"Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard, but I think... OH, BONDAGE! UP YOURS! 1-2-3-4!"
One of the most important artistic influences of my entire life, Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex, has died of breast cancer at the age of 53. I was obsessed with Germ Free Adolescents when I was in 9th and 10th grade and just discovering classic punk, and along with my simultaneous discovery of John Waters' films, the album was a major, tectonic life changer for me.
Poly Styrene was a little girl with braces who had a big, big voice and an even bigger attitude. She made me want to wear army helmets too. And I can't think of a single woman of color from the punk scene of the 70's, aside from Poly. Am I overlooking somebody?
One time, in high school, my best friend and I were watching Sid & Nancy and there's a scene where X-Ray Spex is playing, but the woman singing is a tall red head instead of a shortish, mixed race girl with braces like Poly really was. Also, we had subtitles on. Somehow, "Oh, bondage! Up Yours!' was translated to, "Oh, Mondays! No more." Which is a way lamer song.
Goodbye, Poly. I miss you. I miss you already.