BBC RADIO HUMBERSIDE
WITH DAVID BURNS
BBC RADIO HUMBERSIDE
WITH DAVID BURNS
DAVID: (reads on email) This is from Mike, he says “Wohoo Toyah! "It's A Mystery", "I Want To Be Free", "Thunder In The Mountains" – I had a right thing for Toyah! I knew all the words, used to drive the family nuts singing all the songs, wasn't really sure about the "Teletubbies" though! Love you though, Toyah!” Says Mike.
In that case I can't really top that introduction so let's talk to Toyah! Toyah Willcox on the programme. Morning, how are you?
TOYAH: (laughs) How are you doing?
DAVID: I'm good. Have you always inspired that sort of devotion?
TOYAH: I can't answer that – I'm still going, I'm 55 this year and still really busy so I must be doing something right.
DAVID: You must be doing something right. Strangely enough we were talking about “Quadrophenia” and scooters earlier in the week. There's a bloke in Scunthorpe that does paintings of scooters and things like that. He's an artist. Check him out while you're in Scunthorpe , Lee Coleman, a very good artist.
TOYAH: Oh, fantastic!
DAVID: And we got into talking about “Quadrophenia” and at the time I forgot you were in it, weren't you?!
TOYAH: Yeah, I play “Monkey” in it -
DAVID: Yeah … what was that experience like?
TOYAH: It was - the word experience sums it up! It was a massive film. On the poster, we were the main characters on the poster, there was about 7 of us. There's Sting, Lesley Ash, Phil Daniels, Mark Wingett, Trevor … I've forgotten Trevor's surname. We've all kind of gone on and had great careers.
At the time we were undiscovered. It was just this massive film, it was an event to make it. There was about 5000 extras because we had to recreate the Brighton mods and rockers riots. So I just remember complete unorganised mayhem. But this fantastic film came out of it.
One of the biggest curses I have about this film is that is was critically slated and I think it's one of the most important British films ever made and every generation has rediscovered it for itself over the last 32 years. I think if something is good it lasts.
DAVID: Well said! I was a student at the time I think – I loved it! I thought it was a fantastic film and I still do!
TOYAH: I think generally the younger generation – the rite of passage, the confused teenagers really identify with this film. It's about finding yourself, it's about standing on your own two feet, learning how to be grounded. It's about your first sexual encounter. And I just think it's an incredibly powerful message.
DAVID: Yeah. You must be very proud to have been in it. But we're not here to talk - I appreciate you talking about “Quadrophenia” but now as you say you've advanced slightly in years (Toyah laughs) So you're now a “Hormonal Housewife” - tell me about that, Toyah?
TOYAH: I'm on tour, doing “Hormonal Housewives”, we're in Scunthorpe, the Bath Halls on the 2nd of May, tomorrow and it's very very naughty, it's written as stand-up comedy. There's three of us on stage, we talk directly to the audience. It's about women, it's about the secrets lives of women.
We tackle subjects that women perhaps feel they can only talk about in the living room amongst themselves rather than in the broader reaches of the world. We cover things from pregnancy to PMS to labour, competitive mums at the school gate, being bad at the gym, the fact that we have three sizes of clothes in our wardrobe, that we're always hoping we'll get into the smallest size (David laughs) And things like that
DAVID: Yeah. Competitive mums at the school gates?
TOYAH: Yes. Well I'm, not a mum so I'm acting on that one. But apparently a lot of it goes on and we kind of cover that subject about oneupmanship
DAVID: In terms of it being a fashion parade and things like that?
TOYAH: Well, I think you're very right, there is the fashion parade thing but there's also that ridiculous thing of "my child is cleverer than yours" or "your child is disturbed and should be on drugs to keep him calm."
It's kind of all of those things that we never really accept as children, teenagers, even adults, for what they are. To some extent we're always passing some form of judgement and it starts sometimes at the school gates.
DAVID: So is this an insight into the modern woman then?
TOYAH: I think it's an insight – the whole piece, the whole evening is an insight into women of all ages, through all shapes and sizes. This is not a show about body fascism, this is a pure celebration of women and it's very Chaucerian. It's incredibly naughty, it's not suitable for anyone under the age of 16.
DAVID: Right, OK
TOYAH: It's very bawdy, in about 900 women in the audience we have about 6 men. The most fun we have is with gay men. They laugh louder than the women! But I think any man who comes to see this has to be slightly brave and has to love female banter.
DAVID: Yeah, I can imagine it could be very good. Is it belly laugh funny? I take it is?
TOYAH: It's so naughty. The biggest compliment and complaint we've had in the same sentence is people leave with their ribs hurting
DAVID: Right. OK. You can't say much fairer than that. So is this a big tour for you then?
TOYAH: Yeah, we're doing 67 venues in two and a half months, we're only doing one night stands so we're running it as a comedy tour. We're now well over half way through, we've only got 23 shows left. So there's a lot of travelling, it's full on.
It's great great fun! I've never done anything like because it is in the style of stand-up so we talk about ourselves as real people, we're playing ourselves as real people but then we slot in six characters where we do these sketches so it's like a sketch show as well.
DAVID: OK. Are you more of an actress than a singer these days?
TOYAH: God no, I tour the whole year round, I've been touring the last four years! So straight after this I start touring again.
Photo by Martin Cotter
DAVID: Have you got a whip cracking agent - is that what it's about or can you not just sit up at home with your feet up enjoying life?
TOYAH: No, I do everything, I have my office at home, I book the band, do all the contracts. I do have agents as well but I really enjoy my work so you know - it's a really nice way to spend your time and there's no need for me to be sitting at home with my feet up. But one day I may do that!
DAVID: No no no, I find that when you say "I'm going to sit at home with my feet up", that's the day you peg it really -
TOYAH: Well, I've been told!
DAVID: You've got to keep doing, you've got to keep cracking. Well, I wish you all the best, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful evening at the Bath Halls in Scunthorpe.
It's a real pleasure to talk to you and seriously take great pride in "Quadrophenia". It doesn't date in any way. I watched it a few weeks ago and a what a fantastic film!
TOYAH: That's brilliant, thank you!
DAVID: Really nice to talk to you, appreciate your time this morning.