Poly Styrene – I Am A Cliche (2021)
The punk icon's daughter made this documentary. Her daughter, Celeste Bell, wants attention. This has a 1970s retro vibe and the nostalgia economy is booming. Ruth Negga reads Poly Styrene's diaries in voiceover. We see vintage footage and Hastings pier. Poly Styrene came out of New Wave Music.
She was no stranger to media attention. The daughter talks of her Somali grandfather and his interesting life story. Who is the daughter's father? It is never made clear. We see footage of the Roxy club and her manager who was named Falcon. Jonathan Ross of all people is one of those who talk about Poly Styrene's talent and influence. This was demanding and ferocious.
A song called 'Oh Bondage Up Yours' is sung. The magazine 'Spare Rib' is mentioned. This was energising. There is a sense of sorrow, loss and pain. This is a good exploration of undergorund culture. Fame made Poly Styrene insecure about how she was perceived. Happiness seemed unattainable. Drugs became part of her life. What is disco candy?
The band X-Ray Spex had a following and she was a touchstone for the Riot Grrrl and Afropunk movements. We see her staring at an ad for a pocket weather radio. Sid Vicious that disgusting stain on humanity bullied her and locked her a cupboard. She became bitter and NY and mental illness blew her apart. We have to listent to loud guitars.
She had growing anxiety and this was affecting and it told tales of internalised shame, conflict of ethnicity, nationality and culture. She hated insincerity and predicted the future. This was attention grabbing.
“My mother was a punk rock icon.”
“Every romance she had ended in tears. She longed to be loved.”
“This famous person.”
“Only me now.”
“Gone and left me.”
“Things of value and cultural importance.”
“Who she'd been before me.”
“Ordinary tough kid from an ordinary tough street.”
“Wasn't used to male attention.”
“Came to resent.”
“See that ancient land.”
“Outsider looking in.”
“Matching mother and daughter Laura Ashley phase.”
“Banality of daily life.”
“Nothing much going on.”
“World she was creating through her lyrics.”
“Unthinking mean things...no regard for you.”
“Neglected my needs.”
“That is bondage in itself.”
“Lacked the means to protect herself from it.”
“Changed my mum as a person.”
“Live in a world we made.”
“For them it wasn't a joke, it was how they lived.”
“Final triumph of everything that's fake.”
“Monolithic cruel place.”
“Stinky toilet of a place.”
This was a box office bomb. This stars Ken Marshall of 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' and Lysette Anthony of 'Hollyoaks' who is dubbed by Lindsay Crouse. Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane show up in this. The Beast is the big bad.
The acting is bland. The planet Krull is strangely empty and untouched by civilization. Anthony has a big fluffy 80s perm. This is full of malevolent architecture and serves absolutely no purpose. It has 80s charm and is deathly oblivious to how there is nothing original in this. The VFX is so dated but this was okay. Francesca Annis has a cameo. There are fire mares.
“Girl of ancient name.”
“We sent to you for help! None came!”
“Many lunatics wandering through the countryside claiming to be kings.”
“Not impressive but adequate.”
“None who go there return.”
“She had another name once.”
“Wouldn't follow my own father to the Black Fortress!”