Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex - New Book "Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story" by Celeste Bell & Zoë Howe, Paris Exhibition & Forthcoming Documentary "I Am A Cliché"


Following last year’s 40th anniversary of the seminal X-Ray Spex album "Germfree Adolescents", an update from the Poly Styrene front includes a new book, exhibition and further news regarding the film "I Am A Cliché". Singer songwriter, lyricist, artist, free thinker, postmodern style pioneer and lifelong spiritual seeker, Poly Styrene was a true punk icon. This rebel queen with the cheeky grin was also a latter day pop artist with a wickedly perceptive gift for satirising the world around her, and her brightly coloured playful aesthetic was sharply at odds with the stark monochrome style and nihilism of punk. In "Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story" published by Omnibus Press on 28th March, the vibrant jigsaw of Poly’s inspiring and often moving story has been lovingly pieced together by her daughter - singer songwriter Celeste Bell - and acclaimed writer Zoë Howe who's other works include biographies on The Slits, Wilko Johnson, The Jesus & Mary Chain and Lee Brilleaux. "Dayglo" tells Poly’s story as an oral history together in one place for the first time, and includes testimonies from Vivienne Westwood, Don Letts, Glen Matlock, Jonathan Ross, Neneh Cherry, The Slits’ Tessa Pollitt, Thurston Moore, Jon Savage, and many others. "Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story" honestly and openly explores Poly’s exceptional life right up to her untimely passing in 2011. Growing up mixed-race in Brixton in the 1960s and being at the forefront of the emerging punk scene with X-Ray Spex in the 1970s, Poly balanced single motherhood and sometimes debilitating mental health issues with a solo music career. She went on to find faith with the Hare Krishna movement. "Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story" is fully illustrated with personal photos from Poly’s family collection, handwritten lyrics, hand drawn artwork and band logos, short stories and entries from her diary. The book beautifully captures Poly Styrene’s creative and personal legacy, reminding us that if anyone had the power to turn our worlds dayglo, it was her.


In further news, items from the Poly Styrene archive will be included in an exhibition titled the "Paris-London Music Collection 1962 -1989" looking at the parallel music scenes that emerged as a result of immigration in both Paris and London in the mid to late 20th centuries at the Palais de la Portee, Paris. The exhibition will open on the 12th of March.


Also the hugely anticipated film "Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché" is slated for a 2020 release. In this feature-length documentary, the jigsaw pieces of Poly’s life will be brought together for the first time. Original interviews, new research and previously unseen archive material are combined to present a thrilling, poetic and at times impressionistic portrait. Underscored with Poly’s music from throughout her career, "I Am A Cliché" celebrates one of punk’s most uncompromising icons as well as an intimate look at the relationship between mother and daughter.


Words by Debra Geddes at Great Northern PR. With thanks to Zoë Howe and Debra Geddes. Zoë & Celeste will be appearing at Rough Trade East on March 28th for a talk and book-signing, details of the event can be found here. Keep an eye on Zoë's Facebook page for announcements of other events, along with info on her other books of course. "Dayglo" can be ordered via Amazon or Omnibus Press. Book photo cover by Falcon Stuart.

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