SARAH: This week we’re doing, well, celebrities talking about things, moments in their lives that have made them them change, made them think etc etc. And today it is Toyah

TOYAH: I love solitude, I dream of being alone. One place I find solitude is in my car. That said it’s the one place I listen to the radio. And when the radio announcer introduced a drama about sisterly love called “Migrant Memories” I suspected I would turn the radio off for preferred silence

The play started. It was about two Muslim sisters, about their childhood, their teen years, their marriages and about one of their deaths. I was compelled to keep listening. The play articulated what sibling love is about. Acceptance, joy, sharing, companionship. A love that transcends politics, culture and religion

“Shaman Says” starts to play in the background

In the penultimate scene the surviving sister called a mobile phone call centre to ask if the phone message she had been trying to save, but which have been wiped, could be retrieved. “No”, said the operator. “Are you sure it’s not stored somewhere where it can be retrieved?”

“No”, said the operator. “All calls are automatically wiped after a month. Was it important?” “Yes! It was my sister asking if I was having a nice afternoon. She died two days ago”

My tears flowed uncontrollably. Because if you were to ask me how often I think about my sister (Nicola, above with Toyah in 2021), how often I see her or even if we chat on the phone … my answer would be, well, that can wait till tomorrow

And how many times have I erased memories in this modern world, how many times have I let a rare and beautiful moment pass me by thinking there will always be other beautiful moments

If I were to strip away the layers of my life to find the most important moments, those moments wouldn’t be spending money in a shop, wouldn’t be getting awards and appearing front of thousands of people

They would have to be the moments as a child when time was eternal. The family were all together and laughing. These were rare but they made me who I am today and the outside world was exactly that - outside


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