Thursday, 25 April 2013

Poly Styrene - Two Years On

Two years ago tonight Marianne Elliot Said - Poly Styrene - left us for a higher plane. Pop stars come and go but Poly's death was significant to me, personally. I never met her but she was an enormous influence on my younger self and I was delighted when she released her album, 'Generation Indigo', full of magnificent three minute pop songs, only for her to leave us a matter of weeks later. This is what I blogged when I heard the sad news. Strangely, I can still get upset when I think about her. Some artists touch you.

I was delighted to read a post from Brian Viglione on Facebook this evening announcing a tribute concert for Poly in aid of War Child in New York in June. Good on you Brian! He said:

X-ReSpects - Poly Styrene Tribute Concert! I'm proud to announce today which marks the 2 year passing of legendary vocalist, Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex, a tribute concert charity event I've put together with David Siffert for JUNE 30th at the Webster Hall Studio! Our band is features:

Holly Brewer - ( The Folks Below, HUMANWINE) - Vocals
Amy Klein (Titus Andronicus) - Guitar
Hailey Wojcik (Wojcik) - Guitar
Aileen Brophy ( The Space Merchants ) - Bass
Carrie Anne Murphy (Bad Credit No Credit) - Saxophone
Brian Viglione (The Dresden Dolls) - Drums
Proceeds from this event will go to the War Child Foundation, a charity close to Poly's heart. War Child International is a family of independent humanitarian organizations which work together to help children and young people affected by armed conflict.
More official news and support bands TBA. Tickets will be $12-15 and it's a 16+ show. So help spread the word! 
Brian is half of the most wonderful Dresden Dolls with Amanda Fucking Palmer, purveyors of the punk cabaret. I can't help but think that Poly would approve. 

Much as I rejoiced at the idea of a tribute concert and wished I could be there on the night, a small part of me thought, 'so what are we doing?'. Last year there was a tribute album from America, 'Permanent Wave - Rebel On The Underground' and this year is the tribute concert in New York. What are we doing here in London? Two years on and nothing has happened it seems.

I can't help but make the comparison with the passing of Kirsty MacColl in 2000 (and if you don't know who she was then shame on you). Kirsty's fans arranged for a bench to be placed in Soho Square in 2002 in remembrance of her and of one of her songs and have got together on her birthday every year since then (I've been a few times). The event has got onto the TV news now and then. An anniversary concert two years ago has even been released on CD. 

That makes me feel guilty. What are we doing to keep Poly's memory and art alive?

Can it be that difficult to arrange a tribute concert? or get her previous albums remastered and re-released? I've no idea but maybe we should find out?

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