BBC RADIO WALES
WITH WYNNE EVANS
WYNNE: My next guest has had a career spanning more than 30 years. She's had 8 Top 40 singles, released over twenty albums, written two books and appeared in 40 stage plays and 10 feature films and voiced and presented numerous television programmes. Hello punk rocker Toyah Willcox!
TOYAH: Well, what an introduction! Hello Wynne, how are you doing today?
WYNNE: You've done all of that! Not me – it's you!
TOYAH: Well, thank you. I've actually done a bit more than that. I've now done 15 feature films. I've got six coming up in the next six months.
WYNNE: No-one likes a show off Toyah, no-one -
TOYAH: I know no-one likes a show off (Wynne laughs) but when you're 58 and you're still working I think you should shout it from the rooftops!
WYNNE: I think you definitely should. And you're looking to do your bucket list aren't you? Over 50's bucket list? Because it's become a really popular thing to kind of do?
TOYAH: Well, absolutely. I think bucket lists kind of define you and they help you focus on your time and how you want to spend your time. Presently in the UK there's over 24 million over 50's and the idea is now it's the time to look at your bucket list, live your dreams. You've worked hard for where you are and hopefully your children have moved on to, you know, education and having their own families. Think about the future and plan the future.
I'm 58 years old and I find it quite a rewarding thing my finite time left is making me more creative than ever before and I want to fit in as much as possible. And plan things and not be a burden on people. Say, when I'm no longer here, I don't want to leave a mess behind me. I've actually spent the last twelve months clearing out my house so that I'm only living with things that I look at, that I firstly need and use and secondly make me happy when I look at them. So that's what I'm kind of talking about today. Planning your future so you can enjoy your time.
WYNNE: Yeah, because this is all done by (Brand name) Funeral Care – ironically? So they're going to say "before we meet you do some good stuff?"
TOYAH: Yeah, exactly. But also what they are saying and it's quite rightly you've got an age old company full of sympathetic experienced people who are there to carry you through one of the hardest experiences of your life. Now, the negative side apart from passing away, there's a lot of bureaucracy. The moment someone has passed away you've got to find wills and if there isn't a will, there's complications. Letters of wishes, instructions on the burial.
You really don't want to talk about that when you are heartbroken and grieving. So what the (Brand name) Funeral is asking is that you plan. And you plan with sympathetic people and you talk with loved ones about what they want. Which gives you peace of mind. You can also invest in paying for the funeral and freezing the cost. So get the practical things done. At the time you don't want to think about it.
WYNNE: I've already said to mine, look if your mother goes first, you'll have you know … If I go first you'll have fun. If your mother goes first you'll have a great inheritance. That's the way I look at it.
TOYAH: You know, Wynne I think that's fantastic because it is inevitable so lets look at the good side. My parent's are both gone. My father went suddenly with a stroke and his funeral was absolutely fantastic but he left so will which put my mother unable to access her bank accounts. Luckily we formed a barrier of protection around her and kept her going until probate was over. So it's little things like that.
WYNNE: Little things yeah -
TOYAH: It's tiny things -
WYNNE: What's on your bucket list then? Because you must've done everything?
TOYAH: Funny enough my bucket list isn't that different to the one you can find on the (Brand name) Funeral Care website. I want to drive both coasts of America, I want to go to old Tibet, Iceland, I would love to make pottery. I would love to cut a diamond.
WYNNE: Hang on - why don't we re-create the scene from "Ghost" – me and you? Coz I've done pottery on the show, we could do it together?
TOYAH: Yeah ... I'm a lot older than you, I'm very happy to do that but – (Wynne sings “Oh my love" in the background) I'm the one who's going to come out best on this deal. (Wynne laughs) So What's on your bucket list then?
WYNNE: Well, I'll tell you what's on my bucket list. People might be shocked, OK? Having been quite a respectful opera singer for twenty years. I want a tattoo.
TOYAH: Oh really? And what would that tattoo be?
WYNNE: I've no idea. That's why I haven't had it. Otherwise I would've had it.
TOYAH: And you've got no tattoos at all?
WYNNE: No, none. Have you got one?
TOYAH: No, I haven't got one but funny enough it's on people's bucket list. It's number 26.
WYNNE: Is it number 26?
TOYAH: Yeah, “get a tattoo”.
WYNNE: Yeah. I want a tattoo. That's top of my list at the moment.
TOYAH: Do you know they hurt?
WYNNE: Yeah! I've had my back waxed. Nothing is going to hurt as much as that bad boy! (Toyah laughs) That proper hurt, that did! That's proper – apart from child birth -
TOYAH: Did you do that out of vanity? Or was it a bet?
WYNNE: No, it was Children In Need (a UK charity)
TOYAH: Oh well done matey! That's great!
WYNNE: Listen, I want to listen to your song we all know you for, OK? Will you tell us a little bit about it - “It's A Mystery”. Could you just tell us how it came about?
TOYAH: Well, “It's A Mystery” - by the time I was presented with the song I'd already had three albums number two in the album charts, which 40 years ago was a big achievement, but not as visible as having a hit single. So I'd done that without a hit single. We had the first indie charts in the late 70's and I'd remained number one in the first indie charts for three years with my very alternative singles.
TOYAH: So the record company asked me to do a track called “It's A Mystery”, which mainly was an instrumental. So I went into the studio with the (song's) writer Keith Hale, we made it into a pop song format, four minutes long. I wrote a second verse and it became “It's A Mystery”.
I had doubts about it because I was a crazy punk rocker, who'd never ever admitted to any vulnerability. And I think is quite vulnerable. When it came out it sold so many units, something like 75 000 a day. The UK ran out of vinyl and we had to hire men in white vans to go around the whole of UK to buy old vinyl so the pressing plants could melt it and print “It's A Mystery”.
WYNNE: Wooow! What a story and what a song. Let's listen to it now and I'll be talking more to Toyah after we hear her in action. This is “It's A Mystery”.
(After the song)
WYNNE: “It's A Mystery” by Toyah who is special guest today and Toyah, I have been waiting 35 years to say something to you …
TOYAH: Ohoho! It's a long time!
WYNNE: Yes! Can I tell you a story?
TOYAH: Yes please!
WYNNE: OK, so just over 35 years ago I was eight and my mum did a lot of work youth in Camarthen and she was invited to have a lunch with the Queen Mother. OK?
TOYAH: Yes …
WYNNE: Also, that day having lunch with the Queen Mother was somebody called Toyah Willcox.
TOYAH: I remember it!
WYNNE: OK. At the end of the day my mother didn't have a lift back to Paddington and she had a lift with Toyah Willcox to Paddington. OK? And she didn't know who you were, right?
TOYAH: Oh wow!
WYNNE: You were like the hottest thing in the world at that time, right? And I said to my mum “so how did you get back to Paddington then, mum?” and she said “oh, this lovely girl, she's had a hair dyed” - coz my mother is a hairdresser - “She's had a hair coloured all colours, lovely called Toyah Willcox, she gave me a lift back to Paddington” and I was like “Mum! That's TOYAH WILLCOX!!!!” (Toyah laughs) So thank you for giving my mother a lift back to Paddington 35 years ago.
TOYAH: It's a pleasure. What can I say?
WYNNE: Didn't see that coming, did you?!
TOYAH: You can't leave a Welsh woman in the middle of London! (Wynne laughs)
WYNNE: I love that! No you're right, you can't! And you're coming to Wales next year?
TOYAH: Yes I am! I'm on the Invasion 80's Tour with Paul Young, Martika and China Crisis!
WYNNE: Yeah, you're in Rhyl Pavillion, 2nd of March -
TOYAH: We open at Rhyl – absolutely! Can't wait!
WYNNE: And then you're doing a solo kind of acoustic show at the Acapela Studios in Pentyrch in April?
TOYAH: That's the 1st of April, isn't it?
WYNNE: Yeah, that's going to be great!
TOYAH: Such a fabulous venue! If you've never been there and you're within distance of getting there it's magical! It's an old church. The sound is incredible. I'm so excited! I can't wait to get there! I played it the beginning of this year and just fell in love with the place.
WYNNE: I love it there. It's of my favourite places, it's gorgeous.
WYNNE: And they get some fantastic names there like yourself. Now, yesterday you were honoured by Birmingham Walk Of Stars?
WYNNE: What was that like?
TOYAH: I've managed to stop crying!
TOYAH: I've been so emotional. Even talking about it! I think because it celebrates everything my family did to get me where I am today. My family were very influential in Birmingham. Construction company, build influential buildings and my farther was an architect and my grand father was a construction engineer so they built really important buildings in that city and for me to get this star on Broad Street with my name on it -
TOYAH: - Which will be there permanently … I did a concert at the Birmingham Rep yesterday and then Jasper Carrot, the comedian, presented me with the star and I've just been in tears all day …
WYNNE: Aww! It's gorgeous - which brings me to my last question to you. How competitive are you?
TOYAH: Do you know it depends who I'm with. If I'm with my husband I am so competitive!
WYNNE: Yes, that's the way of the world!
TOYAH: We can't play croquet it's just … I want to kill him (Wynne laughs) Healthily competitive.
WYNNE: OK. So I do a thing called the Celebrity Leader Board OK? I give you twenty seconds and the subject is particular to you and you have to give me as many answers as you can?
TOYAH: Oh hell!
WYNNE: Top of the leader board is at the moment Johnny Ball. Followed by Jason Donovan, Romesh Ranganathan and at the bottom of the leader board is the magician Dynamo.
TOYAH: Well, that doesn't leave much hope for me …
WYNNE: Not a lot but Toyah Willcox – and I'm happy cheat because remember you gave my mother a lift 35 years ago and it's pay you back time -
TOYAH: OK -
WYNNE: I want you to name as many people on the Birmingham Walk Of Starts in twenty seconds as you can and your time starts now!
TOYAH: Ruby Turner, Bev Bevan, Lenny Henry, Julie Walters … er, Jasper Carrot, umm …
WYNNE: Noddy Holder -
TOYAH: Oh thank you! Noddy Holder, Ozzie Osbourne, Murray Walker, The Archers, Norman Painting, Tony Iommi -
WYNNE: You know your Walk Of starts don't you!? You scored 11.
TOYAH: Is that all?!
WYNNE: Well, top of the leader board is 19 but because you gave my mother a lift in London 35 years ago ... OK? You get 8 bonus points which gives you 19 which puts you with Jason Donovan at the top of the Celebrity Leader Board! (Toyah cracks up laughing) See, you didn't know that lift would be so useful to you?
TOYAH: I am so grateful to your mother!
WYNNE: Toyah thank you so much for talking with me today!
TOYAH: That was fun! Happy Xmas to you all!
WYNNE: Happy Xmas, you take care! That was Toyah Willcox, what a lovely gorgeous person she is, isn't she?