​i am a cliché: documentary on x-ray spex frontwoman poly styrene announced

A crowdfunding campaign has started to fund the film, celebrating the legendary punk frontwoman on the 40th anniversary of seminal album 'Germfree Adolescents.'

by Charlotte Gush
30 March 2017, 3:40pm

A feature-length documentary on the life and work of Poly Styrene, the legendary frontwoman of X-Ray Spex, has been announced. On the 40th anniversary of the band's seminal record, Germfree Adolescents, director Paul Sng (who also did the Sleaford Mods doc Invisible Britain) has teamed up with music writer Zoë Howe (who's written books on The Slits, Stevie Nicks, and The Jesus and Mary Chain) and Poly Styrene's daughter Celeste Bell to chart the trail blazed by the spectacularly unique punk frontwoman.

The film, titled I Am a Cliché after the track of the same name, will bring together original interviews, previously unseen archive footage, and new research to tell the story of the bi-racial, working-class musician. The film will focus on Poly Styrene the artist and performer, with her warrior-cry performance style and smart, satirical lyrics, as well as her personal struggles with racism, misogyny, and mental health issues.

"We have an opportunity to celebrate an artist, a satirist, a free-thinking feminist, and a serious style pioneer, but ultimately the thread running through the film will be the deep, enduring connection between a mother and her daughter," co-writer Zoë Howe comments as the crowdfunding campaign goes live on IndieGoGo.

Daughter Celeste Bell, who co-wrote and narrates the film, says, "This film will be a celebration of the life and work of my mother, an artist who deserves to be recognized as one of the greatest frontwomen of all time; a little girl with a big voice whose words are more relevant than ever." Zoë and Celeste are also working on an accompanying book biography, due in November 2018 via Omnibus Press.

The film will explore pivotal moments in Poly Styrene's life, with the trailer highlighting her nineteenth birthday, on July 3, during the "long, hot summer of 1976," when she saw the Sex Pistols perform on Hastings Pier, and set about creating her own punk persona. "Poly Styrene remains one of the most original and dynamic voices in popular culture," says director Paul Sng. "We're aiming to make a film that reflects her effervescent and vivid life, and provide a fitting cinematic tribute to her legacy as an artist and icon," he adds. The film begins crowdfunding this week, for an expected November 2018 release.

Support the crowdfunding for Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché on IndieGoGo.


Text Charlotte Gush
Photography courtesy of filmmakers

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