JANUARY 2009 – DECEMBER 2009
Read Toyah's blog on the Official Page HERE
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In the next seven weeks I get one day off…………Christmas day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm fantasizing about it in my sleep deprivation… the food, the TV, the DVDs (mainly horror!), seeing my hubby and of course the presents!
My mother is cooking Christmas lunch and my sister is joining us. Because this is our first Christmas without dad we have decided to have it at his and mum's cottage so dad is part of the celebration. Strangely, I AM looking forward to it. My mother and I have bonded in the last four months and she has blossomed, not because dad has gone but because she realizes she owes it to dad to live her life to the full.
In the last two weeks I've been in the accidental company of Alice Cooper, Anastasia, Chaka Chan, Lulu and Ricky Gervais!
I feel more like a peeping tom than a privileged friend because I've just moved to Sheffield to start my panto run and I happen to be living, (for the next six weeks), overlooking the stage door of the Sheffield City Hall.
It's like having a front seat to OK Magazine every night, especially when there is more than one artist on the bill...the squabbles for the best limo, the deafening silence when fans haven't been waiting at stage door and the roar of the crowd when there are adoring fans waiting out in the winter temperatures.
I am prone to leaning out the window and shouting “Oy! Gervais! You can't park there! I've got seven dwarfs here who will sort you out if you give me any lip!” and “Alice! Park your golf clubs and pop up for a cuppa!”
I've just finished the 2009 Vampires Rock tour, 44 dates so far which will continue with a further 10 in January and February of 2010. It's been a massive success and very fulfilling covering the width and breadth of the country many times over. One of our last gigs was to play at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground for the Loose Women Posse and about 500 other very merry celebs.
It was an event for Denise Welsh's GEM appeal and the evening raised 60,000 pounds. I've never had the time to actually socialize with Denise in the past, my schedule always being double booked, so I wasn't aware of her fundraising side. Denise was a fabulous host, warm and welcoming and generous. We all had a fantastic evening.
This year has been tough beyond belief, for most of the people I know, but it is ending on a high with the panto run, 51 shows, already 95% sold before opening.
Sheffield is covered in posters of me holding the poisoned apple out towards the innocent people of South Yorkshire as they wait for their buses. There is a real buzz in the city about the show. AND what a stunning city it is. The events, the friendly people………….and boys……….if you are single, I have never seen so many young women with LONG LEGS! What do these women eat! Tall Grass?
On my way home each evening I pass scores of absolutely stunning, model like women out clubbing………….so single boys of the world GET TO SHEFFIELD!
We have been honored in rehearsals by the presence of The Crucible's new art director Daniel Evans (Tony award wining for Sunday In The Park With George on Broadway) who has been loving it all, being our 'joke' barometer.
I am having to consider a lot of job offers for 2010, including a visit to China in May to play Lady M in the Scottish play.
I really want to do it and can just squeeze it in between The Humans tour and recording album 2 before the summer shows start.
Next year is solid, tons of concerts, tons of writing and touring, The Humans first album and Live In Estonia AND In The Court Of The Crimson Queen have releases in Japan and Asia. So already the logistical nightmare of planning is taking up a lot of thinking space!
It's a nice problem to have.
Well...Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs technical run starts in an hour, so I better go....... oh yes I'd better had!
I take this opportunity to thank Robert Fripp for holding my head above water in the worst storms of my life.
I thank Bill Rieflin for his friendship and support of both Robert and myself.
I thank John Wain for getting me to the shows on time and feeding me and dressing me.
AND Craig Astley for working overtime on all the projects!
2009 in my book will be remembered as THAT BASTARD OF A YEAR!!!!!!!!!
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL…………2010 WILL BE A GOOD ONE!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD , BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello my friends,
The universe is sailing full steam ahead being it's usual miraculous self................Simon Darlow's partner brought Joseph Sebastian into the world on Sunday the 1st November. On the 3rd November my friend Tracy Egan brought William into the world and the week before three close friends delivered another three babies onto the planet.
THE HUMANS albums one and two have their release dates in Japan now, as does IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON QUEEN. CRIMSON QUEEN is scheduled in Japan for January 2010 and THE HUMANS follow.
HUMANS 2 will be recorded in Seattle at the end of March and ready for release in the early autumn of 2010. As will THE HUMANS LIVE IN ESTONIA with Robert Fripp.
I'm excited about everything!
The planet Saturn is in my career chart for the first time in 28 years, the last time it was in this position was 1981, a very good year indeed!
I finally managed to see THREE TO TANGO, (which may become THE POWER OF THREE again!)
It was a grossly uncomfortable thing to experience, seeing a movie that features me in 90% of it, in front of a paying audience. The experience wasn't helped by the fact I had a small operation on my right hip only 24 hours earlier and I was in a lot of discomfort. (I'm now completely back to normal!)
Whenever I see myself, in whatever context, I need to be alone so I can come to terms with this incredibly short, limping, lisping, over excited human being I see before me, who bears no relationship to the person I think I am.
The film works, it needs a little tweaking in the edit still. It's a great film for women. Its message is strong and fits the MAMMA MIA audience in that it says women in their 50's are just coming into their prime and they should get ready to party with the rest of their life.
The music in the film is mainly NEVER THE BRIDE (excellent!) and songs from IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON QUEEN. I'm ok in it, I need to see it again and just SEE the film, not sit there analyzing everything and cringing at every move I make. That said the rest of the cast are fantastic!
VAMPIRES is doing brilliantly and is as fun as ever. I love the fact that the boys in the band are now attracting screaming women! Birdy especially. The front row worships him!
As for me, I'm being very well behaved and supportive of Nickki Millar, no more tourettes text (these are text that go through the gammit of obscenity thru to the practical joke!) just plain good encouragement for someone who will be one of the world's greatest drummers very soon. Bless him!
Well I lie………… about being well behaved, I did stick a whole roll of white gaffa tape around the set last night with obscene messages written upon it so when the lights came up Nickki had a whole books worth of obscene suggestions to read, all aimed at him................reams and reams of the stuff!
It made him laugh. Luckily!
I would like to tell you lots of gossip but I have none! My life is one constant stream of work, when I am not on stage, which is most nights, I am with film crews in the daytime. I'm doing a lot of filming for THE ONE SHOW. Then in the hours in between filming and Vampires going on stage I am with journalists…………it is endless!
John Wain has become my full time PA because I could no longer cope with the work load, so he drives, feeds and gets me to the hotels each day which has revolutionized my life and has allowed my agents to add more work!!!!!!!!!!!! Luckily John has a personal life, which he illuminates us all with in the dressing rooms. Seriously he should write a book because he makes Joe Orton look like Tinky Winky.
We went shopping in Chatham last week. Now shopping and Chatham are not two words you'd expect to see in the same sentence, but I was appearing there and the town has a great Debenhams and that's where I get my husbands Christmas presents from.
I did the same last year and wasn't put off by the fact I got searched leaving the store because I had spent so much money. So I didn't expect the same to happen ever again, because it was bloody obvious who I am, the names on the sodding credit card!
Low and behold, after spending HUNDREDS!!!!!!!! As we left not only did I get searched but so did John. Every bag, every receipt painstakingly gone over. It occurred to me that whilst they so publicly did this they must have had about 10k worth of goods shoplifted from the store! I will go back again next year, believe it or not, I enjoyed the experience. Especially john shouting at the top of his voice “Search me! Search me!”
I might even pay for a billboard to go up in the town…………VISIT CHATHAMS DEBENHAMS THE ONLY SHOP WHERE THEY SEARCH BUYING CUSTOMERS!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD, BE SEARCHED
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello and how are you!
HERE WE GO! HERE WE GO! HERE WE GO! I have 67 shows before Christmas day -- 38 VAMPIRES ROCK and 29 WICKED QUEEN in Sheffield, 2 premieres for THREE TO TANGO and nowhere to hide!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It will be great fun but I've already had to compromise on my footwear!
I spend my life running around and somehow I've managed to develop a bad groin strain, so my 10 inch heels, the 8 inch wedge platform boots and the spiky stilettos are in retirement until I can address this minor hic-up.
No one has really noticed and everyone takes enormous delight in telling me……….'aren't you small?'………….yeah, I am, but I'm also extremely vicious, like a little piranha not very fast at the moment, but I have a bite people tend to remember, especially young men who venture into my dressing room to borrow my lipstick without asking.
They soon exit after I command them to participate in my new charity “SNOG A GRANNY OR DIE,” most decline but VAMPIRE's drummer Nickki Millar stands there thinking about it for two minutes before running to Steve Steinman's dressing room to seek advice….”she's asked me for a shag, because she's famous does that mean I have to?”
These little episodes are also helped by the fact I text Nickki my hotel room number around midnight most nights telling him………”15 grand if you get here in ten minutes”. (even though I'm not at a hotel, I'm usually home in bed!)
Yes I know it's harassment in the work place of a 20 year old but believe me you hit your 50th decade and no longer give a F--- about Political Correctness and I love the fear on Nickki's face when my wonderful husband visits and asks him “has my wife been good to you this week?”
Robert knowing full well what I have been up to because most nights I am laughing my head off under the duvet about the latest Nickki Millar wind up. Oh, the joy of being with the youth of today.
I always view autumn as 'celebrity reality show audition month'. Yes, September is the month that the crazy ideas arrive on my desk, I can't tell you all of them because I will never be trusted with an idea again, but ITV alone snaps up my every spare hour with meetings, auditions and discussions about 'will this work? What do you think? Would you do it?'
“Honey if there's a fee I would study the art of origami for it, haven't you heard, 'the other side' doesn't employ women over 50. They just establish millions of viewers through them then sack them! ”
A rule of these meetings is you have to play the victim or they're just not interested in you. You should see their faces when they hear about THE HUMANS tour, the 14 date arena tour I've just been offered for next August (a conceptual rock extravaganza with the choreographer Arlene Phillips, GO GIRL!), also the lead in a polish soap for next April and the growing business empire.
These TV execs cant stand that you might have a life, because when it comes to reality TV they are waiting to film the first suicide, so I play along and then tell them they'd have to fit around my schedule.
Two weeks ago I managed to fit in a trip to Seattle. A three day trip between Vampire shows. Because the HUMANS work schedule means extended stays in Seattle, I'm in the process of buying a home there.
Bill Rieflin and I drove around Bell town and Down town eventually finding a fabulous condo, but because I was only there for three days and I needed to offer a deposit Bill had to have 'power of attorney' for me to put a bid in on the property, a week after I'd have left for Blighty.
Bill is a stunning musician, a great and loyal friend, a wonderful cook, a man of unique ideas and opinions, living proof that God has better days than others, even if Bill does walk into the occasional door and black his own eye, but I really tested his metal with this one!
He said suddenly he felt he was in a David Mamet play surrounded by shady characters with money as he bid in a property auction on my behalf.
While I was still there we where invited to see Porcupine Tree, the HUMANS now share the same manager. It was a stunning show, they played the whole of their new album for the first time and it was tremendous. Great visuals on the screen behind them. I hope the Humans can achieve this too in the future.
I returned to England for one day, then over to France, where I live in Menton. My dear, wonderful husband, who has been a mountain of strength to me this year, needed a good rest.
I took him to the Westminster Hotel for a glass or two of champagne. We often go to this rusty classic to watch the tea dances and generally misbehave. (I can never get Robert to get up and waltz with me).
On the way home we bumped into Tina, the percussionist from the Here and Now shows who also works with Van Morrison, Tina lives in Menton too. Robert and Tina got so damned SMASHED, on about 3 bottles of cava!
Back home he was falling around the bedroom knocking over glasses of water, tables, pulling the curtains down like a bad dancer at a wedding! I have never seen the legendary Robert Fripp so totally pie-eyed and as we live on the 8th floor I locked all the windows just in case he had a tumbled out of one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What really amazed me………the next day……….he was as right and as bouncy as a newborn lamb! But he did utter those immortal words “never again!”
I hope to see you on the road.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Thank you to everyone who has kindly sent condolences over the past weeks.
So many people have contacted me with their personal stories of how they coped with grief and it has been an enormous help.
THANK YOU to Robert who has been an astounding and exceptional support and who kept my family together when grief made us all fall apart.
I'm back on my feet now, I still have those uncontrollable dips but my optimism is back and I have fabulous memories of a father I loved so much. My mother has been remarkable, she is eighty this year and she has emerged a giant out of this experience, both Robert and I are staggered by her strength and dignity.
The last laugh was with my father, when after a beautiful ceremony, he was being carried out for burial and the organist piped up with EVERY GIRL LOVES A SAILOR, played at marathon speed. I spotted our lady vicar, dancing behind his coffin and the congregation laughing through their tears and there just above my mothers head, fluttering unawares of the event, an enormous butterfly, large and grey, following her out to the grave side.
We have one regret which we can still address (because the plaque on the coffin gave correct information) and that is dad's other last joke…….we want his headstone to say 'born 1920…..passed 2009 he was 100 years old.' My father would have loved this and we are going to see if we can get away with it, but any self-respecting stonemason might say 'no!'
Luckily, and for my sanity, I have a lot on from now until Febuary 2011.
Yep! The next 18 months are quite busy!
THE HUMANS first single is out on the 21st September…….THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKIN and our first UK tour dates are being planned right now, from Febuary 2010 until Mid March 2010 then we return to Seattle to finish the second album and are planning to tour again early June and most of August into September with Robert as our guest star.
The video for BOOTS was shot on my return from Seattle with Robert, Wongy, John Wain and myself. Bill Rieflin wasn't able to be in the shoot and is gladly absent from it because he HATES being filmed, but we have managed to get his image into the promo photos!
Boy it was like trying to capture a Unicorn, he is as elusive as the fairy folk! When I was in Seattle with Bill, three weeks ago, the subject of being filmed for the video had him going into a cold sweat, he isn't into being captured on film at all.
The tour dates will be announced later, in the mean time I start Vampires in a few days and today I am structuring all the costumes………yes I mean structuring………..having intended to simplify my costume changes I seem to have managed to do completely the opposite.
There's two sets of armour, 8 actual costume changes, three pairs of shoes over 10” high and three sets of thigh boots and a silver thong and a gold thong! Perhaps after this I will ask if I can go into Calender Girls next! It would be easier to just be starkers.
Three To Tango (once called Power Of Three) has started its press showings, which is quietly terrifying, but people must be confident because they are showing the film at the private viewing cinema in Soho House, London, the centre of the film industry!
My agent asked me to go along but I cant handle seeing myself on top of everything else that has happened in the last month, really!........... viewing yourself in a film and facing the mortality of those you love as well as your own mortality on screen are all too much to ask.
My agents just called me from the viewing theatre……………….he was in with 20 distribution companies!
“You know its tough getting distribution, don't you? And many films get made that never get a distribution deal? So I'm only being realistic. It's a tough year for everyone” He said.
I remember when I told him I'd been offered the film in the first place, 18 months ago, his reaction was just as unsympathetic, “you don't need to do a low budget movie, I'm not going to let you do it”, this went on for months with me eventually admitting to him I was going to do it with or with out his support anyway…….
Then he added….. “You are really good in it. I felt immensely proud of you watching your performance. It is a lovely film and your great in it!”
Simon Darlow and I have written one of the best tracks EVER, IN THE WHOLE SODDING WORLD for the end sequence “21st Century Supersister”, it's a MotherF------, blinding, stonker of a song, even if I say so myself! The film director loves it so much I will be filmed singing it split screen with the titles in the next few weeks.
Vampires Rock starts on the 11th September, I am really, really looking forward to it. The guys in the band are great friends and have been brilliant to me through the last month.
There's a few songs to learn, some I've never ever sung in my life! But they are good and interesting choices. I have a unusual opening song, which I would have never dreamed of singing in my life! Live and let die?????!!!!!!!!!!!!
I will do my best Axl Rose impersonation!
It's 4am, I haven't slept for a month, so getting out and being on the road will be good for me.
I hope you enjoy the single!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
MUCH LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Where do I start?
My heart is full of both immense pain and joy.
My father passed away on July 29th at 10.23am.
Part of me says 'thank god! I knew him for 51 years!'.
He was a most wonderful, inspiring, wise, infuriating and compassionate man.
He was almost 89, but the other part of me recognised his frailties where becoming more painful and debilitating with every day.
I miss phoning him to tell him how things are going and I miss sitting with him over the meal table, and I'm sure this pining will get worse for a while yet.
I am in Seattle. It was decided this would be the best place for me to be.
I arrived consumed by grief having never experienced losing someone so close.
After following the ambulance to the A&E, dad had a massive stroke, I sat with dad for three days, the whole family did, telling him he was safe and he could go.
But dad held on, for another three days, as strong as an ox yet no longer there.
Robert said……..'be with Bill'.
Need I say more, Bill is the other half of my soul, Robert is our parent and together we three make a whole.
On the first day in Seattle I wrote a lyric THE FRAGMENT POOL.
THE FRAGMENT POOL
CAN'T YOU HEAR ME SAY
YOU BREAK MY SOUL
INTO THE FRAGMENT POOL
THE ODDEST GIFT
LIKE A METAL FIST
RESTING ON WINGS
MY TEARS CARRY YOU HOME
CARRY YOU HOME
CARRY YOU HOME
IT IS THE STRANGEST BLESSING
THE GREATEST MOMENT
WITH THE CRUELEST TWIST
WE RESIST, WE RESIST
ITS IN MY WRISTS NOW
AND IT BEATS
A PULSE, THE PROOF
I AM PART OF YOU
I'M A PART OF YOU
ALL IS ALL IS SWEET IN LOVE
BITTER IS THE TREE
FRAIL ARE THE LEAVES
CARRY ME HOME
CARRY ME HOME
YOU ARE IN MY VEINS NOW
And Robert was right, the only person I could have been with and kept my sanity with was Bill.
THE HUMANS wrote 14 songs last week in celebration of a great man and I am convinced they are the best I have ever written.
I am now ready to come home.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
In April this year I shot a film called POWER OF THREE. Simon Darlow has just called me to inform me it's now called THREE TO TANGO. Films get renamed all the time but this wasn't all Simon told me…………..
“I've just seen it!” He said. “From start to finish! It's a gem! The best thing you have ever done!”
Simon had been in a meeting with the films creative team because they are using six songs off IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON QUEEN. I'm not going to say which songs, there's got to be some surprises in life. We are also going to add a new song off the follow up album to Crimson Queen.
There's now even talk of Annie Lennox singing the opening track because the buzz is so good about the final edit. At present I am singing the outro song in vision, on split screen……….it's off ITCOTCQ.
So far three premieres are booked for the film. The Hampstead Everyman in October, The Electric Cinema, Birmingham in November (the owner, Tom Lawes is a buddy and has supported the film from day one) and there will be one more venue to be announced.
The premieres will be in association with BREAKTHOUGH BREAST CANCER, who are the official sponsors of the film. This is very special to us because so many people involved in the film have been affected, one way or another, by cancer but also the charity will be associated with the film on a worldwide scale.
I was so absorbed when filming in April, that I cant actually remember the experience. I find that when I create a character it tends to own me and I become inward focused. Simon mentioned a drunk scene as being utterly brilliant………..but I can’t remember it! How I did it or what it felt like at the time!
Once you finish playing a character you tend to let it go into the ether and move on. I heard all this news whilst in my dressing room having just shot a 'flat lining' scene on BBC's Casualty. Oh the joy of being in my 50's. As far as TV is concerned, I now get to play people who die suddenly, but not before my character has been accused of assaulting her children.
When my agent rang to tell me about the part I said “don't worry I've been playing this character on TV for the past ten years and fully expect to play it again and again!” At least I've found a niche because scriptwriters seem to believe women over 40 can only be portrayed as having some major psychological weakness, heaven forbid that older women might ever be written as successful, independent and happy!
As they are in THREE TO TANGO! But it pays the bills and to be really honest………….I loved every minute, so I'm just as much to blame for colluding.
It's been a busy old month.
The Humans video shoot for Quicksilver was a fun day. Dear Nickky Millar (Vampires Rock) didn't know what hit him, 19 years old and cavorting with a woman old enough to be his grandmother. He was quite brilliant and completely unabashed. He calls me MUM, which sums up our relationship totally. Arthur Bird (Vampires too!) even joined in! O lucky me!
The original idea was for Bill Rieflin and I to shoot this, but Bill hates being filmed. I will get him on camera one day!
I find it a cruel irony that one the world’s most beautiful and charismatic men fights tooth and nail not to be shot on camera. In fact I am making a 'life quest' to get Bill on camera! When Robert saw the video he said……..”I think it could be a bit more revealing! It's very beautiful but surprisingly tasteful!” Bless him!
I also spent some time in Estonia making the FRAGILE album with Wongy. This is completely improvised. Not the easiest thing for a singer to do. It's a mix of spoken word and fragments of singing and storytelling. I did write two proper songs for the project which the team liked………. IN ESTONIA and YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF MY LIFE. My role is more like a subconscious narrator. its eerie and compelling. From what I've heard so far it's brittle, charismatic and filmic. Very nice.
I got back to the UK to record the HUMANS single with Charlie Francis engineering and he hasn't changed at all in 30 years! Bill Rieflin produced the track and recorded Robert in Seattle. Wongy and I did our bits in Cardiff at Charlie’s studio with Bill on the phone!!!!!!!! Charlie and I laughed through out the day remembering stage antics and general bad behaviour on the road in 1979!
The single will be available on iTunes within two to three weeks and the video will be shot in two weeks too. The HUMANS start the second album in Seattle at the end of July, so there's a lot to cram in still.
One last thought, Michael Jackson. God Bless Him! When I saw Thriller for the first time my life changed forever. He set a standard that every artist has been influenced by, young, old, black, white. But when I was a child in Birmingham……..
The Jackson Five taught me about focus, dedication, humility, brotherhood, kindness and the power of belief. God bless Michael and God bless the Jackson 5, it started long before Thriller.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello and welcome to you and the summer!
It's been a Gay! Gay! Gay! Month and I've loved it!
I had three days in England, (after Estonia), to do my washing, answer six weeks of post, (thanks to being on the set of POWER OF THREE since March 30th) and then I was off to Gran Canaria for two charity concerts and a carnival!
Landing in Madrid to connect onto Grand Canaria I've never seen an airport like it! It's like being in the warrens of Middle Earth! Even Beijing airport is more coherent! I had 40 minutes to connect and had to find my way from terminal SM to terminal R, U and some other unrelated letter!
As I ran down endless thoroughfares I remembered a 20 minute connection, last year at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, where the security decided to search me because my canvass belt was sewn to my trousers, thus unremovable! I made the plane as the door was closing, sweating and semi-dressed whispering under my breath “you can stick your tulips up your arse.”
Once in Gran Canaria I could catch my breath for the first time in two and a half months.
2009 so far has been one of the roughest most challenging rides of my life. Peppered with glorious experiences like the O2 Indigo, Estonia and PO3. The rest I will save for my autobiography Part 2! Around October 2008 the signs where there.
About five close friends and relatives passed away in quick succession, a sure sign the universe is 'regrouping' its bank accounts.
I've mentioned this before, I only mention it now, because the next twelve months won’t get worse, they will be similar but have plateau-ed. The 'up curve' is on the horizon!
My first show was on the main stage with Hazel Dean, on the Friday night. Apart from going on two hours late, it was a fabulous occasion. The stage situated in a large Plaza, with a few thousand audience on the ground floor and a further few thousand on the three floors that surrounded the performance space.
Absolute chaos! Hazel and I where driven away, in a mini bus, through the crowds at 1am and the bus broke down amid the revelers so we got out and walked!
On the Saturday, my sponsors SPARKLES bar, asked me to join them on their float for a three hour carnival procession. This was astonishing, bright and had such a great vibe. The girls from SPARKLES all dressed as 'devil queens', from Vampires Rock. They towered above me.
We were on a double decker bus made to look like a castle and I sang It's A Mystery as we passed the crowds!
About half a mile from the end of the procession, I was waving to people when a flash of light caught my peripheral vision. This was noticeable enough to make me want to remember the geography of where it happened. As the procession came to the last road I noticed a large Topaz had gone from a ring on my right hand.
Fear and guilt grasped my throat!
My husband spilt blood sourcing that rare natural blue topaz and finding the stone cutter in Thailand who could cut it to its desired shape! Robert extended his boundaries of patience and generosity to give me that topaz for Christmas! John Wain (he who I cant survive without) was with me, except when he was off chasing Gran Canarian men! We searched the bus, we searched my cleavage, we searched his cleavage!
All the time I could see myself making the phone call to Robert and it was breaking my heart. John had a friend with him, Richard, who is 79 going on 55. Remembering the flash of light about a quarter of a mile away, I said to Richard and John “we need to go back, it's the only other possibility!”
So we ran back, through the revelers, most wanting pictures with me and wondering why we all looked so worried! At the point I had seen the flash of light, there where two carnival floats and about a hundred party people but we searched among their feet. John dressed as the devil in six inch heels and Richard in his shorts and sun hat. All the time I kept smiling so not to be a complete bloody party pooper.
We couldn't find anything; it was pointless, just a whim and I geared myself to tell Robert what I had done. Then Richard, 79 years old, got down on his hands and knees and went under a parked car and came back with his hands cupped and asked me to put my hands out.
It occurred to me that he might have been pissed off enough with me to give me a live spider, but instead he gave me the topaz, exactly where I saw the flash of light. I'd never have found it. Richard was meant to find it. He said as we all looked at him incredulously “I thought this was a complete waste of time then something made me go under the car!”
This made all the uncertainty and pain of 2009 bearable! We had found the needle in the haystack! God bless Richard! The show at SPARKLES the following evening was a splendiferous riot of good fun, small and intimate and crammed to the bloody rafters.
I came back to England 'changed'. Charged with hope whilst bobbing precariously on a sea of unavoidable obstacles. Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes. I had a lovely day stuffing ice cream into my face!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND thank you to Blackpool Gay Pride and everyone who braved the weather!
I'm off to record a single with THE HUMANS. Well, Bill and Robert are in Seattle putting the backing track down and Wongy and I will be doing vocals and bass with Charlie Francis in the UK, (he who played bass on Blue Meaning, Tribal Look and Bird In Flight.) Charlie now does live sound recording for REM.
More about this later……………………….I'm just going to shoot a video for QUICKSILVER first. Dean wants me starkers……not a pretty sight!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello my friends,
I'm just between flights from Estonia and Gran Canaria!
The last month has been extraordinary. The filming of THE POWER OF THREE went from strength to strength, I even started to get film offers from productions over Europe asking me to fly out and do a few days filming whilst still commited to PO3! The team where brilliant, Mikolaj Jaroszewicz the Director of Photography created wonders on a budget of pounds. The first AD Stephanie Zari kept us all to time and my fellow actors (including myself) GAVE BLOOD!
Rumour has it the 'rushes' are splendid and the director Yvonne Deutschman is off to Cannes on the 15th May! I pray she kicks as much butt as she did on set and a little bit more.
The last week has been a pure joy. Bill Rieflin, Robert Fripp, Chris Wong and myself all met in Tartu, Estonia on the 26th April where we had a week's rehearsal before performing THE HUMANS album, in it's complete form for the President and the First Lady at Tartu University.
Robert was with us to open the show with his 'soundscapes', but it became evident on the first days rehearsal he was intending to play the whole of THE HUMANS set too. This is partly down to the calming effect of BILL.
Bill has the presence of a 'kindly father'; when he is not being manically scary, he and Robert are like brothers.
I don't think I could have encouraged Robert to play the whole set unless I had a spare million to give away but Bill managed it without even being aware of it!
The sound was awesome. It added a whole new dimension. I created THE HUMANS because I wanted a project that Bill and I could work on but also, because I wanted tonal space so my voice would sit on it's own without competing with guitars and keyboards. So THE HUMANS consist mainly of bass, vocal and sound effects.
Robert added another tonal dimension that didn't venture into my vocal range, he added a commentary to my vocal lines. Apart from rehearsing the set daily, (some days we ran the set four times) we ate a lot of cheesecake. Tartu is renowned for cheesecake. Bill, Robert, Wongy, 'Trev the sound' and myself can eat cake till the sun sets.
We always knew we where playing for the President but what we didn't know was we where going to be in the same hotel and dining with him. On the Wednesday the secret service arrived at the hotel, checking it out and us too. We had probably been well 'checked out' before we left our countries of residence.
I found these men on the roof and in the corridors very amusing, they all talked into their shirt pockets and wrist cuffs but never cracked a smile. Soon the bulletproof limo arrived and the hotel was buzzing with excitement.
On Thursday evening, at the hotel, THE HUMANS had dinner with the President and the First Lady plus the Estonian Ambassidor for England, the Minister of Justice and Robert Fripp. The President is a huge Fripp fan which is partly why we were all there to perform.
I gave the President a HUMANS CD. He was very, very happy that is says 'written and performed in Estonia'. This is an immensely proud country, which has fought for it's independence from Russia and to have musicians visit and site it for the inspiration for a whole album really means something.
I sat next to the President all evening and his last remark got a huge laugh (and I'm sure it was a joke) “Toyah I'd like you to know I will not being hosting a dinner for Madonna when she visits later in the year!”
The show the next day started at midnight on Friday evening, it was too late in the day to be nervous, I could only be extremely excited. Our audience where mainly musicians invited to say thank you for being in Tartu for the Tartu Music Days festival.
The President introduced us, which caused a stir because no one in the audience knew he would be there, and when he stood up from the front row and walked to my microphone there was a gasp from the assembled people.
AND the show itself? It was magical. At one point I caught the eye of the secret service men either side of the President, one winked at me and the other put his thumb up and smiled! At 1.15 am we received a 10 minute standing ovation.
Congregating in the backstage area after our one and only encore available to us because we only rehearsed the album material, I asked Bill what where we going to do? They where clapping for more. So we went out, bowed and told them to go to bed!
Estonia is an extraordinary place, it has a magical resonance. I strongly recommend you visit it, take a good book and soak up the atmosphere, because it is a place to think and grow.
I hope all of you who have your HUMANS album by now, enjoy it thoroughly!
BE LOUD, BE PROUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello my friends,
It was a very plesant surprise to be asked to join the West End production of Blood Brothers after Vampires Rock mini run at the Shaw Theatre at the beginning of March. My director pals Glen Walford and Bob Carlton, both very close buddies of the playwrite Willy Russell came to the show on the Sunday and obviously put my name forward because the next day the call came in! So far I am booked until March 2010, so I asked to be considered for April 2010.
I cannot believe how busy March has been!
It started with a request from the Estonian Minister Of Justice for my husband Robert Fripp to play in Tartu on the 1st May. Knowing my husband all too well after 24years together, I guessed he would say he couldn't possibly be ready in time. So I did what I usually do on these occasions and SEIZED the opportunity by the horns and made it work.
I responded to his e-mail, on his behalf and offered THE HUMANS to play TARTUFEST and Bill Rieflin joined the conspiracy and asked Robert to play with us and miraculously Robert said YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then we get a call from the Estonian Ambassador to inform us the President of Estonia had requested to be at the show too. YIPPPPEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This meant bringing THE HUMANS album forward by three months, putting the artwork together for a limited edition in four weeks and borrowing Bill for a week from the REM demo sessions in Atlanta. It's been bloody exciting and we've got there by the skin of our teeth!
On top of that POWER OF 3 starts shooting 30th March and we are attempting, optimistically and bravely, to shoot the whole film in 18 days! When I appeared on BBC's DOCTORS a few years back we shot 40 pages of script in a week, we worked as if it was a theatre production, so it can be done if the technical crew are up to speed.
Then on to Estonia, then on to Gran Canaria for Gay Pride and back to Blighty for Blackpool Gay Pride. Fun! Fun! FUN!
I have never known the world be so mad and I have lived through 5 very bad cyclical periods.
When I was seven years old my father, a multimillionaire, lost everything in a shares slump thanks to bad financial advice.
Then when I was 21 years old, a high street bank lost a substantial amount from my account, enough to set me up for life, never to be found again.
THEN when I was 32 a major private bank admitted to emptying my account to save another customers business using a letter with my forged signature.
AND THEN…..when I was 41 I'd learnt my lessons and invested wisely but the cycle of destruction that seems to strike us all every ten years, found another way to hit me when Jill Dando was murdered.
NOW I am 50 and I have really built my foundations so bloody solidly around me that the trumpets outside the Walls Of Jerico shouldn't shake them and along come those corrupt, greedy, selfish, mocking, self serving twats from the banking system and they stuff every honest person on the planet.
Yes my foundations are solid, Yes I have a great year booked with fantastic work and YES!!!!!!!! I have two fabulous albums to promote but no matter how rosy life gets what's the point if those around you are losing their homes.
I just want to say this, these are cycles, they are inevitable and we are in a long relationship with Pluto being very close to us, and this shakes EVERYTHING up to bring about long term change. It's an aggressive presence. HOLD IN THERE!
No matter how hard life appears to get, remember your friends and family are the real foundations we need, this cycle will fade, if you can hold on, 2010 will show the light and in 2012 things will be clear and easier.
This may sound a long time to wait but those old enough will remember 1989 through to 1991, it was exactly the same but without Pluto adding physical aggression to the crisis. The tide is turning slowly and surely.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Some how I've returned from the tour of Vampires Rock with a pair of the drummer Nicky Millers Y fronts in my suit case?!!
It's true I can remember wearing them on my head when we were all packing up after a staggering night in Perth, Scotland, but I was also wearing his trousers at the time, for the signing session in the foyer, purely so he had nothing to wear after the show. You see, Nicky, being the youngest on the road, we simply have to give him hell.
We sew up the trouser legs of his costume, hide his phone, one night I called his mum on his phone and told her he was getting fat (I've just about been forgiven for that one) given his underwear to the audience in the curtain call, dribble on his sandwiches, send a constant stream of obscene phone texts (my particular favourite was 'come back quick I'm pooing in your protein powder'), tell the girls in the audience he wants to spend the night with them (especially the one's over 60), dip his drum sticks in glue, remove the drum seat before curtain up and generally, metaphorically, kick his youthful butt.
Well, he got me back big time, when I got home after London and I opened up my suitcase in the bedroom in front of my wonderful husband…………there where Nicky's Y fronts bang on top of my clothes. THE LITTLE SHIT!
Luckily my husband is partially blind but he will be reading this. Hello, I love you Sweetpea.
The tour of Vampires ended on a great high. The Shaw Theatre in London was a success, we could have easily done the week. People where queuing for returns. To perform the show in such an intimate environment was a perfect idea. It became even more burlesque.
I can't wait until September for the tour to start again with 44 shows booked for the remainder of 2009. My creative team are heads down inventing new costumes already.
I couldn't manage this show without the help I receive from the team backstage. Julie who single handedly dresses us all, and is a great friend. John, Rob, Scott and Gary who all heroically loaded in, build the set, run the show, take it all down and then Dave drives through the night. A great team and great friends too.
Julie is a massive fan of Take That who I accidentally spent a day with on Ant N' Dec's Saturday Take Away. Totally dreading doing this show I arrived to a studio full of old friends who where all used to humiliating themselves in front of the camera as much as I am!
Yvette Fielding whom I've known since 1991, when we presented a TV series with Brian Blessed on the Paranormal. Brian Conley, Edwina Curry, Chico, Linda Lusardi who gave me a quick education on better posture and how to make friends and influence people, boy she can network for the world.
I have never been so impressed with anyone's social skills. Linda and I where loitering in the ITV corridors when Take That came around the corner. My instinct is to be 'non reactive', most times these people don't want recognition in private, but Linda ran up to Howard, throw her arms around him and said “ you cant stop me I've loved you for too long!”
Talk about being a diplomat, that was it Take That mixed with us, talked with us, sat with us, relaxed with us and could be normal with us for the day. Good on you Linda!
Howard even thanked me for saying positive things about them on a TV documentary!
So I get back to my dressing room and Julie from Vampires is texting……..'you're with Take That….i love Take That!'
If I'd have known the day would turn out like that I'd have made sure Julie was there as a thank you for everything she has done for me in the last five months.
The Humans album is being mastered this week. As many of you are aware I worship Bill Reiflin and he's done it again. He's booked Simon Hayworth to master the album. Simon is the best. Simon was the engineer on Tubular Bells He has re-mastered Fripp and Eno, King Crimson and many more classics.
He is so right for The Humans because on the surface this is a 'simple' album with intensely dark undercurrents. Bill has added beautiful, obscure colourations of sound. These dark details need to be subtly pinpointed. I AM SO EXCITED!
The CD should be printed and ready by the end of May.
I must go now, I have a POWER OF 3 script meeting. Rehearsals start on the 30th March and we are shooting on the 6th April. There's a lot to learn!
There will be more news on THE HUMANS album soon.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
I'm snowed in at home with a four man film crew and a psychic called Gordon Smith!
And I'm really enjoying it!
Gordon's already given me a message from Robert's mother Edie and now he has homed in on Bill Rieflin's wife's artwork, which hangs in my kitchen, and is really on a role. Bill was my son in my last life, in France! Wait till I tell Bill! This adds weight to the term 'bitty', created by David Walliams for Little Britain.
I will be trying it on with me fellow HUMAN whenever I want to embarrass the hell out of him.
February can be a quite month, but already I'm on my fourth documentary, and I have Vampires Rock all month too. Gordon Smith specialises in 'future readings' and his last words on camera where 'the next ten years, your 50's, are going to be THE TIME of your life, the reason you where born.
You are going to be in front of the camera a LOT!' I gave Gordon a copy of IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON QUEEN to listen to on his way back to London, he was with me for two days and eventually the snow subsided. I received texts off him throughout his journey I'M LISTENING TO TRACK NINE (COME) OVER AND OVER…….and then another text…… I LOVE THIS ALBUM!
While we where filming together THE DAILY MAIL piece on my BUM LIFT came out. When I saw the pictures I realized I had been Debbie Magee'd. Debbie was photographed on holiday in Barbados last month coming out of the sea in her bikini and she rightly told the world the photos had been touched up to make her look older and fatter.
I did my 'before' shoot on December the 18th. I was just coming to the end of a three month stint on VAMPIRES ROCK and was well toned and under my usual weight of 8st 4lbs. The photographer asked if I could push my stomach out because I looked too toned, so I pushed my stomach out as much as I could.
I do have a bit of a stomach but not as large as in the photo I was looking at in the MAIL! The actual BUM LIFT was done on the 15th January, as I needed to find a two week rest period to follow it. But I could only manage a week off as I was booked to play with the SAS BAND a week later, but I kept quiet about that to Dr. Mike Comins, who insisted I had as much rest as possible for six weeks! Impossible!
The 'after shot' was taken was taken exactly three weeks after the procedure on the 4th Feb. The procedure removed two litres of fat off my hips and thighs, yet the after shot made me look bigger than the before shot! Admittedly I was still a little swollen from the procedure which to me has had amazing results, I boast to all my friends I now have the backside of a thirteen year old!
But I'd been Debbie Magee'd!
Firstly I would like to thank the DAILY MAIL for a fantastic procedure I would never have otherwise known about, but also for 'fattening me up a bit.'
Thanks to the article I now have been approached to be a writer for Saga Magazine (one of the most powerful publications in the western world considering nearly half the population is now over 50) and I've been booked on Lorraine Kelly, Richard and Judy, asked to write a book and make a DVD.
So the likes of Gwyneth, Madonna, Nichol, Jordan, Kylie and Posh are slightly 'touched up' to look younger. Now I'm 50 I'm touched up to look older……….do you know what that means?
With one sweep of the 'paint box mouse', I'm now past the hurdle every actress dreads…..THE 30 TO 55 INVISIBILITY ZONE. This is a zone in scriptwriters minds, casting directors minds, directors minds where women miraculously don't exist any more, unless they are drunken, depressed, suicidal, thieving, avenging single women who have lost all love in their lives.
I'm now firmly in the 'visibility' zone of the OLD CRONE. Fabulous!
Crones can do anything from save nations to piss in the proverbial flowerpot, LIFE BEGINS AT 50!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Please may 2009 be as wonderful as 2008 but with bells on, and may the credit crunch 'piss off' and hang out at the garden gates of all those who take unjustifiably high bonuses.
December was an interesting month, both wonderful and terrifying. On the 1st of December my father had a heart attack and we thought it was the end. He was in the Royal Worcester Cardiac Unit for 8 days. My father is 88, so I am realistic about the time available to him, but I wasn't ready for this. His unit was sealed because of an outbreak of the Norovirus.
No one could visit him, so I carried on working and tried to keep life normal. Eventually we got him home and he spent Christmas day with us. Huge relief all round. But during this period Robert lost his Uncle Charles, also Tino the singer in his first band, and Andy the bass player in my band lost his partner to cancer.
Accompanying this dark period was brilliant bursts of sunshine. Bill Rieflin was mixing the HUMANS album in Seattle and every mix was a ray of sunshine. Jasper Carrott called me and asked me to sing at the NEC for his Christmas Cracker show, for which he was putting a Brummie super group together.
Rick Wakeman on keyboards, Bev Bevan of ELO on drums, Tony lommi of Black Sabbath on rhythm guitar. I took Jordan Bracewell from Vampires Rock along with me to play the lead on my two songs. He was in heaven. I had to peel him off Tony lommi. When he saw the 12,000 strong audience he turned to me and went “oh my God!”
The 17th December was a fabulous day. I spent the morning with THE CHARLATANS at Elstree Studios, where we where guesting on a new comedy series FM.
The band had just got back from Japan and I asked them how they where dealing with the pound being so weak, especially as they spend 9 months of the year abroad (yes I know this is great for bringing money into England but not great when you are paying a touring team form English bank accounts), they where really lovely people and they looked at me and said “what money, we spend it where ever we are.”
So at a guess necessity could be their inspiration for going out on the road each year.
After Elstree I drove to St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington to meet up with the Nepalese Ambassador, where I opened, in the children's wards, CHILDRENS ART FOR CHILDREN. The founder Roy Wood (not of ELO) had arranged for a hundred children from orphanages in Katmandu to swap a 100 pieces of their artwork with children from British schools and the art would be displayed in children's hospitals. It was a beautiful event, with two of the Nepalese children present to see the opening.
After that I drove to the Estonian Embassy to meet the Estonian ambassador who was awarding Robert a medal for ‘services to Estonia', (which I am responsible for, because I covertly set up Robert’s Estonian tour two years ago! With the help of a lot of Estonians.)
MASTERMIND has caused quite a response from many people showing me their support. It was recorded on the 7th October, when I was right at the start of the Vampires Rock tour. I was instructed to read Strange Fascination, a 500 page book on the life of David Bowie. It's hard to find the time for this kind of reading when you drive yourself on tour and prepare your own costumes, buy your own groceries and do your own laundry.
So I managed to get the programme to narrow the reading down to 300 pages, which covered the years 1969 to 1979. I have been fascinated myself to read in the press last week, that a BBC Radio 5 presenter was offered a 'crib sheet' to help her through the show. There was no such offer for me but the researcher did hint in certain circumstances this has happened, but it was frowned upon. My opinion is if you go on MASTERMIND expect a pasting.
The one thing I didn't expect was I couldn't hear John Humphries. When he interviews you he looks at you and talks up, when he asks the questions he buries his head in his lap and mumbles at the speed of light. I even asked him to speak up because I couldn't hear him, I bet that was edited out. But I didn't come last, that really mattered to me. In retrospect I should have verbally shot John Humphries down when he said I had 'one good year'.
I've had 50 good years, in some I have been nominated for BEST NEW COMER ACTRESS (1980), in others 1982 I have won numerous awards, in 1996 my THIS IS YOUR LIFE had 17 million viewers (MASTERMIND 2008 had 5.5 million). In some, like the last 7 years, I have sung in front of tens of thousands of people a night, but the proudest year for me was last year, 2008, when I hit 50 and I am still in the industry I love even though some 'old school farts' think life stopped for me in 1981 and that their researchers don't offer the contestants 'crib sheets'.
Get real, there's a lot of life outside the boardrooms of the self-elected 'In crowd'.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH XXXX