Update: Robb & Poly Styrene Cosy Up For Xmas

Watch the video for 'City Of Christmas Ghosts' on The Quietus

X Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene has teamed up with scribe and Goldblade singer John Robb for a Spector-esque stab at the Christmas Number 1 spot, ‘City Of Christmas Ghosts’.

Robb’s crew supported the ever-wonderful ‘Spex at their London Roundhouse show in September. The track represents the first punk song Styrene – aka Marion Joan Elliott Said – has lent her estimable lung power to since her days in the band.

The Quietus quizzed the pair about the recording of the track, actually a retitled re-recording of a song off the recent Goldblade Mutiny LP.

tQ: Poly, Has it been fun working on the single with John and the band?

Poly: It was a really stress-free experience. Goldblade are complete gentlemen and I really liked doing it even though made to sing in my Poly Styrene voice (laughs). I loved the song and I loved the lyrics and I loved the big Spector sound, It’s been great fun.

tQ: The Christmas single has become somewhat trendy of late following years of abuse at the hand of novelty ‘artistes’ – any ideas as to why? Are you looking forward to hearing the Killers/Elton John single?

John: I think a lot of people grew up with memories of the golden period of the Xmas single which was the seventies. If you actually listen to Slade ‘s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ it’s actually a brilliant song, the glam rock bands were not too po-faced to make Xmas records, they just got on and celebrated it. Post-punk people were too cool to do Christmas songs leaving them to the desperate and the weird, the eighties are dotted with Xmas disasters apart from the Pogues magnificent ‘Fairy tale Of new York’. The Killers are a vile band, I can’t stand them and the idea of them doing an Xmas single with Elton John makes me long for Cliff Richard to step into the breach with his tuneless dirge.

tQ: What’s your song bringing that’s new to the Christmas canon?

John: Our song is not a jolly knees-up. It manages to combine a melancholic atmosphere as we remember friends who have died through the year, it captures the plasticity of Christmas as we walk though the gaudily decorated city and somehow also manages to be all euphoric and magical with a spiritual twist with Poly’s Hare Krishna chant at the end of the song. God knows how we managed to cram all that in but we did and we also managed to get a Shadows-style guitar solo, a Spector punk production and an anthemic chorus. It would sound great on the radio if they dare to play something other than kiddie pop! It was also fantastic to do a duet with Poly, she’s one of the real true icons of the punk era.

tQ: And Poly, any plans to tour or record with X Ray Spex again in the new future?

Poly: With X Ray Spex I’m not really sure what I’m doing at the moment but who knows – never say never. There’s the DVD from the Roundhouse gig coming out next year and I might be publishing ‘My Diary of the Seventies by Poly Styrene’. There is also the live album from the Roundhouse. I also might be involved in promoting a festival next, but we’re still talking about that.

You can watch the video for the track here, we think it’s really rather sweet:

‘City Of Christmas Ghosts’ is available from December 1st on Damaged Goods.

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