BBC RADIO LEICESTER
WITH MONICA WINFIELD
BBC RADIO LEICESTER
WITH MONICA WINFIELD
MONICA: To any of us of a certain age the name Toyah Willcox will be instantly recognisable whether you know her for her songs like “It's A Mystery” or “I Want To Be Free” or her film performances in “Jubilee” or “Quadrophenia”.
Or her regular television appearances - hers is an instantly recognisable face and voice. Well, next Saturday Toyah Willcox will be in Leicester as part of the cast of “Hormonal Housewives”, a show that looks at everything that makes todays women tick from holidays to teenagers to shopping, DIY. A head of the “Hormonal Housewives” visit I spoke to Toyah Willcox and asked her to describe the show.
TOYAH: (on the phone) It's a three hander that celebrates the diversity of women. It's not political, it's not feminist, it's just pure joy. It's joke after joke after joke, punch line after punch line. It's written as stand- up comedy with sketches interwoven. The three of us - we never really leave the stage other than to get a prop or something.
But it's all inclusive, it's about every woman. It's not about body fascism, it's not about celebrity, it's about real women's real life. And I think because of that it' so popular because most of the women in the audience can see themselves in what what we are doing.
MONICA: I love the phrase “diversity of women” and I think if anybody sums up that phrase it's got to be you.
TOYAH: Well, I'm very old – well, I'm getting there, I'm 54 at the moment, about to turn 55, I've been in the business 37 year and I think women, you have to diversify every now and then. Longevity in music is particularly difficult. I've kind of gone into music, out of music, back into music and I found that every kind of tangent I've taken has helped me get back into music.
So I've been very very lucky there. When you look at women's careers, most women stop to have children and then they go back to work or they re-educate for a new job - diversity is what women do. We have to do it, we have to adaptable.
MONICA: And I think the phrase “multi-tasking” was invented by women for women because we can do many things at once and you're touring your music at the same time as touring with these “Hormonal Housewives”?
TOYAH: It's is true, not as much as normal, with “Hormonal Housewives” we're doing 67 venues in two and a half months and we're now half way through the tour. But I'm having to fit telly in around what I'm doing and a few concerts but once we finish at the end of May I'm just off on the road with my band again.
MONICA: Do you ever say no?
MONICA: (laughs) Do you?!
TOYAH: You'd be amazed how many times I say no. As I get older I'm very good at saying no. As I was younger I felt mortally wounded if I had to say no to anything, I thought I was upsetting people or wouldn't be liked but now as I'm older I'm very selective about what I do.
Partly because my body can't do what my mind thinks it can do – you know, that's just age. And also I want time with my husband (Robert Fripp, below with Toyah). My husband is in his late 60's and I want to have time with him. I say to him virtually every day "let's do what we want to do while we can, not when we've got the time and we can't." So I'm starting to say no to things.
MONICA: Good for you! Well, I'm glad you said yes to “Hormonal Housewives”. You're coming to Leicester. Is it a case of you just bring the show and it doesn't really matter what theatre you're in or does each city and each theatre have it's own identity?
TOYAH: Oh totally, I think what's so utterly unique about England and the UK – every town and city is culturally radically different. It's different in how they listen, it's different in how they react.
And because of that we're always on our toes because the laughter is going to come in different places, it's going to be bigger in certain places. We've got to be ready for that – you can't take for granted how an audience is going to response to something.
MONICA: I assume there's a bit of an opportunity to meet the audience even if by an accident afterwards. What kind of feedback do you get?
TOYAH: The biggest feedback is that their jaws hurt and their rib cages hurt – they didn't expect to laugh so much (Monica laughs) But also I think that the women recognise the writing, the writing is very clever, it's very observational and it's very real life. And I think women really really appreciate and get that. That it's about their lives in their homes.
MONICA: Is there anything after these 67 dates – what's next for you?
TOYAH: I'm straight out on the road with the band so that's what I'm doing for the rest of the year.
MONICA: You just come across of somebody who embraces everything rather than looking at things and go “do you know, that could be a problem”. You go “do you know, let's just do it!”
TOYAH: There's a little bit of "let's do it", there's a little bit of "it's daunting". I take this tour day by day and I think that's the best way to approach it. Because I'm about five hours a day in the car, do the press, do the show so if I thought too far ahead I would just be too overwhelmed. But it is exciting and it's incredibly good fun.
MONICA: Does sound brilliant, doesn't it? Although I don't envy the half a dozen men that find themselves in the audience for “Hormonal Housewives”.