About Me

Full-time husband and dad, Head of Governance and Democratic Services at Kirklees Council. Passionate about democracy, local government, Sheffield United, my mountain bike and punk rock. Views here are my own

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A Reflective Goodbye to a Punk Icon

I think it was Johnny Rotten who said "I don't have any heroes" - I hope he did anyway.  I unfortunately am something of a romantic who has heroes (or in this case a heroine).  The heroine of which I speak is the wonderful Poly Styrene - icon, innovator, singer, fashionista - and so much more.  It was yesterday that I belatedly heard of her passing, news which has proven to be a bit of a shock to the system.

I think the shock is partly explained by the stark fact that part of your youth, the person who (amongst others) provided the soundtrack to some of your rites of passage is suddenly gone.  I am beginning to realise that a cruel bi-product of getting older is that your heroes and heroines are on that same treadmill of time, a treadmill that in some cases moves a bit too fast for my liking.  Johnny Thunders, most of the Ramones, Stiv Bators, Malcolm McClaren, Lux Interior, Arthur "Killer" Kane, Ian Dury, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Joe Strummer, Nikki Sudden, Ari Up - all gone.

I guess all of this is an inevitability but for some reason the passing of the people who play cameo parts in your life gets harder each time.  That said, I will remember Poly Styrene and X Ray Spex in my own way. It was 1978 and this strange and intriguing vision appeared on Top of the Pops singing The Day the World Turned Day-glo.  I was immediately transfixed, aided in no small part by my Dad saying "What's this bloody rubbish".  That was the starting point of a brief but throughly rewarding relationship.  Later X Ray Spex became one of the bands I played before going out with my mates to The Limit Club in Sheffield - great times.  As I write this post I am listening to Germ Free Adolescents, looking back fondly on a time when it felt like music such as this was all you needed. In many ways it was, and quite often still is.

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