X-ray Spex, The Day The World Turned Day-glo

I dedicate this video to Pat Coakley

I was discussing with Pat (via e-mail) how I like loud music, bright colours and spicy foods. In short, just about anything that couldn’t be described as moderate. We were also talking about consumerism, mental health (Pat is a retired psychologist) and cultural dissonance.

To me this song is a great adjunct to our conversation.

The singer Poly Styrene (real name, Marian Elliott) in the video below was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and sectioned (put in a mental hospital) after having a vision of a pink light in the sky and felt objects crackling when she touched them. Turned out she was bipolar.

Turn the sound up and brace youself for one of the best songs to come out of the whole punk movement!

[youtube rSrOJ1ig6tI]

I clambered over mounds and mounds
Of polystyrene foam
And fell into a swimming pool
Filled with fairy snow
And watched the world turn day-glo
you know you know
The world turned day-glo you know

I wrenched the nylon curtains back
As far as they would go
And peered through perspex window panes
At the acrylic road

I drove my polypropolene
Car on wheels of sponge
Then pulled into a wimpy bar
To have a rubber bun

The X-rays were penetrating
Through the laytex breeze
Synthetic fibre see-thru leaves
Fell from the rayon trees

7 thoughts on “X-ray Spex, The Day The World Turned Day-glo”

  1. I think this woman has a fixation of sorts on various forms of plastic. Weird, but a great song and really great lyrics! She may be the kind of person who could become bi-polar just living in the modern world. Cultural dissonance — now that’s a term I haven’t heard in a long time, but is something I feel familiar with. Wonder why…?

  2. cultural dissonance is OK, it’s the cognitive one that you have to worry about 😛

    anyway, the song reminded me of this Yugoslav rock “classics”

    Rough translation:
    I, I’m wearing a plastic suit,
    and plastics is my food,
    perhaps I am also plastic.

    I, I’m in my highrise,
    I will open my doors,
    and you will become like me.

  3. Donald

    I think that Poly Styrene really captured the whole anti commercial zeitgeist of the punk era.


    Say no to rubber buns!


    Thanks for that video link. All this talk of plastic reminded me of Plastic Bertrand and his song “Ça plane pour moi”.


    Here’s the lyrics :

    Wham! Bam! my cat Splash
    lies on my bed with his tongue puffed out
    by drinking all my whisky.
    As for me, not enough sleep, drained, persecuted,
    I had to sleep in the gutter
    where I had a flash
    in four colours

    Allez-oop! One morning
    a darling came to my home,
    a cellophane puppet with Chinese hair,
    a plaster, a hangover,
    drank my beer in a large rubber glass
    like an Indian in his igloo

    This works for me, this works for me
    This works for me me me me me
    This work for me
    This works for me

    Allez-oop! The chick***, what a gas!
    what a vibration!
    to be sent on the door mat
    filed, ruined, drained, filled
    You are the King of the divan!
    she says to me in passing
    I am the King of the divan

    This works for me, this works for me
    This works for me me me me me
    This workss for me
    This works for me

    Allez-oop! Don’t mind, don’t worry
    Don’t affect me
    It’s not today
    that the sky will fall on my head
    and I’ll be without glue
    This life’s for me

    Allez-oop! my chick has gone away,
    flew away, finally had enough, to break
    the sink, the bar, leaving me alone
    like a complete jerk
    I’ve put my foot in it

    This works for me, this works for me
    This works for me me me me me
    This workss for me
    This works for me
    This workss for me, this works for me
    This works for me me me me me

  4. I suspect we are of the same vintage. I used to have albums by both X Ray Specs and Plastic Bertrand. Do you remember that other song to the tune of Ca Plane Pour Moi, called, I think, Jet Boy, Jet Girl? In English, by I can’t remember who, and with rather sexual lyrics.

  5. Syncopated Eyeball

    If you had those albums then were are probably a similar age. I had the X-ray Specs album, “Germ free adolescents”, but not the Plastic Bertrand one. I was living in Canada at the time and Plastic Bertrand was considered a bit of a novelty act and the rest of his music didn’t get much airplay.

    The funny thing for me about X-ray Specs was that I was turned on to them by a guy from Detroit of all places. I didn’t meet anyone for about another ten years later who had even heard of X-ray Specs. Nowadays, nearly every history of punk music mentions how influential they were.

    Funny how the wheel turns.

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