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X-Ray Spex singer Poly Styrene reveals cancer diagnosis, moves forward with new album

February 25, 2011 |  3:40 pm

Poly Styrene 2011 Fabrizio Rainone 
Former X-Ray Spex  lead singer Poly Styrene, a.k.a. Marianne Elliott-Said, who began resurrecting her dormant musical career with the December release of a holiday single and recently completed work on a new solo album, announced Friday that she has been diagnosed with cancer. A statement issued by her publicist didn’t specify the type of cancer she has, but said she is undergoing “various treatments.”

She has been tweeting about her diagnosis, telling her Twitter followers, "It's been a bit of a battle fighting this cancer but hey ho I'm still alive,” and “Hoping & praying I can fight this cancer. Thank u all 4 ur positive vibes, I'm overwhelmed, ur keeping me in the land of living.”

Consequently she said she will not be lining up any live performances but still expects to release her album, “Generation Indigo,” on April 26 as scheduled. She and members of X-Ray Spex reunited in 2008, whetting her appetite to make music again.

A rare female presence on the male-dominated British punk rock scene of the late-'70s, Elliot in her band’s short-lived career provided a role model for female musicians of the subsequent Riot Grrrl movement.

X-Ray Spex, a contemporary of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, created a classic single of first-wave British punk with its feminist anthem “Oh Bondage, Up Yours.” Following the release of her debut solo album "Translucence" in the '80s, Elliot dropped out of the music scene and joined a Hare Krishna sect.

Elliot’s recent holiday single carried the appropriately bleak title “Black Christmas.” She’s already assembled a video for her new album's first single, “Virtual Boyfriend,” a bouncy, dance-minded track about a couple whose only contact is over the Internet.

--Randy Lewis

Photo: Poly Styrene. Credit: Fabrizio Rainone.