I think the death last week of Polly Styrene (born Marian Said) should
not go unmentioned on a list dedicated to alternative British
poetries. Polly was by far the most talented of the punk lyricists and
her band X-ray Specs made music that had that perfect balance of raw
aggression and melodic hook. Her voice was incredible, and so clear,
however loud she was shouting. Her words meant something to her and
she wanted them heard. I felt very sad to hear the news of her death.
She had a lot of issues to deal with and her life wasn't easy. Her
voice's textural interface with the music influenced me as a poet, and
I think, probably many others too. The whole X-ray Spex thing was shot-
through with poetry and a cultural critique of consumerism.
It was only when reading about her death that I also learnt that Ari
Up was taken by cancer last year. When are they going to nail this