Happy Birthday Toyah!


Live At Drury Lane

The CD/DVD and vinyl of the legendary Christmas Eve 1981
concert at Drury Lane, London is out now

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Apple Music

For more info visit Official Toyah → Drury 2023

Classic Pop Magazine May/June 2023

Preorder Sheep Farming
140 g Vinyl

Toyah's first album Sheep Farming In Barnet will be released
as a 140gm black vinyl repress on 16.6.2023

Pre-order from Cherry Red

If you don't have Amazon Prime both Invasion Planet Earth (2019) and The Ghosts of Borley Rectory (2022) are now available to stream for free on Amazon's Freevee

Sign in with your usual Amazon log-in and
choose the "Free with ads" option

Watch Invasion HERE and Ghosts HERE

New In The Archive

PARKINSON, BBC1 October 1981
GET SET FOR SUMMER, BBC1 With Peter Powell July 1982
SOUNDCHECK Issue 1, 1983
HARTY, BBC1 8.3.1983
BBC RADIO ONE With Annie Nightingale and Sting 3.10.1983
BBC1 LIFE AND TIMES With Vanessa Feltz 2000
E4 THE LATE EDITION With Marcus Brigstocke 24.3.2005
BBC RADIO 2 With Rylan Clark 23.10.2021
BBC RADIO SCOTLAND With Billy Sloan 30.10.2021
METRO 60 SECONDS 2.11.2021
OK MAGAZINE 22.11.2021
MY TIME CAPSULE With Michael Fenton Stevens 24.1.2022
ON RECORD | IN CONVERSATION With Satnam Rana 12.5.2022
CHOOSE 80s @ CHILFEST 2.7.2022
HOW TO BE 60 With Kaye Adams 29.7.2022 
LOUDER THAN WAR With Nigel Carr 9.8.2022
BBC RADIO 2 BREAKFAST SHOW With Gary Davies 16.8.2022
XS NOIZE PODCAST With Mark Miller 25.8.2022

All of the new stuff in the Archive Sister Page HERE

STEVE: We're going to start off with your first track. Bowie, “Ashes To Ashes”. Is this your favourite Bowie song? Why have you picked it?

TOYAH: It's a very powerful Bowie song for me. Bowie always punctuated the points in my life where I felt the carpet had been pulled from under my feet. The first time I heard “Life On Mars”, for instance, I was doing an audition with Phil Daniels for a play on BBC2. I sang “Life On Mars” at my first audition and got the part

With “Ashes To Ashes“ - I was already becoming a very cult, famous figure within the punk movement in 1980. I remember going away to write songs with my writing partner at that time, Joel Bogen (the guitarist of the Toyah band). We were just a bit lost. We'd been signed to a record label but we hadn't quite got the full band together

“Ashes To Ashes” came on the radio when we were in a cottage somewhere in Dorset, writing, and my whole life changed in that moment. Bowie did that for me whenever I felt lost or broken. Bowie put me back together and “Ashes To Ashes” is one of those songs

STEVE: I've always wanted to ask you about Derek Jarman. I heard that he kind of spotted you. As far as the movie “Jubilee” goes, which I've seen - it blew my teenage mind. But he said to you “I want you in this movie. I don't care who you play. I want you in here" Tell me how you met him? How it started out?

TOYAH: The actor Ian Charleson, (who was in “Chariots Of Fire”), we were both working at the National Theatre. Ian said to me "you've got to come and meet this director called Derek Jarman. He's making a movie about the punk movement and the royal family". I think the original name of the movie was going to be “Down With The Queen” and it became “Jubilee”

Derek and I and Ian had tea at his apartment. Derek's way of casting a movie was just extraordinary. He said, “look at the script. Pick your role. But you can't play "Amyl Nitrate" because that's Jordan”. Jordan, the iconic punk queen (below on the right) I picked “Mad”. I literally flipped through the script and went for the part with the most lines

But then a few weeks later Derek had to say to me that his budget had been cut, and he had to cut down the whole film to four characters. He instinctively realised that I was heartbroken that “Mad” was going to be cut from the script. Then a week later Derek phoned and said “I've given up my fee so that you can be in the film" and he put “Mad” back in

That is exactly who and what Derek was. Derek put people in a room and said “do whatever you want”. So if you can imagine, literally, where this building is that you and I talking in now, was one of the sets ... It was an old warehouse. John Mabry doing the sets. Kenny the drummer from Siouxsie and the Banshees was painting the walls

You had Adam Ant and myself, Little Nell, Jenny Runacre. We were all together just making this film happen in this kind of family atmosphere, with Derek Jarman giving us sandwiches to sustain us. And it worked. I actually believe that that film was 40 years too soon

Now, in today's climate, and with today's revolution of language, of history, of addressing the equality of everyone, and the equality of choice within everyone - Derek was there 42 years ago. Behaving like that, living like that and fighting for those rights. This film, as mad as it is, I think belongs today

STEVE: Yeah, amazing. Also these movies have gone down in cult status now. Blew my teenage mind watching that. I wasn't sure what I was watching, but I loved it and I'd never seen anything like it before

TOYAH: (There was) nothing like it. Very collage and very free thinking. As performers we're all bouncing off the walls with our energy. What I love today is so many young kids, and I'm talking about 16 - 17 year olds, are coming up to me saying “we're studying Derek Jarman. We want to make movies like that

STEVE: Brilliant. What shall we pick next? What would you like?

I think Kate Bush because Kate, quite rightly, her catalogue from 1985, which is “Hounds Of Love” is just … It's announced today that she's getting a song writing nomination as a contemporary artist for the Ivor Novello Award. It was absolutely amazing when the “Hounds Of Love” came out. It was groundbreaking. It lifted Kate from the artist that everyone felt they knew with “Babooshka” and “Wuthering Heights”

It lifted her into the stratosphere of A-list writers, even in 1985. To have it come back the way it has, and she's being discovered now by a completely new audience, I think is the most perfect trajectory for a career anyone could have

STEVE: What do you think about the whole situation with a movie or a TV show picking up on a song from years ago, using it and suddenly ... (makes an explosion sound)

TOYAH: I personally would say the record industry as it is today, where we are reliant on download sales ... that doesn't necessarily pay our way. We're all completely reliant on what's called sinks and that is your back catalogue being discovered or even your present catalogue being placed in a movie, an advert or a TV series. We’re totally reliant on it

But I feel really, really optimistic that it opens up the world of music. Every genre, every timeframe. 80s, 70s, 60s, 90s, 2000. I mean, it's all possible now and it's all happening

STEVE: Did you know Kate? Do you know her? Have your paths crossed? Can you tell me something about her?

TOYAH: When Kate had Bertie and the world didn't know about her son, Kate would come to our house. I live on the River Avon and my father would take them out on his boat. They had privacy and could play. So we know the private Kate

STEVE: What is she like? Is she otherworldly?

TOYAH: She's incredibly bright and intelligent. Otherworldly, possibly, yes. But just a really beautiful human being. Kind. She loves other people. She loves interesting people. She's always interested in what you're doing and what you're up to

Always wants a lovely conversation. Kate never sits down and talks about Kate. Kate sits down and talks about you. Very like Derek Jarman. Just a really lovely soul who just wants to be plugged into creativity

STEVE: Amazing. How do you think she feels now after the year that she's had?

TOYAH: She thrilled

STEVE: You know? You’ve spoken to her?

TOYAH: Well, we got an email at Christmas and she said "my goodness, you wouldn't believe what's going on!" Kate's very private, and she loves the silence of her home life. She makes jam. She makes cakes. She loves being involved with Bertie’s social circle. I think it amazes her as someone, who tries to stay out of the limelight, that she's increasingly been thrown back into it

The most amazing conversation I had with her was backstage at “Before The Dawn” (Kate's concert residency at Hammersmith Apollo) in 2013. She'd just been invited to take the show to Broadway and she said "I just look forward to going home.” I love that!

STEVE: You’ve probably answered my next question. Would she go out on tour again off the back of this success?

TOYAH: I'm not answering that for her. That's her right

STEVE: Do you think she might do a couple of shows?

TOYAH: (shakes her head) That's for her to talk about. But what I will say is the most talented people in the world and I've worked with a lot of them - they're not actually terribly ambitious. My husband's Robert Fripp (below with Toyah in 1986). He's the most private, home based person I know. And Kate is very similar. Her values are with love and family, as well as creativity

STEVE: “Hounds Of Love” - what does it mean to you?

TOYAH: When I first heard "Hounds Of Love" I was on a plane going to meet my husband. He was about to propose to me and I was very vulnerable. I was in tears. I was leaving my old life to go to America. So “Hounds Of Love” to me is about the life I was about to enter into. Very broken time for me. I was leaving an old life to start a new life

STEVE: What's the next one we're going to go for?

Well, it's very linked to Kate Bush in many ways - it's Peter Gabriel. I'm going for “Sledgehammer”. His management called me in to listen to his album. I was blown away. I'm very flattered that they wanted my opinion on it. They played me “Sledgehammer” and I thought "this is fantastic!". I have loved Peter Gabriel ever since he went solo

And of course my husband produced him as a solo artist and played on “Here Comes The Flood” (1977,) I believe. So the links are all there. My husband was in the studio hen Peter and Kate did “Don't Give Up”. Peter did about 73 takes, I've been led to believe, and Kate got it right on the first take. My husband was in the studio and he was sitting there thinking “she's got it right. Just stop doing takes. She's got it right on the first take!”

STEVE: The pressure!

TOYAH: So I want to play Peter Gabriel because he inspires me. If ever I need to just open my mind up and feel really creative ... it's “Sledgehammer”. It’s “Us”, the album. Everything he does informs me of what I would like to do

STEVE: Can you remember hearing this track for the very first time because obviously now it's gone down in legendary status. How did it make you feel?

TOYAH: The first time I heard it I felt complete envy. Because this is such a complete song. The production, the vocal. The arrangement is so wonderful. I envy anyone who has that time and that focus to do it. Peter can scrap whole albums and start again but when he gets it right, my goodness, it's there for eternity

I then went to Switzerland to film a TV programme and I was in the Alps, in the snow, sitting on a balcony just looking out over the mountains. "Sledgehammer" was on a loop on my Walkman. I came away from that experience, just an hour listening to “Sledgehammer” and wrote an album called “Ophelia’s Shadow”, which was critically acclaimed in America

It's nothing to do with “Sledgehammer”, but the whole experience of Peter’s voice, his choices of how he sings words, like Bowie, how he'll deliver a line, his timing ... just unlocked me creatively. I just sat there, writing non-stop

My husband watches me do this when we watch TV. When I see Claes Bang, the actor, in a film or a drama ... they unlock me. I keep a pen and a pad next to me. My hand is just writing, writing, writing, writing. My husband says “how are you doing that? You're not even looking at the paper.” I just think certain people open a creative pathway. I never let those moments go and I can come away with 10 pages of ideas

STEVE: Of course we do need to quickly chat about the video to this track because it really is, even now, something special!

TOYAH: Groundbreaking

STEVE: He apparently sat under a sheet of glass for 16 hours in the knowledge that nobody would do that and never come close to doing it

TOYAH: This was at the time when stop frame technology was the only way to do it. There was no CGI at this time. There was no other way of doing it than animation and this is live animation. I just think he knew he was onto a good thing. He trusted the filmmakers

This is what's so beautiful about Peter’s career is that he will go off on really strange tangents that bring something back into the Zeitgeist and he creates Zeitgeist. And that's why he is who he is

STEVE: Brilliant. Which one are we going to go for next?

TOYAH: I would love to go for Marc Almond and “Tainted Love"

STEVE: I love it! Tell me about this

TOYAH: I'm touring all of this year with my husband, Robert Fripp. We’ve got Isle Of Wight, Cropedy Festival (above, Toyah at Cropedy in August 2022) and many many other festivals. And then we're touring in October, in homage to our social media hit “Sunday Lunch”

STEVE: What happened there? Tell me about that because that's exploded -

TOYAH: What we're doing for the tour is we'll have a big screen and the show will have an image and narration of looking back at the “Sunday Lunches”. But basically Robert and I are just doing an absolutely rocking tour. We're going out and doing rock music. It's a live music show

STEVE: Have you toured with him before?

TOYAH: Yes, with a band called Sunday All Over The World in 1988. But not since then. But we love working together. So people will come up, they will have a fantastic show. The show is 50% British writers, 50% English writers

11 of my songs are in the show but then we pepper the show with great rock. So we have Guns N' Roses, we have Marc Almond - which is why I want to play “Tainted Love”, because that's in our show. I cannot believe this came out as early as 1981 -

STEVE: That's amazing

TOYAH: Isn't it incredible?

STEVE: 43 years ago

When that intro begins you just need that first da da and the audience just go crazy! I've seen this. I work with Marc Almond all the time at the “Rewind” and “Let’s Rock” festivals and you just get that first da da and the whole audience is just dancing. Elated! I think that's the power of this production for Marc Almond

The video is sensational because it's the first time people wore this kind of lighting technology. So you have two dancers come in through a window and they've got a light suit on. Then they're dancing while there's the model lying in bed and Marc is projected -

STEVE: He’s a very attractive young man, if I may say so

TOYAH: Oh, he’s gorgeous! The video is just perfection and I think this song is what the 80s is about

STEVE: The album version is mixed into “Where Did Our Love Go”

TOYAH: Oh, is it? I probably have heard it

STEVE: It’s so good. And obviously this is a cover of a song by Gloria Jones. But everybody remembers this version

TOYAH: This is the definitive and artists have done it very brilliantly ever since. But Marc - his delivery is vocal. He is a torch singer. You can feel his pain in everything he does. He delivers a very beautiful pain

I think it's quite important within popular music that we recognise broken hearts. We recognise relationships that didn't last and all of that. He does it with a such a joyful song

STEVE: Which one should we go for next on your list? We could do all of these. Did it take you a long time to put this list together?

TOYAH: No, it didn't take a long time to put the list together because I think the 80s has so much to offer. I just don't think it's going to go away. These are storytelling songs. I’ve chosen INXS next, “Need You Tonight”, just because INXS by 1987 were able to strip the production back

It was about rhythm. It was about hitting the beat. And you had this gorgeous beautiful adonis on lead vocals, Michael Hutchence. There's such an innocence about what they do and yet he cannot help exude extreme sexuality

STEVE: What was it about him?

Perfect body. Perfect voice. He was flirtatious with the microphone and the camera. And of course the very famous story about Paula Yates at that time. It was the love story that everyone was intrigued by. Was it at that time or had they not met?

STEVE: The love thing with her started on “The Big Breakfast” in the 90s. So "Need You Tonight” … 10 years later they were dating and he passed away in 97' before she did

I interviewed her just before she passed away and she was actually in a very good place. Utterly beautiful. Just legendary beauty. Articulate. But she was in a good place She arrived with her friend Belinda, who protected her like a dragon, quite rightly

Paula was able to talk about everything. I was super impressed and fell in love with her like everyone did, who met her. But I think something was going on with Michael long before it was public, which is why I've picked up on it

STEVE: They were very very flirty on "The Big Breakfast". It was in bed, wasn’t it?

I think Michael couldn't believe how forward she was. But they were made for each other. You could see it. I think he's a beautiful man and (it's) a fantastic band. I've always felt protective of him ever since (he was) at the BRITS. He was presented with a prize and the person who presented it said "you're a has-been"

Fom that moment on I would fight a battle for Michael. I would fight to protect him because it was disgraceful that anyone, yet alone another artist, should abuse someone in front of such a big world audience like that. So I've always just felt really protective towards him

STEVE: What a loss. What a shame

A big loss!

STEVE: How sad. I watched the Paula Yates documentary recently

She was breathtaking

But it's great to hear what you said because everybody said the same thing that she was in a really great place and that death, if you want to call it accidental or whatever - it wasn't meant to happen

Of course it wasn't meant to happen. Looking back at Peaches (Paula’s daughter with Bob Geldof) ... (her death) wasn't meant to happen. The DNA in this family is absolutely brilliant. What would Paula be doing now? She'd just be doing magnificent things. And she was in a great place at that time

STEVE: We've done the five songs but let's pick another one because I’m having a great time

I would love to pick Alice Cooper

STEVE: What I really want to ask you, Toyah ... you were there. It's amazing to talk to somebody who was there at the punk scene. You remember it first time round. Do you think there's a chance that we could revisit anything like that? Do you think the punk scene might come back again? Or is it done and dusted?

Oh no, it's not done and dusted. I do the Rebellion Festival (below, 2017), which is a punk festival and that audience is all ages. So obviously we original punks, because I'm about to turn 65 - we're of a certain age. But that audience is all age groups. I think what's beautiful about the punk philosophy is it policed itself. In the beginning it needed to be policed. There was a sidetracking into kind of the wrong image

STEVE: Was it really genuinely anarchic?

TOYAH: Yes, absolutely! I was at the National Theatre when I was 18. I think I punked the National Theatre! I was the first punk there and it did shock people even in an establishment like the National, which is a groundbreaking theatre. But what it did for me - I'm not a conventional physical type for a woman in music. I'm very, very small. I don't have beautiful long legs. I'm just powerful. I have a lot of energy and bravado

Punk allowed me into the music industry. People really resisted it. People resisted signing me. I probably was one of the last acts signed. I got signed to an independent label called Safari about 1978 and that was quite late to get signed. My sheer will and bravado pushed me into the front runners, as it were. And only last December (the album) “Anthem” (1981) was re-released and it charted again, went straight in at number 22

So I think because I haven't had physicality in my favour … Firstly I was gender neutral at the beginning of my career. I dressed gender neutral. I thought there was absolutely no point trying to win people over by being feminine. It just wasn't going to work
STEVE: Does that mean that you were non-binary? You didn't identify as being a she?

TOYAH: I didn’t want to be identified as a gender. It was nothing to do with he or she. I just felt that people were judging me when they were writing about me as not attractive as a woman. No one that they wanted to sleep with as a woman. I found that really insulting that I was being judged purely on being attractive and not really as an up-and-coming artist. So I just started to not go that way

STEVE: Did anyone ask any questions because it would seem that people were quite accepting of “you do you”?

TOYAH: People were genuinely fascinated that I had the guts to not play the game of being that cute little woman. I was very aggressive in how I moved through my career. Not violent, but strident. People were genuinely fascinated

My clothes designer was a woman called Melissa Caplan, who designed for Bananarama, Adam Ant, Steve Strange, and possibly Marc Almond at that time. Her remit was I want to be gender neutral. I am a human being not an agenda

STEVE: Tell me about Alice Cooper, and why you want this song?

TOYAH: “School's Out”. I love this song. And funnily enough, my husband loves this song. We covered it in our “Sunday Lunch” social media. Oh no, it's “Poison”!

STEVE: Just explain what “Sunday Lunch” is just in case people haven't seen it or don't know what it is

It’s on the Toyah You Tube channel and every Sunday at 12 noon we post 90 seconds of performance from Toyah and Robert. In the lockdown years this was huge around the world. It's still huge now!

STEVE: Is that when it started? During the pandemic?

TOYAH: Yes. We did it because we posted one film of us dancing, April the 19th 2020 and we instantly got replies from around the world. From New Zealand, from Bali, from Hong Kong. So we continued to do it every Sunday. We've had 111 million visits

STEVE: Wow, that's impressive

TOYAH: We're now having a documentary made about us, which is filming for the next 12 months, following us on on our tours

STEVE: You do this track? You do “Poison”?

TOYAH: On the tour we're going to do “School’s Out”. We did this track on "Sunday Lunch" and Alice Cooper was sent it. He was played it live on his broadcast. His band said “you need to see this.” We were made to watch him watching it live

He was like, “Oh, what is this?” I sent a message to him ... “I'm really sorry about this, Alice, but you do not know what you mean to me. As a teenager in the early 70s and today. You've proven to me that you can just go through life being strong, doing what you believe in

STEVE: What did he say back?

TOYAH: He was so gracious

STEVE: Is he lovely?

TOYAH: He laughed his head off at the “Sunday Lunch” because I was dressed as a nurse and I think he was really embarrassed by it. But he was really lovely

STEVE: An absolute pleasure. Toyah Willcox. Lots of love

Thank you. Lots of love and see you on the road

STEVE: See you there. Maybe at Glastonbury, maybe not. We don't know. It could happen … I'm getting a look (they both burst out laughing)

Watch the interview HERE



STEVE BLAME: I want to start with your childhood. We are formed from our childhoods. Your father was a businessman, your mother had been a dancer. What's written in Wikipedia is that she gave up dancing to have a family. Tell me about your early childhood because you were born with a bent spine and had a limp

TOYAH: My early childhood was really idyllic. My parents were wealthy. My father was incredibly wealthy, right up until I was 12 years old. He ran a construction business in Birmingham. He had three factories. He came from the Willcox-Lang dynasty. He was a very hard working man. We had a new Rolls Royce every six months

I never knew I was disabled. I think the thing about disability is you don't know you have it until other people treat you as if you're disabled. I was born at home. My mother literally prepared Sunday lunch for the family, my brother and sister and dad. She went into labour at about 11.15

The midwife came and she gave birth to me in her bedroom at 11.45 and was back down with the family by one o'clock. This is what life was then. And just to reflect back even further, my father was born at a time of high child mortality. He was one of 13 children and only three survived

So there was a toughness about life back then. We didn't have central heating. We very rarely had hot baths until I was about seven and that was normal wealthy British life back then. With my disability, I knew something was up because every six months I was in hospital. Every morning and night my mother had to give me physio, which I really enjoyed

This physio included things like painting with my feet, things that I became very expressive with. I could write with my feet. I could paint with my feet. I didn't know that to be called "Hopalong" by my family was politically incorrect (laughs) I thought I was being favoured!

STEVE: It was the 70s or 60s (they both laugh)

TOYAH: Mainly the 60s. I was a child of incredible braveness and bravado because I was singled out and I thought I was special (laughs) My mother had to buy two pairs of shoes. Small pair on my left foot, the larger pair on my right foot. I would fall a lot. I had raises on my left foot built into the shoes

I just had a disability (laughs) It really wasn't until I reached the age of 11, when the corrective surgery started, that I started to be really pissed off with my body because the corrective surgery didn't work. Up until that point I was training to be a junior ice skating champion. I trained alongside John Curry. And then suddenly everything kind of went a bit kaput. I just started to fight against it because I was being labelled and I didn't like it

Well, that's what I wanted to come to because children can be very unempathetic and any differences highlighted. At school, if you were any different in any way to other people, then you would be a target and there would be name-calling. I would think that to a certain extent that difference would also change you. So did been seen as different change you?

I think I was very liked at school, but also people picked on the speech impediments (laughs) I’m only laughing now because it's only in recent years I've seen with clarity how others saw me. I had no idea. I was dyslexic and had a very unique use of language and it made people laugh and I would get bullied. I’d get bullied because I was sensitive. I was easy to make me cry

But the most extraordinary abuse I ever had was when I was about four and a half. In our class there was a Wendy house (a doll house) and two girls would take me into that Wendy house. They would remove their shoe laces and strangle me till I lost consciousness. I didn't know this was abuse. I didn't tell my parents. I didn't tell the teachers. Then I started to get abused because of the way I sounded rather than the way I moved

And again, I didn't see it as abuse. But one day, after a night of no sleep and anxiety at home, I walked into the class and I picked a chair up and I smashed it over the bully’s head and that changed my life. After that point I became a bit of a leader in my school

STEVE: You've also got a lisp, which I have. Some of the things that we have and we possess and people see as difference provide our drive in life. So in a sense that negativity can become later on. You've got to go through the shit, but later on it can be a positivity. Abuse wasn't only from other school children - your mother was quite abusive, wasn't she?

TOYAH: My mother was severely mentally damaged by a childhood experience, which we only learned about three years ago after her death. ancestry.com showed us press cuttings from a court case that involved her when she was about 16

She'd witnessed her father murder her mother. My mother was illegitimate, which terrified her. Putting the pieces together I can see why my mother was the creature she was. My mother would have been terrified of people discovering not only was she illegitimate, but a member of her family murdered somebody

My mother was the absolute double of "Hyacinth Bucket" from a comedy called “Keeping Up Appearances”. So as children we weren't allowed to talk to anyone who had an accent. We weren't allowed to misbehave or even talk in public. She was very strict and my father was very strict and my schooling was very strict. But my mother's greatest fear was her history being found out

When my father met my mother, she was touring with a comedian called Max Wall. She was 18. She'd already been chaperoned since the age of 16 and my father never understood why the chaperone was with her 24 hours a day. A female chaperone, who was with her even right up untill the wedding night

The chaperone would never let my father be alone with my mother. We've now discovered that my mother's father, who murdered her mother in front of her, got out of prison within three months, and the chaperone was there to protect her from her father

So my mother was living in constant fear. She didn't want to talk about this in our lifetime, not even to my father, who she was married to, or to my brother and sister. She carried this for the whole of her life. So my mother would fly off the handle with the greatest of ease

She had real emotional difficulty, but as a very beautiful dancer and a woman who was a beauty queen in her teens, had given birth to a daughter with a physical defect ... she had a real problem with it. But also, she was abusive in that she couldn't control her emotions

My sister, who is eight years older than me, has no memory of her childhood. My brother and I do because we remember my mother chasing us around the house with a carving knife shouting “I'm going to kill you!”. With me, the abuse was she felt I had no future. So every time I achieved something, the abuse was in the way of “don't believe in it. It's not going to happen”

I when I won Best Female Singer in the equivalent of what is The BRITS in 1982 (below with Leo Sayer (on the left) and Dave Lee Travis), I phoned her and said “I've won”. And she said, “Well, don't brag about it. It's not going to continue”. And I said, “but I've got this beautiful trophy”. “Oh, you will fall on it and it will kill you”

Everything to do with happiness, everything to do with joy, everything to do with eating was going to kill us. As soon as we put food in our mouths, she'd say “you will choke on it”. Every time I said “I'm going for a walk” ... “You will be murdered” was the reply

We were tough children. My parents never knew how they had the children they had. My brother was a Harrier fighter pilot. One of only three to actually fly that plane at that time because it was so complex to fly. My sister is right at the top of the NHS. One of the runners of the accounting in the NHS

In the July the 7th bombings (London, 2005) my sister is the one that emptied all the double decker buses, filled them with oxygen, got them into the underground and saved all those people. She made that decision above everyone else. We are tough children and my parents were the complete opposite

STEVE: That's amazing. My my father never loved me. I found this out from my mother after he died. She told me that she had a third child to keep him and of course because of that he never had anything to do with me in my early years

I ended up being a presenter on MTV to get, I presumed, what I felt would be love from the whole world, which will compensate not having love from my father. When you hear me say that - this word compensation - do you you instantly know that this is what your fight for a career was as well?

TOYAH: I was loved. I do believe I was loved in their way. I don't know about your dad, but my father had spent six years away at war, World War Two. And my mother is obviously going through a complete lack of education and a complete lack of support. They loved me in their way

But their negativity always baffled me. It broke me. It meant that I could never experience joy, because they have programmed me to suffer when I experienced joy. I think my fight for survival is the industry never accepted me on a particularly large level. Mostly because I'm minute. I'm barely five foot tall, but I'm not proportioned like a model or like Kim Kardashian

So I was always fighting for my presence as a viable woman. Every barrier I come up against, I will push back. I will push that barrier down. And I do think yes, you're right, that the contribution to that is my upbringing. But also my upbringing taught me to see injustice towards women. It taught me on a level that is deeply subconscious because my mother didn't use that language

My mother was breathtakingly beautiful. When she delivered me to my first party with boys when I was 13, the whole room went quiet and a boy said “I want to snog her” and pointed to my mother. So my mother's breathtaking beauty got her through her life. But psychologically she was deeply broken

STEVE: You mentioned that when you got the equivalent of a BRIT award back in 1982 you called your mother -

TOYAH: Well, I was really calling my dad but my mother answered the phone (laughs)

STEVE: But it's also looking for confirmation, isn't it?

TOYAH: Oh, God! Yeah!

STEVE: That's another thing that we look for in our lives ... the wounds that we have in our childhood - we look for the confirmation, but we never get it

TOYAH: You don't get it. I got it in a very strange way that in the five days before my mother left this world she was screaming for me. She only wanted me with her. My mother had no faith, but my mother could see that I saw something different. I sat with her for the five days as well as the other family members

But she knew that if I was there, I could help her get through those five days and release. Because it's just so bloody obvious. We never stop. Our consciousness is a continual thing. She only saw that in me or acknowledged it in the end. With my father it was the same. My father wanted me by his bedside. But they acknowledged it in the end

STEVE: How difficult has it been for you to touch, in your life, on this trauma over your life? I've been trauma therapy. It's therapy where it's about how you hold things in your body and it's affected your health because of what happens in your past and then it's really trying to go deep inside

It's a very painful process, but it's an important process. But I just wondered how you have dealt with that throughout your life. Just with other people on your own or with therapy?

The one person who saved my life is my husband, Robert Fripp (above with Toyah in 1988) He just saw it immediately. As soon as he met my mother he saw the problem. Robert’s had trauma in his life and I've had trauma. We sit down and we talk through everything. We sit down at least for an hour to two hours a day and just talk

He helped unravel how I was physically responding to the experiences of negativity. He pointed it out. He said “what your mother has just said is just not logical”. I was suicidal after every time I met her. We were fighting until two weeks before she died!

My husband would sit me down and say “you know what she just said is illogical”. Still, after 30 odd years, she would make him a cup of tea and he'd say “no milk, no sugar”, and she would deliver a cup of tea with milk and sugar. She would do completely the opposite

So I'd say “I'm so excited! I'm going to be playing “Calamity Jane" in a national tour!" and she'd say “well, it will close in the first week and if it doesn't, you'll break a bone”. It's absolutely illogical! And I would hit the fucking roof

I started fighting back with her when I was 12 and eventually I was sent to live with a gorgeous Hindu family in Edgbaston in Birmingham, who just saw that we were going to kill each other. So we've had a long relationship of causing trauma to each other

But Robert is the one that helped me deal with what I call career abuse - which is ironically the way my family treated me, calling me "Hopalong" - reflected also in my career with critics and reviews and general comments in showbiz press. It reflected, it was there. It was as if I was showing it on my shoulders

Robert and I will often sit down and talk about why would a reviewer a lie. We had a review once from playing The Roundhouse with our band called The Humans. We volunteered to open a festival at 6 pm knowing that the ticket said it started at 7 pm. A reviewer said that no one was there to see us. “They decided not to come till 7 pm. The music was awful” and a reviewer wasn't even in the fucking room!

So we've always had to deal with dishonesty in the press and we talk about it a lot. I would say as a creative human being, my relationship with dishonesty in the performance field, I've had to deal with more than my parents. It's only since my parents passed and I learned my mother's history that I've been putting two and two together as to why I was treated the way I was treated

And actually it's given me a feeling of being very well grounded. My survival instincts kicked in and I just see that the problem was theirs. So it wasn't mine. It was nothing to do with my disability. It was nothing to do with the fact that I'm small. Small people do get kicked. I am a survivor anyway. I'm a strong person

STEVE: You just said that you moved in with a Hindu family. My father left when I was about 13. There were enormous rows. He was a market trader. He would throw money - we had these wooden panels that looked a bit like East Germany after the war and eventually they would be pockmarked because of all the money flying around

I remember going around to a friend's house and his mum and dad sat on the sofa holding hands and I said to him “what are they doing?” because my only vision of a relationship was dysfunctional, horrendous

I didn't see them in the early days, when, I presume, they were in love. I only saw them in the period when I was there. It's very hard not seeing and not having that feeling of love that you obviously didn't have from from your mother when she was alive

TOYAH: I did. I did have love but there was part of her that was so broken it was like a split personality. She did give love and she did protect but it came with extreme outbursts of very confusing anger and despair. I said that my parents were very wealthy till I was 12. When I was 12 my father lost the entire family business in a stock market slump. We went from having Rolls Royces to having no food by Friday

I think one of the reasons I am such a survivor and I'm so educated and I self-educate about everything, from money to investing to stocks and shares is because I saw my parents lose everything. So by the time I was 14 I was lying to get work so I could bring money into the house. But what really destroyed my parents and you've got to keep in mind that my mother was living a lie anyway about social status - for them to lose their money ... they lost their social status

Very wonderful people stepped in and gave them money. One is still alive. He's my uncle and not a blood uncle, but we call him uncle and he's 100 this year, and he stepped in. A very wealthy man and gave them a fund to live off

Then I started working and I started to be able to fund them. Eventually I bought the family home off them and then I bought them a new home. I was giving them more money a week than I was earning when I was at the height of my fame. They were in that much shit financially. To watch two people be destroyed, who were so hooked on social status taught me a lot

It meant that when I was being knocked and being criticised and being treated like the cheap version of Kate Bush in the press, I had to survive. I had to keep my parents alive. I had to keep them in a home. It did nothing but make me tougher and more determined and more self aware of how utterly fucking brilliant and unique I am. I'm the toughest you can ever meet. That's what my upbringing did to me

STEVE: That's wonderful. I think that power that you have is incredible. The 70s were an era of unbelievable sexism, misogyny, racism and homophobia. They were everything. I was 13 in 1972 so we are the same age, I think. And as a gay teenager, along came David Bowie and suddenly there was this world where I felt I could belong. David Bowie played a similar role in your life

TOYAH: His career trajectory was a gift to every artist because he struggled! He really struggled up to “Space Oddity”. He was just struggling to find his place. He was obviously phenomenally creative. Then after “Space Oddity” he had to deal with prog rock coming in, heavy rock coming in. It confused his writing. But I think “The Man Who Sold The World” is one of his best albums

Then he found his place within “Ziggy Stardust” working with Mick Ronson, working with Tony Visconti. There's a producer called Scott, I can't remember his full name (Edit: Ken Scott), who really brought Bowie out. That career trajectory that then brought him into the most remarkable 10 years of any artist’s life is utterly inspiring to someone who wants to create something new every time they write but would really like commercial success with it. Bowie never let go of what he believed in and that was himself

STEVE: One thing that was really very particular about Bowie was the fact that everything he did was imbued with different cultural aspects from books to art to dance to mime. It's all in there. When I first encountered Bowie on TV as a teenager, I wasn't aware of all those factors

It was only later as I got to know his music and then realised there were other, including William Burroughs colour technique or whatever - there was other things within it. When did you become aware that there were so many cultural things within his music?

TOYAH: I think the NME and the Record Mirror made it all very clear with excellent interviews with Bowie around 1972, possibly 71. Those magazines circulated in my school. But there was a brilliant Alan Yentob BBC documentary on Bowie, which explored his writing process and by this time he was already “The Man Who Fell To Earth”

STEVE: That was “Cracked Actor”, wasn't it?

TOYAH: “Cracked Actor”. Absolutely brilliant. At that point he really ignited the potential in me because I never fitted in. I didn't fit in with the education system because of my dyslexia and dyspraxia, but I saw a way I could fit in. He introduced me to more literature than my school did. The literature he read was high class

I've only recently got into a surrealist artist called Leonora Carrington. She put a play on call “Penelope” about 1934 and the male lead has “Ziggy Stardust” makeup on. I only discovered this two months ago and I ran to my husband with a picture (and said pointing to the photo) “Ziggy Stardust!”. This is how he got his makeup! He got it from a surrealist artist called Leonora Carrington!” I thought that is just so brilliant! He was a fisher of culture. He threw the fishing rod out with the hook, pulled it back, and he made it work for him

STEVE: What culture and books were you into as a teenager?

TOYAH: All the typical ones. “Lord of the Rings”, which took me about three years to read. That led me on to “The Hobbit”, that led me on to all of J.R.R Tolkien's writings. A girl I went to school with called Angela Power, her father was Canon (Norman S) Power. He wrote similar literature to J. R. R. Tolkien and his books didn't break but these books are wonderful. He used to give me his books and I loved them

I was also reading Mary Stewart, which is kind of romantic, legendary mythology, but I really loved the darker stuff. If I could pick up a Dennis Wheatley book from the library then I would. I loved things that led on to “Dungeons and Dragons” and all of that culture. I really loved it

I also loved Black Sabbath. I loved Hawkwind. I went to see Uriah Heep but didn't quite get the music, but I loved being in that audience. I was only 11. I used to break into these venues. I love Moody Blues, and I probably would have loved King Crimson if I knew they were playing. There were probably many times I've broken into venues when my husband was in that venue

STEVE: How did you break in?

I would get someone going in through the front and say “please go around to the back, there's a fire escape, just open it. I’ll get in quickly and close the door”. There would always be about 20 of us there

It's a habit we kept going when we were touring as punk rockers. We would let people in at the fire exit once we'd sold enough tickets to pay our expenses. It was a culture back then, the fire escape entrance. People were very generous and they'd let us in

STEVE: One thing that I read about is that you experienced a ghost. Another being from the other side of your bedroom. You used to communicate?

Very special

STEVE: Can you tell me about that? I had an experience when I was 45. I was in this hotel room in Luxembourg, actually. This family used to visit me every night and eventually I had to move out because it's freaked me out so much

Tell me what they looked like? How many of them were there?

STEVE: It was a nuclear family. It was two parents and two kids and they would hold on to them a bit sort of like the "American picture"

TOYAH: What year was it?

STEVE: This would have been 2001. I just wondered if that hotel was on something or whatever, but everyone thought I was a nutter by saying it the next day. No one wants to believe you. I really found it fascinating that you've also had similar experience

TOYAH: Geographically where were you?

STEVE: I was in Luxembourg

TOYAH: Oh, that's very interesting. If you told me you were in Seattle, or you're in Minnesota, I would have said it was a shaman coming to teach you a lesson. We used to live and write with a musician called Bill Rieflin, who was the drummer in R.E.M and I had a band called The Humans with (below, live at Bush Hall, London, 2011) The month he was diagnosed with his terminal cancer I was at his house in the spare bedroom

I was woken up by white man, he came in through the window. He was in a loincloth. He woke me up and he said “I’ve come to teach you how to die. It's like peeling off the layers of an onion. When you die you will go through a process where each layer of your life comes off and the purity of your soul is all that's left.” I woke up and I thought what the fuck was that about?

I told Bill and he was then diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer. It freaked Bill out because I don't think he believed in the afterlife. I've realised now that I could pick up the energy of the shaman but Bill couldn't and the lesson was for Bill. So sometimes you meet these experiences because they're lessons, which is why I've just told you that story

With me - I was 14. My sister, my father and I always had very bad poltergeist experiences, which freaked my mother out. My mother used to lock herself in a room at night because she didn't want to hear what was going on. My sister, who's eight years older than me, was training at Dudley Road Hospital in Birmingham

They trained the nurses back then by putting them in the terminal cancer wards. My sister was emotionally destroyed by this but it made her very strong. She would come home in tears because her favourite patient would have passed away

One night all chaos broke out in the house when my sister was woken up because the duvet was flying around the room. Then my father was woken up because his duvet was flying around the room. And my bedroom door was slamming. We went through a period of about four years where the house was like this. We’d experience things like the wallpaper just flying off the walls, soaking wet

My mother felt that it was I was the nucleus because I'd never been christened. So I then went into religious education and I was confirmed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. I was locked away for three weeks until I was christened and confirmed. And then slowly - I wouldn't say it stopped - it became under control

When I was about 14, I had something that would be explained as a dream, but it's the most tangible thing I've ever experienced in my life. I've had this experience four times and I yearn for this experience. Because it's as if the layers were taken off me and the true part of me was taken out to be taught something. You read about this a lot. A lot of people have had this experience. It's part of a culture. It's a cultural, mythological, repeating experience throughout time

I woke up and at the end of the bed was about a nine foot tall silver man and he was standing in a breeze. Everything was moving. His hair was moving, his clothes were moving. He was incredibly thin. He was dressed in long gowns. He put his hands out and he said “come with me”

I lifted out of my body and he took my hand. We travelled right through the window and we kept travelling. The stars was zipping by. Zip zip zip zip! We suddenly stopped at a gas nebulae. We went into the gas nebulae, and there were these huge, colourful spheres. The most beautiful colours I've ever seen. They passed through each other and as they did they made different notes

Within this space was a monolithic building. Absolutely monolithic, three towers. I don't know why that was there. But I do know that the spheres were souls. And he said “this is your true self. This is your soul”. And then he brought me back, put me back into my body

The next time he came I was about 15 and this is where it's really strange because I'm dyslexic. He took me out of my body exactly the same way. He took me up into the stars, but this time into the blackness amongst the stars. He gave me an equation lesson. He said “I want you to learn this equation”. And he wrote it out. There was algebra, there was Pi. There was everything. I remember thinking “why the hell are you teaching me this? I can't do maths or algebra”

And then he brought me back. So skip right forward to the age of 45. He came back here to this house. He just stood at the edge of the bed and he said “are you okay?” It’s astonishing. Every time this happened, I felt more real and more in place than I do in this body

STEVE: Wow. That's amazing. Have you been around someone at the moment of death?

TOYAH: Yes. My mother. It's can be a very beautiful experience if the person is willing to let go. It's very beautiful. I've been in hospices with people who've died. The nurses have the same experience. You see a transition, and you know that the consciousness is there for at least 14 hours

The nurses say “open the windows, let the soul free itself.” It's very important at that point that we accept we need to leave this body. It's like watching a mirage

STEVE: I was very close to my mother in the end. I spent many years as her carer. The last few weeks I had a hospital bed in the front room and I slept next to her and did everything that a carer does

It was incredibly tough to witness the death of someone that you love so much. But at the same time, it has these aspects to it and one of them really threw me completely because my mother used to sit in a chair and watch the birds in the garden

That was her favourite occupation and all the birds she liked came back on the day she died. It was really bizarre and it was noticeable. For me that was this moment where the environment in which we live connects to us on the deepest levels

It really does. We're just not encouraged to see what's going on around us. Also the loss is tougher for you. I believe once you're in the process of going you understand what the process is. I think we are hardwired for survival in this biological body. That's our experience. Personally, I have absolutely no fear of death. I only fear how I die

STEVE: I'm exactly the same. Dave Simpson wrote a book on the on the Sex Pistols. I interviewed him not long ago. In that book, there's this wonderful quote from you. You'd gone to see them at Bogarts in Birmingham in 1976 and you said “it was fantastic. I'd already dyed my hair bright pink and I was wearing bin liners because I couldn't afford clothes. I'd been ridiculed for the way I looked but I walked into the club and suddenly I wasn't alone anymore“

TOYAH: It was a tribe. I walked in and I thought “where have you all been in my life?!” I’d been making my own clothes since I was 12. By this time, I was probably 15 or 16. I'd always be ridiculed on the street for looking different. I was a hair model so I used to have different colour hair every week. And even though I was still at school I looked outlandish

I walked into Bogarts and there’s 350 people who all look similar to me. Not uniform, but they have all made their own clothes and they all had different colour hair. “Oh, my goodness! Why have I never met you?” It was fabulous!

STEVE: This was the community that you were looking for?

TOYAH: It very much was the community but also it sparked something quite competitive in me in that these people look really good and they look really sophisticated, some of them. I was thinking "I want to look like that. I want to take this further." None of us knew how to behave at the gig. We didn't really understand what pogoing was

So we just stood there, and we're kind of ingesting what we were seeing. Johnny Rotten found us profoundly boring and kept going off stage. But we were just learning. We were eager, we were hungry. We were learning what this new movement was and it was extraordinary

STEVE: You really notice it in his book that for so many artists at the famous Sex Pistols Manchester gig it was the moment that they decided they wanted to do that in some form. Their own version of that. Was that it with you?

TOYAH: Yeah, exactly. I saw what looked like a pretty ramshackle performance. Full of energy, full of excitement and incredible attitude. But I saw it and I thought “I can do that. I'm going to do that. This is what I'm going to be”. It was very releasing

Considering I'd come from a background where people were really accentuating that I wasn't pretty, I wasn't tall, I wasn't slim. I was never going to fit into show business. I suddenly saw how I could do it. I saw my place and that was amazing

Having seen Bowie do “Ziggy Stardust” you were looking at a bird of paradise. You were looking at the most perfect, most complete human being you've ever seen. But then you looked at the Sex Pistols and they were performing as broken people and I thought “I can do it!” It was fabulous

STEVE: I always remember that era because I think it affected me such a lot. As a gay man I got beaten up by the police coming out of a gay nightclub, snogging some guy. I got beaten up by football supporters. All these events. Having different coloured hair, being a different sexuality. You also define yourself as a third gender, don't you?

TOYAH: Third gender, yeah

STEVE: But being different was being a target in that era. How did that make you feel?

TOYAH: I'm very sorry you went through that. One of the most extraordinary experiences of me being saved ... I was walking down the King’s Road about 1977 and some football fans beat up the gay boy I was with. He was called Howard. He's a boy because he was a boy. I'm not using slang. Very beautiful boy. They beat him up and then I was protecting him. So they started to try and throw both of us through a glass window. A big sheet of glass and they were flinging us at it

Derek Jarman saw this happen, because he had an exhibition at (the shop) Worlds End. He got a broken chair leg. He ran out of the exhibition, across the King's Road and started to hit the shit out of the football fans and save us. It was extraordinary! Gentle, beautiful Derek Jarman, who I've never seen be physical with anyone was beating the fucking shit out of these footballers. He dragged us back to the exhibition and looked after us

STEVE: Well, I love him even more

TOYAH: Yeah, made me love him even more. I used to get laughed at. Buses in Birmingham wouldn't let me get on. A very common thing you'd hear ... “what are you? A fucking clown?

Taxi drivers wouldn't give me a lift. But extraordinarily when I moved to London walking down Oxford Street I’d get spat at because women from other cultures just could not understand why a woman was dressed this way. They instantly thought I was a sex worker or something. They would spit at us. They'd throw dogshit at us if they could

It was extraordinary because I was dressed like that and I thought "I'm really quite a nice person. I want to get to know people. I want friends. I don't want to dress like this to make enemies". That was quite a dilemma for me. The aggression was extraordinary

But it also created my career because directors wanted to meet me. Directors knew that I wasn't afraid to be experimental and wasn't afraid to do different things on stage or to look, what a very beautiful actress will be called, looking demeaning or bad. It didn't scare me so it led to my career

STEVE: It's the Jean du Plessis “tub of Vaseline”, isn't it? Jean had a tub of Vaseline in his prison cell and the prison guards would beat him up and he realised that this object had power. This is what pop stars are able to use. They have their objects, which can be their words, their image, their music and that is their power. And that was your power. That was probably the a moment where you realised that power 

TOYAH: Absolutely. Am I a power player? I'm incredibly empathic. I don't like to hurt people. I don't like aggression. But because of my past if people try to either hurt me or be aggressive towards me, they meet a tidal wave of well practised self-survival

But I really like to be part of the team and I like to be a good friend and I like to be supportive. But sometimes when I stand on a stage where you're in front of an audience who haven't specifically come to see you, like big festivals, then I can turn that power on

STEVE: I've heard you talk about stories where your anger has been incredibly excessive, if I can use that word. It's been enormous. Have you understood that over the years and been able to live with it rather than actually tried to deal with it?

TOYAH: I haven't done therapy because my husband is really the greatest person I can talk to. I hope I'm a big help to him as he is to me. I don't really bottle things up. But what I’ve really enjoyed doing in a really perverse way … there are certain types of snobby literati types who will always attack me

My passive anger, violent response … I love it. I really get off on it. It gives me the deepest thrill to walk in front of them and be fucking amazing. It really does. They don't know that they're feeding my ambition. And that probably has come from my childhood

STEVE: You have had these two distinct passions in your life, acting and performing, singing and so on. How did they work at the start? Because you said you saw the Sex Pistols and that's what you wanted to be. That was it. But you were at drama school, I presume, at that time?

TOYAH: Yeah, I was at drama school studying plays, dancing and stage singing. My acting career took off way before my music career, but my heart was in music and that's a youthful choice. I knew if I was going to be the musician I wanted to be I had to start as soon as possible

I was spotted because to be a punk rocker back then was really rare and people were talking about this girl on the streets of Birmingham, who was dressing in her own clothes and had peacock hair

And two brothers called Bicat heard about me. They're a playwright and a musical writer. They work together doing their own stage and TV plays. They ended up tracking me down and casting me in a play about a girl who wanted to be on Top Of The Pops and breaks into studios. That led to me writing two songs with a band called Bilbo Baggins for the TV filming. That led to me joining the National Theatre, which led to me being able to form a band

STEVE: That was “Glitter”. Your character lusts after Midge Ure

TOYAH: I'm not good in the play. I’m a rough diamond. I've never been on camera before. But by coincidence, Kate Nelligan, the actress, watched it when it broadcast three months later, and said to the superstar German film star Maximilian Schell, who was directing her at the National Theatre ... “I want that girl to play “Emma” in “Tales from the Vienna Woods””

And four weeks later I was living in London, socialising with Brenda Blethyn Warren Clarke, Elizabeth Spriggs. I was launched immediately into the glitterati of London Theatre. I had five astonishing years where angels were just throwing stardust in front of my feet. I managed to form the band and get a recording deal and build a huge audience

STEVE: That was it. You were in “Jubilee”. You were in “Quadrophenia”

TOYAH: “The Tempest” (as "Miranda", below with David Meyer as "Ferdinand")

STEVE: You were in so many acting roles that gave you an enormous profile. You were clearly an absolute workaholic, weren’t you?

TOYAH: I still am. Back then it was really frowned on to do both acting and singing. If an actor did a voiceover or a TV advert they would never work again in theatre. It was that bad. And theatre actors didn't talk to film actors. Film was considered the worst back then. So it was quite renaissance to do both. I'm a workaholic and you've got to remember I supporting my parents financially

Making money and being creative were almost equal because making money represented survival for my family. I loved every bit of work I ever did. I really loved it. I love the closed environment of the film set. I really did like working at the Royal Court and the ICA and those highly prestigious theatres. I loved being on stage with a mad punk audience pogoing away. I felt really lucky

Are you someone who was really concentrating on developing yourself and your knowledge of the things that you were involved in? Or were you just living?

TOYAH: Oh, no, I was in full development, and I still am. Part of that is because of my physicality. I always have to work on my physicality. I always have to keep my legs working. That's just something to do with the journey from my brain to my legs

So I'm always working on my physicality. I will never ever get to a stage where I'm as physically controlled as someone like, let's say, Madonna or Lizzo or anyone that uses dance in their their musical interpretation - because I do have disability

Also with my memory, I have a very strange memory. You could stand outside  a door in London and I'll tell you the address. I have visual memory. It’s absolutely bizarre! I can tell you exactly what I was wearing 12 months ago to the day, and I can tell you that right up until I was about 15

But tell me your name, or tell me a fact in literature … (that) I will have to keep relearning, relearning, relearning. For me, when I'm writing songs, I have to keep relearning the eighth notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G. There's something not in that neural journey going on

So I have phenomenal experiences and knowledge of some things and on the basics I am permanently frustrated that I cannot remember faces and names. I know this so I can work with it and I can do the exercises I need to do to keep the neural connections. But I will always be learning and that's because of how my body is

STEVE: So you're in London, you've been involved in these amazing stage plays and in these films and in your heart is still music. How did the music part then come about?

TOYAH: It was tough. I put the toughness down to my physicality. When record companies came to see a female singer, they wanted to lust after her. When I made “Quadrophenia” I made a conscious effort to lose about three stone in weight and change my appearance. That was because up until that point I'd had two years of us not being signed to a record label

We had enough for a set, we were doing regular touring, we were drawing 2000 kids into pubs they couldn't fit in. They were surrounding pubs yet we were still not being signed. I made a very physical decision that I was going to have to change my appearance so people saw me differently. During “Quadrophenia” I was also making (the TV series) “Quartermass” (below as "Sal" with Ralph Arliss as "Kickalong") with Sir John Mills so I was working day and night

I just took a lot of speed and I lost three stone. That helped me readdress how the industry saw me because by the time I started gigging again, after making “Quadrophenia”, I was a completely physically different person 

STEVE: It also made you ill

TOYAH: I was so ill! I think the longest I've ever been without sleep was 10 days and the longest I've ever been without food and water was three days. I was on a two week shoot of “Quadrophenia” while working at Wembley Stadium on “Quatermass”

My agent didn't put two and two together that I was actually working 24 hours. So I wasn't eating and I wasn't sleeping. The makeup lady was watching me get smaller and smaller and my clothes hanging off me

I had a very bad cough and she saw blood in what was coming up and she literally slammed down her brushes, grabbed my wrist and said “I'm taking you to the hospital. Now.” And she walked me the hospital and said “test this girl now!” I had pneumonia. So I was put on antibiotics and lots of things to support my lungs. I carried on working 24 hours … (laughs)

Pneumonia ... it takes a long time to get over

TOYAH: It scars your lungs. But I just carried on. I carried on with taking speed and just working 24 hours (laughs) I love that! I absolutely love it. I love that athletes can run 24 miles. I can't do that but I can push my body to work hard

You were really in the epicentre of music at that point because you were in “Mayhem”, the warehouse. Lots of musicians were hanging around. Tell me about that and tell me how it felt, because in a sense they were already successful but you hadn't been at that point

TOYAH: I was cult. I was definitely ascending. But the people that gave great reviews to most of the bands didn't review me kindly. I definitely had an audience. What made me impossible to ignore was my audience was enormous and also my output was enormous. So “Mayhem” was a British Rail warehouse (in Battersea) which we converted into a venue. We weren't supposed to. It's completely illegal

A man called Keith was the main developer and keeper of it and I came in as a rent payer, investor. Aam Ant’s wife Eve was there. A music journalist from the NME, John Hurley, and his brother Kevin were there. We ran this place and it became incredibly popular

Steve Strange would take it over from Fridays to Mondays for four day parties. Spandau Ballet did their first gig there. Iggy Pop, rehearsed “The Idiot” there. John Cale was there. Bowie came to visit. It very, very successful. It was grotty, it was dirty, it was cold, it was dark. It had one toilet. It was totally underground. And it ran and ran and ran. It has now been knocked down. When it was about to be knocked down there was protests that it should be preserved because of the history of it

STEVE: Earlier when we talked about the Sex Pistols, you said this was your community. When people came to see you in pubs in the early days what do you think they saw you as? Was it also their community?

TOYAH: Yeah. I think what they saw in me ... I was definitely fancied by the boys and girls. All that was going on, but I think they saw the underdog that made good. I was brought up within my family as an underdog and I think to a certain extent in the industry that still goes on a little bit

But I think the fans that I talked to I had similar childhood experiences to you and me. People that were too scared to come out as gay. People who totally identified with my not wanting to be identified at all as a gender because it led to me being belittled. I wasn't a supermodel and I wasn't pretty and slim. My gender meant I was being undermined and criticised the way God made me

So when they came to my shows I think it gave them strength to answer back. It gave them strength to believe in themselves. Believe in their instinctive internal voice, which is our true voice. Follow who and what they are meant to be and not be told to be something else by others. That's always been my message. I believe that's how I built my audience

STEVE: What were you learning on the way to have the success that you had by playing these gigs? What was lacking in terms to get to the next stage?

TOYAH: I've always been my worst enemy. Always. Because I would never do the obvious. There were times if I did the obvious I could have prolonged experiences. When “Anthem” came out, which was a huge album, gold, multi-seller. There was obviously six singles on that album, but we decided it would exploit the fans if we released more than two off the album

If we went with four singles, we could have prolonged that success into putting me into arenas. I've never ever really gone that way. I've always gone against formulaic ways of moving, formulaic ways of writing

So every album I'd have a different style. I realised that I was my own worst enemy by doing that. I can see that now, when I create, that what people want and need from me and my natural way of creating music and writing is to do it with energy. I am not a balladeer. I'm not a love song person. I'm a person that you come into the room to see to have your energy lifted. So it's taken me a long time to see, respect, trust and honour that

When I was a lot younger I would just go off on tangents that confused the industry. So I'd make an album, then I'd go and do a stage play. I’d then go and do a film. I was always moving because I felt each of those communities were making me more creative. I think it did work with me, I think it's made me a more interesting artist. But I needed to learn what the industry needed at a certain level

STEVE: So what was it about Joe Bogen (the guitarist of the Toyah band, above in the middle, 1981) that you connected with and him with you? What was this symbiotic relationship in terms of writing?

TOYAH: The word symbiotic is exactly what worked between us. We had a great understanding, like brother and sister. I've never laughed as much as when I was with Joel. And perhaps there’s similarities with Joel. His upbringing and my upbringing, but also how people physically responded to us. I think there were similarities. I have no idea why Joel trusted me or even liked me. No idea because we never had those kinds of in-depth conversations

But we were very creative together. We were creative in a way neither of us expected to go. Joel loved jazz. I loved energy and expression and performance. I think it made us create something very unique. I think “Sheep Farming In Barnet” is one of the best albums on the planet. “Blue Meaning” is stunning. It's stunning

“Anthem”. Recognised. Stunning. One album that did well but not as well as “Anthem” ... “Love Is The Law" and also “The Changeling” but “Love Is The Law”… It’s a breathtaking album! We can hear that influence in the rest of the 80s. We definitely were influential. I think with Joel and I part of it came from the fact that we laughed so much. I have a similar relationship with my current co-writer Simon Darlow. We go into a room and things happen

It's a deeper experience. It's not a formulaic experience. It's to do with whatever the base chakra is. It connects. We have a bond that connects and things happen. I've been in writing situations with many great writers and just thought “what am I going to do with this? There's no chemistry” and then you find someone and the chemistry is irresistible. I think it's a deeper, psychic, animal instinct level

STEVE: You said at the beginning of this interview that Robert Fripp saved you. Where were you mentally in your life when you met him?

TOYAH: Before I met Robert, there was no one in my life that could explain the psychology of my relationship with my mother. So I was in a really bad place. My mother would call me a slag because I'd had three boyfriends. “You're a slag! When are you going to get married?”

So I had nothing and no one protecting my identity. Joel tried. There were situations where Joel had to protect me. Nigel Glockler (above on the far left), the drummer on “Anthem”, definitely protected me. But when he left I felt that my world had gone because I was totally alone

I was living in a situation where I was in permanent fear. Joel did what he could to protect me and Robert came along. Robert had heard from the management about my living conditions and he bought me a ticket to America. He said “pack a bag, a car will be waiting around the corner and you're not going back”

He just really helped me from day one. It was a violent and very unsettling time. It put my parents life's in danger. It put everyone's, who knew me, lives in danger. I stayed in America till it was safe to come back

STEVE: He instantly knew that you were the one, didn't he?

TOYAH: Yeah, he knew immediately. He knew before he met me. He was living in New York. He said “my diary is empty. I'm going back to the UK. I'm going to meet my wife”. He knew. You may think I'm wacky and the experiences I've had … Robert is exactly the same. He's exactly the same. He's had the same psychic and spiritual experiences

STEVE: So if he saved you ... did you save him?

TOYAH: That's a question only he can answer. I think I'm a handful for him. I think the way Robert looks on it is I'm his spiritual work. Because Robert comes from a background where you work on things that make you uncomfortable. You work on things that you disagree with. I think I'm his spiritual work. But you'd have to ask him that question

STEVE: This year you're also going to be playing at the Isle of Wight

TOYAH: We're doing everything this year!

STEVE: It’s amazing but the Isle Of Wight is a big one!

TOYAH: There’s an even bigger one … You can't broadcast this. Do you edit any of this?

STEVE: No. Tell me afterwards

TOYAH: We’re doing the biggest

STEVE: Oh, well, I've got it already (they both laugh)

TOYAH: (It has) not been announced yet

STEVE: Oh, wow!

TOYAH: Believe me, to be invited back to the Isle of Wight ... because I played it last year (above) and it changed my career. We were broadcast on Sky Arts. It changed everything. It was a magical performance

The camerawork was fantastic. The audience were rammed! We were in the big top, which takes a good 8000 ... you can see them rammed all the way outside! It was a magical day and we've been invited back

STEVE: You said also during the interview that the critics would be very mean to you over the years

TOYAH: Well, they tried. There's certain types that are just mean and victimise anyway, but I've won a lot of critics over

STEVE: You mentioned the Isle of Wight gig last year. Do you feel that all that past has been overcome and you're now seen in the way that you should be seen as someone who was really responsible for the way of the 80s in so many ways?

Musically, visually, your attitude, the third gender power and so on. Do you feel that you are now at the point where that respect and that love has finally really showed itself in a grown-up way?

TOYAH: It's lovely to be acknowledged. There's definitely a sense of relief in certain areas. A lot of very powerful female writers have picked up on my career journey. The Guardian has been remarkable to me in the last three years

Robert and I now have another hurdle that both of us have to face and that is we're being seen working together. Our social media, “Sunday Lunch” and “Upbeat Moments” are phenomenally popular and are really well loved. But we now want to bring to the stage a perfect rock show

I think that this year is going to be us having to prove ourselves again in many ways, even though both of us are at the height of our artistry. I never feel settled. I never feel I've arrived. I've never feel I've been accepted but that doesn't matter, because as an actress those are wonderful things to have in the back of your head while you're creating a character

It would be lovely to just feel “oh, I've made it“ but I don't feel that and I'm not sure I ever will. People acknowledge us as creative artists, and in America for the first time during lockdown and now, we're viewed as performance artists in a really respectful way. That it's very satisfying

STEVE: I find it wonderful. I wish you continued success. I love your story because it's tough. It's hard and it's got these really deep moments in it that are tough to hear, actually. But it has created you. In the last few years, because the world has changed and it's opened up people are more much aware ...

I think this is the era, in a sense, where you are now allowed, finally, to be Toyah. You've been a big part of my life and I just want to thank you for your creative contribution to our culture because it's been massive. And you're also a lovely person (laughs)

TOYAH: Thank you, Steve. Thank you so much. What I will say is love was always there. But love and hate are two very close partners. I think sometimes people just love you in the wrong way

When I’ve experienced violence in my life it's because of jealousy from someone else. Or with my parents they just didn't know how to love but they believed they were loving me. That's where forgiveness comes from

You can watch the interview HERE