“My mum wasn’t like other mums.” Celeste Bell tells John Robb in this interview about her new film about her iconic mother, Marianne Joan Elliott-Said who found fame as her brilliant Poly Styrene creation. It looks it’s going to be one of the music films of the year.

The film is enthralling, a gripping beautifully shot journey into a fascinating life but also has a real depth as it explores their mother/daughter relationship. With rare archive footage, interviews with musicians like John Robb who knew Poly well and fans like Thurston Moore and Kathleen Hanna and of course a great soundtrack and Poly’s eternal charisma and beautifully eccentric life journey.


The death of the punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman sent Celeste on a journey across the world and through her mother’s archives to reconcile their fraught relationship in this new documentary feature.

It’s a fascinating story of a true icon that deals with growing up on the outside of a very white sixties England, a hippie tearaway who loved music like Trex finding a space in punk with the brilliant Poly Styrene creation, her clothes, music, style and those brilliant genius lyrics that have made her a posthumous 21st-century icon. It deals with the breakdown that ended the band and the eventual salvation in the Hare Krishna movement that Celeste grew up in…and her latter life…it’s not a normal life but Poly was not a normal woman!



Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché will be released via Modern Films from Friday 5th March. By purchasing a ‘virtual ticket’, viewers will be able to support a participating local independent cinema – the revenue will be shared with the venue. The World Premiere is the week before at the Glasgow Film Festival (details here).


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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. “unlike any other songs from that period,.. She was able to be topical and political but not overly earneat or preachy .. and amintan fun and irony”
    (I kinda see her in you, g’luck!)

    She was a treasure, an icon IMO. Looking forward to this vid.


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