Saturday, April 30, 2011

News from England

I don't ordinarily write of real-world topics, but I'll make an exception yet again. For me, the biggest news story of the week came from England. Yes, the death of the remarkable Poly Styrene of the X-Ray Spex came as a blow to me.

The X-Ray Spex 1978 album Germ Free Adolescents is perhaps more relevant now than it was when it was released. Featuring such songs as Genetic Engineering, Plastic Bag, and Germ Free Adolescents, the album documents the wonders and terrors of a culture saturated with chemicals and advertising, an "existence supported by mechanical resources". Poly's strident howl was a warning from a punk prophetess, a call to resist the siren song of marketers and pedlars of convenience at the cost of authenticity. Poly also resisted domination of all sorts, whether from authority figures or commodification. My personal favorite by the 'Spex is The Day the World Turned Day-Glo, an ode to the beauties and horrors of modern chemistry which perfectly captures the spirit of the Spex, and their frontwoman:

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