IN PRAISE OF A TEENAGED ARTIST

faked by Thursday, April 24th, 2014

xrayspextape

In 1976 a teenaged artist named Marianne Joan Elliott-Said went to a Sex Pistols show, then promptly went home and put together an advertisement for the New Musical Express. The title said who and what it was for:

“YOUNG PUNX WHO WANT TO STICK IT TOGETHER.”

Two years later she had a different name and the band she put together recorded the sounds they screamed / blew / skronked / thudded onto a few hundred feet of magnetic tape. A company then distilled that recorded clamor onto opaque circular plastic encarved with minute ridges, day-glo rectangles safeguarding spools of tiny plastic film—and over time, brittle, shiny discs.

Sixteen years after that one of the day-glo rectangles—wrapped in smoke-damaged shipping tape—made its way to a second-hand store in a nowhere town in north Mississippi. A teenaged person who so very desperately wanted to be an artist, who was just about the age of Marianne Joan Elliott-Said when she saw the Sex Pistols and put that ad in the NME, looked at the neon cover with bizarre hand-drawn writing and neon-colored children jammed into test-tubes, and figured it was worth $3.

Three dollars! Three dollars for that slinky riff at the beginning of “Warrior in Woolworths”! For the jazzy saxophone part on “Age”! (let’s pretend it was by Lora Logic instead of Rudi Thompson). For “Identity,” one of the best songs I have ever heard in my entire life, a song which helped define my life. Three dollars for a whole life.

I love you, Marianne Joan Elliott-Said, spinning on this globe until April 25, 2011. I owe you so much more than I can ever say.

GOD BLESS POLY STYRENE AND GOD SAVE X-RAY SPEX

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