I know it's just a matter of time before every band I like is dead because I latched on to the sound of previous generations, but Poly Styrene, a half-Somali teenager with braces and a lot of snark who scared Johnny Rotten (though in fairness that doesn't seem hard to do), died of cancer this morning and had I known earlier I would have played a whole lot of X-Ray Spex and totally alienated all three of my listeners.
The X-Ray Spex were one of the first punk bands I got into, thanks to college radio and my friend Megan whose mom was one of my mom's roommates. At their every-so-often-reunion-gatherings, all of us kids would be turned loose while the parents reminisced, but since we were all pretty geeky, the younger ones would play video games and we would read each other's fantasy novels and watch The Simpsons when we weren't hopelessly losing in basketball to her older brother.
Despite her fear of crazy born again fundies, we got along well, graduating in culturation from an endless repeat of Billy Joel's Greatest Hits while making friendship bracelets when we were ten to listening to Elastica, the X-Ray Spex and other assorted Brit-rock, trading high school stories while trying to figure out what college would be like. I don't think either of us had any idea about what would be coming.