BBC RADIO 5 LIVE
BBC RADIO 5 LIVE
HOST: What a career you’ve had: you’ve worked with Katharine Hepburn, Adam Ant, Derek Jarman and Olivier … who else?
HOST: Me! You’ve done all the greats!
TOYAH: I did a radio play with you –
HOST: Yeah, we’ve acted together on radio –
HOST: Darling, you were just a joy to work with! Let’s have a listen to this (plays “It’s A Mystery”)
TOYAH: Yeah, it’s meee!
HOST: From a very fine collection (Toyah laughs) My record collection, I dug it out this morning!
TOYAH: My youth! And it’s not scratched (looking at the record) (host plays “I Want To Be Free”) Oh, you’re really fielding them out!
HOST: I didn’t want to go to school, I didn’t want to be nobody’s fool (Toyah laughs) I identified with that (plays "Thunder In The Mountains")
TOYAH: (getting annoyed) Oh, please can you just stop this!
HOST: Oh, great stuff! Great memories. All classics! (Toyah laughs) They are aren’t they?
TOYAH: They are to my generation.
HOST: And my generation too, late 30’s. How old are you?
TOYAH: I’m 42.
HOST: I’m 39 you see. I was having unseemly fantasies about you (Toyah laughs) when you were on Top Of The Pops. And I still am! (Toyah laughs)
TOYAH: I have unseemly fantasies about you when I do radio shows!
HOST: Really? You carry on! (Toyah laughs) We’re off for lunch at The Ivy! Where is it again?
TOYAH: I’m not telling you!
HOST: This book that’s coming out, there is so much to write about. A very diverse career. Derek Jarman’s "The Tempest", "Quadrophenia", "Trafford Tanzi" (above) and it all started very badly as a child. You were very unhappy weren’t you? You didn’t want to go to school?
TOYAH: (quotes the lyrics to "I Want To be Free") I didn’t want to be nobody’s fool! You know I dyed my hair, I still had a brain up there. I wanted to be free.
HOST: Hmm. So what was it like? (puts on a mock psychiatrist voice) Tell me about your childhood!
TOYAH: I’ll tell you about my childhood. I just loathe anything to do with convention. I suppose I was just brought up in Birmingham - I wasn’t intellectual, I wasn’t academic so everyone thought I’d get married and have babies. There’s nothing wrong with getting married and having babies, I just didn’t want to do it so I just wasn’t very happy in the situation I was born into I suppose.
HOST: A true rebel?
TOYAH: Well, yeah –
HOST: You were bullied weren’t you?
TOYAH: Well, I was bullied until I smashed the chair over the head of the main bully and then the role reversal happened really quickly.
HOST: Tell us what happened?
TOYAH: Well, I was psychologically bullied because you know I have a lisp and also had a very bad limp then because I was born with a spine defect. And I used have the mickey taken out of me relentlessly and I used to lie awake at night, virtually years on end worried by this. So I was quite psychologically disturbed by it and then one day the last straw on the camel’s back happened.
I was being ignored as I walked into school and I got into class and I picked up chair and threw it at the main bully. She burst into tears and said how can I do something like that to her, completely unaware how she destroyed most of my childhood. Then onwards I was perceived as the hard nut of the school. I kind of played that role to the full until I left.
HOST: It was a real turning point?
TOYAH: A huge turning point. I don’t recommend everyone does it but it really is amazing if you stand up to a bully they really are the cowards.
HOST: This unconventional marriage you have – there was something in the paper about it today?
TOYAH: I know!
HOST: Is this fair … it will be the – (finds the paper) Oh it’s The Express!
TOYAH: The Express!
HOST: That rag from the gutter! Well, once upon a time. Now dragged to the Elysian fields of intellectual journalism –
TOYAH: They printed this story as if there is a problem and there isn’t a problem.
HOST: Sorry - can I read it, just quickly, so you can say it in context.
HOST: “Toyah Willcox has issued" – in fact you read it! (to another person in the studio) You have total responsibility for this!
TOYAH: Yeah, you read it!
HOST N:O 2: “Toyah Willcox issued an extraordinary ultimatum to rock star husband Robert Fripp (below with Toyah). The former punk princess turned actress” – that’s very good isn’t it – “has told him to leave if he doesn’t spend more time at home. Toyah, 42, who says she’s only seen her spouse for one week this year" -
TOYAH: That’s true.
HOST 2: - “Has been conducting a bizarre long distance relationship with her husband of 14 years.” That sounds true if this is what you’ve said?
TOYAH: That’s true.
HOST 2: "King Crimson guitarist Fripp, 53, is frequently" –
TOYAH: That’s not true! He’s 54 ... (they all laugh)
HOST 2: Well, this is erring on the side of caution. “Is frequently away for months on end on tour across the Atlantic in Seattle where he also runs an internet company.”
HOST 2: “The marriage is conducted mainly through telephone calls.”
TOYAH: Very true.
HOST 2: “Toyah, currently starring in the children’s TV series “My Barmy Aunt Boomerang”-
HOST 1: Smash a chair over his head now! (all laugh) This is a typical bully isn’t it, once they have it confronted then they’re quiet, the tough guy, aren’t they?
TOYAH: I know …
HOST 2: I must point out I had nothing to do with this article–
TOYAH: Look - shall I read it because I can read it – Majority of this is true but it’s context which is – it’s written in the wrong context. I was doing an interview and I said to them I’ve seen my husband for one week this year and I’ve demanded that he stays home for July. Which is true because I’m missing the guy! And it’s been printed as if I’m having a terrible time – I’m not! I’m having the time of my life, how many wifes out there would like not to see their husbands for six months! (laughs) I have a great social life, I have fantastic friends –
HOST: Well, it keeps the freshness in your relationship –
TOYAH: Well, it does! Yeah! When we got married we had a rule that we would see each other, wherever we were, once every three weeks. That rule has been broken so I did give an ultimatum, I said "you are home for July" and hopefully home for August. He’s broken that already because he flies to Seattle on Monday. We are going have fun together and we have. And ironically we were in Paris -
HOST: (to the other host) Your editor is going to apologise –
TOYAH: But it’s not a story if “Toyah’s really happy – her husband is away”
HOST: Is it an open marriage?
TOYAH: No. Of course not. (laughs)
HOST: As bad as you are! OK. Listen Toyah. You’ve seen it all, you’ve done it all, career to career to career, you still here – you’ve been up there, you’ve been down there, you’re back again – you must be pretty reflective and philosophical about it all?
TOYAH: Is that a question?! (laughs)
HOST: It’s a speech!
HOST: No - you must look at it wryly, the whole showbiz thing and done so many things?
TOYAH: I hit 40 and I thought nothing can hurt me now. I bounce like rubber ball, I’ll be back!
HOST: Yeah, yeah ... (Toyah laughs) There’s loads of TV stuff you’re doing at the moment?
TOYAH: I’ve got tons of stuff going on. I still do “Holiday” and -
HOST: You’ve done “Songs Of Praise”!
TOYAH: Of course I’ve done “Songs Of Praise”!
HOST: Are you a religious bent?
TOYAH: No, I’m very spiritual. I’m not religious. I’m a heathen.
HOST: Are you?
TOYAH: I think that makes -
HOST: And you do “Songs Of Praise”?!
TOYAH: It makes it more interesting! You don’t want a saint doing “Songs Of Praise” do you?!
HOST: (all talk on top of each other) – what … is some people’s answer “yes, I’ll do it!” I’d rather you were spiritual than have certain beliefs! Thank you very much Toyah and good luck with your book which comes out next week and it’s going to be called … ?
TOYAH: “Living Out Loud”
HOST: Now that’s a good title!