punk lines – “I can’t even hesitate” and the arch put-down “did you do it before you read about it?”
Plus, in an era when women were still struggling for their rightful place in popular music, she was an icon as bright as a beacon. When I first saw her, singing the single ’Germ Free Adolescents’ on ’Top Of the Pops’ with a brace on her teeth, I had to turn over – it was all too much for me!
First Ari Up then Poly, alas it seems the good do die young...