Celeste Bell

South London

Name
Celeste Bell

Where are you from?
South London.

Describe your style in three words?
boring, bland, banal.

What do you do?
I sing, write and right now working as a producer on a documentary film.

What British cultural icons inspire what you do today?
My mother, the queen of punk, Poly Styrene, is my biggest inspiration. Also rather fond of one of our greatest living eccentrics, Lord Bath!

What made you want to make ‘I am a Cliché’ now?
I believe my mother was way ahead of her time when she wrote the album, Germ-Free Adolescents, and the world she conjured up is in many ways the world we live in now, so it was time.

What do you think made your mother such an unconventional icon, even compared to other punk front-persons?
My mother was never a follower, she always danced to her own tune, whether it was cool or not. When most punks were wearing black bondage gear, dog collars and spiky hair my mum wore second-hand clothes usually seen on grandmothers of the time, super bright colours, wild ringlets and plastic toy accessories. But I think what really set my mum apart from the crowd, especially from other women at the time, was the fact that she knew that getting your kit off did not usually equal empowerment, a lesson many females artists today could learn from.

Do you think music is a force for change now, as it was in 1977?
Music, like any art form, has always been and will always be a potential force for change. Whether current performers are using their platform today to bring attention to social issues to the same extent has they may have done in the past is another question. But sadly we live in pretty depressing times politically and the music industry reflects this. As my mother said in her song Plastic Bag..."apathy's a drag".

What was the most surprising thing you came across during the making of the film?
The wonderful artwork that my mum did herself from scratch for the albums and merchandise was a real eye opener because it revealed my mum's amazing artistic abilities and her hard working ethic in a time before photoshop!


Celeste Bell is the daughter of punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene. She is serving as the narrator and producer on a new documentary about her mother called Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché

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