PAUL AND LUCY’S
BEST KEPT SECRETS
PAUL AND LUCY’S
BEST KEPT SECRETS
PAUL: 80’s legend Toyah Willcox is playing two special dates in the North West at the end of October. On Saturday 23rd she is playing at The Beat nightclub in Blackpool and then on 24th of October she is playing at Jack Rabbit Slim’s, in Hoylake. So we had a chat with her to find all about it. The thing I asked her, knowing that she’d been to Blackpool before was what did she think of Blackpool?
TOYAH: (on the phone) Well, I do tend to come in and do the show and leave again, but that’s purely because I just don’t get any time off. Blackpool’s an interesting one because all of my friend’s actually love it, they always go there for long weekends. Blackpool is somewhere where I get to hear good things about but I’ve never actually managed to savour it for myself, other than I’m always sending people out to Harry Ramsden’s to get me food just before a show!
And that’s about my knowledge of Blackpool. I did a fantastic Gay Pride there two years ago. On my birthday I think it was, or it might’ve been my husband’s birthday, it might’ve been the 16th of May. Just such great fun. Really good fun day so obviously I know about Blackpool but I’ve never actually managed to have some quality time there.
I did a matinee of Calamity Jane in Blackpool which is probably memorable for all the wrong reasons. Calamity Jane is kind of family musical, bit of a thigh slapping musical of really well known songs. It’s about a love hate relationship between a man and a woman. When we had someone in the front row with Tourettes on this matinee. It’s a Thursday matinee, I think in May, 2003. This person kept shouting certain obscenity which was to with procreating (laughs) and we couldn’t get through the show, we were just in hysterics and it went down well, the audience loved it! (laughs)
It was hard for us because we had to do love scenes (above), we had to do kissing. Whenever me and my romantic interest ever got close this term started to be shouted very loudly from the front row! It’s definitely going in my next autobiography because we were trying to snog each other while absolutely dying of laughter! The show kind of took on this immense exercise of trying to act and not laugh because this person had this affliction. So I kind of remember Blackpool for that! (laughs)
PAUL: So people coming along (to the gigs), what can they expect?
TOYAH: Well, we do a retrospective of 32 years of Toyah music. So we do a lot of the old stuff. The old stuff is just so popular, the album tracks of the punky albums that we do just go down an absolute riot! But I’ve been lucky enough in the last two years to have charted again. I went to number six in the iTunes rock chart with my last solo album so we feature a lot of that as well. Basically it’s a very up-tempo evening, very feel good. I’m not into taking myself that seriously and it’s a good rock evening.
PAUL: So suitable for everybody would you say? Something for everyone?
TOYAH: Absolutely suitable. There’s something for everybody. I mean because I do big "Here And Now" shows, which are the 80’s shows, and all age groups go there, predominantly people under 25, I have a really nice age mix in my audiences. I can have 16-year-olds upwards, so it’s really good fun.
PAUL: What was it that got you into music? Was it punk or were you into music already?
TOYAH: I was into music as a good old vinyl buyer as a teenager. The very first gig I went to, I was 12, and it was Black Sabbath. I had to get in through the fire exit. What was lovely about those days and I’m talking about 1970 upwards is that if you couldn’t afford to buy a ticket, people always opened the fire exits for you.
Then when I formed my punk band in ‘77 onwards we did the same. We were always opening the fire exit because people could not afford to buy a ticket. Then you move into the big venues and it’s impossible! (laughs) Everyone is monitoring who is coming in. So punk got me into philosophy about music, definitely and as a performer I started as a punk performer. And then I kind of moved into new romantics and new wave.
PAUL: So do you think - would you have been a singer anyway if it hadn’t been for punk? Or would you have stayed with drama and stage?
TOYAH: I definitely would’ve been a singer, it’s something I always wanted to do. I think it’s a young person’s career and had I never become a singer it would’ve been the one thing that would’ve been on the back of my mind - “should I have done it?” I’ve no regrets at all and the lovely thing about punk is that it allowed you to become what you wanted to be. It wasn’t snobby or closed culture. It allowed people who had an idea to go out there and showcase their idea. It was very all encompassing.
PAUL: You’re in the film "Jubilee" (below, top), of course, slightly unusual film. What are your thoughts on that?
TOYAH: Well, it was unusual. It was made for £360 000 by the film maker Derek Jarman who’s iconic. He changed the face of British film and then he went on to make "Caravaggio" and a lot of other movies which escape me at the moment. But I did "The Tempest" (above, bottom) with him as well which was a far more formed Shakespearian film. But "Jubilee" was just completely out there, completely mad. It was the first punk rock film of its day.
PAUL: And then you moved on and you had a fairly noticeable part in "Quoadrophenia" (above, middle). Which was another youth culture film. What can you tell us about that one?
TOYAH: Well, "Quadrophenia" is an interesting one because it came out the critics absolutely slated it. And yet it’s probably one of the most persevering and endearing and it’s just proven itself world wide because it’s a film that every generation rediscovers. I mean there’s massive "Quadrophenia" events and festivals all over the world every year. Young people really love that film. It was great fun to make.
It was me, Lesley Ash, Sting, Phil Daniels, Mark Wingett. We all went on to do other things so it’s a very interesting film to be involved in because it’s just endured. It’s never gone away. And I love it because it has just proven the critics wrong.
PAUL: You did the voice for the "Teletubbies" as well. How did that come about?
TOYAH: I did all the voices for "Brum" which was the same creator. Six series of "Brum" where I was all the characters. And Anne Wood who created "Teletubbies" just asked me if I would go in and do just the opening and closing line. I never had any idea it would be that big. And neither did Anne. Within three months of me doing that it was probably the biggest revolution in children’s TV to ever have been in whole history of TV.
It was massive around the world. The only time I ever had to have bodyguards outside of England was because of Teletubbies. People were completely bowled over by it. Adults and children alike. They wanted to touch you and it was extraordinary. It was fascinating.
You can listen to the interviews HERE, HERE and HERE