Poly Styrene’s Daughter Reflects On The Punk Legacy Of X Ray Spex


“Mum didn’t start out as a punk,” says Celeste Dos Santos of her mother, Poly Styrene. “It was only when she saw the Sex Pistols play in Hastings before they really blew up that she thought about starting a punk band.” As the front woman of legendary punk band X Ray Spex, Styrene amassed a cult following in London in the 1970s off one album release, before disbanding in 1979. Most commonly known for signature track “Oh Bondage! Up Yours!,Styrene and her band were atypical of women rockstars of that era. “Poly Styrene [was] so ahead of her time,” Gossip’s Beth Ditto remembered. “She recreated punk.”



Having passed in 2011, her legacy as a punk pioneer lives on. “More than anything my mother was an observer and critic of the post-modern culture we find ourselves in – where everything is disposable and fetishized,” Dos Santos reflected. “She really had a lot of foresight as to how plastic and superficial our society would become and how this would affect people’s connections with not only the planet but each other.”

Styrene’s daughter fronts the band Celeste Dos Santos And The Tabloid Queens, and most recently headed an Indiegogo campaign to fund a feature documentary about her mother (Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché), due November of 2018. Read the full interview with Dos Santos in Araweelo Abroad, “an online magazine for Somali womyn to reflect, celebrate and talk about their experiences.”

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