TOYAH: Hello everybody, how are you? Thank you for being here as well

SATNAM: Thank you, Toyah. Oh, I'm so looking forward to this evening. I've enjoyed meeting you briefly behind the scenes but now to put it on tape as they say, well, on the record, and in conversation

Toyah, what can I say? Just our Brummie living legend is how I see you. 13 top 40 singles. 25 albums, Toyah’s written two books -

TOYAH: I think it's about 30 albums now -

SATNAM: I'm going to be corrected (the audience laughs) Two books, appeared in a bit over 40 stage plays by now as well. Acted in 20 feature films at least, including of course, the epic “Jubilee”. Presented hundreds and hundreds of TV programmes and released “Posh Pop” last August, which was your first solo album of course since 2008

So as I said, truly a living legend. You don't know this but when I first started my career in 1999, at Radio Five Live at Television Centre … I actually caught you in the corridor of the Five Live studios and I just remember this ball of energy and everyone saying “it’s Toyah Willcox, Satnam! It’s Toyah Willcox!” And I feel like that right now!

TOYAH: Was that Portland Place?

SATNAM: It was Television Centre at White City

TOYAH: You know, I think I do remember it. I really do. Because I only ever did Radio Five Live once -

SATNAM: Really?

TOYAH: Yeah, so I remember it. Yeah, because it terrifies me, Radio Five Live - I mean, they’re so brutal. It's like throwing yourself to wolves. Why would anyone want to do it?

SATNAM: I just remember the buzz and the excitement and I just remember you because you were so smiley and so warm and so friendly. So it's a beautiful memory. And for me really it's a memory I hold dear to my heart because those early days were so important and influential in terms of starting out in the media. But what I want to know is - I've given you a bit of a Wikipedia catalogue of Toyah . . . Where do you get the energy from?

TOYAH: Well, I have this saying, and I heard Lulu say this. She was doing a kind of lifetime interview on Radio 2. And the presenter said to her “Lulu, why do you keep going?” and Lulu said something that really resonated with me. She said “I'm hoping I'll be discovered

SATNAM: Love it!

TOYAH: It's so extraordinary. And I don't know if it's like it for other artists but everything I do - I feel is just two steps forward three steps back. Now that may sound negative because I actually think the best part of the creative process is being in the process (of) not finishing

But it gets tough and it can be tough, and I'm forever that youngest child in the family trying to prove myself and I think that's where the energy comes from

SATNAM: I want to take you back then right to the beginning, if you don't mind. So I said to my colleagues "oh yeah, Toyah Willcox, Birmingham." "Oh we didn't realise Toyah was from Birmingham", but you were born here, weren’t you?

TOYAH: I was conceived and born in the same bed (the audience laughs, Satnam giggles) Now in retrospect I find this really entertaining, because I'm about to turn 64 and you never think of your parents having sex

But when you look back and you think I was conceived and born in the same bed, which is kind of a very weird thing to say these days. So I was born 119 Grove Road,King's Heath,
Birmingham 64 years ago. And my mother kept that bed right until she passed (they all laugh)

SATNAM: Oh my goodness!

TOYAH: I remember having to throw it out when I was clearing her cottage and I'm thinking I'm throwing away the bed I was conceived in. Is this right? So yes, a lot of sex went on in King's Heath (the audience laughs)

SATNAM: I'm already thinking will the BBC be able to broadcast this but it is a podcast so I think we can get away with it (they all laugh) What sort of child were you? Were you a shy child, a loud child? When I think Toyah I think flamboyant and out there 

TOYAH: I was very, very happy. My mother didn't understand why she would catch me looking in a mirror just laughing. I was very happy in my own company. One thing I had absolutely no realisation about was I had a speech impediment. And I was born with a twisted spine and I had what's called “W legs”. My legs pointed kind of inwards

So I had a very funny gait. So I not only laughed a lot, people actually laughed a lot at me. So I had to have a lot of elocution lessons. The children's hospital, the orthopaedic hospital literally was 100 yards down Broad Street. I was in there every six months being monitored for correction surgery, taught how to walk. My mother was my physio

So that was my normality. And I was okay with it. And I never understood it was different, until I realised I wanted to act and sing and then I realised there was something different but it was a blessing. Because the National Theatre embraced my lisp. They embraced the fact that I had found a way to move that made me stand out from everyone else

So I was very, very lucky to be in this kind of physical situation. And it's only today I can really say that and trust it and trust that what I went through actually helped me drive a wedge right through into the heart of the music industry

SATNAM: I suppose if you have a start like that, it makes you utterly resilient

TOYAH: Well, I just wasn't aware of it. And it wasn't until … I just thought I was the youngest and my brother and sister used to treat me like a toy. I mean, my brother has broken so many of my bones. It's ridiculous. He used to just throw me up in the air and not catch me (the audience laughs)

I remember that he threw me up in the air once and I broke my arm in two places, and my mother made me change my knickers before the ambulance came (Satnam and the audience laugh) You asked me why I'm resilient - it's pretty obvious why I'm resilient! I just had to fend for myself

SATNAM: And that actually, I imagine, was a huge asset for you breaking through the music industry at a time when quite frankly women didn't necessarily have an equal place in the industry. But we'll come to that. So I was going to ask you about the impact it had on your personality, but it sounds as if actually it helped build your personality -

TOYAH: I think it did. And I also had the complexity. Now, we've only got 45 minutes, but the complexity of my mother, and I didn't know until the 3rd of December last year what the beginning of her life was like. My mother was the most difficult, the most obstructive human being I've ever known. She just could not tell you a truth. She could not tell you anything complimentary. And then she couldn't say the words “I love you”

And then December the 3rd last year ancestry.com got in touch with me and they said “we need to see you in a room with a counsellor”. I thought my God, this is a bit heavy. And then they showed me the press cuttings that my mother, we think she was about 16, was locked in a room with her abusive father and he murdered her mother. And the father went to court and he was in prison for three months

Now, I think the psychology of my mother - because she never told any of us this and me and my mom fought like cat and dog. We physically would roll out of the house in a physical fight. I think my mother felt in court - I don't think she was probably even in court - she wasn't allowed to testify. She wasn't allowed to give her side of the story. And she came out of that feeling she could never tell her truth

And I never knew this about her. If I knew this, I would have been really kind to her. And I would have been more inclusive with her. So that kind of upbringing for me just made me more and more individual and rebellious. I mean, she couldn't have got a worse daughter in her situation

SATNAM: So that's interesting because she obviously embarked upon having a family. There’s yourself, you've got two elder siblings. It's almost contrary to what you would expect -

TOYAH: It’s a bit of a story because she didn't learn to read or write. She only learned to ballet dance, and by the time she was 12 she was already a professional performer. By the time this incident happened with her parents she had to have a chaperone with her 24 hours a day and I reckon this is because the father was getting out in three months

So when my father met my mother - he saw her on stage at Weston-super-Mare opening for the comedian Max Wall - and my father fell in love with her and followed her around the country. And he wasn't ever alone with her until the wedding night, because the chaperone wouldn't leave her. And he never understood that

So is there any correlation then between your mum entering the entertainment industry, as potentially escapism from her situation? And you also entering the entertainment industry as an escapism?

TOYAH: I firmly believe that when children form in the belly they pick up memories, and I definitely picked up my mother's memories - the good memories, and I think she loved being on stage. She was phenomenally beautiful, and she was educated to be on stage. That's all that she had. And I think instinctively I picked that up without any self-awareness

So what was so unusual about me is I came into this world, I auditioned at the (Birmingham) Rep, I was dressing at the Alexandra Theatre, I was dressing at the Hippodrome. I did my first ever singing publicly at a pub called The Jug, which I believe was where this building is now. You know, I had no self-consciousness whatsoever. And I think that was my strength. I had this incredible inner confidence

SATNAM: And did she put any pressure on you - or your father, indeed, any pressure on you at any point to conform? I know he said you’re a rebel but to conform and do the whole marriage thing and the children thing like she had done?

TOYAH: No. The advice they gave me is don't get pregnant and don't go to jail. (the audience and Satnam laugh) I mean, that was the extent of the advice. And when I introduced my husband-to-be Robert Fripp to them, they both burst out laughing and they ran in the kitchen - this was at Grove Road at King’s Heath - and I went in I said “is there a problem?” And they said “is he mad?” (the audience laughs) So you know, they never ever really believed in me, and it wasn't until I did the National Theatre when I was 18

I was spotted with my green and yellow hair walking down New Street by two directors who wanted me to go and audition for a play at Pebble Mill that led to me to go to the National Theatre. My parents came and saw me at the National Theatre but they didn't really take me seriously til I got Top of the Pops, which was four years later. So it was a long journey of winning them over to my side

SATNAM: So how does family life contrast now then with the way you were brought up and what sounds like a very self-assured and almost inner strength upbringing on your part? Very individualistic. How does it compare now?

TOYAH: Well, I don't have family now. So when I say that my sister (Nicola, above with Toyah in 2018) lives near Brighton. She's a remarkable woman. Absolutely remarkable. She studied at Dudley Road to be a nurse. She went into very advanced accounting. She was Alan Miliband’s right hand woman during that period in politics and helped build this massive hospital on the Euston Road in London

And then her last job in the NHS, before she sailed around the world - she was part of the NHS response team to terrorism at the Olympics. And what toughened her up - she was present at the pub bombings. She was on site at the Birmingham pub bombings

And that really toughened her up and she's had a remarkable career. Now, my brother was one of only four Harrier fighter pilots 1972 to 74 because they cost 12 million each to train. So he was remarkable as well. And I do remember my parents saying once they had no idea where the three of us came from (the audience laughs) They have no faith in any of us!

SATNAM: It was the magic bed!

TOYAH: It was the magic bed! It was the water of King's Heath that did it! (they all laugh)

SATNAM: Tell me a little bit about your school, then

TOYAH: Colmore Row, Edgbaston. It was an all girls school. It was a very good school in that it was multicultural. It was very, very brilliant like that and I loved it for that. And I loved the mix of cultures. This is how I ended up living with a Hindi family. But also they took in disabled children. My classmates - one was blind. One had the same kind of gait as me. There were other pupils who were going off to hospital meetings. I was there from kindergarten from the age of four and a half til I left at the age of, I think, 17

But around the 11 Plus, I just went AWOL. I went from being a very brilliant artist mathematician to just not fitting in the system. It got too quick for me. I couldn't pick it up. So I was very disruptive. I was absolutely appalling

And I was appalling to the point that the headmistress once came to me to ask me to control the other girls. I was like the school Mafia. She said “look, Toyah, they all look up to you. They all think you're fantastic. We're having a bit of trouble with so and so. Could you go and have a word with her?”

SATNAM: So tell me about your Hindi family and I’m curious -

TOYAH: Selwyn Road, Edgebaston

SATNAM: Very posh. They took you in, but also at the same time they warned you, didn’t they?

TOYAH: I had a massive fight with my mother. It was massive and we couldn't be kept in the same house. And Mrs. Gerage phoned my father (Beric, below with Toyah) up. She was a doctor. And she said, “look, I will take Toyah in and we'll keep her until this all calms down.” And as I arrived, and Mrs. Gerage opened the door and said “you will not influence my daughters!” (the audience laughs)

Her daughters looked like supermodels. They didn't need me. I mean, they were getting all the attention of the boys of Birmingham. They were absolutely gorgeous. And I stayed there for a couple of months until it all blew over, until my mother and I could be put in the same room together and we could talk again

SATNAM: It's amazing actually just to know that camaraderie and the essence of our city, our multicultural city, that togetherness actually existed back in the - I'm guessing this in the 70s, isn’t it?

TOYAH: I was born in 1958 … this would have been about 1972

SATNAM: Yeah, that for me, actually, is a really nice prism into the past of what Birmingham is like and it's just grown, flourished -

TOYAH: Birmingham is gorgeous. I mean, I would go to Snobs club, which was just over there. I loved it! Friday and Saturday. It was amazing! And the Embassy that served warm wine (the audience laughs) and I would go to the Locarno (Dance Hall). I saw Hawkwind when I was 11. I think I saw Black Sabbath when I was about 12. Just a fabulous city for culture and music and friendship. Beautiful

SATNAM: And security guards who never checked ages as well (the audience laughs) So you've talked a bit about school, but what are you passionate about?

My mother and I used to get on really well and there was a point where that relationship changed. She took me to the Gaumont Cinema of Corporation Street to see “The Sound Of Music” and we went seven times in a row. And I turned to my mother and I said “that's what I'm going to do”

And it threatened her. It upset her. It wasn't jealousy. It just connected her to something she was trying to forget. And from that point onwards I saw the barrier go up, and my determination just got stronger

And I think I just started to do anything I possibly could to get closer into show business. Now, we had a family friend at the time and this was a really big stroke of luck. He was the artistic director, the managing director of Pebble Mill. And he said to my parents “your daughter is very, very special. Get her into drama school”

So he nominated me into the Old Rep Theatre School on Station Road. And that was really the beginning of my life. Because this was around the time of the Birmingham pub bombings

Every Friday, I would pay for my dance lesson. And then every Saturday I would go into drama school because I was only 14. And then I would get a job either selling cigarettes at John Lewis' or working in the china department. As you can guess I lied about my age the whole time -

SATNAM: A lot! (laughs)

TOYAH: A lot! And no one checked your age so I could pay for the drama school. But this then led me to being a dresser. I dressed the whole of the Dad's Army touring company, which was the same as the TV cast. I dressed Judy Geeson, I dressed Simon Williams, I dressed Sylvia Syms. I was in the ballet Rambert as a walk-on artist, all before I was a legal age. And I just loved it and they loved me and Judy Geeson called me her “bird of paradise

SATNAM: How beautiful -

TOYAH: So I was accepted. Really accepted

SATNAM: So how did that then evolve into - obviously, when music came it was punk?

The Sex Pistols played Birmingham only twice and I believe it was 1976. The first time was August at Barbarella’s. And the second time was October at Bogarts just pass the Town Hall. I was at that gig. So at that time I was about 16, possibly turning 17 and I'd already been making my own clothes since I was 12

But my mother took me at the age of 14 to Rackhams hair department and a man called Derek Goddard cut my hair. And he said “you should be a hair model. I'm going to dye it blue”

SATNAM: Oh, is that how it started?!

TOYAH: That’s how it started. This is you know, pre-punk. He dyed my hair blue and I went home in a headscarf and I wore this headscarf at home and at school for two weeks and eventually my mother had the guts to pull the headscarf off and she screamed. She cried. She howled

And that was the beginning of the end. I became a model for Wella, through Rackhams. I travelled the whole of the UK as a hair model. I walked the catwalks of Blackpool (the audience laughs), the catwalks of Blackburn, of London in my
pre-punk gear

I just became the girl who would do anything with her hair. And I got spotted. I got spotted by the Bicat brothers who wanted to know about me. And they tracked me down to drama school and said “we have to audition this girl” and I never looked back. Now that was a stroke of luck. The next stroke of luck the play was on BBC Two Second City Firsts. My play was called “Glitter”

I had to write two songs and record them with a band called Bilbo Baggins (Colin Chisholm of the band with Toyah, below) that were like the little brothers to the Bay City Rollers. And the play was based around a girl who broke into the Top Of The Pops studio. I mean talk about art imitating life (Satnam laughs)

When this played on BBC Two in October of that year, the world famous German film star Maximilian Schell was watching with Kate Nelligan, and Kate turned to him and said “there's our Emma in “Tales From The Vienna Woods”, which was opening at the National Theatre in February the following year. So I moved to London and lived with Kate Nelligan for nine months. I turned up on the first day of rehearsal with a bag of salmon sandwiches (the audience laughs) that my mother made me

My parents dropped me at New Street Station, got the train into Euston, got to the National Theatre, sat next to Brenda Blethyn with my salmon sandwiches and Brenda turned to me and said “where you're going to live?” and I said “I'll commute from Birmingham” and she said “you won't be able to do it, you won't be able to keep it up. Come and live on my sofa”

I thought I don't want to live on your sofa. I mean, God, if only I knew what was going to happen to her 10 years later. And Kate Nelligan says “I have a granny flat. Come and live with me” and I lived in her granny flat. It was so kind!

Yeah. Do you feel that same camaraderie is still there in the industry?

It's definitely there

SATNAM: Because we don't get to see that side, do we?

It’s so rarely you come across someone who's difficult to deal with. Very, very rare. I can count them on one hand after 42 years in the business

SATNAM: So who influenced you the most?

TOYAH: Well, I love the era when men started wearing makeup. Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Alice Cooper and then you know, I was a star in the 80s so I had Duran Duran. That’s just great! I love men wearing makeup. The big life changing moment for me was definitely Ziggy Stardust and seeing David Bowie at the New Theatre in Coventry 1972

I mean, I just knew I could do nothing but music at that point. It was a freedom - his whole body was involved in the music. He wasn't just a musician. I mean, obviously the costumes and the makeup were absolutely breathtaking, the songs were exhilarating, but it was his complete loss into that character that I found utterly unforgettable and life changing

SATNAM: And does that still influence you now?

TOYAH: Yeah, absolutely. When you see artists who just disappear into the event - I have such admiration for that. It's not a construct. It's not fake. They’re actually plugging into something that is supernatural. And I love it

SATNAM: And so I think when I look back at your catalogue, and I sense that …

TOYAH: Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, part of that was just trying to escape everything. Escape the kind of the toughness of being brought up in a middle class family, a wealthy middle class family, but that whole physicality was a challenge for me. I used to have to hide the braces in my boots

So for the first couple of years I used to wear thigh boots with hidden braces to equal out my walk. So everything for me was about twisting the truth and not letting the truth be seen on a certain level

But even now, when I get on stage, I get taken over by the event. I always say this to my audience - no audience is ever predictable or ever the same. Every musical performance is utterly unique. And you can see it when an artist goes on stage and it's not unique for them. And they tend to be the huge A listers, believe it or not, and it might be because of the sheer size of the venues they play. But for me - I get completely taken over and lost in the event. And it's a great feeling. It's very rewarding

Were you influenced by your father and his Buddhism and being on that different, almost spiritual stroke musical plain when you are in that moment of being onstage?

I was definitely influenced by my father always seeing something in the room no one else could see and he didn't mind talking about it. So he was always referring to his grandparents. He was always referring to them being around, being in the room. Something, you know, tipping on the table. He just picked it up and there is that otherness. What I love about the fact when I sing - I have to stop people talking to me just as I go on stage, because I have no idea what the first line is. No idea!

And if someone comes up to me as I'm about to go on, and this happened at Hendley, a huge festival, someone came up to me and I was being announced and they went “Hi Toyah, how are you? How's it going on?” So I said “I’m just going on stage” and I picked the mic up and I was supposed to start with "Thunder In The Mountains" and I started with “I'm well today” and it is completely subliminal where you find those words

I play a very cruel game with myself and I'm in the middle of the song and I'm thinking I'm about to start the next verse and I haven't got a clue what that line is. And it just comes like that. So I think that is part of why I really trust the process. And I go somewhere I'm not connected to in the every day

That's about the now. What about the first gig? What was that like? That must have been terrifying?

TOYAH: No, it was really bad. It was a synagogue in Golders Green. I remember Will Self, the writer was in the audience. So at this point he wasn't very famous. And there was also … I can't remember his name now but he's the main foreign correspondent for ITV News – he was in the audience. It was their very first gig

And I was in this punk band, and my drummer and my first co-writer Joel Bogen (below with Toyah) - very honourable, traditional Jewish people. We never worked on a Friday. They were with the family every Friday, and they got us a gig in a synagogue, and I drank a bottle of vodka (the audience laughs)

And this progressed right through the show and by the fourth number I was unconscious on the stage and everyone thought it was part of the show and it was nerves. I apparently pulled it off because Will Self says it's one of his favourite gigs (the audience laughs)

SATNAM: I love that!

TOYAH: But this was the height of punk. So everyone expected bad behaviour

SATNAM: And anything goes, I suppose, in the height of punk as well. So how different is Toyah the performer to Toyah the person?

TOYAH: I think Toyah the performer is far more interesting. I really think that person is who I want to be. I hate talking about myself as some kind of third entity, but when I'm not performing I'm a businesswoman. I don't have management. I manage everything. And unfortunately I do a lot of managing for of my husband as well

So when I'm off stage, I have an office at home. I have to check everything, I have to check the contracts, the accounts, everything is really backbreakingly dull. And then the moment I get in the car and I go to a gig it's like normality. I don't have to do the accounts anymore. So it's very, very different. I am a businesswoman

SATNAM: I hear you. I think anyone in this game knows that. One minute you can put your knickers in the washing machine and the next minute your lipstick’s on and you're on TV

TOYAH: And honestly, I do not know how any woman or father (who) has a family, runs a family and has a job. I really don't know how you do it. Because, I mean, I'm working from six in the morning until about midnight. And that's my normal day. And some people have to fit children in. I don't know how they do it

SATNAM: When I told my auntie about Toyah tonight, she was well impressed. I was like the favourite niece in the family at the weekend. But actually, you're kind of one of the original feminists for me, you liberated a lot of young women

I think that's very generous because for me, it was the women of the late 60s into the early 70s who really were pushing up the glass ceiling and breaking rules and rewriting the rulebook. I think what happened with me is that punk came along and there was something about punk that accepted all types of human beings. All types of men, all types of women

And it accepted a kind of political correctness that we have today. That gay people were safe in our company, people of all cultures were safe in our company. And it allowed me to be me, to assert a certain point where I didn't have to hide my natural self

And when I left Birmingham at the age of 18, I was making my own clothes. I was quite a lot heavier than I am now. And punk didn't ever see that. They saw me as a person, as an individual, someone with ideas, someone who wanted to perform, to be part of the music. I wasn't judged for my physicality. And then when I got signed to a label that kind of changed because Top Of The Pops was in the sights and they wanted to sell more product. I was advised to lose weight

Not a problem because when I did “Quadrophenia” (Toyah running down the street in Brighton, below) I was on speed 24 hours a day (the audience laughs) When I did “Quadrophenia” it was quite a journey to get there because Franc Roddam, the director, asked me to get Johnny Rotten through a screen test to play the lead in “Quadrophenia” and he was absolutely phenomenal on camera, but they couldn't get the finance for the film if Johnny was in in it. But that man has a future as an actor. He is so good

And then I didn't hear back from Franc Roddam and I was working with Katharine Hepburn in the same studio Making “The Corn Is Green” and I just pestered Roddam. I was banging on the window of his office saying “give me a job! Give me a job!” And when I got the job of Monkey in “Quadrophenia” through sheer persistence and he was unable to find the actress that he could see in his mind's eye, I was also making “Quartermass” with Sir John Mills. So I was doing night shoots and day shoots. So I started to take diet pills. I lost three stone

I remember once I went into the day shoot. I was in the makeup room with Sting sitting next to me, because Sting was in “Quadrophenia” and I was coughing really badly and the makeup artist put the brushes down and she said to the management on site “I’m getting her to hospital now.” And she took me to where this enormous hotel is - I think it's The Langham in Hyde Park corner that used to be a hospital

She took me in. I had pneumonia. Taken back to the set in Southgate with penicillin and just carried on my routine filming in the daytime and filming right through the night with Sir John Mills. But I loved every minute of it. It was exhilarating

SATNAM: I can still feel the exhilaration that you felt back then right now, with you just describing it. You still have that va va voom about you. A lot of people might get to a certain point in the industry and sort of think “OK, time to pause and cash in on the back catalogue.” You have evolved and the music industry has evolved in so many ways as well. So how has that evolution into digital helped or hindered?

TOYAH: There definitely has been a phase in my life where I wasn't doing what I felt I should be doing. So throughout the 90s I was a TV presenter, and I'm not dissing that because I was actually earning a living at that point. It was very lucrative, but my heart was in music and I was going home every night just feeling hollow

As if I hadn't achieved anything because I knew that I'm a performer. I act and I sing and that's it. And then I was in a play in 2002 at Soho Theatre, tiny, tiny little theatre and the management brought me a fax and the fax said “Toyah, how do you feel about playing Wembley Arena?” I thought it was a joke

And I contacted the agent and they said "no, we are going to sell out 16,000 seats at Wembley Arena. It'll be you, Tony Hadley, Belinda Carlisle, Kim Wilde" and we did it. I've not looked back since 2002. I've got my foothold back in music

But then the biggest and most important thing that happened to me, because after about 1984 I had no access to my musical catalogue ... I could perform it live, but I had no access to promote it as physical record sales. And I tried to buy the catalogue three years ago and the record company Safari would not sell it (to) me and I put in the highest bid

So this just shows the sexism even today. But a very good company did buy it. Cherry Red Records bought it and now are re-releasing all my catalogue. So in the last 10 months I've been in the album charts, three or four times in the Top 30 I think. I believe even in the Top 10

And then I managed to sign my two new albums “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” and “Posh Pop” to Demon Music which is part of the BBC and “Posh Pop” went number one in 32 charts last August. So it's perseverance. (the audience applauds) Thank you. I have to add, I got the news two days ago that I've got a Best Actress nomination -

SATNAM: Woop woop! (the audience applauds)

For the Richard Harris Film Festival for the movie “Give Them Wings” (Toayh as Alice Hodgson, below), which we only completed two weeks before lockdown began and it's been waiting to come out. And that's gleaned me two Best Actress nominations. And I also did another movie in lockdown called “The Ghosts Of Borley Rectory” that got me a nomination for Best Supporting Actress up against Julian Sands

So I've been really really busy. And I think like all of us - if Covid hadn't come about and lockdown hadn't come about I would perhaps be in a different place today even but I don't regret it because YouTube has really changed my life

SATNAM: And of course it has and I tell you what - you have really changed our Sunday lunches as well! (the audience applauds) I mean how … tell me ... and how do you manage to keep the tape on? (Toyah and the audience laugh)

Firstly, I want to put this in perspective. The Kardashians probably pay about 100 K a week for the publicity and that publicity machine they keep running. It is a multimillion pound industry to keep them up there. Now I can't afford even 10 pounds a week for publicity

So I realised after posting the very first film exactly a year ago April last year, it was me teaching my husband to jive. We posted this 29 second film clip, and within five minutes it had 100,000 replies (from) around the world

And we realised the power of YouTube and the power of us as a couple. So we persevered. He hated it. I mean he hated me for “Swan Lake” where he's in a tutu (the audience laughs) and dancing by the River Avon. I mean it got headlines in Italy! “What's happened to Robert Fripp?!” (Satnam cackles)

But eventually, we persevered and in January 2021 we hit 10 million views on “Enter Sandman” by Metallica because I went braless and wore a see-through T-shirt. And you say I'm a feminist! (the audience laughs)

I honestly think that what happened was we realised the power of the female form, the power of our mutual love and the power of this wonderful man who's in his mid 70s, who can play guitar so brilliantly. So we are now exploring how do we do this and really address feminism. And it's an interesting one because I believe Madonna is a phenomenal feminist. And in the early 90s she did a book called “Sex” which for me was a step too far. She gave too much away

So my thinking is - I'm 64 in two weeks. I want to tell the world that life should be fabulous forever and ever and ever. You don't stop believing in yourself. So there's that going on. There's also the right to be very physical and extreme without feeling threat. And I only ever do this in the company of my husband

So I'm not on “OnlyFans” - I refuse to do all that. On "CelebVM", which I do do, I get the odd request for the see-through T-shirt and I write back and I say "you're so kind, you're so sweet, but only my husband sees that and 64 million other people" ...

I love it! I love it. And you know, my favourite one is jogging in the kitchen. I know that's quite recent, but jogging in the kitchen just made me think oooh, Toyah … I just don't look as good as you when I try and do it at home -

TOYAH: That’s what I did to make my husband laugh. I do that so we decided to put it on film. This morning - I can tell you this, we filmed The Cranberries “Zombie”, and I have a problem with brilliant songs. They make me cry. And this song is one of the best songs in the history of music and it's written by a woman, but it's also a very powerful song. And I didn't want to expose my body during it. And I thought how are we going to do this?

Because we will go from 200,000 hits in an hour to 5000, it will drop because my best friends on my chest are very, very popular (the audience laughs) So I do a lot of artwork and in my art room I have a lot of silver leaf so I covered my body in silver leaf and I look fantastic! (above) And it's still respectful to the song. That's this Sunday

SATNAM: So we've all got a treat in for us for Sunday lunch, ladies and gentlemen. So how has this whole punk, pop lifestyle, acting, presenting, writing benefitted you?

TOYAH: I do get pissed off that I'm not playing arenas every single night. My ego and my vanity - yep, it's there. It's really there. But I've had a 42 year career where I've been in front of audiences so close that I can feel their emotional experience. And when people say to me, why are you playing small venues?

Well, firstly, that's the venues I fill but I would never ever leave that behind because when I look into someone's eyes and if they're in a wheelchair, if they got crutches behind their seat, if they're crying during “It’s A Mystery” I want to be there to witnesses this. I don't want to be so far away I never see that moment. So how have I benefited from it? I think it's made me a far better human being that I work at the level I work

SATNAM: I love that. For you, Birmingham - how do you feel that people perceive your city, the city that you were born in, that gave you that formative education and training, which propelled you into the big wide world of London and showbiz?

TOYAH: So how does the world perceive it? How does the rest of the UK?


TOYAH: I think it deserves better because we have a phenomenal musical heritage. But I do think people genuinely know this is a location city, a vacation location, a destination city and what people don't know and what they really should know this is Steven Spielberg's chosen city to come and do test shoots in and if people knew that, I think they’d view the city differently

I was shooting “Battleship Earth” (she means "Invasion Planet Earth", Toyah with the director Simon Cox (on the left) and Simon Haycock who plays Thomas Dunn, below) and we were shooting on a back street in Digbeth on a green screen

And we couldn't use the lane outside because Spielberg was there doing a test shoot, and this was about eight years ago and nobody knew he was there. And we were just beside ourselves because we felt part of it. Now if Spielberg feels that way about this city, then the whole world should know about it

SATNAM: I remember that because I chased him around Birmingham for about four days. We did get sight of him and we got him on Midlands Today eventually (Satnam laughs)

TOYAH: And another one very, very quickly - when I first met my husband I took him to a pub in a place called Wyre Piddle just outside of Pershore. He was looking at the bar menu on the chalkboard and this man came up to him and said, “well, that and that and that was really tasty. And if you haven't had that, try that” and the man went through the whole menu. And my husband came back to me and he said “I've got a new best friend”. And I said yep, that's Birmingham people for you

Absolutely. You can take people out of Birmingham, West Midlands, but you can never take the Brummie West Midlands off them. We're really warm hearted and this is a city that really embraces absolutely everything from musical genres to different people. I've got one final question that I'm dying to ask you

And I suppose I'm asking you because I'm a woman and I'm a mum, and I'm nowhere near as successful as you, but nevertheless have a taste of the industry so to speak. You don't have children, but what I find quite intriguing is that both you and your husband want to leave your your fortune to some form of music academy for young people, I believe. Why is that?

It's very generous of you to say we're going to leave our fortune because he spends money -

SATNAM: You live in Pershore now -

TOYAH: Where we live we just bought the bank next door which is becoming an archive building of both our careers. I mean, that's like the white elephant in our life at the moment. I'm just getting through everything

But we've decided that we will leave everything - our archive, his archive, and the remaining monies and I think it's going to be okay because we’re going to be worth more dead than alive. We're going to leave it to an educational fund, a trust, so that kids can have funding to go to drama school and music school. (the audience applauds) Thank you

SATNAM: And that is something really close to my heart. Because you're talking to the girl whose parents could not afford to send her to Central Drama School over the square there at the Rep when I was a teenager - (then) kind of muddled through and found my own way

But to know that there are children in the future who will have unlocked opportunities is just absolutely amazing and actually at the beginning of our chat, I said you are living legend. You're not a living legend. You are just a legend (the audience applauds)

TOYAH: Thank you so much, everybody. Thank you


Post a Comment

<< Home