Friday, 29 April 2011
Royal Wedding Special
One the great things about art is its ability to combat mortality. (Now that's what I call an opening sentence - shall I just stop there, I wonder?) Some art works live on, of course, in fact they develop after you'd think they were dead, and certainly long after the people who made them have passed on. But art also gives us mere humans ways of experiencing death, and coping with it - and maybe even escaping it, albeit only metaphorically, sadly.
Another great thing about art is you don't need to make a lot of it to become a legend. This is, I'd suggest, as true in painting as it is in literature, and certainly true of that great art form the pop song. I was really struck this week by the reaction to the death of Poly Styrene. X-Ray Spex have not been regulars on my turntables since I was about 14 - when I had The Day Turned Dayglo on orange vinyl as my favourite single - but they capture a moment brilliantly. And having spent the last day or so listening to them again, a few songs remain timeless in their power. Poly Styrene may have only made a few classic singles before slipping off into the fringes, but that was all history asked. I find that rather comforting.
Tributes such as those by Jon Savage here and Jon Robb here draw out various thoughts about the impact of punk and the impact of this particular woman. The above video feels somewhat appropriate for today: 'Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard, but I say ....' (Oh dear, that 14 year old is still in here somewhere.)