Danielle Dax

 

Born in Southend, England, Danielle Dax has been one of those former Goths-cum- almost popstars which the popu- lation at large has never heard of. Secreted away in the minds of late 1970s/early 1980s alternative music fans, she has spent the past two decades in that grey area of barely-there familiarity, a distant memory with a special quality. Early albums (initially with her post-punk band, Lemon Kittens) included We Buy a Hammer for Daddy (1980), Pop Eyes (1983), Jesus Egg That Wept (1984), Inky Bloa.

She's hardly been heard of since, in part because of ill- ness and a personal life she describes as "just horrendous; there wasn't the emotional space to take on board anything else".

Dax is looked upon as one of the most experimental and elusive artists to have emerged from the UK music scene of the 1980s. Aside from a bit part as a wolf-girl in Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves, her career has been punctuated by excellent experi- mental recordings that venture beyond basic pop into a sense of unpredictability. Stemming from her early listening habits (John Cale, Stockhausen, electronic music, Euro music from the '50s, '60s and '70s, new wave, pop, glam, classical, jazz - pretty much the whole works), her creative flow evolved from that of a novice. Perhaps more famous for her stage gear than anything else, she now records infrequently between reading, watching films, designing and making clothes, head dresses, costumes and wigs. She collects medical books and videotapes of autopsies.

"I just have a fascination with how the body works - as a machine," she informed an alternative magazine recently. "I've had at least a 15-year obsession with decay and the contrast of beauty and ugliness. I see bodies as a great mix of textures and colours - if you don't think of them, that is, in a purely scientific manner. I also find them interesting from a painting point of view." She reasons that Western society over-sentimentalises, if not the importance of someone and the connection one has with them, then the corpse itself.

Over the past five years, Dax has become relatively well known for her house, which featured in several television interior décor shows. She was last seen on a British home improvement programme in 1997, where she highlighted her decorating skills by covering her house in baco-foil - and winning the show's Amateur Decorator of the Year Award. It's a long way from being a wolf-girl and disturbing the neighbours. Dax's current interior décor wish? To own a stainless steel, operating theatre-style kitchen. It figures.