Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché

Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché ★★★½

poly styrene was a true original, a brixton-bred half-somali woman of colour who made one of the most exciting and intelligent og punk albums. i've known this for a long time but until watching this doc knew next to nothing about her life after x-ray spex disbanded in 1979. it was defined in large part by bipolar disorder (misdiagnosed and mistreated as schizophrenia) and, flowing from that same inner turmoil, body-and-soul investment in krishna consciousness. both precocious and hypersensitive, she seems to have been unable or unwilling to play her part in a world of consumerism and spectacle. her daughter tells her mother's story in a v heartfelt way - it's a personal work of mourning as much as a biography - and with delicate attention to race, gender and mental health. and while her voice can be annoyingly slow and solemn at times, and it's far from the most stylish of docs, there's plenty of great archival material to enjoy.