09 January 2012

TOYAH
PRESS
ARTICLES
1985 - 1986



1985


I'M TOTALLY HOOKED
ON SUCCESS


On the eve of her first concert tour in two years, the normally punky and perky Toyah is, frankly, scared stiff. But as she explained to Judith Simons, if you crave attention, you have to face the music.

Toyah Willcox is facing a terrifying ordeal - going back on the road as a singer for the first time in two years.

"I'm really scared," Toyah confessed. "Until I decided to take a break from my music career and concentrate on acting I did a concert tour every four months.

"Some people think touring is a holiday," she continued, "but I don't! I never go to parties after a show. I save my energy. I get away from everybody and think about the performance."

I was talking to Toyah at the offices of her management company in Chelsea. With her bright orange hair swept neatly across her forehead and in plain black trousers and thigh-length floral shirt, the tiny 4 foot 11 inch star looked more like a trendy business executive than a flamboyant pop star.

But I'd heard all the daunting rumours...that classmates had been terrified of her temper...that she'd spent her teens at loggerheads with her parents...that she'd been overfond of the bottle. So, were they true or headline seeking stunts?

Toyah chose to dispel the rumour about booze...

"My drinking was never anything more than a social thing," she said emphatically.

"At home in Birmingham we had wine with our meals and sometimes I got quite sozzled. And you know what happens when you grow up. You go out to dinner and someone orders a drink, so you have one with them. Then they order wine, so you have a glass of wine too.

"I never actually enjoyed it though. Drinking made me feel unsafe and insecure. So last year I just stopped. I don't want to reach middle age and regret things I did when I was younger. Now I'm a teetotal, non-smoking vegetarian." She flexed her shoulders, "I've never felt more aware, more alive."

Toyah, no doubt, will stick to her fitness regime. Her tenacity in doing what is good for her is remarkable - as her career already shows.

All her record albums have been hits. Her current one, The Minx, is her ninth. Typical of the shock tactics she employs is the single from it, I'll Serve You Well, but the provocative title and theme is just part of her professional persona.

"The song was inspired by The Story Of 'O'," Toyah gave a sly smile as she referred to the French erotic classic. "It's about a female enjoying the guilt of the man who is dominating her life, a touch of sado-masochism.

"Of course I have no personal experience whatsoever of this kind of thing," she added quickly.

"I'm a romantic and have a very healthy relationship with my wonderful chap, Tom Taylor."

To prove her words, Toyah held out a bejewelled hand. Almost hidden between two large, exotic rings was a plain platinum band.

"Tom gave me this as an engagement ring," she said. "Typical man's choice. We got engaged four years ago.

"Tom's a guitarist, a very good one, but when we first met he had taken a job as my bodyguard because he needed the money. From the start we hit it off very well. Now we live together in a place I bought three years ago."

Toyah in a home setting? Standing in an apron at the cooker? I just couldn't imagine it.

"Ooh you've got me wrong! I love all that!" she said, quite put out. "I'm a brilliant cook. Love inventing recipes and baking cakes for Tom.

"We feel we owe it to ourselves to have enough basic skills between us so that we could survive whatever happens. We share the housework and the gardening. Tom repairs our shoes and he's brilliant at carpentry. I bought an old brass bedstead for a tenner and he's made a beautiful garden bench.

"While he's at his joinery, I do upholstery. And I love making my own clothes.

"See the scars?" she continued, holding out her hands again. "They're domestic war wounds. This little one is where I stuck the needle in my finger when I was sewing on buttons. And this" - she showed me a livid streak across her thumb - "was where I cut myself when I was opening a tin of corned beef - the only meat I eat. It was very late at night, I was tired and I didn't take care when I opened the tin. I woke up Tom and he took me to hospital."

When I asked if she and Tom took an interest in each other's music, the softness immediately left Toyah's voice.

"Concerning work, we're two seperate individuals," she well nigh snapped.

"I don't want him running my career and I don't want to run his. He has a band he plays with, but I have nothing to do with it whatsoever. I just let him get on with it.

"I have a room at the top of the house where I write songs and he has a music room on the middle floor. We never ask each other's opinions of our compositions. This is how our relationship will survive.

"We did have teething troubles when we were young, especially as my work took me away a lot," she went on, "but by now we know how we feel about each other, and we trust each other and that gives us strength when we're apart."

I asked Toyah when she and Tom planned to marry.

"When we're ready to have a child," she said. And, dismissing rumours she was pregnant, "At present I don't want children at all. I have no maternal instinct, so why have a child and let it suffer! Maybe when I'm about 40 I'll think differently about it, but just at present I want to concentrate on my career."

"My career" has dominated Toyah since she was old enough to know what it meant.

"I was born independent and a bit of a loner," she said, "and I wanted the attention a performer gets. I wanted to express myself. Watching films and television, I wanted to be part of it.

"At 15 I dyed my hair a lovely dark blue. I thought somehow it would draw attention to me and help me get into show business.

"And though my mother didn't like it and my teachers at public and drama school objected, I still wouldn't conform.

"When people laughed at me I told them to mind their own business. And I was right!

"I got work quicker than any of the other students," Toyah recalled triumphantly. "At 18 I was on the stage of the National Theatre - the greatest theatre in the world." she smiled. "I made the most of it. I was a terrible show-off."

Toyah's 18 year old Punk Rebel image also proved an asset when she started her own band. But the outrageous make-up and wild hair did not mean her mind was undisciplined too!

"I had to prove to experienced musicians that I was dedicated," she said. "I had to act like a stable human being. As a female you must be specially careful not to make mistakes, because the men won't let you forget them."

Within three years Toyah was in the charts, and an established actress, with credits including The Corn Is Green with Katherine Hepburn and the role of Miranda in The Tempest.

Her two careers ran comfortably parallel until 1983, when she decided to push for screen and stage parts. She played the lead in the stage play Trafford Tanzi and last year starred with Laurence Olivier in the television film The Ebony Tower.

Currently she is in the video Murder: The Ultimate Grounds For Divorce, a suspense thriller in which she plays Roger Daltrey's wife. And in the TV film Movie Queen she teamed up with Annie Ross.

"It was a tongue-in-cheek very black comedy," Toyah said. "I played a ruthless drama student in conflict with a legendary star.

"All the time, in my work, I keep moving on," she continued. "The same goes for my private life. I have a lot of energy and I can't just sit back. Being so ambitious is a real pain. I can never relax - I'm totally hooked on success. Sometimes I wish I could change but the truth is I love my work. I work hard, and I save my money because I'm always aware my career could be very short-lived."

I asked her if she had some hidden weakness...some flaw which could have thwarted her ambitions. She has after all been frank to the Press about her lack of height and "lousy little legs".

She paused for a few seconds, then, "I used to be fat," she confessed suddenly. "At the age of 20 I weighed ten and a half stone. I didn't care about good food.

"I still crave chocolate. But now, when I get the urge I take a spoonful of honey or a handful of dates instead. And occasionally - this is my big treat - I'll eat a slice of bread."

For Toyah, evidently, craving success is the only urge she can't control.

Woman Magazine
1985


THE NAKED TRUTH

As Toyah Willcox the actress she has played parts in everything from Shakespeare's 'The Tempest to an episode of 'Minder'. As Toyah the popsinger, she has embraced every style from punk, sci-fi-warrior to Sloane-ranger sophisticate. As Toyah the self publicist, she's told endless, improbable tales about black magic, shark infested swimming pools and knickers floating around her bedroom.

There is a scurrilous rumour that a lot of Toyah's tales about her life are little more than the product of her all-too-fertile imagination. We've done our best to suft through all the fiction and come up with a few facts. Unlikely though some of them may seem, we believe that we have at last unearthed just a little bit of the truth.

Did you know, for example, that when she was filming the TV drama 'The Ebony Tower' with Lord Olivier the script required her to spend so much time romping about in the buff that, at one stage, the film's director even stripped off to make her feel more comfortable.

Toyah's latest acting aspiration is to play the part of ancient British warrior-queen Boadicea, in a forthcoming musical film.

Toyah tries to spend up to three hours every day keeping fit. She has her own gym at home. Normally she gets up at 7 o'clock in the morning, then does twenty miles on her exercise bike before starting on a weighlifting routine.

She often goes to sleep listening to hypnosis tapes. Some help her to relax, others have helped her to take off weight. "I've also learnt languages, law and accountancy through these tapes," she told us. Yes, we believe you Toyah. Thousands wouldn't but...

Toyah has webbed feet

There is a rumour that Toyah is to play the part of the fairy, Tinkerbell, in a musical of 'Peter Pan' starring Sting.

Toyah hates shopping because people keep coming up to her and telling her how small and haggard she looks.

She has to make regular visits to her dentist when her teeth keep getting cracked because "When I'm dancing up and down and singing I gnash my teeth together really hard and they keep breaking."

Toyah once did a radio phone in about her drama training. At one point she got up and did an example of tap dancing...on the radio!

One final quote from Toyah: "I don't dye my hair that much anymore. I did all that five years ago... But when I hit the stage again, I'm still going to bite."

...looks like another visit to the dentist is on the cards.

Bubbling Under Mag
1985


FREE THE SPIRIT

When she was younger, Toyah used to hide behind an aggressive punk front. Now, at 26 going on 27, she explains why she wants the zaniness to come from within.

The first time I met Toyah, five years ago, she was a punkette with a riot of orange hair. Today, we're in a photographic studio, bare except for two canvas chairs and a table with refreshments. She's dressed simply but stylishly in a loose jacket and trousers. Her style has obviously mellowed, but has Toyah?

"I'm much more mature than I was five years ago, yes, but I wouldn't go as far as saying that I've mellowed with age.

"When I was younger, I didn't understand people and I took offence easily, so I was always defending myself when I didn't need to. I don't do that anymore.

"I know what I want out of life now and I won't stop until I get it. If anything, I'm hungrier than ever.

Much to her dismay, people still regard Toyah as the punkette with orange hair, and not as the serious actress she has worked so hard to become, or the successful singer, a side of her career she is pumping much of her energies into at this very moment.

She smiled when I reminded her of our first meeting, back in the days when people like her paved the path of outrage for others to swagger down after her.

"I've no desire to be outrageous anymore," she says, laughing, "although I still like to keep ahead of fashion, I'm coming up to 27 now, and I'd much rather portray the image of a woman who knows what she's doing rather than someone who simply looks zany. These days, I'd prefer the zaniness to come from within."

Why the long silence since your last single?

"Well, I've changed record labels and that took about nine months - I won't bore you with the details.

"Musically, I'd like to broaden out generally - I've always felt that my image alienated me from a wider audience."

Have you ever used your image to hide behind?

"I did when I was a kid. It got me attention and it kept people at bay. I don't hide anymore, and I don't have to lie anymore which I did when I was younger.

"I was a compulsive liar - I used to make things up all the time just to have something to talk about! I don't do that now because my life is interesting, there's no need to lie about it.

"I wasn't a very attractive kid, and I wasn't a very likeable one, either. I had absolutely no charisma. I was lonely and scared of everything then - I just didn't enjoy being young atall. I could never get on with people. My mind was thinking things that my mouth couldn't utter, so no one ever got to know the real me.

"Looking back, I suppose I had an enormous communication problem from the time I was very small until I was 18. I liked people, but the words that came out of my mouth were always very aggressive. You can't imagine how frustrating it was. It meant there was no close contact with anyone, and no love. On the outside, I was a complete loner, but inside I was desperately trying to break free, someone who badly needed affection but who didn't know how to ask for it.

"Dressing outrageously was simply a means of getting attention. I think most people go through that phase. There's nothing worse than seeing a kid with no identity whatsoever.

"As you get older, you keep your identity but you smooth the edges down. It's a natural progression. Let's face it, there's nothing more ridiculous than seeing a 40-year-old woman with too much make up, and clothes that would suit a teenager."

So despite the 'smoothed down image' you're still the same old Toyah underneath?

"Oh, yeah! When I go out on the road, people will still see the same Toyah.

"I couldn't bear to look the same all my life, though. I'll get bored with this look and then I'll move on. I've done the bright thing with the coloured hair - I was one of the first people to do it, and I'm quite happy with that. I only do things to experience them once. I don't want to stay in the same slot for the rest of my life."

Is your latest change of image a calculated one?

It is, if I didn't calculate, then other people would be in charge of my life and that's the last thing I need. I know exactly what I'm capable of doing and what I should be aiming for."

Life is all about learning, and I've learned more in the last 10 years than I ever did at school. I'd like the rest of my life to be like that - gaining knowledge in order to do all the things I want to, like writing scripts and producing films and albums. My life simply isn't a matter of singing and performing, going home and relaxing, and then going on a holiday on a glamorous yacht. Life to me is about gaining knowledge and experience, because there's a lot I want to do in the future, and I'm doing my homework now.

There's no doubt that Toyah relishes the coming of her late twenties, and sees it as a chance to be taken seriously at last.

"One of my problems is that I'm physically small, I have this doll-like image and the voice which is very naive. It makes it harder for me to be taken seriously."

How do people react when they meet you for the first time?

"Some people find me very annoying, others want to protect me. It doesn't bother me too much, it's something I've learned to cope with.

"Usually, they have so many preconceived ideas about me - that I'm loud and brash all the time or alternatively very giggly. It's up to me to break those ideas down."

Toyah received a massive amount of publicity not so long ago following her nude scene in the TV Production of The Ebony Tower.

Was appearing in the nude an embarrassing experience?

"When I did Trafford Tanzi, by the end of the night, my costume was completely see-through, but people accepted that because of the situation I was in - I was playing the part of a wrestler and I'd been fighting all night, sweating buckets and so on.

"In The Ebony Tower, the nudity was of a sexual kind, even though it was beautifully shot. My fear was that it would be taken out of context and it was. On the awards show, for instance, they showed that one scene. But I did that scene for the film and nothing else, and I'd hate those shots to be seen in any other context.

"I'd rather not be seen naked in a magazine, but I accepted the fact that some weirdos might take pictures from the television and then print them in magazines. I'm slowly coming to terms with that, because I detest exploitation of any kind.

"It hasn't happened to me yet. but as soon as I achieve any level of success, I expect the pictures to start appearing, and it'll upset me and make me very angry.

"When it came to doing the actual nude scene, it didn't bother me too much. It was very relaxed, everyone was very nice about it because they knew we didn't want to do it - we were slugging brandy down! - but there comes a point where you have to swallow your pride and get on with it.

"These days I take more care of my body. I used to put away a bottle of bacardi in social situations and then find myself lying down drunk. I'm teetotal now. I've never taken drugs and I won't tolerate people who work for me taking drugs."

Are you happy with the way you look?

"I don't regard myself as having a body beautiful. I think it's great when you see a beautiful man or woman naked, but I'm not one of them. I'd rather I wasn't judged by my physical nudity. I don't want someone thinking, 'she's a real turn-off without her clothes on, so I'm never going to listen to her music again'. People are very naive about things like that, so I have to be extra careful about what I do.

"There are limits - I've turned down a heck of a lot of scripts because they exploit women. I refuse to make box office money out of scenes that are just heavy porn. I simply won't do that."

On to home ground. Where do you live these days?

"In Barnet. It's a three-storey Victorian house. I have a gym there where I can exercise and dance, and do my weightlifting. There's a recording studio as well, so I can work on my songs. I have a library which I use when I'm writing, and I have a room where I design clothes, purely as a hobby. I write in that room."

What kind of books do you read?

"I have a collection of all kinds of books, really, but the majority are on the occult, Egyptology and science fiction. I read up on all the things I collect - armour and occult artefacts like crystal balls and palmistry hands as well as Masai outfits and Masai jewellery.

"I've always found the occult fascinating. Objects like crystal balls are incredibly beautiful, and I have them all over the place as ornaments. I'm addicted to literature on the occult, and the way people saw things centuries ago."

Toyah's attitudes to her interest in all things occult has changed drastically - on that first meeting, she refused point blank to discuss it with me, regarding it as "far too personal".

"Did I? That's because all the 'comic' papers mock it, sensationalise it and generally try to cheapen it. They want to make it out to be hocus-pocus, black magic nonsense, and it's nothing to do with that."

For some reason, I'd got it into my head that Toyah was involved in a relationship with the guitarist in her band. She's not, but she was very nice about my slip up.

"Oh, you mean Joel? That partnership lasted about seven years, then I decided to go completely solo. I've been with Tom, my present boyfriend, for five years now. He's a guitarist, but not in my band."

With one relationship lasting for five years, and the other for seven, Toyah is obviously a person who commits herself rarely, but totally.

"My relationship with Joel wasn't personal, it was a writing partnership. My relationship with Tom is the first really serious one I've had. It takes me a long time to settle down because I put my work first.

"I treasure my independence and I'll fight for it tooth and nail, but I also like the solidity of my relationship with Tom. We know each other inside out. He's a pillar of strength to me, but I don't want him around all the time. I don't want to be chained to anyone. If another woman came into his life, I wouldn't fight for him. There's no way I'd battle with another woman over a man."

As someone who has settled into a long-term relationship, what do you think is the essential ingredient for happiness?

"Not leaving after your first argument!" Toyah laughed. "In the first three years of our relationship, we physically fought. It was hard at times, but we never split.

"We don't fight atall now. Even if I'm in a stinking mood and I lay into him, he doesn't answer back, and vice versa, whereas in the old days we would have had a real fight. It's all down to give and take."

Are you a difficult person to get on with at times?

"Of course not!" she laughed. "Seriously, though, I know I can be difficult when I'm working. I need to be left alone the - I can't communicate under pressure, especially when I'm touring.

"Usually, I go from the hotel to the dressing room, out onstage, back to the hotel, and to bed. Everyone steers clear. I can't cope with friendly chit chat because I'm too tense. If I had people with me who wanted to communicate on a friendship level, I'd fall out with them because my mind would be on my work the whole time.

"Even when I'm appearing on TV, people tend to leave me alone because all I can think about is the audience I'm about to play to. I don't have time for people who want individual attention."

It sounds like a tortured existence. Is it?

"It's a disciplined existence," Toyah corrected me with conviction. "If you don't discipline yourself, you end up surrounded by people who destroy you.

"I don't even talk on the road, because all the time you speak, you're ruining your voice. I just zip my mouth shut all day, and that's tortuous because obviously you meet people who want to talk to you. If you want to sing at night, don't talk during the day. You have to let your vocal chords heal after a show, because singing in a concert rips them apart.

"For things like room service, I have a notepad and write everything down. Most of my fans know I don't like to talk, but if I really have to, I keep my voice to a whisper."

Enough of Toyah the committed performer. What of Toyah the woman? Can you see yourself being married with 2.4 children?

"If kids are involved, marriage should be involved. It takes two people to make a child, and they should be committed to each other. I believe a child should be brought up by its mother and its father, and that's where marriage comes in. Religion doesn't enter it really. If I had a child, I'd have to be married, I wouldn't have one otherwise."

Being involved in a long-term relationship is only a short step away from marriage, isn't it?

"Not in my book. I don't play by the rules because I like to be free. It's my freedom that makes me close to Tom. I don't want to be owned by anyone, and even if I had a kid, I'd feel it was imposing on my privacy. I'd rather wait until I'm much older."

Aren't you old enough to have a child now?

"No, I'm enjoying life and I don't want a child. I don't have any feelings for children atall. I'd like one eventually for the genetic eternity of it, to carry my family on, but I won't be pressurised to do so until I'm ready. I don't have any pets because I don't want to acquire the habits you get into, having to feed them three times a day and generally looking after them."

It's obvious that even at 26, the idea of an ordered existence has as much appeal to Toyah as a cross in a vampire's wardrobe. She smiles at her own distaste of all things routine.

"I hate it! I eat when I want to, and I hat knives and forks. It's something that always upset my parents - they used to thrust them into my hands but I wouldn't use them. If I'm in a restaurant I'll use a fork, but that's all.

"I eat mainly raw food. I'm a vegetarian through choice, because I don't enjoy meat very much. I eat fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts and that's it. Oh and fish, I love seafood."

How domesticated are you?

"I find the process of cooking boring. If I have people round for a meal, though, I'll sculpt food for them - I love doing that.

"At home, I feed myself, and Tom does his own food. If I want a cup of tea, I don't like being made to feel I have to ask everyone else if they want one. It's the same with food, I usually go to a room to eat in private.

"When I was at school, it was really awkward, so I stopped having school meals and just went off by myself. I need to be alone sometimes and I can't eat with other people if I'm under pressure. I love eating out, though - Japanese, Malaysian and Italian."

Some people might say that eating raw food with no knife and fork is a sight more freaky than orange hair.

"I know! If only people could see me at home. Everything is clean and ordered, but as for social routines, I have none atall."

That's not completely true, because she offered me another cup of tea.

Etcetera Magazine
1985


FROM PUNK TO PERFECT

Toyah tells Gill Chilton why being a woman in showbiz ain't easy...

Her photos don't do her justice. The neat, slight young woman who sits opposite me has a warm smile and a surprisingly peachy complexion, which shines through her light make up. Toyah Willcox, once the punk industry's leading sprite, the woman who launched her own range of weird, wacky make up and inspired a host of tacky fashions, wears a mauve, well-tailored trouser suit and high stilettos. These days, any tarty brilliants are reserved for the stage and photo sessions. At ease, only her hair - brightly dyed, bar dark roots - gives the game away.

"I know I used to look outrageous," she grins, "but it was just fashion and part of what kids were going through at the time. Now I see seventeen year olds and think they look a mess!" Toyah, 28 next May, isn't, however, feeling her age - "It'll be my first decade in the entertainment business" - and she couldn't be happier, dividing her time between singing and acting. "I thought I'd be married with kids at twenty three. Yet, at the moment, I have absolutely no intention of becoming a mother. But how can I speak about the future? If my boyfriend, Tom, were to become fatally ill, for instance, I wouldn't think twice about having his child. In life, because destiny is so unpredictable, you say what you want and aim for it, but a hundred different things can happen."

In Toyah's instance, destiny has been ably abetted by dedication and determination. Her acting roles have progressed steadily, from a punk in Jubilee, to guest appearances in Minder, to major roles in The Tempest, Tales Of The Unexpected and the much acclaimed Ebony Tower with Sir Laurence Olivier. Her recognition as a serious musician is envied. She's also had a clutch of hit singles. "I've had my fashionable time in the charts, now I sell albums."

Charming, confident and totally in control - "I feel I owe it to myself to know how the law, economics, and dress designing works" - and you'd never guess how tough this chirpy 4ft, 11in. sparrow has found it to worm her way to the top. A light-hearted feminist - "because I like men too much" - she's quick to point to the difficulties her sex has brought: "On tour the solitude is horrible. Men lunge at you all the time because you're a girl. On stage, you'll always get some piss artist trying to grab your boobs. It's hell."

In the early days, it was even worse. "The age-old syndrome goes on. Landlords say, "I'll let you play my pub if you sleep with me." At just 18 and forming her band from fellow drama students, she found it both "gruelling and humiliating".

It was five years until It's A Mystery gave Toyah her first top ten hit, and brought with it sell-out tours and a succession of successful albums. Now LP's nine and ten are in the preparatory stages. "I aim to write forty songs a year," she says doggedly. "I like to get ahead, working on a new album even before the preceding one is released. A good song will survive time. Also, were a good film to come up, I'd be putting a noose around my neck if I didn't have the free time."

To ensure her quota is fulfilled, Toyah sits down from ten until six in her office, pen and piano to hand. "If you wait for inspiration, you can wait a whole year," she reasons. "I've trained myself to use my subconscious. I write whatever comes to mind as soon as I wake up."

Her office is the top floor of the Barnet home she shares with Tom. But work doesn't stop when she hits the lower decks, often to exercise in her gym. "Although mentally drained, I have a lot of physical energy left. I put on Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Simple Minds and dance all night. I also keep a notepad in every room to catch ideas. Writing has become so instinctive now I don't need to look at what I'm doing. Often I find my scrawl has overlapped the paper and run on to the carpet!"

Staunchly private, hers isn't a lifestyle aglitter with parties and their instant smiles. "I'm never happy in a room of strangers. Tom is a musician, but entirely separate from me. I'm independent, and when I close our door at night, that's when our relationship works. Friends, Tom's mainly, drift through our house, but it's up to me if I want to socialise with them."

Her self confessed vices - laziness and greed - are hard to believe in the face of her vigorous routine. "I could easily sit in front of the telly for a week, and binge on sweet things," says she whose lifestyle dictates she's always on the go, and whose diet - "I like to eat very little, mainly fruit, rice, nuts, honey and vitamin pills" - ensures she'll never regain the weight she shifted for success.

Genuine and likeable, ask for favourite memories and her smile softens. "It was Christmas Eve, nineteen eighty-one. The audience were drunk and the stage covered in men's knickers. We were playing Whistle Test live to a twelve million TV audience. Afterwards I was so excited I didn't remove any make-up or brush out the backcombing for three days!"

To talk of the past, however, is uncharacteristic. She intends to continue with music for a further decade, "because I've yet to break any rules", then concentrate on acting.

Curiously, what Toyah wants most isn't love, money or happiness, but "for things I've done to still be here when I've snuffed it". Perhaps it's the reasoning behind her motto: "You're only as good as what you've got to offer tomorrow..."

Express Magazine
1985


SHE'S TOYAH

She's sleek, sophisticated and oh-so-adult. The clothes are high fashion, the hair expensively groomed, the make-up discreet.

But beneath the elegant image is Toyah - the hell-raising, outrageous, racous punkette, who turned her motto Be Proud, Be Loud into atop-of-the-pops number.

Loud and proud she certainly was. Toyah became a rock legend at full blast.

Now a 26 year old millionaire, she is settled in domestic bliss with guitarist Tom Taylor, but her agent last week denied she was expecting. Has Toyah been tamed?

VICTORIAN

"I'm still a rebel deep down-I find all rules a bit strange" insists the girl who was an 11 year old Hell's Angel, a classroom rebel, a teenage satanist, and a pop whirlwind who stormed into the Top Twenty as much on her riotous image as on musicalmerit.

But she admits: "I'm in my womanhood now, puberty is over, and I've grown a bit more sensible."

The new Toyah is a model of abstinence. She is now a vegetarian, totally teetotal - "I had my first hangover at nine,"she confesses - works out in the gym at her Victorian house, and bones up on the Classics in her rapidly growing library.

The one addiction she still fights is chocolate: "My craving got much worse after I gave up booze last year."

"I'm grateful to my parents, who believed in letting me learn by my own mistakes. They allowed me to drink and smoke, and my dad's rules were - don't hurt others, don't steal,
don't get pregnant, and don't end up in prison."

IMPROVE

Toyah, the school failure, has made a success of serious acting, with some of the most illustrious names in the profession.

Starting at 17 with a starring role in Jubilee, she went on to play opposite Katherine Hepburn in a TV version of The Corn Is Green, played Miranda in the film version of The Tempest and appeared with Lord Olivier in The Ebony Tower.

Her ambitions are, for Toyah, modest: "I'd like to be the most famous person in the world, do more films, improve my voice, and become a really brilliant actress."

But the old Toyah is still there, under the veneer of restraint Soon to be released in her latest album, Minx. "It's called Minx because that sums me up."

PERSON

Her favourite track on the album is a raunchy number entitled I'll Serve You Well. "It's about bondage and it's wonderful!" she exclaims.

"It caters to sheer chauvinism, but what I'm really saying is that woman always controls man by exploiting her mystical feminine prowess."

However the real influence is the man in her life. "Tom is wonderful - I really treasure my relationship with him. Mind you we, argue, claw each other, smack cakes in each other's faces, and tie each other up, but we have some great laughs.

"I really despise promiscuity. It's only by staying faithful to one person that you cope with love."

Daily Record
1985


TOYAH

It's easy to see why Toyah feels that her latest major movie role is the most accomplished acting performance of her varied career.

For the flame-haired singer stars with Roger Daltrey in Murder - The Ultimate Grounds for Divorce, and her part could not be further from the real life Miss Willcox.

In the film Toyah plays a downtrodden housewife whose boring day-to-day existence becomes the centrepiece of a murder plot

BIZARRE

But the 25-year-old star's bizarre lifestyle is nothing like the script. After an 18-month period in which se concentrated solely on her acting, Toyah is once again racing up the pop charts with her new single Don't Fall in Love.

In June, she also releases her first album - called Minx - for over a year.

Her phenomenal success in both fields has not only brought international acclaim for the singer hailed as the " Punk Priestess of the 80s" but also the need for Toyah to become a very strict businesswoman.

RETREATS

She controls a staff of managers, publicists and accountants who help administer her many business interests.

And away from her work, Toyah retreats into a cosy Victorian house in London with her long-term boyfriend Tom.

Although she likes to keep her private life just like that, Toyah revealed for the first time that her commitment to her career has given her an unconventional outlook on love, marriage and motherhood.

"My house is a fortress for Tom and me to protect ourselves from the outside world," Toyah told me.

"We've been together now for five years and each day gets better - we get closer and more inseparable all the time."

"But I couldn't bear having a child and becoming a mother at this moment in time, because I'm far too selfish."

"I have to be alone a helluva lot, and I wouldn't have the patience to have a child constantly coming to me for help - I'm not ready yet for that."

"I'd like to have a child some day - but as late as possible in my career. I also think that I'd be a good mother, because I'm very good at adapting."

"It's ironic in a way that I play the role of a housewife in the film, because I just couldn't cope with that kind of life."

While Tom earns money doing studio session work as a guitarist, Toyah concentrates on her music, designs and acting.

She is also clearly fond of Tom - but the pair have no immediate plans to marry, and Toyah's attitude to love
is again highly individual.

"If another woman came into Tom's life, I wouldn't fight to keep him."

"There's no way I'd battle with another woman overa man."

"My life with him is built on faithfulness, and I've told him that once that bond is broken we'll no longer be together."

"I'm not interested at all in having affairs myself."

"But if a man is unfaithful to a woman and he keeps hanging around, he's not worth having - I wouldn't share a man of mine with anyone."

Now Toyah intends to spend the next few months re-establishing her successful pop career - but she's already thinking a long way into the future and has definite career plans.

"I think I need 15 really hard working years before I reach a standard of acting I'll be really happy with." she said.

"I don't think I'll really achieve the artistic performances I'm striving for until I'm about 40."

"People have concentrated too much on my punky image in the past and not enough on my music - it's now
time to correct that."

Toyah has recently made some sweeping changes in her personal life. She's become a vegetarian, gone completely teetotal, and works out regularly in a gymnasium in her home to keep her in perfect shape.

"I'm getting older so I want to consciously take care of my body," she said. "I was drinking just to be social - some days I was putting away a bottle of Bacardi through boredom and then lying down drunk."

"So I just decided to revolutionize my life - I stopped, and have never looked back."

"I don't need drugs either - I've never taken any, and don't intend to start. I also won't tolerate people who work for me taking drugs. If they do it in front of me, I won't have them around."

Daily Record
1985


PERSONAL FILE

Full Name : Toyah Ann Willcox

Date of Birth : 18.5.58

Height : 4' 1"

Real Colour Hair : Black

Do You Think That You're A Good Actress?
Not a good actress, no, not yet. I'm still very much a beginner, and I know I've got a lot still to learn. The actors I most admire are Martin Sheen, Greta Scaachi, Miranda Richardson and Billie Whitelaw.

How Come You Get Asked To Do So Many Nude Scenes?
I've only ever done two! I had to take my clothes off in The Tempest and The Ebony Tower, but in Jubilee I was about the only person in the whole film who kept their clothes on - I was quite proud of that. I don't really like doing nude scenes unless I absolutely have to and, I don't like the fact that I don't like doing them - it's an old inhibition I'm trying to fight.

Are You A feminist?
Yes, but by my definition and not by anyone else's. I'm not a traditional feminist. To me, the real meaning of feminism is to be as unlike a man as possible, which is why I don't think cropping your hair and putting on men's suits is a very 'feminist' thing to do. I think the Madonna is the ultimate feminist because she exploits everything she has to the maximum, so every man
wants her but no man can have her.

Are You Surprised That You've Had Another Hit With Your New Record?
Yes, kind of, but it was a very pleasant surprise. I have a very loyal, hardcore of fans, so I knew that I'd have a semi-hit. I didn't feel negative about it, but I wasn't that worried whether it was a big success. If it went Top Ten, then I'd be really surprised.

When Was The Last Time You Saw A Spirit?
I know why you're asking me that. Ages ago I met someone from Smash Hits and we discussed things like that but it wasn't spirits, it was martians. There's a cult in California that believes only half the people on this planet are human, and the other half are martians. I was very interested in that theory for a long time, and I'm still sure there's something in it. I think it came about
through a a group of aliens colonizing earth and mixing with humans. Not all of the martians even know that they aren't humans. If a martian male and a human woman have a child, that child will just grow up believing it's a normal human. Nina Hagen (German Punk shocker) thinks that David Bowie might be one of the aliens, but I'm not so sure.

What's All This About You Being Into Some Weird Religion?
I studied Black Magic and Satanism when I was younger, and I'm glad I did, because it made me much more aware of the Good as well as the Bad forces and made me appreciate Good things. If I'm anything, I'm a practising Buddhist.

Do You Think You'll Go To Heaven When You Die?
I don't really believe in Heaven. I think if you lead a good, positive life, you go to another, higher plane. Otherwise you just stay earthbound.

Do You Still Sleep In A Coffin?
No I stopped doing that about seven years ago!

Have You Ever Done Anything You're Ashamed Of?
Well, kind of. In my early teens I was a street fighting girl. I used to go around in a big gang in Birmingham, and I was very violent. It was a pointless thing to do - I never enjoyed it.

Are You Still Getting Married?
I don't really know. I think I'd only get married now if I was having children.

Do You Want To Have Children?
Genetically yes, but instinctively, I don't feel any need for them atall just now. I think I'll probably have them quite old - the older thebetter actually. I can already see a generation gap appearing between me and a 16-year-old so imagine the difference when you're 40. I think it can be very positive, though, the generation gap. It can keep you young.

Do You Talk To Your Plants?
No, but I'm very aware of them. I like being with them, and just checking that they are OK.

What Would You Call The Smash Hits Fruit Bat?
Squidgey because that's what goes in them and that's what comes out.

Smash Hits
1985


TEMPEST FUGIT

The man from Penthouse had already left by the time I arrived, which was a great pity because it sounded like an interesting confrontation.

"Oh, I always get good reviews in Penthouse," Toyah reassures me. "When I did The Tempest - I mean, The Tempest of all films to get a review in Penthouse - it said, you must see it, to see to see Toyah Willcox's voluptuous body. I thought god, they must be hard up for good looking women!" The sleek, expensive person sitting opposite suddenly dissolves into a familiar Toyah cackle and the interview begins.

After a year off from making records, which she spent working on three films for television (including John Fowles' excruciatingly pretentious Ebony Tower, screened last December), Toyah's back with her latest single "Soul Passing Through Soul" following her recent hit, "Don't Fall In Love (I Said)" and an album to follow. The break has been a blessing in more ways than one.

"Oh yeah, I was totally disorientated. I was being followed by fans all the time, it was just driving me mad. I had to keep the curtains drawn in my house because I couldn't bear all these faces staring. So I took time off, I had to go away and think, do I really want all this, and I realised that I did. I had terrible withdrawal symptoms from singing and acting, and I thought, yeah it is what I want, I've just got to learn to control it."

And in another way, it's put her bubblegum past one more year behind her. After a career that's nearly ten years old, this cool professional in the designer suit is still waiting to be taken seriously. The new non-image will help too.

"All the trouble I've ever had has been caused through the image. I felt at one point that the image was alienating the audience from my songs. And the music's got to come first. The image is so transient, it'll be remembered for three months at a time and them forgotten and I don't want people saying, oh she's got red hair, the music'll be crap. I want people to see me for me, not red hair. I'm going to keep up with fashion, I couldn't bear not to do that - I'm too vain to forget about fashion - but the image has got to be secondary. Whatever I do, it'll be a spur of the moment thing."

Already this policy has run into a few problems though, like a photo-session the day before which had set out to capture the natural Toyah.

"They wanted an at home look, and I said, well it's going to be a lie because at home I don't wear clothes. I refuse to dress at home - at all. Unless a stranger walks in and I have to put a dressing gown on. And I'm not posing naked for anybody

With her 27th Birthday just around the corner, the transformation of Toyah has been an inevitable process. She cringes at the memory of the punky, speedy character of Kate in that episode of Minder, so kindly repeated the other week. The actress in her comes to the rescue again when I remark that her last single sounded like the kind of thing Elaine Paige would record.

"Really?" she says, opting for an expression of cool surprise, rather than flattening me, Trafford tanzi style. "It's very different to Elaine Paige. I mean, the image and the approach has got the calmness to it, but it's totally different because it's remained true to rock. It's still got a bit of the old me in it."

"And the character of the album is immense - it goes from the commerciality of the singles to really diverse political songs. And lyrically I don't think you'd get Elaine Paige singing about penises the way I do on this album."

"What I wanted to put across in the lyrics was that I'm slightly feminist, but I'm a feminist to a point where I think women should look like women - it's what their power is. I think a woman is dangerous when she's playing the sexy creature - as long as she knows what's going on up there in her brain. These sex kittens who haven't got a brain - it's just a waste of time - but when you see someone like Fiona Richmond who does know what she's doing, it makes it all much scarier."

When Toyah reveals that she bared her midriff on Pebble Mil At One, I start to recognise the parallels between her and Madonna. Both are known only by their exotic first names. Both are combining careers as singers and actresses. But most significantly, both of them started out with the same naked greed for fame. "In the beginning, I didn't care how I got it and I didn't care what the fame was for. I didn't think about credibility, I didn't think about people liking me, or anything like that. But slowly, through time, the value of fame has changed. When you're so famous you can't walk down the street without being mobbed by grannies, even. When the people who swear at you when you're on the telly in their living room come up and say they love you when they see you in the flesh - you know it's false. That wasn't what I wanted for the rest of my life."

"I want people t like me and to hear what I do, and I'd like to reach people. To write something that makes them feel something."

The obvious comparison between Madonna's global domination and Toyah's more home-grown success could also be made, of course, but for someone who left Edgebaston Church Of England School For Girls with a solitary O level in music to her credit, Toyah's not done too badly.

Her Barnet home runs to a gym, in the best Dynasty style, a design studio, two recording studios and a library where the workaholic likes to bury herself whenever possible.

"In the early years I was very lazy - I had to force myself to work. It was like a school syndrome - I'd had to do so much work at school, I didn't want to work anymore. But now I've got over that I can't stop working, I love it."

"I've had to put aside some energy for writing and mental activities which I've never been very good at doing, because I've always felt that my writing has suffered because of it - I'm always hiccuping along. I'd go rusty then I'd start writing again. So it's an exercise - I keep my mind going all the time in that area, because one day I'd like somebody to sit down and say, God she's a good writer - and I haven't had that yet."

"I take myself very seriously as a writer whether the critics agree or not. I think it's something I've learned to accept. In the early days the criticism just destroyed me, but now it has to be water off a duck's back. I know I'm getting there. I know that with time and with me getting older, one day I'll be a good writer. At the moment, everything's practice, but I'm not going to give up.

Sounds
1985


INTO BATTLE!

...with the art of Toyah. Yes, the flame-haired minx is back, making saucy records, playing Boadicea and hoping no-one thinks she has a fat bum. Robin Smith says perish the thought!

Toyah wants to go on the warpath. She hopes to be playing the part of Boadicea, the gal who led a revolt against those naughty Romans about two thousand years ago.

"Nothing has been confirmed yet and I haven't signed anything but it sounds like a very interesting part," she says. "It will be a musical film and some more stars will be taking part, but I can't say who they are."

Ah well, perhaps we'll see Sting in one of those cute Roman tunics showing off his knobble knees, or Jim Kerr as a Roman emperor...on second thoughts, perhaps not.

"Boadicea was a Queen who led a crusade against the Romans," continues Toyah. "Her people and the Romans had lived in peace until two Romans raped her daughters.

"Boadicea was the Margaret Thatcher of her day. She was a very strong willed woman who could only see her own way and what was straight in front of her. She was very wilful and stubborn. For a time the rebellion was successful, but eventually it was crushed.

"Nobody knows what happened to Boadicea. It's believed that she was reincarnated but the end of her life is quite a mystery. She didn't ride in a chariot with spikes on the wheels, that was something the Victorians made up to make her character more romantic."

Toyah says that the women she's admired in history have been very strong willed.

"I've always admired women with fire, aggression and spirit. Women who were prepared to stand up for what they believed in and really fight. I like brave women like Joan Of Arc.

"I've never liked soft and coy women like Nell Gwynne who used soft charms to get around men, I don't find them interesting."

Toyah's been carving up the charts again with "Don't Fall In Love" and an action-packed, adventure-filled album is on its way, so hang on to the edge of your seats.

"I've spent about nine months getting out of my old record deal. I think my singles are going to last longer in the charts. I want a slow kind of build up now. I don't want to dash up to the top of the charts and then fall back swiftly."

She seems to have changed a bit as well, opting for a cooler, more subtle approach.

"I don't dye my hair that much anymore. I did all that five years ago, it's time for a change. But when I hit the stage I'm still going to bite."

Toyah might not have been around for a little while in the charts, but she's been keeping busy romping around nude in 'The Ebony Tower' with Sir Laurence Olivier (on the box not long ago) and she's been writing a whole case full of new songs.

"I'm sure Fiesta or some other magazine is going to get hold of some of those shots from 'The Ebony Tower' and use them but there will be nothing I can do. I hope people judged the scene within the context of the programme. The director even stripped off to make us feel more comfortable.

"I hope people weren't looking at me just as voyeurs thinking 'she's got a fat bum and short legs'. I'm going to America soon and I'm sure I'm going to receive a lot of publicity for appearing nude, but I hope it's not over emphasised.

"I think you can appear nude in something and still be a feminist. I've got nothing against Samantha Fox, except I think she's a bit young to be doing what she does."

Toyah's album will be aptly called 'Minx' and she says it's going to be pretty darn racy stuff.

"I wanted to call it 'Requiem' or something equally as mysterious but one day I had a row with my producer in the studio and he said 'you...you minx!' We all thought that 'minx' would be a great title for the album and the name stuck.

"The album is very commercial but parts of it are very sexually explicit. It won't get banned though, because of the way I've phrased the material.

"There's one track called 'Terrorist Of Love'. It's about how we all worship the gun and how we are all really hunters, but it's obvious that the gun becomes a phallic symbol.

"Last year I wrote 48 songs. I usually write songs because I have to, but this time the ideas just flowed and flowed."

Yes, Toyah doesn't lounge around at home watching television all night. One of the floors in her house has been converted into a gym and she works out every evening. She's even put mirrors on the ceiling so she can watch herself sweat. After that it's off to the library and study for a spot of writing.

Toyah says that the current single is based on old memories, when she was a podgy little schoolgirl desperate for a spot of romance.

"It's about jealousy. You're watching a situation between a boy and girl or a man and a woman and don't want it to happen. I was always a gooseberry, I was always getting left out of things and getting jealous."

Apart from her album, Toyah's been doing plenty of other things. She's teamed up with Genesis keyboard player Tony Banks to work on music for a sci-fi epic involving lots of nasty robots and there's been talk of her playing Tinkerbell in a production of 'Peter Pan' starring Sting. Her main priority has been songwriting though.

"I love writing songs for men," she says. "I think I'm able to write songs which bring out female sexuality, which is something men have great difficulty doing properly.

"I want to write or create something which is really important. I haven't fulfilled myself by a long way yet. I really want to do something which will go down in history as being something great.

"I'm not going to have children until I'm 40. If I had children now they would interfere with my career. I couldn't write and sing and look after a child properly. It sounds ruthless but that's the way it has to be."

Record Mirror
1985


REBEL WITH A CAUSE

Toyah's new single is all about love. In the video she plays a glamorous temptress. Has the fiery rebel finally conformed? Ro Newton found out.

"I've grown up. I've become a much more secure person and don't feel the need to prove myself. I don't want to be a joke anymore."

So says the new Toyah Willcox. The actress and chanteuse extraordinaire is now sporting a new philosophy.

Toyah's back and means business. She's as vivacious and enthusiastic as ever but determined to move away from her old image.

"I don't like gimmicks," she states, "because eventually you become one. It's false security. I'm searching for a kind of critical acclaim and quality I've never had.

The 'image' thing has alienated an audience from my music that I would dearly like to win over."

Does this mean Toyah 'the rebel' is finally going to conform for the sake of mass appeal?

"I couldn't even try to be utterly normal because I'm not," she grins. "I want people to see the real me. In the past I've wasted time posing, now I just get on with it. I'll never be a lovey-dovey girl - there'll always be a sting in my tail.

"I've spent four years being zany, portraying the outrageous punk, and I'll always be wild. When the doors are closed I strip off and run around the house naked screaming like a banshee."

LOVE

Toyah's blunt honesty is intriguing and sometimes disturbing. Her new single 'Don't Fall In Love', released after a lengthy absence from the charts and a new record company deal, reveals a dramatic change in lyrical content.

She no longer recounts nightmarish fantasies but ventures into that much used and abused emotion - love.

"For me, love is what wars were fought over. Women are what wars were fought over. They are the controllers through time, oppressed because they are so sexually powerful and threatening. Men only lock up what they're afraid of."

So underneath all the powder, paint and peroxide, is Toyah a closet feminist?

"To be a feminist you don't have to resort to looking and behaving like a man," she exclaims. "You see these really beautiful women with men falling at their feet. If they had half a brain they could be real rulers, but they always end up as slaves to man.

"I'd like to see women being more subtle - like the black widow spider, attracting the males and then attacking..."


In the 'Don't Fall In Love' video Toyah appears as a sophisticated temptress which, considering her views on image, does seem a little contrived.

"We chose a dress that was really wicked," she enthuses with a mischievous gleam in her eye. "It was made of rubber and took three people to get me in it."

WAR

This will doubtless attract unwelcome attention from the weaker sex, something Toyah's not averse to...

"When I was doing Trafford Tanzi, I had to wear a skin-tight leotard and soon found out that men were coming to see it because they got off on watching a woman fighting a man. It was perverse. There I was, making a wonderful political statement for women, and the dirty raincoat brigade just lapped it up."

In future, Toyah doesn't see her career following one particular path.

"I'm terribly fickle," she admits. "I've a total addiction for everything I do - until I get bored. I thrive on spontaneity and I've got to keep moving.

"I'd love to be able to produce and direct a film and when I'm very old and rickety, I intend to write a fantastic book which either makes people cry or shit themselves... I'm interested in psychic research and developing the sixth sense.

"Most of all I want my voice to mature and get rid of the lisp. When I see myself on the screen and hear that voice I cringe... no wonder people want to strangle me!"

Number One Magazine
1985


PERSON TO PERSON

Dean Stockings from Bildeston, Ipswich, puts five questions to Toyah Willcox

Dean: I once read that as a child you weren't allowed to kiss your parents or touch your mother. Is there any truth in this?

Toyah: It's not as severe as that. We didn't communicate through touch, our affection was stronger in mental areas. Because we're a family of strong independent characters we
weren't kissy kissy.. My sister and I decided that we would try
and break down the barrier but after all this time I just can't do it. It doesn't mean that I didn't love them - we're very loyal and close. If anyone hurt them - I'd do 'em.

Dean: After a concert do you travel to the next town, sleeping on a coach or do you stay the night in a local hotel?

Toyah: It depends. Sometimes we travel back to London through the night. Most of the time we stay in a hotel. It's very tedious - all the time wasting between gigs. If someone gave me a time capsule to get to the venues without any hassle I'd do the concerts one after the other.

Dean: Which song of your own do you most enjoy performing live and why?

Toyah: Ooh a few. 'Ieya' because it's an absolute rock and roller - you can really let rip on it. 'Jungles of Jupiter' is great cos it's really descriptive. I want to develop a few new ones onstage; quiet, performable songs with deep lyrics. The tracks off 'Anthem' are also good.

Dean: Which is your favourite venue for playing live concerts and do you prefer playing at small or large venues?

Toyah: I've got used to the larger ones. We played the Marquee, London, two years ago and it was really strange having the audience touching noses with me. It's very inhibiting. The Odeons are better equipped for the shows I like to put on. When we play Hammersmith it feels like coming home and they go
wild in Newcastle, clapping so loud you can't hear yourself over the P.A. It's a great buzz.

Dean: If I pay will you come out for a meal with me?

Toyah: Aaah. That's really sweet. Unfortunately I'm quite busy and will have to refuse your kind offer (even though I wouldn't expect you to pay). Thanks for asking anyway.

Number One Magazine
1985


1986


THE WOMAN WHO
CLOBBERS MEN


"I'm only just becoming a singer." insists Toyah, with a defiant look in her eye. "Up until now, I've just been a fashionable object. I may be working in the theatre, but I don't want the respectability of Elaine Paige. I always want to be going against the grain."

Toyah Willcox is fizzing with enthusiasm. For eight years she has portrayed herself as a flame-haired fireball, ready to erupt at any moment, and it's a wonder she has managed to keep it going for so long. But with 15 albums under her belt and more image changes than most of us have had hot dinners, she still craves more.

Today, Toyah. resplendent under orange mane with blatant black roots exudes a carefully controlled excitement. At first, she seems raring to launch into intense, descriptive answers, but before long her tolerance level plummets and she becomes easily irritated. "I'm terribly moody," she reveals, confirming my suspicions. "One minute I'm grumpy and the next I'm very pleasant. I had plenty of tantrums doing the single. Because the album I had written wasn't commercial, my management wanted me to do a cover version. I felt quite repulsed by the thought. We eventually decided on Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins, as well as Love's Unkind by Donna Summer, which I despise. They're both good versions, but I don't think my singings particularly brilliant on either."

Toyah no longer associates herself with the chart system and refuses to be pressurized into writing hit singles. Her new album, Desire, documents a time in her life when she was at her most confused and vulnerable. "I'd just split up with my ex- boyfriend and got married. It was the shakiest time of my life, so I wanted the album to reflect my feelings. I'm very unpredictable in that one minute I'm displaying the nice, loving side of the female form and the next, the murderous side. I had quite a lot of fun doing the photos. We got this male model lying naked in a bed with me fully dressed in front of him. I end up in his arms and then he lies on top of me, but they wouldn't allow it for the cover of the album - unfortunately."

Toyah's marriage to guitarist Robert Fripp hasn't been without its complications, mainly due to them being separated by the Atlantic Ocean for months on end.

"It's been so difficult. I only ever see him on a Sunday, which hardly makes for the ideal marriage. I'm totally committed to him, but we've both got our own lives to lead. His work is in America and mine is here. I see us as two individuals who make a pair. I don't want to lose my identity, running around after him scooping up the debris. Sometimes, we can both be at home at the same time, doing the same thing, like reading, but in seperate rooms. Although I have no real personal life at the moment, I find work is so rewarding. I never tire of it, except every now and again when I've got PMT and am missing hubby, then it's absolute hell. Still, neither of us want children and I don't plan to get trapped by the kitchen sink."

Although Toyah's career seems to have taken a dramatic leap for the better this year (despite the recent closedown of the stage production Cabaret), she still struggles to retain her sanity. "It's so hard to fight depression at times. Yesterday, I went to buy a yoghurt in a supermarket and a man came up to me and said, 'I really hate you.' I was in a good mood until that point, then I hit rock bottom. When you're working all the hours God sends, you can do without arseholes like that. I so wanted to hit him, and it took every ounce of my energy to restrain myself. Once I came home to find my windows smashed and my flat being robbed. I went for the carving knife and started shouting obscenities, but the bloke got away. This year on three occasions men forced themselves upon me when I was walking home from the theatre, so each time I hit them. They ask for it. One was a fan, but he isn't anymore. I think women have got the right to walk anywhere and at any time they please without being harassed. No man is going to stand in my way."

At 28, it seems no-one can stop Toyah Willcox because, as she says,

"I don't feel old - I still feel 16 inside and I'm not ready to give up the fight, yet."

Just Seventeen Magazine
1986

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