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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Poly Styrene Oh Cancer! Up Yours!

Today is my birthday and last night the plan was I'd wake up at whatever time, have a big breakfast and sit in my garden and ponder whether I can be arsed to write something, anything that an editor might be interested in reading. That was the grand plan for today.

I wear a nice silver bangle on my right wrist, haven't taken it off for years. I awoke earlier than planned because I smacked myself in the mouth with my bangle so hard it drew blood and made my lower lip swell.  Well, I did wear it, but after it being chucked at the bedroom wall, it is now sitting on the chest of drawers being taught a lesson.  I slid downstairs and after opening my birthday cards, (I got a lovely one from the Mrs) the kettle was on for a cuppa, I got twenty messages on Twitter full of well wishes, made me smile, nice of them to make the effort I thought.

A tweet on twitter caught my eye by Kathryn Flett, a fellow Random-on-Sea inmate who is more than a little bit good at the writing and journalism thing. We talk...or more accurately  tweet random polite bollox every now and again.  The tweet said...

"Am saddened by the death of (Random-on-Sea resident and punk icon) Poly Styrene."
My day came crashing down. Punk Icon Poly Styrene of the X-ray Spex,  someone I have known for years, had died. She lived a street away from me, she came back to the seaside to look after her mum she once told me a long time ago. She was someone a bit special.


She was someone that waited two hours for me to pick her up from the airport years ago because she didn't want to pay silly money for the airport taxis to take her home.  Someone that craftily negotiated a good deal on some chairs in a second hand shop we were in.  Someone that could dress so innocuously, you wouldn't have given her a second look in the street. (The fame thing, by choice wasn't really that big a deal for her.) Someone that could dress so stunningly she would blow me away.  Simple and classically expensive twin sets with an edge only Poly Styrene could pull off.  Hair so amazingly glossy... well, you can tell I was more than a bit enamoured by her.

There is a lot I could tell you about Marianne Joan Elliott-Said, but I'll keep that to myself out of respect for her family and friends.  I will tell you she launched her new album "Generation Indigo" from her hospice bed nearby, she wrote, recorded and promoted it dying from that cunt cancer.  Something we both battled and I, have made it thus far...


She was truly someone born to make a difference, to influence, her legacy is... Well, Google away to your hearts content on that one and judge for yourself. This isn't really a eulogy about a career and a true Icon of our times, it's about a little lady that lived around the corner from me in a place affectionately renamed by Kate Flett as "Random-on-Sea." A place that Poly styrene knew could be magical in the morning and frustrating in the afternoon.


This is a clip of Poly Styrene explaining her new album track by track, important to note her back was broken in two places and she was heavily medicated and dying of cancer during the filming of this interview. If this little piece means anything to anyone you will know that positivity and courage is something she had an abundance of.

  Poly Styrene, Punk Icon. Marianne, Daughter, Mother, Friend.


3 July 1957 – 25 April 2011