17 September, 2016

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TOYAH ON
BBC RADIO 2
SOUNDS OF THE 80's
WITH SARA COX 

16.9.2016 


SARA: I am completely thrilled to welcome Toyah on the show. Good evening Toyah!

TOYAH: (on the phone) Hello! How are you doing?!

SARA: I'm marvellous! All the better for hearing you, you young lady. How are you doing yourself?

TOYAH: I'm pretty good, thank you. Enjoying this summer immensely.

SARA: Excellent stuff. What can you normally be found doing on a Friday night?

TOYAH: Most Friday night's I'm actually on stage at this time. Either doing my acoustic show or my rock show. So it's actually quite nice to be here talking to you instead.

SARA: Very nice. You've got some live shows coming up in October, haven't you?

TOYAH: Yes, I've got a lot coming up! October I'm doing live shows all over the UK and then in March I'm actually on the road with Paul Young for the whole month. 



SARA: Well, that is exciting. Your tour dates are taking you everywhere. So with Paul Young you're going from Rhyl to Leicester to Stoke to Edinburgh, all the way to Basingstoke, Birmingham, Huddersfield, London, Newcastle. 

All the dates are online if you want to get more details. It's the “80's Invasion Tour” Tickets are on sale now. Including Martika and China Crisis will also be playing. That is going to be quite a tear-up, isn't it?

TOYAH: I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I think there's a great mix of music there. I work with China Crisis and Paul Young all the time, I've never met Martika so I'm really looking forward to that. And she had a massive massive hit with “Toy Soldiers” world wide so I think it's going to be an absolutely fantastic night.

SARA: Such a good song – we'd love to get Martika on the show actually. Will you put in a word for us, please Toyah?

TOYAH: I certainly will.

SARA: How do you keep yourself so fit and eager and able to do all this live work. For people listening now, might be nursing a glass of Rioja, eating something pastry based and there's you just throwing yourself around with so much vigour and energy!

TOYAH: I think it's because the audience is getting younger which is a total surprise for all of us. And we go out there and there's this audience of about 18 to 30 who know all the lyrics, they know everything about us and it's kind of "let's do this while we still can". 

I mean I'm in almost 40 years in the business now and firstly I'm really grateful I'm doing it and I love every minute of it but I am slightly amazed so I'm not going to go away, "I've got more important things to do – I'm going on holiday". That's just not me. I live and breathe music and just can't wait to get out there every night.

SARA: I love that your audience have got a sort of Benjamin Button effect going on as you get a little bit older they're getting younger and younger ... (Toyah laughs)



TOYAH: It's one of the most bizarre things I've ever experienced!

SARA: Do their parents turn them onto the music, do you think?

TOYAH: I think that's it. I think that is totally it. The parents still play this music. The 80's means so much to so many people. You've still got full songs, this is the decade before the 90's came in and sampled stuff so the songs are all epic and -

SARA: That's why we've got his show, that's why people love this show so much because, you know, it's mine and Fiona's (producer of the show) duty to bring people the 80's hits every week.

TOYAH: You are the custodian of artists like me.

SARA: Yeah! We love you and we play quite a lot of Toyah and we always get a good response when we play you. So listen, we're going to play one of your B-sides now. What have you chosen?

TOYAH: I'm funny with B-sides because my B-sides always let me let of steam and be slightly weird as a writer because I didn't have the pressure of radio play over my head so it's really ironic that you want a B-side. So I've chosen song called “Voodoo Doll” which was on the 12 inch version of “Thunder In The Mountains”.

SARA: We find this quite a lot with B-sides where people can be just a little bit freer, the song's a little bit longer, sometimes they're instrumentals -

TOYAH: This is something that we still play in the set so it's still relevant today for us. 



SARA: So it's the B-side of the 12 version of this -

Plays a snippet of “Thunder In The Mountains”

TOYAH: That's correct!

SARA: Woo! I'm skipping like a gazelle around the studio, Toyah! (Toyah laughs) We all know this you see, we all know “Thunder In The Mountains.” With a video was directed by Godley and Creme – fancy! But the B-side … what's it called? “Voodoo Doll”?

TOYAH: “Voodoo Doll”

SARA: Ooh, nice! What's the story behind it?

TOYAH: It's about a kind of goth punky girl who behaves like a voodoo doll and exercising her feminine power as if it was rhetoric and mystical and magical.

SARA: Toyah, always lovely to chat to you. Thank you so much, we're play the B-side now. It's called “Voodoo Doll” as you say and it's the B-side of the 12 inch of “Thunder In The Mountains” from 1981. That record got to number 4 in the chart. There's a few facts for you. 

Go online please if you'd like to check the tour dates for Toyah and her own stuff as well, loads of her own shows in October and you can watch “Up Close And Personal” or “Proud, Loud and Electric”. Thank you very much Toyah!

TOYAH: Thank you Sara and God bless you!

SARA: Here we go, here is “Voodoo Doll”.

Tickets for the "80's Invasion Tour 2017" please visit toyahwillcox.com 

 

09 September, 2016


TOYAH ON
BBC RADIO LONDON
WITH JO GOOD

9.9.2016 



JO GOOD: Now, fans of the 80's star Toyah Willcox are going to be very pleased to know that she is back with a UK tour next year. She's going to be playing the 02 in March featuring artists Paul Young, Martika, China Crises and before that I am so pleased to say, I've never met her before but I've been up close. She joins me here on the afternoon show. Welcome!

TOYAH: Thank you so much!

JO: Do you know what I love about you is – because you're going to be singing live and we came into the studio and we thought we'll set it up and everything but you were late because you were doing an other interview and you just came in and you just went “Oh, that's alright. Just give me a pair of headphones.” (Toyah laughs) And I guess Toyah, because you've done everything, haven't you? This is no big deal?

TOYAH: When you do the festivals, summer is festival season, you literally walk on stage and sing and you don't get a sound check and you just have to kind of land on your feet while running and it's absolutely fine. Most of the time, 99.99 % of the time it's OK.

JO: When you came in I said – first of all : you were the first to transfer from music into acting. No-one had done that – people do it all the time now. You get models acting and everything else. But it was a big deal when you did because everyone knew you for punk! 

TOYAH: It was social no-no. 

JO: Wasn't it! 

TOYAH: Acting wouldn't accept music and vice versa. 

JO: Exactly! And you did that but was it easy for you – to make that transition?

TOYAH: It was easy in that I said yes to everything. I never turned anything down. I love working, I define myself by my work and I'm quite lost if I'm not working. And the joy of what I do is these odd tangents just appear in my life. I mean at the moment I have a musical in London at The Scoop, “Crime And Punishment”, with 13 of my songs in. 

And that was just an mail from a writer/director saying “I love your music. Can you write some stuff for this show and can I put your retrospective in as well?” And I said of course you can! And it's magnificent! So I never know where I'm going to go. When ever I've tried to hone my future it doesn't work so I just allow the future to reach to the present and pull me forward. And it's always been very very rewarding.

JO: Well, I remember – “Quadrophenia”, obviously … I always hear and remember and I said this to you – I was filming you with a local television crew when you were playing Peter Pan (below) at Chichester Festival Theatre -

TOYAH: I remember it. 1993.





JO: You were hanging. You were literally hanging from the rafters!

TOYAH: I flew from the back of the auditorium. First time it was done. It was so exciting. And I remember – I don't think you were there but one night they didn't slow the trajectory of the travel down the fly wire and I hit the back wall. And people would find it so funny when that happened because it looked deliberate but it could be terrifying because you're 60 foot (sic) up in the air.

JO: Flying over he audience?

TOYAH: Over the audience.

JO: Yeah, you're right. Never been done. For me it was “Trafford Tanzi” that really – so loads of people won't even know what we mean. Why have they never brought that back?

TOYAH: Well, I couldn't do it. I'm 58 and I just couldn't do that now. At the time, this was 1983 and it had been touring the provinces for quite a few years as a success with an actress called Julia North. And I was asked if I would take it to the The Mermaid (Theatre) at the same time when Debbie Harry opened it in New York. And they were opening round the world the same week. 

And I was playing a female wrestler in London when a law applied that no woman could wrestle within a mile of London City. My trainer was Mitzy Mueller, a female European champion wrestler and we had to train outside London. She had to pretend not to train me when we were in London.

JO: No?!

TOYAH: Yeah. It was astonishing. 

JO: I didn't know any of that.

TOYAH: Here you had a play, a huge success, about a woman who fights her husband in the ring during the breakdown of her marriage. And we weren't legally allowed to wrestle in London, it could only happen in the play.

JO: How extraordinary – I had no idea! Then … now, did you ever read Laurence Olivier's (below with Toyah in "The Ebony Tower") autobiography where he mentions you?

TOYAH: No! Did he mention me?!

JO: Because you were at the National (Theatre) weren't you?

TOYAH: Yeah -

JO: And he said “I'm in my dressing room and" – someone voiced it on (BBC) Radio 4 - “and a window opened above me and someone is hanging out called Toyah doing a vocal warm up” and it was hysterical because now it means nothing but at the time it was the clash of two cultures, wasn't it? 




TOYAH: I love the National Theatre! I've worked there three times, it's the best experience in the world. But when I first worked there I was 18 years old and I'd just moved to London especially to be part of the company in a play called “Tales From The Vienna Woods” and I was just so excited. 

I was uncontrollable, I was hanging out of windows, I was stealing wheelchairs, racing around the corridors backstage in wheelchairs, I was hacking of John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier. I mean all of them were really hacked of with me. They had so much tolerance. Gielgud referred to me as The Monkey because I was always hanging out of windows.

JO: Isn't it, I mean for those people listening now because the National is … there are people switching to the music industry there but it was revolutionary you being there? It shook that place up! Backstage, they'd never seen anything like it. Now, before we go any further you have promised that you are going to perform live on this show. So this is not pre-recorded. This is Toyah singing live. Can we start with “I Want To Be Free”?

TOYAH: Yeah, go for it. I've not warmed up but let's see what happens!

JO: She's literally just out of the lift so here we go!

Toyah sings “I Want To Be Free”

JO: Oh my goodness! I am absolutely speechless! That was amazing! 

TOYAH: Thank you so much!

JO: To be in your presence to do that! I never thought that was going to happen! I just thought how are we going to do this because we had no time to rehearse. I came in here thinking I'll have it all set up and you just ran in and I said "oyah you're only my height, that mike is ever so high!" "No no it's fine" and then you just do that! For me your voice is as good if not better than it ever has been you know and a lot of people, forgive me for saying this, who've been in the industry as long as you, often it's damaged and it's spent -

TOYAH: It's lifestyle. I'm very very tough about my lifestyle. For example I had a meeting in a restaurant last night and it was too loud so I left.

JO: Good girl!

TOYAH: Because I will not damage this gift and I'm happier in my body now and I'm happier singing than I was 30 years ago. I'm more confident. And I am aware if I'm not careful I can do a lot of damage. So I really only sing 4 times a week throughout the year. 

Tonight I'm at the 02 Islington which is going to be a punk/gothic show, it's a big sing. A big sing. All the early punk stuff. So it's kind of nice doing this with you now Jo, because I'm warming up for that. You've given me the chance. But I will not go near smokers, I will not drink, I will not shout above volume, I really need to protect this voice.




JO: Is that because punk by it's sheer nature broke all the rules, you know people were screaming including yourself but hearing that I know you could go three times – you could open that window and London would hear you, you didn't need a microphone. Do you know what I mean? 

TOYAH: That was me turned up to two.

JO: Yes so you are really holding back. Were you trained then to sing or did you have training after you started?

TOYAH: I've had training three times in my life. I went to a school that taught opera and ballet so my musical training was German opera which really helped build the voice. Then when I went to the National Theatre they were very concerned about my lisp and I had wonderful voice training with Kate Fleming who trained everyone from Ian Mckellen right through to me. 

And about seven years ago I decided to re-train the voice because it wasn't sounding right and it didn't feel right when I was singing so re-trained at Stratford with the RSC's (The Royal Shakespeare Company) voice trainer Penny and she completely got me back on track and taught me techniques that I now pass on to other singers when they tell me their voice is uncomfortable. I say “well, just try this because it's revolutionary."

JO: Really?

TOYAH: Yes. 

JO: You can hear the strength in your voice is there, my goodness. Right, questions that are coming in and you know, just tell me – so many emailing, we haven't got time for all of these so … This is from Andrew who asks about somewhere you live, so you don't have to answer! (Toyah laughs) “Can you please ask Toyah what it was like living in -” Do you mind me – famous person's house?

TOYAH: Yeah, go for it.

JO: “What it was like living in Cecil Beaton's grand old house? Was there anything left of his time there?”

TOYAH: There was plenty left. When we bought the house, which was is Salisbury, Reddish House, the curtains were original, the carpets were original. They were made in Wilton which was only six miles away. And this was a house where Princess Margaret announced her engagement apparently before the Queen knew. She went straight to Cecil Beaton. Mick Jagger took Bianca Jagger there. It was a fabulous house. So atmospheric and beautiful. 

JO: So there you go, that's your answer Andrew. This is from Paul. He says “Jo, gosh, you have real punk royalty live on your show. I grew up listening to Toyah and Adam and The Ants and The Clash. What amazing memories. What is her favourite memory from that era?

TOYAH: I think my toughest memory which is also my favourite memory - I played Drury Lane on Xmas eve 1981 (below) and it was televised. I was the guest of The Old Grey Whistle Test. It was the ultimate accolade to be asked to do that. And we had 12 million viewers. I remember the terror but also remember the ecstasy. It was a fantastic show. 

I wished that I'd had a week off before doing it but I had been doing matinees that week, concert matinees for my younger audience so by the time we were on air, I think ten o'clock on Xmas Eve, I was pretty spent but knowing you were going out live across Europe kind of lifted you. And that for me was one of my greatest memories.




JO: So there will be loads of our listeners who would've watched that go out live. Bob Harris (one of the hosts of The Old Grey whistle Test) was actually on the show a couple of weeks ago. Right, let me give details of the tour … I was told you might sing “It's A Mystery”?

TOYAH: Of course!

JO: Fantastic! 

TOYAH: You've got to remember the 80's Invasion though. This is March and we're playing the 02 Indigo.

JO: And also with The Scoop we need to push. Right, 80's Invasion Tour 2017 as I say. It is in March. 2nd to the 19th of March. The London date Thursday the 16th of March. Tonight's gig – is it sold out?

TOYAH: I don't know but it's the Islington 02 and please come along because it's going to be rocking.

JO: Now I can't believe this – we're going have another track and this is “It's A Mystery”! Are you ready?

TOYAH: You bet!

Toyah sings “It's A Mystery”

JO: Right! That's Toyah. This is from Karen “Wow! She's singing my favourite ever song, “It's A Mystery”. She is a legend!” This is from Margaret who says “please tell Toyah I have really fond memories of her when she was in the Panto at the St Alban Arena. She was excellent! Absolutely love your show!” Robert says “she is still the grooviest chick in town!” There you go. Toyah, thank you so much!

TOYAH: Thank you Jo, that was great! Thank you to everyone.

JO: What a treat on a Friday! Fantastic!

For tickets and more information on the 80's Invasion Tour 2017 visit toyahwillcox.com 


 
TOYAH INTERVIEW 23.4.1981
"TOYAHZINE" BY LAURA MARSH 
This is an interview from April 1981 by Laura Marsh,
who published five issues of "Toyahzine" in 1980-81
Download the interview as a PDF here
To view larger versions of the photos below right
click on the image and open in a new tab

07 September, 2016

7.9.2006 - 7.9.2016


(Design by Davie @ toyah.net (Thank you)

04 September, 2016


TOYAH ON
BBC RADIO LONDON
WITH GABY ROSLIN

4.9.2016 




GABY ROSLIN: I'm sorry, Toyah, how you're going to feel about this but we could not have you here without playing this. OK? Just let us. ("It's A Mystery" starts to play in the background)
TOYAH: No! (laughs) Stop it, please!
GABY: Yes! Yes! We have to! The whole thing, we're going to run it all the way through!
TOYAH: This is very very old girls (to Catherine and Lizzy Ward, from the band Ward Thomas, who are in the studio with Gaby and Toyah) ! Very old!
After the song:
GABY: (sings) It's a mystery! That's what we used to do. That's what we did when we sang along to you, Toyah. (Belts out) It's a mystery!!!
TOYAH: (laughs) I'm trying to find a picture of me from 1981 for these girls ...
GABY: (To the girls) Because you weren't even thought of let alone born and just make us feel – well, I remember dancing to that at school so it's … Toyah, you have this incredible ability to look incredibly young and to stay grounded from all of those post punk – it was post punk, wasn't it?
TOYAH: Yes, but the thing is experience just moves you on and I've got movies being made, I'm constantly touring. I've got four movies to shoot for the rest of this year. A musical -
GABY: Four movies! Sorry - that's greedy!
TOYAH: Well, it's – I'm not in leads or anything. I'm just kind of really nice character roles ...  (Below: Toyah as "Alice Meynell" (with Gary Shail as "Wilfred Meynell") in costume for "Hound", one of the upcoming films) 




GABY: Four movies!
TOYAH: But it's busy. And I also do four concerts a week so -
GABY: Four concerts a week?!
TOYAH: Yes! I'm playing the 02 Islington on Friday. And then I open for Steve Harley at a festival in Devon on Saturday. And I've written a show called “Up Close And Personal” which is the same line-up as you've got in here today - which I love doing! Just two guitars, three voices and a beatbox. And it's just the best way to sing.
GABY: Goodness me! I didn't realise you were – I mean that's busy!
TOYAH: It's very busy!
GABY: And you're very open about your age and everything. There's no secret -
TOYAH: I'm 58.
GABY: And it's phenomenal. You should do this forever! I'm not being ageist at all and I think that no matter what age you are – if it's what you love doing, do it!
TOYAH: It's not a job, it's your soul breathing. It's just not a job. I wake up every day and it's - I couldn't do anything else. I would rather kind of stick glass in my eyes than not sing and act!
GABY: I know. I'm like that about television. People say “30 years you've been doing it, have you not had enough?” No!
TOYAH: No, of course not! You're made for it.
GABY: No, no, no. So “Crime and Punishment : A Rock Musical”. Now you've written this musical?
TOYAH: I've done the music. 13 songs. Phil Willmott, who is a fabulous director – does a lot of shows in London – he's done the adaptation from the book “Crime And Punishment” and had this bizarre vision of putting my songs in with this really quite bloodthirsty story justifying murder. And my songs just kind of jump right out. 

And for some reason they really really work. I can't put my finger on it because I don't write specific subjects, I write abstract. So “It's A Mystery” with “I Wanna Be Free”, “We Are”. It's about everyone, it's not about a singular person. And to put that into an ensemble company means every member of the company can actually sing a song and it suddenly makes sense in the context of this story.



GABY: How exciting! Is this the first time you've done this?
TOYAH: It's the most perfect job in the world, I'll tell you why ; Phil Willmot emailed me from New York. He said he loved my last album, which is “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” - which was written five years ago and went into the iTunes rock chart at number 2 -
GABY: Really? Congratulations.
TOYAH: He loves the album so much. He said “can I put it into this story?” I said yes and then more emails came back - “I need 13 songs. Can I use “Anthem”, can I use “Crimson Queen” and will you write some additional stuff?” And it's been a joy. Absolute joy.
GABY: How incredible. Do you have an idea of yourself? Now? Because I've spoken to you, we did – I've interviewed you many times but we did something and I remember six years ago we did something called “Celebrity Fantasy Homes” and at the time you used an expression where you said “I have an idea about myself but I'm an actress, I'm a singer but I'm a ..." – I can't remember exactly what it was but I'm interested - do you have an idea about yourself?
TOYAH: All I want is a creative life. I don't like being sucked into the mundane. And I do find technology tries to dominate people through being mundane. And I want to get up every day and be creative. I don't want to get up and be stuck to a computer or forced into buying something or told I shouldn't be what I am.
GABY: Is that the punk in you?
TOYAH: Yeah, I think it is. I'm very anarchic against technology. And of course we can all use technology but we must never get to the point where technology uses us. So I want a creative life. I want to be able to think freely, hear my instinctive voice and write the first thing that come into my head without electronic disturbance. So I will always feel like that.

And when I talk about having an idea about myself is that I believe – I'm not being sexist here but especially women because we are so biologically governed that every decade we are a completely different human being but we also have a completely different wisdom. And I'm just not going to lie down and go away and shut up. I'm going to keep using my voice while I still have it.
GABY: As with young people though I'm a great believer - and I know you are as well – with you girls, how old are you?
GIRLS: 22.
TOYAH: Oh bless you! I was that once!
GABY: At 22 you're wanting people to listen. As you said you are in your fifties - you want people to listen, people in their nineties want people to listen, people who are ten want people to listen and I think it is - interestingly through digital – people aren't listening anymore! They're just looking at pictures and texting -
GIRL: Well, I think what you (to Toyah) just said is such a cool quote that we can use technology but we can't let technology use us. Because we are at an age it's scary how much control technology has over us and how much we have to sort of fight that system a little bit and try to … But you see a backlash coming with live shows coming more and more popular and I think it's hopefully going to peak -



TOYAH: I can tell you from experience you girls are safe as houses because your voices are so stunning and unique. Like Stevie Nicks. You're going to be able to work forever and as long as you want to. And I think that will protect you. And sometimes when you're an artist that you don't a have a specific sound then it's a little bit more of a fight. 

So you've got to kind of kick harder and for me, because I act and sing and I'm very very short and I have a lisp – I've always had to be kind of dominant in who I am and stick my ground.
GABY: You're also very open. The press like to talk about all sorts of parts of your life which we're not going to go into because it's your choice but you've spoken very honestly about your childhood. You were born with scoliosis? Was it scoliosis?
TOYAH: Yeah and hip dysplasia. Yes, so -
GABY: And a foot, you had a – all sorts of things that you had to battle!
TOYAH: Well, thanks to technology I have an awful lot of titanium in me and I have a normal life -
GABY: Do you beep?
TOYAH: Sorry? Do I?
GABY: Do you beep?
TOYAH: Oh I do, I set every alarm (off) (both laugh)
GABY: But you had loads of operations as a child?
TOYAH: Still do.
GABY: Oh, you still have to -
TOYAH: Well, because science is moving along all the time so I won't gross people out but I've got quite a lot of titanium – they replaced my hips and put sockets in and only about … when I was working with you last, you remember - I couldn't walk?
GABY: Yes, you couldn't.
TOYAH: It's all been done.
GABY: Oh fantastic! Congratulations!
TOYAH: And this year, which is six years later, it's the first year I've been able to wear high heels again. So it's all been great.
GABY: So you've got new hips?
TOYAH: Yeah.
GABY: Did you have them both at the same time?
TOYAH: No. I had a complete replacement on my right side because there was just nothing there, I was born with that and the technology, thanks to the Olympics was developed for the runners so I got a call from the specialist saying "we can now do what we need to do to you". Came to London, did all the work on me. I was in the same hospital as world renowned cricketers. And they rebuilt me and it's just fantastic.
GABY: Wow! Do you – is that another part that makes you feel like jumping out of bed every day?



TOYAH: Yeah. Not in pain anymore. So yeah, it's fantastic.
GABY: So I can see where your – now, "fight" is … people have a negative connotation with that, if you don't mind I'm going to use it in a positive way – I can see where your fight comes from?
TOYAH: I suppose what it is – I just don't give up. I'm tenacious. Really tenacious. And I voice my opinion when I come across ageism, sexism or something like that but I'm not an angry person.
GABY: No, you're not. That's why I said I'm using it in a positive way. You fight for the right.
TOYAH: Fight for the right! I'm still a punk! (both laugh)
GABY: You are. I think once a punk always a punk though. I really do. I think there's something in … I was never a punk as you can probably tell! But all the people I know who were - it's still there. That fight in them.
TOYAH: I have to say – a memory has just come back. When we were walking down the street in Twickenham filming - you stopped the traffic. I have never seen so many men hanging out of car windows.
GABY: No, she's -
TOYAH: It was glorious!
GABY: Ignore what she's saying! Ignore what she's saying!
TOYAH: Head turner! Traffic stopper!
GABY: Let's turn this back to you! (Toyah laughs) So “Crime And Punishment : A Rock Musical”. All these venues in London now. Isn't it fantastic!? 




TOYAH: Well, we've got the Free Festival. This is The London Free Festival and they're also celebrating Russian culture this summer so The Scoop Theatre is the most beautiful 800 seater open air theatre -
GABY: Oh, goodness!
TOYAH: By the City Hall right next to Tower Bridge. The show is on at 8 pm every day except Monday and Tuesday. It's completely free, you just turn up.
GABY: You're kidding me?!
TOYAH: No, it's fantastic! And it's on till the 25th of September. And I've seen it three times now and I'm not ringing my own bell but I sit there and weep. The cast are so mind blowing. They've got a future future mega star called Alec Porter (below with Toyah), who's 21 years old, girls. He is so beautiful that girls want their picture taken with him afterwards. But he came up to me on the first day I went to rehearsals and he said "you held me when I was six years old."
GABY: What?!
TOYAH: Yeah, I held him when he was a baby. And the other “what?!” about it – I've only ever held five babies in my life and I worked out that Alec Porter was number four. I've not held many babies.
GABY: OK. There's so many questions! But that's a personal choice or your friends have said "no, don't trust her! She's the punk! She might drop the baby!" (Toyah laughs)




TOYAH: But the cast are utterly mind blowing and they are – every night they just give it 150% -
GABY: Do you know what's so wonderful? Last night – I did the lottery on Saturday night and we were all bemoaning the cost of tickets because there is a show in town that I'm desperate to go and see, and my kids want to go and see it, it's the Harry Potter. But you go to two shows and it's £200 so if we're going to go the four of us – it's £800. I haven't got £800 to just suddenly spend on a night out at the theatre!
TOYAH: That's astonishing! Come to The Scoop. “Crime And Punishment”.
GABY: Come to The Scoop! A free show in London. Can you give us the address where it is in London – I've got it if you don't know it? (Toyah laughs)
TOYAH: It's More London, Southbank, right bang next to Tower Bridge on the south side, obviously. But it's More London.
GABY: More London. It's actually The Scoop, London Bridge City, SE1 2DB if anybody wants to go to that and go onto the website to find out more. Toyah, always lovely to see you. Thank you so much, really inspirational to hear what you have to say.
TOYAH: Thank you. 



22 February, 2016


TOYAH ON
VINTAGE TV
NEEDLE TIME

WITH NEIL McCORMICK
8.11.2015




NEIL: Hello, I'm Neil McCormick – welcome to Needle Time. My guest this week is a star of the 80's, still going strong, acting, making music - it's been very hard to define who you are exactly -
TOYAH: Good!
NEIL: - But let's try and get to the bottom of the mystery of Toyah Willcox.
TOYAH: Bo boom!
NEIL: Bo boom!
TOYAH: Don't hear that often! (laughs) About five times a day! Don't worry!
NEIL: I'll strike out my puns. What you do is unusual because you are an actress, you are a musician – you probably do dozens of other things as well that we don't know about (Toyah laughs). But let's talk about the origins of that – why this need to express yourself kind of so robustly?
TOYAH: I was born in Birmingham 57 years ago, just never fitted in from the day I can remember. I just had a problem fitting in, with being told firstly I'm a woman and being defined my gender and secondly I was so severely dyslexic that really does kind of make you feel set apart from a culture that is based on a particular form. And much as we think we are free and we live in a free world we live by form. 
So I think part of it was that as I grew up I was definitely made eccentric. Was born eccentric and I never felt as though I fitted it. One of my biggest problems, as I kind of became aware of myself, was this thing with being female. I went to an all female school, I was made to act as people's perceptions of female. We have to add into the melting pot of this that I was born with a twisted spine, club feet and one leg two inches longer than the other. My nickname for most of my life was hoppalong or lurch. 
So I always had an identity crises going on. And I very quickly learned that I was going to get bullied a lot, secondly that mentally I wasn't very quick. I was always behind and this meant that I either had to be very quick with the puns and the jokes or very quick with aggression. I was actually a very very aggressive teenager. People were terrified of me and I was deliberately aggressive. I learned to grow out of that when my vocabulary became stronger and I could argue with people rather than just go aaarrgghh! against people. It was a tough upbringing even though I was in a wealthy family and I was middle class, it was a tough upbringing being squeezed into a mould that physically and mentally I just couldn't fit into.



NEIL: You describe your family as dysfunctional (Toyah laughs), maybe every family is but were you encouraged artistically within that environment?
TOYAH: I wasn't artistically encouraged at home. My mother was a dancer, a professional dancer from an incredibly young age during the Second World War. She didn't learn to write so she went straight into ballet school and from the age of twelve was getting reviews for variety theatre and she toured non-stop with a chaperone from the age of twelve to nineteen when she met my father and got married and started the family very quickly because she wanted stability. 
So I was not encouraged to be artistic because my mother probably hated every moment of that. She went through this whole audition system, she auditioned next to Elizabeth Taylor for “National Velvet”, her mother was a dresser for a Hollywood star at Pinewood. My mum wanted to get away from that. As soon I inherited that gene to be a performer it made her very very nervous. At school because I couldn't fit in because I was just so behind. I was physically being altered with surgery, I was losing time at school having joints removed, I was physio twice a day and also I had to go to hospital for specialist physio twice a year so I was always behind at school. 
And the only place I could excel was in art classes and then I ended up directing the school plays because I just had this natural genetic ability to understand performance. So I excelled at school in art. I excelled at putting the end of term shows on. And I was cripplingly bad at everything else. And eventually when I was about 14 we were very lucky, co-incidentally lucky, that a family friend was the artistic director of Pebble Mill, BBC. And he said to my parents “look, your daughter will not excel, she's being stifled if you do not realise that she has an exception in one area” and he made it possible for me to go to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre school. Then I found my place in the world and that was as an actress. 


NEIL: OK. So that's interesting and we'll continue with that but what about music? Was music a part of your teenage and young life?
TOYAH: Yes, it was. My school took in disabled children and part of rehabilitation into the world was to do ballet which I absolutely loved! I wasn't aware that I couldn't do it. I just threw myself into it. So I did ballet, ice skating, I studied opera and I studied music. And the only O-level I got was music theory and this is because I battled with my family that they must allow me to study music because I understood it. 
When I was nine I was chosen by a woman called Vy Thompson, who trained John Curry the ice skater into the Olympics, and she spotted me and she said “I can get Toyah into the Junior Championships if you let me have her day and night". And I was studying to become an ice skater from the age of about nine and I love it at Solihull (Ice Rink) in Birmingham. Then they started to reduce bones in my legs surgically and I could no longer get my feet into the skating boots. It was far too painful because I had metal rods in my feet and I had to give it up. At that time I was eleven and it wasn't terrible, it wasn't heartbreaking. It was just part of the process and it meant I didn't have to get up at six in the morning and train in figure of eight skating, which is the main way you control the body. 
Going back to school with the ballet – because I was doing ballet to music and lot of the time the teachers let me do free form dance because I realised that's how I was getting to use my body. And then I had a wonderful, wonderful opera teacher called Ms Cullum, who passed away from cancer when I was about thirteen, but she said “this girl has a voice. Let me have her.” I worked with her every lunch time. I studied German, Italian and just through listening and through sight and movement I was developing who I was through music. Not conventionally by any means at all but it was all in the body and it was all in the muscle movement.
NEIL: And not pop music?
TOYAH: No. Funnily enough I wasn't allowed to listen to pop music. I was brought up on Tommy Steele singing musicals like “Half A Sixpence”. My mother would take me to see all the musicals that came out on film which was many in the sixties. You had “Sound of Music”, “Half A Sixpence”, “Hello Dolly”. 
I saw them all and I identified with them all and I identified with these actresses singing. And mum slowly fed me pieces about her life, about how hard it was on on the road being a singer and dancer herself. But I just looked at these people and thought "well, that's what I want to do". And going back to your question about pop music - the first album I ever bought was “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, Simon And Garfunkel and then I bought Marc Bolan “Ride A White Swan” because I fell in love with Marc Bolan. So probably hormones lead me into pop music. 


NEIL: Was punk rock important to you?
TOYAH: (sharp intake of breath) Punk was heaven sent! I first saw The Sex Pistols play Bogart's in Birmingham on New Street around 1974 or 5, I'm not quite clear of year. But up until that point three years before that happened I was making my own clothing, I was dying my hair, I was a hair model for a huge department store in Birmingham. I was rebelling so … explosively against everything being forced on me and I thought was alone in the world. I thought I was the only person in the world who just couldn't wear anything of the peg and couldn't have natural hair colour and really didn't want to be a woman or a man – I wanted to be a person
Suddenly I walked into Bogart's, because a friend said “you should really go and see this band because I think you'll find there's a lot of people out there who are like you.” And I walked in on my own and the place full of three hundred people with different colour hair, who'd all made their own clothes and we're all looking at each other and it was “oh wow! There's a community! This is fantastic!.” It was fabulous, it gave me so much confidence.
I'm not a hugely political person and I know that The Sex Pistols were a part of a political movement, as were The Clash and many others within the punk movement but it made realise that people are allowed to change, people are allowed to be different and people are allowed to say no to a system. From that day on I just was uncontrollable because the message I got from being at that concert is even if you have a minimal language of music and you have something to say – there is a platform to say it on. It just gave me the courage and the encouragement to move out of Birmingham and go to London.
NEIL: So did you form a punk band?
TOYAH: Well, life was series of very extraordinary events from that moment onwards. Because I was so unusual looking for that time and I was walking through the streets of Birmingham, because I went to nightclubs, I would go to modelling assignments and stuff like that - a director actually asked to come and find me. He'd heard about me in London because I did walk-on roles in Pebble Mill in Birmingham for plays. 
And he'd heard about me but he couldn't find me and he went around establishments in Birmingham saying “have you seen this girl with yellow and green hair? We're trying to track her down.” And eventually the wardrobe department said "go to the drama school in Birmingham, you'll find her there". And unbeknownst to me he turned up there and the head of the school turned him away and said “no, if you come to see people at this school you see them all – you don't see one girl”. 
So he had to go through a whole process to get to me. He then asked me to audition with an actor called Phil Daniels for a play called ("Glitter" in the series of) “Second City First” (below) about a young girl who wanted to break into the Top Of The Pops studio and perform a song she'd written, in the studio at the dead of night and get caught. I got the role. I had to write my first two songs for a band called Bilbo Baggins and I got to work with Phil Daniels – who I've known ever since … 


NEIL: You wrote your first two songs?
TOYAH: Yeah.
NEIL: Can you remember them?
TOYAH: “Heartbreaker” and something like “Sky Brights”. I can't remember them. Firstly I remember I was an atrocious singer at pop because I'd learned opera. My timing was atrocious, my lyrics were winkydink cliché but the band I worked with – they were an absolute blessing. They saw terrified I was , they saw how enamoured I was of them and they nursed me through the whole process. And it really was an extraordinary experience for me even though when I look at it I think (laughs) how did anyone see any talent in that girl?
NEIL: Was that the point – did you, I mean there's a story ... you're a girl trying to break into Top Of The Pops -
TOYAH: Yeah!
NEIL: - Did that trigger a “I want to do music” moment or were you already -
TOYAH: I think I wanted at that point to do music because I wanted fame.
NEIL: Right.
TOYAH: And I was driven so much by hormones as young girls are. I wanted fame and I wanted to perform and I would do anything to be on that stage as a performer. If I had to learn about publishing and I had to learn about recording and I had to learn about writing I would learn on my feet.
NEIL: You starred in or appeared in – you weren't always in the main role - some very significant movies of that time, for punk rock movement, us young people getting excited about punk – you were in “Jubilee”, Derel Jarman's punk film. You had a part in “Quadrophenia”, again with Phil Daniels which was a very significant movie just after punk but very significant and in a kind of Derek Jarman's punky “The Tempest” so you had quite an impact. With “Quadrophenia” - didn't you audition for that with John Lydon?
TOYAH: Yes. I was approach by Franc Roddam the director long before principal shooting started and he said could I get John Lydon through a screen test for the lead role of “Quadrophenia”? So I screen tested for Lesley Ash's role and Lydon was Phil Daniels' role. And I had to go round to John Lydon's apartment off the King's Road and just run through everything with him. Tell him what it would be like, what the whole event would be like. It would be very repetitive, he had to learn his lines, he had to hold his character for the whole day and he was just absorbing this like a sponge. 
When I turned up at his apartment I seem to remember the whole of Splits, the band The Splits were unconscious on the floor – it was ten in morning and I was kind of walking over them and certain members of The Sex Pistols and John was making himself a tea in the kitchen. He was utterly delightful and I'd never had so much apprehension in my life because I didn't know what I was going to be working with. He learned the role, he was masterful at it, he worked hard, he rehearsed hard. We met at Shepperton (Studios) and we did the screen test and I thought he was glorious. A natural actor.

Then I heard nothing again for about six weeks and I contacted – well, I turned up at Franc Roddam's office, which was at Wembley on the ground floor and I turned up outside the window, a bit like a stalker. And I banged on the window and I shouted through the window “C'mon Roddam! I did this favour for you! See me for “Monkey!” “ because I knew “Monkey” hadn't been cast but everything else had. 
So he called me in and he had Phil Daniels (below with Toyah at a "Quadrophenia : The Immersive Experience" 11.2.2016) in the office. What Roddam didn't know was I knew Phil! And Roddam said “yeah, if you do the party scene here with Phil Daniels and you snog him - the part's yours”. Well, I'd learned the script, did the party scene with Phil, snogged him, no problem at all – he's an old friend and I got the part! I had to really pursue it because Franc didn't know who or what “Monkey” should be.  



NEIL: I wonder why he did not like Johnny Rotten for it?
TOYAH: Oh, this wasn't – everyone loved Lydon. Loved him! The insurers wouldn't insure the film if he was in it.
NEIL: Good grief!
TOYAH: Politics. Reputation.
NEIL: Sting was in that film as well …
TOYAH: Oh, what a gorgeous man! Sting was ascending like a rocket at the beginning of the principal filming. He was just so delightful and I had an experience with Sting in that he needed backing singers to do his first Old Grey Whistle Test appearance and he tried to teach me the harmonies to “Roxanne” and I only learned to sing harmonies really well about 10 to 15 years ago, I just couldn't do harmonies to save my life. Every night at the end of filming he would try to teach me (sings) “Roxanne” and I was like (sings poorly) “roorrxanne” and I just couldn't do it! And he never gave up and he was so patient and he was so wonderful. 
So he then, the day of filming, not only did he get backing singers he wanted, which was myself and another actress in the film, he went and sprayed hairspray in his eyes, like a glitter spray so when he did his first appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test he couldn't see. Poor boy! But yes, he was in “Quadrophenia”, we all mercilessly took the mickey out him because firstly he is just physically so beautiful, secondly mentally a genius and thirdly a really nice guy. So we just went out of our way to take the mick non-stop and he took it really well.
NEIL: Your pop carer started really well, you were immediately noticeable -
TOYAH: Yeah!
NEIL: – You had a strong image, you had big hair and you had a big hit with “Mystery”. Very theatrical vocal style -
TOYAH: Yeah. It's probably the opera training. It was also a little bit about not understanding the basics of four four timing because I only really started to feel rhythm properly about 8 years after that experience. I think the part of my theatrics was again this thing of "I've got to be different from everyone else, I've got to sound different from everyone else" which the doors that punk opened allowed me to be that way. 
And it was really very very useful at the beginning to be able to sing like that and to use the octave swoops and the range of voice that I had thanks to opera training. But it was also quite pocketed in it's time. It's something I really wanted to evolve out of by the time I was recording "The Changeling".
NEIL: You're still touring all the time. When you sing those songs now – you sing them in style -
TOYAH: I sing them really well now. Because I've really looked after my voice. I've re-trained my voice every three years which is a hugely technical thing to do. Now I can sing them in time, in tune with power and hit those notes that I could hit 35 years ago. So I'm actually a bit more proud of them now and I take a show out called “Acoustic : Up Close and Personal” and we do the hardest songs because I know the whole of front row is up and coming singers wanting to find out my technique. 


NEIL: Are people not waiting for you to go (sings “It's A Mystery” badly), you know she's singing it (like that), that's not right!
TOYAH: Well, actually because I can delivery really well now with passion and emotion and do that kind of characteristic I will only slot that in when I have a particularly frisky audience. And they just go “yeeeaah!” (laughs) and they just love it! But I don't really want to - I'm 57, I don't want to do that every day!
NEIL: Well, you ask a lot of big questions in the song, your first song asking all the questions of life which was obviously what was on your mind at the time. Have you solved those questions for yourself?
TOYAH: No, I don't think we do, life's a constant journey. If you go to India and you ask a guru, who bases his faith on singing, "when did you learn to sing?" and he's 83 years old and he says “I haven't and I never will.” So it's a constant journey. My body changes all the time, therefore my voice changes all the time therefore the questions will never be answered but I think the fun of it is just living and looking for it.
NEIL: Your next big hit really was “Thunder In The Mountains” wasn't it?
TOYAH: Well, “I Want To be Free”, Top Ten!
NEIL: “I Want To Be Free”, oh yes, I was going to talk about -
TOYAH: And then “Thunder”.
NEIL: OK. “I Want To Be Free”. Do you still think of that as a big anthem? Do you still want to be free?
TOYAH: Yes!
NEIL: Have you been free? (laughs)
TOYAH: Well, we always start the – well, we do “I Want To Be Free” at the very end of the set and I always start it with "here I am, at this grand old age with a song started its written life at the age of 14 at a maths lesson because I was so bored". And here I am kind of still singing it 47 years later! “I don't want to go to school!” But everyone in that audience identifies with that song and they want to sing it so we do it as a collective. 
So yes, I am still singing it, I don't resent singing it but we're very clever how we do it, we do it in a way that very few people can actually copy me and it's to do with – we've changed the rhythm of the guitars and everything. (Sings) Da dada dadada so people are going "oh what's going on?" This isn't rock anymore, this is something that's kind of – the timing's different. So we always manage to fascinate them with how we do it.
NEIL: Do you still have to live with that you know "crawling down the alleyway being very loud"?
TOYAH: Well, I still feel like that!
NEIL: Still?
TOYAH: Yeah! God yeah! I mean in a culture in a western world where you can go through any newspaper online and some idiot is commenting that c'mon girls admit it, it's over when you're past thirty … I still feel like that song in that you have to make your mark and you have to say to other women out there, as well as men who feel they're going through manopause that we're credible in our existence. You know, don't buy this that when you hit fifty and all that's ahead of you is waiting for God. It's a lie. You're being sold a lie. So when I sing “I Want To Be Free” I very much connect with that message and the audience does as well. 
Also, recently I found out and why no-one told me this at the time – when “I Want To Be Free”came out it was one of my biggest international hits in Australia, South Africa, parts of America, South America ... and the reason for it was that is was adopted by prisoners and political prisoners and they apparently used to sing it through the bars to the jailers every morning and I didn't know this. And I found – I did a tour of prisons and I went to Maghaberry prison, which is political prison in Northern Ireland, where I met the most intelligent people in the world who are behind bars and they said "did you know this? This is a song that prisoner's adopt and it gets them up in the morning". And I thought you've got to respect that in a way.
NEIL: We were talking about “Thunder In The Mountains” mainly because of the hair (below) which must have – it's become almost symbolised, it may the most ridiculous - 


TOYAH: It wasn't ridiculous! It was fantastic!(laughs)
NEIL: - In the whole history of pop. Not bad, there have been worse hair styles (Toyah laughs) -
TOYAH: At least it wasn't a mullet!
NEIL: It wasn't a mullet, yes! Many rock stars look really bad – that was a lot of hair and it was all standing -
TOYAH: I know! I think by that time the images were getting slightly out of control! I agree with you on that level. It is slightly strange where you see me pop up like a sunflower and you almost want to hear someone dub it (makes a funny noise), from "Bill and Ben" (The Flowerpot Men), it has a caricature nature about it. But I wanted to be remembered and I certainly think I got that right on that level! (laughs)
NEIL: These are things you see, you found a way to accommodate the songs of the past. Have you found a way to accommodate the hairdo's of your past?
TOYAH: Yes, I just don't feel it's age appropriate. I don't want to live like that. When you look at people who can carry it off like Sandra Rhodes, the fashion designer – she carries it off because she lives her designs. With me I feel that I'm a performer that needs to be able to wipe the canvas clean. 
So as long as my voice and my acting skills are honed I just don't want to defined by a hair style at this grand age. I want to be defined by a different form of talent and communication. So it's as simple as that. And funny enough people very very rarely expect to see that now – I think it's understood. Also, going back 37 years it was so outrageous to do that and now it's not. It's almost normal.
NEIL: So you had a very hot moment in the early 80's, a lot of hits and then you've kept making music. An extraordinary number of albums and you're always touring and you're always appearing in this and that and plays and films but it's not hit records like it was. Is that difficult to deal with? How do you deal with it and where do you draw your satisfaction?
TOYAH: It's difficult in that I had an album out five years ago called called “In The Court OF The Crimson Queen” which went to number two on the iTunes rock chart and the singles of it went into the Top 20 in the iTunes rock chart ... but people don't know about charts anymore so I'm not looking for that kind of satisfaction and I understand your question but it's a different world and I'm not signed to a major – no major is interested in me. But I do kind of have complete control of my life. 
So when I'm producing albums I take the record store on the road with me so we set up the record shop in the venue. So it works for me and that is very satisfying. Also, I'm playing to sold out venues. The acoustic show sells out, Toyah the electric band we play all over the place, we do the festivals and everything. It's phenomenally satisfying and in a way what's even more satisfying is I don't have an A&R man on my shoulder telling me to be something I'm not which I always found incredibly stressful. 

NEIL: What did they want you to be?
TOYAH: Pat Benatar. Kate Bush. Lene Lovich, you know anything but me! I found through the decades that A&R men don't know what they do or why they do it but they still want the name and the fee. So it took a long time to be brave enough to say no thanks to that.
NEIL: Do you write a lot?
TOYAH: Yes, I write all the time. I feel very blessed that the computer age came along when it did because Garage Band is an absolute saviour for me. I can understand it, I can see it, I don't see digital … if you're at a bank machine and everything is in green dots – I can't see that, I'm blind to that. So with computers I can actually see the format of Garage Band. 
So with “Extremis”, which a film I'm also in as an actress, but I'm performing and writing the outro song - I composed and built all of that on Garage Band. I then take it to one of my key writers and co-writers Simon Darlow, who wrote “Slave To The Rhythm” and he then – I've been writing with him for 37 years, (he) totally understands what I'm trying to do and he then puts it into a more logical format. 
NEIL: So how do you approach it? Do you sing melodies to him, do you play them - 
TOYAH: Yes. With Garage Band I can sing them directly into the computer anyway. I can play enough keyboards, guitar and a bit of violin to actually say "well, this is the key, this is the structure" – then I write the whole of the vocal. The lyric, the melody, everything. And that means my co-writers then have to harmonically build around that. 
So they build the bass harmonics, the keyboard harmonics and then the main guitar harmonics. And I have an MD, who's been with me for almost twenty years now, who has a sign language with me because on stage I can't always count. I know what numbers are but they don't go in the right order. So we have a sign language that he gives me which can queue me in with certain difficult things.
NEIL: You're married to Robert Fripp (below with Toyah in June 1988), one of the great guitarist's of this country - one of the most audacious and different guitarists. He's not your traditional lead guitar. Do you play music together or work on music together?
TOYAH: Well, funnily enough (laughs) I have to hide everything I do from him because it'll end up in his work (Neil laughs). The latest King Crimson tour he's taken the artwork from my band The Humans, Humans 4 (the 4th album) for next year and it's suddenly on the poster for this latest King Crimson tour. And I phoned him up and I said "I own that picture, it's my next album cover – why is it on your tour poster?" And he said “oh no, you don't own the copyright”. So I really have to be very careful what I show him because he doesn't filter things as belonging to other people. 
With “Extremis”, the outro song which is absolutely magnificent, it's one of the best things I've ever written – I could only play it to him after it had been copyrighted, it's down on celluloid and if he nicks it he's going to have a lawyer after him. So we don't actually play that much to each other because of this. And it may sound strange, it may even sound mean but I don't have the genius he has. He has an infinite knowledge of music so when I write something I really need what I've written. So our conversations and our lives together is probably – well, it couldn't be further away from music.
NEIL: But you did call your album “In The Court OF The Crimson Queen”? (laughs)
TOYAH: Yeah, to say foo to my husband! And this is what he said when I told him he'd nicked that painting the cyclops - he said “well, I didn't sue you for “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen”! So you picked up on that. 


NEIL: You're not temped (to ask him) - "I just need a lead solo on this?"
TOYAH: No, because as soon as you do that with Robert it's Robert's project. Wherever it's released in the world it becomes his project. He guested on Humans 2 (second album) “Sugar Rush” - guested ... and wherever we turned up to play it said “Robert Fripp, Humans, Sugar Rush”. You know you just can't do it, it's disproportionate and it's unfair to everyone who works so hard on these projects. So now, he probably won't work on anything I do again. And that's not a judgement on his talent. I just need to be seen as Toyah Willcox, not Mrs Fripp.
NEIL: You work hard, you know you're out there playing all the time so why? You probably don't need to? In the sense of financially -
TOYAH: Actually I think I do. No, well … one thing I'm absolutely brilliant in is business. Outside the industry.
NEIL: So what is it?
TOYAH: I'm only interested in myself as a performer and also you constantly develop. There's nothing in my history that has made the mark I want to make and it's a simple as that. And I think I will keep going until the body says goodbye. I can't think of anything in my life that I would actually leave the planet now and think (it) defines who I am. And that's probably why I keep going. I also need to put this in perspective – I manage everything. I manage the band, I manage my acting, my manage my music career. I also manage a property empire, I'm incredibly good at stocks and shares. On that level I do not need to work but I define myself by the performances I give and because of that I need to work.
NEIL: Is it the performances, is that the most important part – the actual performance?
TOYAH: I actually I think as human beings we're creative beings, that's what sets as apart from absolutely everything else on this planet. We are creative. And you have to remain creative. Now for me, being creative doesn't depend on success so you ask where's my satisfaction? Well, funnily enough the audience applause, the standing ovations four times a week are absolutely lovely and I appreciate it but I don't define myself by that. I define myself by the creative process and that is probably why I just have to stay plugged in with it.
NEIL: Why do you think you are so determined or have that need to -
TOYAH: Well, I think because I don't feel I've done anything I want to do yet or -
NEIL: But you've done a lot!
TOYAH: I've done a lot. It's only in the last year I've given acting performances that I thought … “Ahhhhhhhh!”, Steve Oram's film which is out this year which is me, Julian Barrat, Noel Fielding. Good performances, a good performance! In “Extremis”, which is only a cameo, I blew myself a way with my performance. I was given a private screening of it because I was doing the music at the end and I could've stood up and cheered because I'm only just getting there. 
And part of it is this constant learning about movement. Five years ago my legs were made the same length so I had to learn to walk again. I see myself and I see a disability. And for the first time this year I've seen myself and not seen a disability and that's fabulous. But also, it's like I feel I'm only arriving in my body now and I look at myself on celluloid and I've stopped hating myself and that is a really important step and I want to feel the same about singing as well.
NEIL: Well, I feel like we're just getting to the beginning of this and we're coming to the end.
TOYAH: I'm sorry!
NEIL: Don't worry! So Toyah, thank you for coming on. The best is yet to come then!
TOYAH: Oh, I hope so! (they both laugh) I mean let's talk in a few years time and boy, the only thing that would disappoint me if that is not to come true, I'd be disappointed in myself.
NEILL: OK. It's been Toyah Willcox on Needle Time.