© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical

X-Ray Spex from "Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché"

The documentary poster for "Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché" pictures a smiling Poly Styrene in front of a graffitied wall.
Modern Films Entertainment, LTD.

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

I am a sucker for a music documentary. It's one of the first categories I search on streaming services. Fiction is fun, but real life is always more compelling to me. Plus, there's the music geek thing.

Especially when the subject was the first woman of color to successfully front a rock band— a working-class black woman who was inspired to start a punk band after seeing The Sex Pistols perform live.

I'm referring to Marion Joan Elliott-Said, better known as Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex, whose life and career is examined in the 2021 documentary Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché.

The film follows Styrene’s daughter, Celeste Bell (who also co-directed) as she highlights her mother's career and mental health struggles, as well as their strained relationship.

Fellow luminaries like David Bowie, Vivienne Westwood, Pauline Black, Neneh Cherry and Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna contribute praise and insight about the punk icon.

This fascinating doc doesn't gloss over the rough spots but , thankfully, isn't a Mommie Dearest exposé either.

And the soundtrack!

Not only do you get plenty of X-Ray Spex tunes, some of Styrene's solo work is featured as well.

Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché is currently streaming on Showtime, if you want to check it out.

But for today's SoundTRAX, it's X-Ray Spex with "The Day the World Turned Dayglo."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.