BBC RADIO 2
BBC RADIO 2
JOHNNIE WALKER: Is that your real hair?
TOYAH: It would be really sad if hadn’t got it! (laughs)
JOHNNIE: It’s not a syrup (slang for a wig) is it?
TOYAH: No - it’s mine!
JOHNNIE: There’s a sort of follow up to the Hits Collection, Hits Collection Part Two …
TOYAH: Yeah this is The Hits Collection Part Two - The Good Looking Version.
JOHNNIE: Well, yeah I mean there’s all these photographs in the front y’know ... you’ve tested your hair really over the years, you’ve had some hair haven’t you?
TOYAH: I push my hair to the limit, yes.
JOHNNIE: So that’s why I wondered if you’ve still got any?
TOYAH: Yes ... whereas people do dangerous sports, I do dangerous hair. I’ve still got it!
JOHNNIE: Yeah! And you’re gigging a lot too, we’ve got a Davie who’s sent an e-mail “Let Toyah know she was awsome at the Culzean Castle gig”.
TOYAH: Such a good time! It didn’t rain, it was fantastic, sexy audience, at least 10 000 of them. I love it! (laughs) I was on with Carol Decker and Carol went on just before me in the skimpiest dress I have ever seen! And it wasn’t warm and I went on in a PVC catsuit (giggles). I don’t think the audience stopped laughing for about twenty minutes!
JOHNNIE: So you’re enjoying it though, you’ve got a good band?
TOYAH: The band are just fantastic! I have two bands, I have the "Here & Now” band which is HUGE and then I go out with my own band which is a five piece band that are louder than the 10 piece band that I go out with “Here& Now”, because I like to do my heavy rock.
JOHNNIE: So how did it start for you, coz you were born in Birmingham?
TOYAH: Born in Kings Heath Birmingham where they had the tornado two weeks ago and it just about - my house where I was born in was about left standing. That was 47 years ago –
JOHNNIE: That’s very honest of you!
TOYAH: - and moved to London (laughs) … moved to London when I was 18 and formed a band with a guy called Joel Bogen (below on the right) who I wrote all hits with -
JOHNNIE: And what did your folks say about that y’know “I’m going to London to start a band”?
TOYAH: I think they were in heaven that they got rid of me and I remember when I met my husband-to-be Robert Fripp about ten years later, my father couldn’t stop laughing and I said “Why are you laughing?” and he said “I can’t believe a man is willing to take you!” So I mean my parents were just so happy to get rid of me.
JOHNNIE: Were you the only child?
TOYAH: No, I was the youngest of three. But I think my parents wanted an empty nest by then (both laugh)
JOHNNIE: So are you trouble then?
TOYAH: I’m independent and I’m a bit of a loner, I don’t like sharing my kitchen or me bathroom or anything like that (laughs) Y’know I still have my own house even though I’ve been married for about 20 years.
JOHNNIE: Oh - you have a house each?
TOYAH: Yeah, we have a house each.
JOHNNIE: Which is good if you can afford it y’know?
TOYAH: Well, we have a main house and then a house each so we can get away from each other.
JOHNNIE: Yeah. How far apart are they?
TOYAH: Ummm, my husband's second house we can see from the main house and my second house is in the next town.
JOHNNIE: Right. How does that work?
TOYAH: It really works brilliantly, it’s fantastic coz if he has someone to stay that I just can’t be bothered to cook for I stay in my house (laughs) and if I have someone to stay who’s very loud and noisy he goes and stays at his house. It’s absolutely perfect! But having said that it does sound as if we spend a lot time apart but recently we’ve been spending a lot of time together coz he’s coming up to his 60th birthday so he’s slowing down a bit. Which I love! I take him for hill walks and stuff like that (laughs) I’m like “C’mon we’re going for jog now!”
JOHNNIE: So listen - how’s the lift working out? Is it doing OK?
TOYAH: The WHAT?
JOHNNIE: The FACE lift? I mean it was very public wasn’t it?
TOYAH: What are you talking about? It’s going really well!
JOHNNIE: Are there other lifts or is it just the-
TOYAH: No, and I’d like your audience to know that the first thing you asked was is it just my face that had been done when I walked in ... Umm I’ve only had my fizzog (face) done and it’s psychologically done me a world of good. And for some unexplainable reason I am now gigging for the next 18 months and I think all that has to do with looking good!
JOHNNIE: Staples behind the ears give you any trouble?
TOYAH: They’re only in for five days (laughs) I’ll show you! You can’t see anything! (turns away from mike to show Johnnie)
JOHNNIE: That’s right.
TOYAH: Yes, see?
JOHNNIE: And you can smile? Your still look natural?
JOHNNIE: Coz sometimes it’s too much of a “lift”? (mumbles and imitates a very tight face)
TOYAH: I think the reason I wrote the book is there’s an awful lot of people out there who’ve had this done who don’t have to admit because the good ones are very very natural. And these are people who are just not ageing and they say they drink a lot of water and a good diet and … nothing halts the ageing process.
You have surgery: that’s why some people look absolutely extraordinary well into their fifties. And I think the whole thing is you don’t have to go that kind of wind tunnel way, you can actually find people that just make you look well.
Toyah five hours after the operation (bottom left)
and the next day with husband Robert.
and the next day with husband Robert.
JOHNNIE: Yeah. But isn’t it kind of sad that it’s necessary, that y’know people -
TOYAH: No, I don’t think it’s sad that is necessary because my life has got 100% better and is psychological and that’s y’know me. Some women get breast implants and have renewed self confidence. With me it was the face - I just could not bear looking at it any longer. So I don’t think it’s sad, I think it’s actually a very valuable from of therapy for some people.
JOHNNIE: Mmm. And what was wrong with the face?
TOYAH: I do a lot of motivational speaking and I go out with some remarkable women onto the stage and talk to thousands of women. I was out in March with Anita Roddick and Anita said- she’s really against plactic surgery-and she said “Every line on your face is every night you sat up with your child when it’s poorly, every meal you’ve cooked, every evening you’ve laughed with friends” and I put my hand up and I said “Every line on my face was bad management, was being ripped off by a bank, was kind of being y’know abused by someone”. I wanted to erase bad memories. I looked in the mirror and I saw sad memories. And I’ve erased those and it is the most empowering thing I’ve ever done.
JOHNNIE: Mmmm. Wow! And what was it like tough when you were overed all in bandages? You’re face is a bit puffed up, a bit of mess for a while?
TOYAH: I looked like an absolute prat! I looked like a chipmunk! Umm … It didn’t actually look too bad for too long. I had about five days of looking horrendous and it’s at that point you realise that y’know vanity is present. Y’know you’ve gone and done that to yourself and never know if you’ll return to normal. But you return to normal very very quickly. I was out shopping in Sainsburys in Chiswick within ten days and no-one knew anything had been done.
TOYAH: Look at your face! The look of disapproval! (laughs) Ladies and gentlemen I have a Greatest Hits album out - Johnny’s not going to talk to me anymore! (both laugh)
JOHNNIE: No no no - I’m just thinking what it would feel like: nobody knows it’s been done, you’ve got a brand new face.
JOHNNIE: And you’re kind of wondering around y’know seeing people are looking thinking “Well she’s looking young” I mean you get recognised anyway?
TOYAH: Yeah, a lot of people so sweetly and innocently who don’t know about the book and don’t know about the facelift say to me “My goodness, you are looking so WELL!” and I don’t go “Well it’s a good diet” I just say I’ve got a great surgeon! And some people find that actually a bit too much to take (laughs), some people are so shocked that I come out with a sentence like that but this is modern living, this is the new millennium, it’s going on and that’s absolutely fine. If I had a hip replacement tomorrow and someone says I move well and going to say “Well I have a great surgeon” I just don’t cover things up.
JOHNNIE: Mmm. How much does it cost to have a new face? Done properly?
TOYAH: I think, coz I had it done in Paris so Euro wise it was about ten thousand Euros which is about £7500.
JOHNNIE: It’s a lot of money?
TOYAH: Yeah. And I think it’s even more money if you spend that on a handbag. Which some women do.
JOHNNIE: WHAT?! You buy handbags that cost seven grand?!
TOYAH: Yeah they sell handbags that … get out to the real world Johnny! (slaps him with a piece of paper) (both laugh)
JOHNNIE: Toyah Willcox is here, here’s a song from the new album, the "Safari Singles Collection Part Two".
SONG: "I Want To Be Free"
JOHNNIE: That’s Toyah Willcox and “I Wanna Be Free”, bits of paper have come in from all over the place - “Toyah has an appeal that’s not just about 80’s nostalgia, it’s more about attitude and way of seeing and expression" is the way that Simon is putting it in his text from Cheltenham.
TOYAH: Thank you! I don’t live far from Cheltenham, I must take Simon out for a beer!
JOHNNIE: So we want to hear more about your school days, I hear you were a bit of rebel?
TOYAH: Oh gosh! Yes I was absolutely terrible at school. I’m chronically dyslexic and I took a year off last year not only to have my face done but to have my dyslexia treated. And umm -
JOHNNIE: How do you do that?
TOYAH: I did a series of techniques that encourage the cerebellum to shoot nerve ends OUT over the top of the cranium to the front lobal system. It’s absolutely phenomenal. If you knew how simple it is, every school would adopt this kind of course.
But it’s a private course which you have to pay for. I did it for a year and it’s just improved my life as well coz I mean it makes you a happier person. It’s called “The Door System”. But anyway at school because I was chronically dyslexic I was always sat at the back of the class.
JOHNNIE: And they didn’t know about it back then, did they? TOYAH: They DID know I was dyslexic but as with a lot of schools, majority of schools the teachers don’t have the time to deal with specialist needs. And I would’ve been y’know classed as a special needs pupil if I went to school today. But I was just bad as HELL.
JOHNNIE: Mmm. Which is what you do when you can’t do it. When you can’t keep up with the others, what can you do -
TOYAH: Dyslexics aren’t dumb, if anything they’re exactly the opposite, they have sparks of genius in them so I think a lot of disruptive people are bored and it’s how you tap into that creative person. So I got up to terrible things at school: I used to truant the whole time and nick the teachers cars and-
JOHNNIE: You’re kidding, really?
TOYAH: Oh yeah! (laughs) Not a nice sight!
JOHNNIE: What did you - where did you go?
TOYAH: We’d just drive into the boring shopping center and leave them there! (both laugh)
JOHNNIE: So the dyslexia, can you read easier now?
TOYAH: Yeah my reading is pretty good now, my writing is still back to front and if I get very tired my writing is completely mirrored, it’s like mirror writing. I’m number blind, that’s the most embarrassing thing because I have to go into shops and tell people I can’t count money properly.
And I really really try and there’s a queue behind me and I’m going “Look! I’m determined to do this so you can just wait!” and I hand the money over and I say “Please check it”. And it’s always wrong! (both laugh)
JOHNNIE: You’ve done a lot of things for daytime TV? You’ll have a go at anything, loads of alternative therapies and -
JOHNNIE: … What haven’t you done - you’ve done it all really haven’t you?
TOYAH: Well, I suppose in the 90’s I did nothing but present so I did things ... I was sent off by the BBC to help run Longleat, I was sent off to run a camel safari in the Negave desert, and then what I’m proudest of in the whole of my career, is in the mid 90’s I started to present "Songs Of Praise" at the same time as presenting “The Good Sex Guide” live on ITV.
And I think that’s the proudest moment of my life (Johnny laughs) is that in the space of 12 hours I went to from sex to religion and back so … I think there’s big trust in you if people let you do things like that!
JOHNNIE: Have you done any of the spiritual things-
TOYAH: I used to present “Heaven And Earth” on BBC1, and again I think that’s part of the BBC’s policy to kind of to have, um, spiritual attitudes rather than, well obviously not secular but to accept ALL religions and to be broader in its attitude.
JOHNNIE: So do you believe- what do you think happens when you die?
TOYAH: I definitely believe we are infinite. We are made up of stardust, I’m nicking that line from Moby but everything that exists has come from the universe. We may not remain as personalities but we are definitely infinite and I do believe in reincarnation and I am reluctant to believe in it coz if I ever have to go to school again and be a woman again I will be really really narked! I wanna be a bloke! I wanna be a bloke that’s well endowed, good looking and has a really good time next time I’m born! Like you Johnnie!
JOHNNIE: You might’ve been that last time!
TOYAH: That’s probably the problem, yes! (Johnny laughs) I was probably Rasputin or someone like that! (laughs)
JOHNNIE: Yeah. So what’s to do in the future do you think?
TOYAH: There’s a lot of great things going on. I’m giggling all year, I start my One Woman Show in September and I can’t remember ANY dates! But everything is on toyahwillcox.com ... er, it’s just busy busy busy which is good. I do a lot writing now which is what I want to do when my hips need replacing which is going to inevitable in the next ten years and ... just keep going. I just want to keep going!
JOHNNIE: So where do you get all the energy from? Are you on a special diet?
TOYAH: (bursts into laughter) Yeah! I eat a lot of prunes! (both laugh) I just love working, I think I like meeting people as well, my work is always about people and I just love it and I’m not bored of it yet, I’m still ambitious.
JOHNNIE: Yeah. Well thanks for coming in today, it’s great to see you in such good form.
TOYAH: Thank you!
JOHNNIE: And I quess y’know if you haven’t got seven thousand quid and can’t afford a facelift well, y'know what’s to do?
TOYAH: Buy a handbag.
JOHNNIE: Buy a handbag.
TOYAH: For three thousand (both laugh)
JOHNNIE: Enjoy the rest of your gigs.
TOYAH: Thank you!
JOHNNIE: Thanks a lot Toyah! The compilation album is out, it’s the Safari Singles Collection Part Two, 1981-1983. So a lot happened just in three years? (both laugh) Take care!
TOYAH: See ya!