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March 6, 2007


It's now been three decades since Poly Styrene (who looked younger than her nineteen years) took the microphone to announce:

Some people say little girls should be seen and not heard but I say, Oh bondage! Up Yours!

-- which was definitely a case of a new musical form making it possible to express a thought that hadn't been expressed before. Certainly not in those terms, anyway.

I don't think X-Ray Spex ever had much of a following among American punks, at least at the time. You can blame this on sexism, but chances are it was also discomfort with the presence of a saxophone in the band. The punk-rock taste police could be pretty rigid about that sort of thing. Call it sax-ism.

Anyway, "Identity," one of my favorite X-Ray Spex songs, is available in a video from circa 1978. I'm going to try to track down interviews with and articles about the band before long. If anything seems particularly worth a look, feel free to recommend it....

Identity is the crisis can't you see?
Identity, identity....

When you look in the mirror
do you see yourself?
Do you see yourself
on the t.v. screen?
Do you see yourself in the magazine?
When you see yourself
does it make you scream?

When you look in the mirror
do you smash it quick,
do you take the glass
and slash your wrists?
Did you do it for fame.
did you do it in a fit,
did you do it before
you read about it?

Posted by smclemee at March 6, 2007 7:19 PM