JANUARY 2010 – DECEMBER 2010
Read Toyah's blog on the Official Page HERE
HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
I am surrounded by snow already and have got my Christmas flu out of the way, thanks to a Tami-flu jab in October that instantly gave me flu! For two months!!!!!!!
I’m hacking away like a 50-a-day seasoned smoker! Luckily singing is still possible but just before going on stage at Nightingales the other night I had a 20 minute coughing fit which put my eye make-up on my cheeks and I had to re-do my face in five minutes flat!
It was a fabulous night, huge audience and lots of fun! Lots of funny comments coming from the audience, I think I had a few potential toy boys out there. I had two shows on the 20th November, the first in Derby Westfields with Carol Decker where 100,000 people turned out for us to sing and turn on the Christmas lights breaking Westfield’s attendance records.
Both Carol and I are terrible swearers. A Carol classic is “ Come on you F------ sing along!” to a family audience of 5000. It’s like waiting for the Tourettes to erupt but luckily we kept the language in check, to a point, until the 25 year old DJ announcing us, who was standing in between us, said if we were younger this would be one of his fantasies and I answered “ Believe me as a 52 year old this IS one of my fantasies!” he was totally lost for words! Poor boy, welcome to Cougar Town!
The phone has been ringing off the hook for engagements in 2011, I have never known my diary fill quite so quickly and there are some really lovely things happening.
The Humans have been offered a record deal, which means we can firm up the April tour and summer festivals. I am included in a fabulous line up to celebrate Birmingham Music Heritage year, more news to come on that and I’m also in talks with Comic Relief for next February.
Hazel O’Connor’s Collective night at the Assembly Rooms, Leamington Spa was very moving. Hazel’s song Re-Joyce is beautiful and I find it hard to sing without welling up into tears. Especially so on this night as my mother was diagnosed with cancer that day and admitted to hospital. I found myself on stage digging my fingernails into my hand so as not to cry.
But my mother has a cancer that is hereditary and was detected in me in a very early stage two years ago, a tumour that was initially benign, then it started to rapidly grow and after having a major op I recovered incredibly quickly, so quickly in fact I was filming the POWER OF THREE just four weeks after. So we are hoping the same will be the case for my very robust mother.
I don’t often manage to have many social nights out but my hubby and I went to see our friend and honorary future HUMAN Tony Levin at Ronnie Scott’s in London. The club is fantastically run, very friendly and welcoming, we had a superb night and even Frippy was happy there which is saying something! I sat next to a lovely boy from New York who I thought I’d never met before and he lent over and said “thank you for starting my career as a drummer, because of you I now drum for Aretha Franklin and various other artists.”
It turned out he flew over from New York in 1983 to audition for my band replacing Simon Phillips, but I went into the film Ebony Tower for three months, so Phil Spalding and Joel Bogen recommended him for another band and his career took off. God knows what would have happened if I hadn’t of got Ebony Tower, but what a small world, after Tony Levin’s excellent show he was off to meet Spalding for a drink! The music was so loud I couldn’t catch his name!
Today I am learning Beatles songs for my three shows with the SAS band this week. It’s odd that I have known these songs since I was a child yet I don’tknow the words off by heart. I listen to songs in fragments, thekeyboard cancelling out a lyric here and a drum fill cancelling out a lyric there, so I never know the lyrics to even my most favourite of songs! On studying footage of Come Together it is interesting to see even John Lennon gets the words wrong live!
The man responsible for starting my music career Tony Edwards of Safari Records passed away two weeks ago. Tony was a lovely, kind man who supported the band through our fledgling years. When we delivered the track IEYA to his office on Manchester Street, London in 1979 he played it over and over again to the point a man living above came down and threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop playing it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tony was a dedicated fan and supporter of the Punk movement and will be greatly missed. I send all my sympathy to his widow and family.
Before I go, I have three TV’s to film this week and three concerts to learn songs for and my MALVERN panto script to get under my belt.
……………..a word about British Gas…………
For the past three months I have a property that has stood empty since the 1st September and completely stripped of all piping, plumbing, heating boiler, taps, electrical wires since the 1st October until the 22nd November. No one has stayed there, only workmen working. Well I got a bill for gas, for these past three months for 21 pounds, so I phoned British Gas on the 26th November at 5pm, to say this is impossible, (the meter having been read on the 22nd November by one of their staff), unless there is a leak……………
MAN ON PHONE………our meters never lie!
ME………but the property is completely empty.
MAN ON PHONE……our meters never lie!
ME…..yes but there are no pipes, no boiler, no radiators just bare brick walls.
MAN ON PHONE…….did the workmen turn the tap off at the meter.
MAN ON PHONE……….oh but did they run the system?
ME……there was no system there to run until two days ago.
MAN ON PHONE………oh but have they been testing the system.
ME………yes, two days ago, I was there.
MAN ON PHONE…..21 pounds is a very small amount, its less than you used this time last year and the year before.
ME…….i know because the house has had NO heating in there for three months!
MAN ON PHONE…….the meter never lies. It is very little money.
My Christmas message to you, apart from HAVE A FABULOUS CHRISTMAS, BE SAFE, BE HAPPY, BE LOUD, BE PROUD, BE HEARD………. CHECK YOUR GAS BILL BECAUSE THE METER OBVIOUSLY CAN’T COUNT!
LOTS OF LOVE TOYAH XXXX
HELLO and happy....? Happy whatever makes you happy!
Happiness is so subjective I wouldn’t wish my version of happiness on everyone. My conditioned happiness involves continual abstinence, penance, moderation and sleep deprivation because if it didn’t the end result would be too hellish to live with. I can turn into what terrifies me within about three days of “letting go.” A sluggish, numb-minded, wobbly lump of humankind.
If I have an alternative Toyah, existing in a parallel world, she could well be a mountain of flesh, having enjoyed everything it involved to grow into a fleshy mass, a mugger of diamonds and Rolex’s, a chocolate thief, bank robber, drunkard, philanderer and highway woman who pounces on young rugby players as they jog through deserted forests at 7am type of woman. Is there such a woman in this world? I’d like to meet her.
In fact that is my vision of Valhalla. Perhaps at my grand old age this is what I should be attaining to? A world in which I am a confection munching, rum drinking, Dick Turpin-ess, mass of addicted consumerism. I think I’ve invented a new themed holiday park for the old. Even a new reality game for those who have entertained for the last 35years……CRIMINALS ARE US or TRUE-NEW-IDENTITY or DON’T FLEE IT, BE IT, a West World for the Saga generation where we can all live out our “shadow selves” as a reward for our abstinence.
This doesn’t mean I believe I am living a perfect and responsible life because I am not, what it does mean is I resent I cannot live like Keith Richards and get away with it! Oh sod it! At least I don’t have to deal with hangovers and gout.
Part of this new obsession of mine about consumption is because I have spent the last few months creating a documentary about modern age addiction for TV. Part of the process has been reading many, many books on diet and body observation through the ages and all it has done is make me very aware of how much I abstain from what I really would like to consume in huge quantities on a daily basis! Excess seems so attractive on every level if one can get away with it! Oh how the other half lives!
Robert and I were witness, two days ago, to President Sarkozy wavingoff the President of China, as both parties with their huge entourage of about two hundred held up the runway at Nice airport! I was sitting in a BA 737 and right next to us was a China Airways Boeing on the runway. My god the amount of special services, limousines, army bands and dignitaries running around laying out red carpets and sweeping the ground. All the time our plane wasn’t allowed to start its engines. Somewhere a voice peeped up……..”is it Lady Gaga?” I had the best seat in the house, right at the back of the plane watching everything…………what a headache being a President!
This month has been four weeks of solid job offers. Calendar Girls have tried very hard to make their schedule fit with mine but there is too much already booked for the spring to make a tour like this work for me. My most upsetting “turn down” for the month has been Total Wipeout BBC1 in Argentina. My agent called and said “ I don’t want you to do this because I wouldn’t be able to sleep for two weeks knowing what they will be putting you through.” To which I replied “I WANNA DO IT!” But I couldn’t be insured to do something so physically rough with a metal hip……… ..BUGGER………now I am really getting old if Total Wipeout is out of the question!
Happily I turned down Celebrity Coach Trip and various others including a Channel 4 programme on punishment for which they wanted my views for FREE because it would be good publicity for me. To which I pointed out if the controller, the series editor, the crew and the director are all getting paid then how do they justify that the writer, the performer and the recipient of all the bad publicity resulting from their subjective editing wouldn’t be getting paid ?………..ah the chattering classes, who think they represent the underdog are as exploitative as anyone else in the world of capitalism.
At least I had October’s fantastic shows to reflect on. Gran Canaria was fabulous. I cannot put my finger on why but smaller venues are magical and the intimacy turns the whole occasion into something memorable and precious. There was a Camera crew around shooting a pilot for Sparkles Show Bar. There’s a possibility of a reality series being made about the three girls which I think is a fantastic idea…….how the other half live!
TOYAH LIVE TOYAH LIVE TOYAH LIVE TOYAH LIVE
Then the Toyah band did Blackpool and Hoylake, both of which really rocked and made me want to do More! More ! More! Hoylake even got a blinding newspaper review calling the show “flawless”. Next year is the 30th anniversary of IT’S A MYSTERY and ANTHEM so we are planning a lot more intimate shows in 2011.
Today I have songs to learn, Hazel O’ Connor’s Re-Joyce for Leamington Spa, Sea of Size for Nightingale in Birmingham ( even though I wrote the lyric doesn’t mean I know it!) and Slade’s Merry Christmas Everyone for Derby Westfield……….because even though I’ve heard it non-stop every Christmas for 40 years I don’t actually know what the lyrics say!
Then I have an entire show to learn that the public will never see. ITV have called me in to host a new comedy show that for now will only be performed for their team of comedy writers and executives.
I shoot this next week and the reason I have been asked to host it is because it is a version of a show I did for BBC radio 4 years ago and they want to try it out on television …………..scary……..frustrating……..lets hope they like it and then it might go public!
I hope you are all enjoying the new Toyah website and the new Humans site. The feedback has been great so thank you to all of you.
BE PROUD! BE LOUD! BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
I’ve got a new addiction! It’s not illegal, it’s not fattening, it’s not emotionally destructive but massively messy and that is plastering!
I’ve been putting off the renovation of one of my properties for ten years, but now my good old mum is getting too unreliable on the stairs I need to make sure I can adapt her to downstairs living.
In the past four weeks, whilst working on a major creative project for summer 2011 and whilst developing a documentary for TV and whilst shooting THE HUMANS fabulous new video and images AND whilst gigging, I’ve managed to also do a life audit and restructure all my archive (believe me there is a lot of it, enough to fill a four bedroom house and more) clear it all out of mums new cottage and put it in storage, bin all the stuff I have no idea I had and will never need . Now I am knee deep in concrete mix and plaster. It’s great!
It’s therapeutic and the work men who are really doing the work are fun! Last week I heard the singer Sandie Shaw, who has sung the title track for the film Dagenham Girls say on Radio 2 that now she is in her 60’s she just wants to have fun. This really resonates with me because I’m a great carrier of guilt. If guilt was a contagious disease I’d be one of the main points of contamination.
All my life I have seen my parents struggle so I took on their struggle for them, as well as run a full time career, the same with many other aspects of my life. Hearing Sandie Shaw say she just wants have fun now really struck a chord. It isn’t that I am not having fun, because I am! The main fun last month was playing THE HORN OF PLENTY in St. Albans, it was a bloody fabulous night and made me want to do a tour just playing songs from the first three albums. But, my fun is always tinged with a grey lining of guilt, perhaps more accurately worry! Oh and doubt!
I think worry and guilt are mechanisms my brain has constructed as a way of getting me to do things, getting me motivated, getting me out of bed, in fact stopping me sleeping. It is all constructed forms of constraint from people in my past. The great thing about getting older is your perspective and relationship with time changes radically and I don’t have time for guilt/worry controls I now only have time for FUN!
I am not talking about drunken days at Blackpool or shopping days fun…………but doing things that I want to do, fulfilment fun, like writing, exploring, learning, experiencing on my terms fun!
Adventure! No one ever told me what “happiness” actually is? Perhaps no one can define it, perhaps other peoples happiness is manufactured by sending out messages of guilt/worry/doubt to others.
One thing I do know, my happiness cuts free all those messages, all those people, doesn’t mean I don’t love them, it just means they will be told where to go when they try that old trick of ……..”oh you cant do that what would the neighbours think,……..”
Age cuts you free of controls by knowing your time is limited! This isn’t depressing at all, its bloody great, it cues you to leap and enjoy the fall!
Tony Hadley invited me to play golf and spend the day with him on his 50th birthday in Peterborough. I’m not a golf player, never will be. I’d need child size irons to start with but he had gathered all his buddies together to raise money for Charity so I volunteered to go around the course fining the players for bad dress sense……….I made a fortune! I fined everyone in Rupert Bear trousers for starters then I started fining them for playing well and playing badly! In the end they all started to run if they saw me coming over the hill in the golf buggy!
I especially enjoyed fining Tony’s management just for being his managers, oh! And for being men. I think that afternoon I made the charity a few thousand.
The video shoot for THE HUMANS new single SEA OF SIZE was great! Robert agreed to be in it, which was fab! Dean Stockings has a new home, a wonderful 1970s construction with all the original 1970s fittings, doors and windows. When I arrived I said “wow! Lets use it.’
So Robert and I were photographed walking through the entrance hall into his lounge and it looks like something out of Twin Peaks……..strangely “trivial pursuit and swingers party” atmosphere.
Not thinking of the consequences of actually doing it……….i suggested a time-lapse shot on Worthing beach for the opening of the actual video. So towards the end of the day we all trundled down to a public beach, me wrapped in black mesh and with massive black panda eyes standing among the shingle, for 20 minute sections, as the glorious clouds moved above me and the freezing wind permeated my very being!
Dean didn’t tell me until about an hour and a half later that we were in a notorious dogging site, then he only told me because I asked why people walking their dogs where looking at us and running away! We must have looked like the most fetishist creatures to have emerged out of Brighton!
Luckily we ended the shoot in a wonderfully hot swimming pool! I drove home for two and a half hours soaking wet. The car heater blasting me at the wheel because I didn’t think to bring a towel!
I hope you enjoy the new web site and the new images.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOTS OF LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Crazy! Crazy! Crazy!
It’s no good I need to find a way of splitting myself into four people with four distinctly opposite personalities. Everything is happening all at once.
THE HUMANS album is finished. Bill Rieflin has mixed a stunning and beautiful album.
He has developed the concept of the two bass into a deep and rich sound, adding his stunning weird sound effects. Bill mixed in Seattle and as much as I begged to go out and give him support he banned me!
I remember a story he told in the studio in Worcester last MAY, about REM’s producer turning to Bill and saying, after Bill had been particularly demanding about which knobs should be twiddled to optimize his sound………..
”It’s OK Bill, I know what I am doing.” And the producer sent him away! I received similar treatment over the summer. “Stay away!” Then each morning, 20 e-mails would arrive asking for my advice! I’d far rather have been there but Bill thinks I am as nutty as a fruitcake and likes to keep me at arm’s length.
For the first week in August I was in Barcelona, having joined a ship called the OCEANA to give 2 talks.
If you have never experienced a ship, you switch to maritime communications, which means downloading is impossible unless you download one song for an entire day, which would cost about 200 quid and telephone conversations are like communication during the first moon landing.
Well Bill for all his ‘holding me at arm’s length’ was sending me songs to approve and telephoning to discuss vocal sounds………….frustrating is too tame a word! Especially when I would have happily taken the next plane to Seattle.
The album is being mastered in LA by U2’s master man and the video for SEA OF SIZE is being shot next week on a beach in Worthing. Like a prize fool I have offered to do a “time lapse” shot, just me standing still by the sea with the tide coming in…………….I’m going to be there for hours!
And knowing master Bill he will see it and not like it……have it cut from the video….I get many lectures on what he doesn’t like me doing. But I did suggest we should shoot a video where we are both naked in a vat of chocolate…………the reply was “I don’t think so………..”
God I’d love us to make a documentary……..it would p** on anything you see on LIVING TV. It is pure unrequited idolised worship on my part!
Hazel O’Connor, Pauline Black and I have been in a studio in Coventry recording. Moya Brennan added her voice from her studio in Ireland. Hazel has written a beautiful song for her mother who is terminally ill. The song is a Christmas single to raise money for her mother’s hospice.
I found it very hard to sing without tears welling up because my mother is now alone and I find it very troubling the thought of her suffering in any way. In fact I’m waist deep in renovating one of my cottages for her to move into once it has been redesigned for disabled living. My mother is suffering from severe joint pain. As sad as the occasion was the day was light hearted and fantastic. It was really enjoyable singing live with both Hazel and Pauline, we giggled a lot!
In the past month I have loved doing the Gay Prides. There are always lovely people organising these events and I come away feeling I have made new friends. At Doncaster pride there was supposed to be a firework display immediately after my show but it had rained so hard, the fireworks got soaked. The crowd kept counting down to zero in the hope a fuse could be lit and I made the suggestion that if by the third count down if the fireworks where not ignited that I would do a strip!
Well the bloody fireworks didn’t go off for the third time leaving me on stage red faced to a baying audience………so I turned up stage and kept my promise……..to a certain extent! But a lurking photographer caught on camera what the audience couldn’t see and now I believe it is on the cover of the Doncaster gay pride album……………Bill will kill me………..Robert will love it!
BE PROUD! BE LOUD! BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
The sun has got his hat on “hip, hip, hip HURRAY! The sun has got his hat on and he’s coming out today!”
Its my fault this letter is late, firstly I was on a ship for the first week of August then I’ve been up to my neck in monitoring HUMANS mixing which is going fantastically! Marvelously! Stupendously well!
I’ve just stopped myself from saying it has been a mad month, what’s the point? No month has been sane for quite a while. It kind of all started with a night out on the town with Dame Shirley Bassey, Angela Rippon, Lorraine Chase and our honorary dame Brian Crawford who runs Tramp……….our hide-out………..we’re a bit of a “gang” of badly behaved “over 50’s”. These evenings build into a gossip fest that would even make NUTZ magazine blush.
I’ve been working with the artist P.J.CROOK recently and on telling Shirley about P.J.’s work Shirley looks at me in horror and exclaims in her wonderfully extended vowels…….”ART! I HATE ART! My first husband had an abstract painting done of me as a gift…..I had one arm longer than the other and my face was in a permanent scream……..I could never look at it!”
Even though it was 26° outside and Shirl was cold all evening so we wrapped her in our shawls, coats, wraps en all, she looked like a newborn in a papoose!
It’s been a very social month I had dinner with Nicholas Coleridge, the head of English Vogue and Stuart Rose the head of Marks & Spencer, which was fascinating from beginning to end. Lots of talk of supermodels erratic behaviour and how to deal with people spending over 19k in cash in shops……….do you report them or not?
Nicholas is my neighbour in Worcestershire and he was explaining that Stella McCartney, also a close neighbour, wouldn’t shop on the street where I live in case she was recognised. I explained that even if she was all anyone would do is say “hello” and ask her how her dad is. It dawned on me that perhaps I am the exception here because I really don’t have a problem shopping in Poundstretchers or Selfridges…….a shop is a shop and interaction with strangers is 99.9999999999999% of the time a total delight.
Filming on GAIL TUESDAY THE COMEBACK was a scream. Brenda who plays Gail was terrified we would all lynch her because the show takes the piss out of celebrity but by the end of filming she was in “full worship mode” because everyone there knew how to play the game of being a celebrity which most of the time means keep smiling through the shit! Which I think we all portrayed beautifully…………………Harry Hill, Ainsley Harriott, Roxanne McKee, Heston Blumenthal and all!
Mid-July I had managed to place my self in the proverbial poo well and truly by double booking two shows on the same day 70 mile apart. Which left me no option other than to hire a helicopter to get me from A to B!
Apart from being painfully expensive, my time was so tight I couldn’t change out of my stage costume for the 40 minute flight so I was in the air in full PVC cat suit, thigh boots and no underwear. The pilot said “you haven’t changed much.” To which I replied “That’s true, I still dress inappropriately!”
I’ve been bumping in to Nick Park of Aardman Animation recently. He came to support my hubby perform and then myself launching a new P.J. Crook painting and Gloucestershire College and in turn Robert and I are supporting his new book with my close friend Martin Kiszco in Bristol this month “Green Poems For a Blue Planet”.
Nick is adorable, very quiet but chatty and totally un-showbiz. We zipped backstage after Robert’s performance and stuffed our faces with Roberts back stage food. There was Nick, myself, Martin, Helen David of English Eccentrics and Margus the Estonian Ambassador.
When we pulled up to the wrong address earlier, an industrial estate behind the college and asked directions it was blatantly obvious to the security man at the gates that Margus’ security was the real deal…………a gun in the glove compartment type of SAS trained heavy at the wheel. This really made Helen and I giggle.
This month I’m recording a Christmas song with Hazel O’Connor to support her mother’s hospice. Hazel and I worked together on the HERE & NOW concert in Scarborough, which was a fantastic day. So this is what I am learning this morning. I won’t say too much as this is Hazel’s project and all the details will go up nearer Christmas but Hazel’s mum has been ill for two years.
I got a text off Hazel Christmas day 2008 saying she was in the hospital with her mum, which was heartbreaking. More news on this later in the year.
In the mean time THE HUMANS are looking to do some dates late November and a full tour in the spring of 2011. The album will surprise you. We seem to have made a quantum leap in developing the sound and I am really, really bloody excited!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Kanye West, Nick Cave, Chris Tarrant, Harry Hill and Heston Blumenthal are a few of the fab names that have entered the Fripp/Willcox sphere of existence this month.
In fact it’s been a roller coaster of diplomacy and 24 hour availability for the last four weeks. Kanye West sampled a very famous King Crimson track for his latest excellent single POWER only to find his record company hadn’t cleared it with Robert (all sorted now) but just as the single was due for world wide release Kanye and Robert mutually set about sorting the mess some dumbo at the record company overlooked……
I never expected one of the worlds leading rap artists to be phoning our home!
Then in the same week Nick Cave asked Robert to play on a session for his new album. Well most people know Roberts track history of being “too busy drinking coffee and suing record companies to actually play”, so I had to put my marital foot down and INSIST Robert plays on Nick Cave’s album. (Robert will deny this, but I know the fact I swooned on the news was a big turning point for him.) Both Bill Rieflin and I are ardent, autograph seeking fans when it comes to Nick Cave.
In fact Nick bought his twins to see me in panto in Brighton four Christmases ago and thought his career was over when he was spotted sporting two large foam hands singing Chico Time in the audience, as reported in a major paper the next day “Prince of Darkness does Chico Time!” I’ve agreed to sign his foam hands over cream tea and blood.
Bill who’s in Berlin with REM is begging me to get Nicks autograph for his wife! Bill begs for nothing, but Cave makes him loose his cool exterior. There’s a fan in all of us!
Bill was dreading Berlin, the second section of recording the REM album, because he thought he’d be twiddling his thumbs having put most of his drums down in New Orleans but he is running around with Budgie from the Banshees, who is resident in Berlin, having a wonderful time.
I sent over a food parcel, as Bill is a fussy eater. The box contained 12 packets of prawn cocktail flavoured crisps, two bottles of sweet pickled onions with a letter from Judy Garner who created the recipe for Garners Pickles, saying how pleased she is that Bill has her pickles posted all over the world, 2 bags of Bombay mix, six packs of space dust and two large packets of Mcvities digestive biscuits, all carried over by Tom McFall of the Snow Patrol sound team. (and now part of THE HUMANS sound team).
Bill e-mailed me to say “ Raison (he calls me Raison as in Raison d’ etre) “Raison, I’m putting down a drum track that requires little bursts of drumming, then a space, then more drumming, so in the spaces I pull a crisp out of the packet and eat it close to the overhead mic. You are here.” Rhythmic munchies. Bless him.
I’ve just spent a wonderful weekend on Sark with a very wild and unpredictable Chris Tarrant. I can’t tell you too much, because I can’t remember much but it resulted in Chris looking completely shell shocked at breakfast each day.
The last I saw of him, we were on Guernsey and he was dancing madly to a Foo Fighters tribute band. Mike Gatting, the ex-England cricket captain was with us, as were a few wonderful Eastenders (Little Mo announced over the sound system, before my mini concert, she is having the best sex of her life!).AND I was really impressed with Gavin Henson, (as were all the girls and my PA)
He heard we were all on Sark so he came over from England on his boat to say hello……………..do you know how dangerous the sea is around these islands? .................if anything happened to him we’d just have to give him mouth to mouth resuscitation………… bagsy me first!
Mike Gatting suddenly revealed his left thigh to me, a rather large scare from his buttock down to his middle thigh…………….
”The Wellington Hospital!” I said.
“Yes!” Mike said very surprised.
“Mr. Richard Villar?” I said.
“Yes!” Mike was further surprised.
“He did my hip replacement too!”
The whole reason I went to Richard Villar was because he get sports people back to work. Talking of which I am doing fabulously, I haven’t felt this mobile and pain free since I was 30 years old!
For the next two weeks I am working on a comedy written by Brenda Gilhooly called ‘Gayle Tuesday: The Comeback’, edited by Harry Hill. It’s really, really good and Brenda has written a lovely story line for me. It takes place on a reality TV show, and Brenda who plays Gayle Tuesday, an aging page three girl plays my worst nightmare……………my new best friend. The cast includes Harry Hill, Heston Blumenthal, Paul O’Grady. We all play ourselves but with fictitious story lines……….it’s very well observed!
I am really enjoying life at the moment. Having just bought a new uber pad in London thanks to my pension!!!!!! My pension!!!!! Which I organized to kick in at 50, I now have a wacky converted factory to live in, with A-list neighbours who are stalked by the paparazzi day in, day out.
On my first morning after my first night, I walked out on my balcony with a cup of tea, crutches (because I was just about to come off them) in my night shirt and no undies when I looked down and hidden behind the bushes where three paps! Not waiting for me, they are stalking ITV’s mega new signing, but boy did I hobble back in at the speed of light! The complex has security, a gym, a lift to my front door and a concierge. So the paps can’t get pics of baps or girls who are still stacked!
Have a wonderful July and I look forward to seeing you in the Parks, on the race courses and at the bikers rock weekend!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello and may the sun be shining upon your world right now.
Two weeks ago I put my crutches away for the first time in ten long months, and as of yesterday, May 31st, I am back walking three miles a day and have the go ahead to go back into the gym to start low resistance training.
Thank goodness because I feel the size of a house. The HUMANS’ Recording was a 150% success, 13 songs and all of them with a wow factor - but we had my trusted PA cooking twice a day and we never went hungry. Roast suppers, sausage casseroles, fish and chips, Indian take-aways, cream cakes, my home-made pinEapple vodka and crisps, crisps, crisps, crisps, crisps!
For the first time in ten years my trousers are tight so I am going down the gym daily until I’ve rid myself of my invalid and recording weight!
It has been a fabulous month (for that matter a fabulous 10 months. I’ve never worked so hard and had so much fun, invalid or not). In the first week of May I flew out to join the AZURA ship in Madera to give two talks on show business, managing to leave the ship in Portugal before airspace was closed. I then flew to Glasgow to do an ‘AUDIENCE WITH TOYAH WILLCOX’ for the PRINCE AND PRINCESS OF WALES HOSPICE, with Kay Adams as MD.
This was a lively and wild event of 600 women raising money for a brilliant hospice. The pre-lunch aperitif was a double whiskey for every one. I can no longer drink, simply cannot take it, so I enjoyed the antics of 600 tipsy ladies! Very loud and a lot of singing from everyone.
That evening I was stranded at Glasgow airport as the ash cloud did its worst, eventually getting back to Worcester at 1am!
My birthday was a perfect day, in the studio with my fellow HUMANS. We have taken a major leap forward in our writing and sound and I am going to be brave enough and say this album has a major hit on it.
I am confident enough to say this because, apart from Robert Fripp, The Humans’ guitarist loving the material, we have experienced a playback session with our American manager who sat there going “WOW! This is excellent!” at all the tracks played. The development has come from the time we have spent together writing and arranging.
There was a ten day session in Seattle last august then we had a writing session after February’s tour and again before we went into the studio and the result is definable Humans material but very well formed songs, really accessible but strange at the same time!
The songs manage to give the listener a false sense of security before they take a twisted turn into a dark corner………..i love it! There will be some taster tracks on THE HUMANS & TOYAH websites before the end of August for a scheduled September release. Ears to the ground for possible English dates, but we are planning to tour in the US around October.
My month was finished off by a fun trip to the island of Guernsey for a brilliant concert. At the airport there was a sniffer dog waiting to greet us as we passed through customs. Luckily the dog ignored me and went straight for my PA’s crutch and stayed there.….i told him that’s what happens when you wear Angel perfume…….obviously the dog was gay.
John got his revenge by breaking wind loudly next to me and running off giggling as I stood there looking like the culprit at every opportunity………….that reminds me I must sack him!
This custom started in the studio when Bill Rieflin bought Robert and myself an anniversary present of a Farting Machine. Thank you Bill, you old romantic! This has been used on everyone who has come into contact with us including my mother who thought the rabbit was dying when she heard it.
How anyone can associate the noise of wind with a rabbit dying is beyond me but she was convinced the sound was coming from WillyFred the Innocent. This F-ing machine became a way for the band to answer my questions as I stood in the studio singing, even the assistant engineer was on the receiving end as we hid it under his desk…………I, we, The Humans, Robert will never grow up!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello wonderful peeps!
What a bloody month. I am not complaining, believe me I am laughing, but it has been a series of events that wouldn’t be believed unless I had witnesses!
Having played a wonderful show at The Robin Wolverhampton at the end of March the time had arrived that I have been putting off for two years.
On Monday the 29th March I went into the Wellington Hospital, London to have a much needed hip replacement!
About 18 months ago I suddenly was unable to move my right leg and it transpired I had a stress fracture in my hip. My wonderful surgeon Mr. Richard Villar kept me going for the year with steroid injections (yuk!) and gel injections until I had the guts to accept surgery was the only option.
Mr. Villar insisted I take 6 weeks off. I insisted I would only have 16 days, thus this last month I have done four shows on crutches and even shot a movie from the waist up!!!!!
I am now half flesh, half titanium, not in any pain and loving it!
But the first week post op wasn’t a party. As soon as they bring you round you are in X-ray being made to move and an hour later made to walk.
On the second day, they got me out of bed and I passed clean out, coming round to eight people trying to revive me, but after that my recovery was close to miraculous. By the afternoon of that day I was walking six rounds of the hospital.
BUT…..BUT….it’s what followed that beggar’s belief. I promised my surgeon 16 days of stress free, restful recovery. Well fate said bollocks to that.
Seven days in I get a call from a paramedic telling me not to panic but my mother had fallen out of her loft and skinned her left leg, lost a lot of blood and needed me at A&E. Panic? I was beside myself!
So I arrived at A&E fending off the staff who thought I was there as a casualty and found my mother in a cubicle, her bone exposed telling everyone her daughter had just had a hip replacement and wasn’t it wonderful I was up and about. I spent the next week nursing my mother!
I live in two parallel worlds. My career has never been more satisfying, yet my personal life has never been more testing. Part of my initial problem was after the death of my father in July 2009 my grief manifested in a ferocious attack of arthritis, a really vicious flare up that stopped me moving properly for months.
This, apparently, is common when suffering grief and this practically destroyed my good joints. I only got over it around Feb this year, after taking anti-inflammatories for six months.
Yet in the last six months I have done over 110 live shows and believe me I was desperate to complete them. The irony being I live to perform, to be active. I love stress, the stress of delivering ON stage, not the stress of wondering IF I’d get on stage in the first place. What a nightmare.
But along the way, after each performance I could see women in the audience, very young, middle aged and old-ish who where on crutches, so I ran out to meet them and asked them why they where so?
It transpired I had many wonderful conversations with women who were about to or had just had hip surgery and they gave me the confidence to go through with it, so without working I might never have met these women and heard their experiences. Now I feel great and I even got a call from Wayne Sleep who has just
had a replacement himself and is now dancing again.
A story springs to mind as I think about the last month, a month including a hip replacement, 4 concerts, a movie and a house move. I remember reading Courtney Love’s PA took Courtney to court for having her wash her underwear as part of the job. Well two hours after surgery a nurse came into the room and put a
syringe in my hand and said “inject yourself below the belly button”.
I said “no! I cant!”
So Robert grabbed the syringe and painlessly and quickly injected me with a drug to stop blood clotting. The nurse called me a coward and said I’d have to do this for a month. Well……..Robert hasn’t been around so…………my PA has had to do it!
I am well on the road to recovery, in fact I have been back at work for three weeks now. And it’s my work that has kept me strong. The concerts have been great! Robert has been an angel, sitting with me every day and looking after me, helping me with the physio.
The band have been brilliant and my PA john has put himself beyond the job description, but he hasn’t had to wash my underwear!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
The leaves are on the trees……this is OH so the best time of year. You know how vampires loathe the sun…..well I loathe the night and as the days get longer I get more and more ecstatic! My day can begin at 4am……..oh yes 4am with the dawn chorus and I keep going until 11pm when the last rays of the sun disappear.
Spring has sprung. AND I am writing the lyrics for HUMANS 2……..i couldn’t be happier. Perfect!
March has been wonderful, illustrated by one of the maddest days of my life when Simon Darlow, myself, the head of music at BBC worldwide, the head of press at PRS and one of Peter Mandelson’s PA’s had a jolly at the House Of Commons, at the invitation of The Speaker John Bercow. We were invited to The Speakers House, right in the Houses Of Parliament to hear a live band called the MP4. 4 MP’s who where promoting live music and raising money for war heroes.
I was included because PRS are looking to erect a plaque, in London, where I first performed. They are highly amused that my first show was in a Synagogue, in 1977, in Golders Green where I fell unconscious after the third number in the set because of over consumption of vodka!
But another reason I was in The Commons was because The Speaker is inviting bands to perform there live to raise awareness of live music and The Humans have been offered a date, yet to be confirmed but so have myself & Simon Darlow, to perform CRIMSON QUEEN there in early December!
Simon and I are in a whirl at the moment because LESSER GOD is being considered for BBC’s coverage of the world cup. Anyway I was saying………
Whilst we were at the Commons I commented to the head of music BBC Worldwide how I liked the china that the canapés where served on, thinking no more about it until we passed out of the building through security when he revealed a china plate with the Commons emblem on it hidden in his computer bag and ‘borrowed’ for me!
We ran off down the street like naughty children before anyone could catch us. The plate is now in my husband’s library.
This month, exactly 12 months from shooting the POWER OF THREE, we shoot extra pick up scenes to complete the film. Having had my hair cut short, I’m frantically growing it to match last year! After seeing the film in November we felt it needed a re-edit and some extra scenes and luckily we are able to address this and the film should be ready for release by the autumn.
At present I am writing lyrics for the music of HUMANS 2, which starts recording in May at LED ZEPPELIN’S trusted studio in Worcestershire, right through my birthday………YIPPPPEEEEEE!
Pleaseeeeeessse British Airways be flying when Bill and Donn travel from Seattle!!!!! The band has developed and enriched its sound and I am wildly excited, exploring the relationship of two bass’s even further and entering into musical madness. I’m loving it, the lyrics are even more wicked and out there. The sounds are more surreal and the textures even more refined.
Last week I had a fun week with Gaby Roslin filming an hour special for Living TV on Fantasy Homes. Gaby gets more beautiful with every minute and it was fun to see men go gaga over her. She has very long legs!
Its 4am and I am now back from playing the ROBIN in Wolverhampton……………it was a fabulous gig. The set list had a mix of very old from SHEEP FARMING IN BARNET, BLUE MEANING right through to CRIMSON QUEEN and the audience where totally up for it from beginning to end.
It was hot and steamy and very sweaty just like the days of university concerts where we’d all whip ourselves into a shaman like frenzy……..lovely!
I’m away now………lyric writing calls and I can’t wait to immerse myself in a dark world of irony…….tee hee!
If you missed the Robin I hope to see you at the ASYLUM in Birmingham on the 23rd April!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello there faithful friends,
I am having a wonderful morning writing for THE HUMANS 2. The second album is in progress.
The last two weeks has been a rehearsing, touring, writing session journey into happy madness.
I’ve loved every minute with the band and the crew living at my home. It has been a magnificently focussed and social time. Now I am doing one of the things I really love and that is writing.
I get days when nothing comes but my long-ish life has given me clues along the way as to how to deal with writers block, one cure is to get a glut of culture. Any culture, the more diverse the better.
Culture overload is a great way of finding your inner voice and hidden opinions. Everything from shopping channels to art galleries to theatre to street watching gives off a perfume of comment and I get hooked on it when I am in a writing phase. Then suddenly the dam wall breaks and I cannot write fast enough! This morning about six solid ideas flew from my fingers onto the page.
We have a saying in the HUMANS and it goes like this……..
GGGGRRRRRrrr can mean appreciation, approval, a warning and a measure of being pissed off. It is a word, like the F-word that allows a greater expression of emotion with less syllables.
In the last two weeks GGGGGGGRRRRRRrrrrrrrrr has been used to its full potential.
The joy of doing a job that nourishes your soul fills me with GGGGGRRRrrrrr. And just as strongly GGGGGrrrrrrr represents feelings towards those who get paid to write barefaced lies for newspapers.
These occasions gets ones GGGGGGGRRRRRRrrrrrrr up too, but at least the laws of karma will get the liars in the end.
The HUMANS tour was 14 days of pure joy, from picking Bill up from Terminal 5 to taking him back there (not so joyous, dumping Bill at an airport always fills me with a sense of loss).
For many decades I have been the only girl in the band. In my 20’s I would just have to write, sing and dress up to be admired. Now in my 50’s I get to cook, wash cloths, do secretarial duties, shop for, calm down, nurse, nurture, body guard, inspect boils, check the band for body odour, check the band for nasal hair, referee arguments about philosophy, write, sing, dress up and generally do anything other than be admired.
The band even find it acceptable to break wind in front of me. This just wouldn't happen if I was a 20 year old female, age breaks down social barriers, sometimes too many! The honeymoon is truly over when the band come to you with their bodily function complaints.
This change in perception was illustrated on the road last week (nothing to do with wind but it would have helped if it was on offer) when a Russian autograph hunter forcefully approached my husband outside the Scala in London.
Having signed his Toyah albums I respectfully told him my husband doesn't sign anything, all the same the Russian, a 6ft 2 inch man lunged at Robert and then spoke these words to Adrian our peaceful tour manager who tried to protect Robert………”who you fu***ng think you are, I kick your fucking head in, you fuck, Robert sign my albums!”.
No one interjected to help Adrian so I stepped between him and the 6ft 2 inch, 18stone Russian and pushed the Russian away asking “are you going to kick my fucking head in?”, knowing full well if he did, he’d be back in the USSR without an autograph collection to sell.
“No Toyah, I apologise , I do not kick your head in.”
At which point he backs off and I turn to see a car full of Humans happily waiting for the lead singer to drive them to their hotel as if nothing had happened and a little riled I wasn't in the driving seat to get them to the next destination. I felt like uttering my mother’s daily mantra when I was a child………
”What would you do if I wasn't here?” I’d like to think my fellow band mates, whom I love and worship would shrivel with grief if I wasn't around but no……they’d just get a 20 year old to do the job.
But all this is insignificant when I think of how the boys play. Very rarely these days do I experience job satisfaction, finding the music industry completely cynical and finance and compartment led. After these shows job satisfaction knocked on my door.
Music is a language, an expression, a natural instinctive part of being a human being. I look on those who categorise and sexualise and politicise and censor and prostitute it as transparent harbingers of their own bad intentions in life.
THE HUMANS brings me joy.
It doesn't mean I am not going to be doing anything other than THE HUMANS. Life is too varied. Bill has returned to start REM’s new album, and I have a lot of TV scheduled. AND Simon Darlow and I return to the recording studio in a couple of weeks for the follow up to CRIMSON QUEEN, which is released in Japan this month.
THE HUMANS resume recording in MAY, for an AUGUST release.
THE HUMANS nurtures my natural writing urges. The last two weeks have hopefully proved that we will always deliver depth and consideration to what we do live and in the studio.
The live shows where thrilling. We did two secret gigs, not that secret 300 people turned up at Bishops Cleeve church and 100 arrived at Wyre Piddle church, we could have done a week’s residency at each church.
The Roundhouse was mind blowing! The concert raised 90,000 pounds for Haiti. In my dressing room afterwards, I was approached by Big Chill Records and the Big Chill festival to appear either this year if a time slot can be found, but certainly next year.
The air was buzzing and in the car, driving the band back to base in Worcestershire Bill said “Toyah you where incredible tonight.” Bill doesn't give compliments easily and as much as I demonstrate
complete heartfelt adoration towards him he is usually snappy with me 80% of the time, he isn’t an easy soul to win over.
That said he is the only person in the world I trust to mould me. And to hear him say that, I was in contentment heaven!
Thank you for supporting us.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
It's the 1st of February!
I have been waiting for this month for so long, six months to be precise!
My life can return to the eclectic adventure I love it to be...lots of telly, lots of photo shoots, lots of writing and recording, lots of travel and concerts and tons of wheeling and dealing! I am no good at doing the same thing every day. I get too twitchy.
In the last six months I have completed 106 shows. It has been a total, hugely successful and all consuming commitment.
Now I can have a social life. On my desk is Brian Eno's invite to join him and Nick Clegg and many other music luminaries at The House Of Lords this Thursday. Also this Thursday is an invite to dine with Shirley Bassey and Cilla, two Grand Dames I haven't seen in too long a time.
And next to these invites is an embossed card from the Ambassador of Estonia inviting all the HUMANS to the embassy to celebrate their Independence Day.
AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH YES! A social life again!
This month I return to the world of TOYAH where all is unpredictable and has an edge of danger to it.....THE HUMANS tour being a prime example....tee heee! It's been too long since I last saw Bill Rieflin in the flesh. He lands in the UK in two weeks.
We had a bit of an extreme adventure in Seattle last September when I flew out for two days between Vampires shows to buy an apartment. We ran out of time and Bill had power of attorney to bid on a fabulous apartment by the space needle as I had to return to the UK.
Bill, I'm guessing thinks I am stark raving mad and it's because of this I love pushing the boundaries of chance and possibility out with him.
Gemma Newman text me last November to ask "what is IT with you and Bill?"
"IT" is nothing other than, in Bill, both Robert and myself have found a brother relationship we have never had any other time in our lives. For me neither of us have expectations, conditions, nor rules. We just have lots of fun and we give our all in a creative sense.
Bill arrives in the UK on the 16th. Robert and I have been preparing his room for the last two weeks.....our soul brother comes home.
I am in my dressing room, an hour and half away from Vampires show time, working on four new HUMANS songs for the tour in three weeks. SUGAR RUSH, SWEET AGITATION, PUT A WOMAN ON THE MOON and FRAGMENT POOL. They are lively little numbers, slightly non-age-appropriate, in the vein of silver surfer rage. Something master Bill Rieflin condones.
I have three Vampires shows left to do before I leave to work with THE HUMANS for two months.
Nickki Miller (Vampires drummer) owes me at least twenty quid for food I have bought him over the tours, whenever he came into my dressing room moaning ...."I'm hungry and I have no food....." ( this was a bog standard moan of his, others where "I have mouth ulcers", "I've cut my thumb", "I've got blisters", "I've got a spot on my nose", " My bottom hurts", "I want to have sex with a horse," " I want a piss and I'm going to do it on you."
God I hate myself for being such a sucker. 51 years old and I am owed money by a 20year old rent boy in the making.
But at least THE HUMANS don't have that rare animal called "a drummer" to deal with. Technically Bill IS A DRUMMER, but he has five fingers and five toes, unlike Nickki Miller who has six fingers and six toes and a little tail tucked into his trouser tops and he keeps pointing at the moon shouting "cheese!"
An interesting fact about working without drums is you have to count bars rather than rely on a thud, thud, thud to trigger your instinctive reaction into a chorus.
I am not ashamed to admit that often I am thinking of shopping lists and my bunny's cute little ears on stage when the drummer reminds me with one almighty thud, THAP, POW that I am two bars away from a chorus.....no such behaviour with THE HUMANS.
It will be 'quaking on your toes time, like a hair trigger ready to shoot,' from beginning to end, else brother Bill will be snapping like a wild bear.
Funnily enough he only ever snaps at me...never at Robert..who is frequently in the wrong but never scolded!
I am longing for THE HUMANS shows. The music is like nothing I have ever done before and the performance is a totally new experience too, coming totally from within the subconscious, where all is dark and unexplored!
Today my task is to learn SUGAR RUSH, written in Seattle the day my father passed over, the 29th July 2009. This makes THE HUMANS have even more power and resonance for me.
I hope you get to see us, apart from the mini-tour and the SCALA in London we are appearing the next day, the 25th Feb at THE ROUNDHOUSE at a gig organised by BILL DRUMMOND to help raise funds for HAITI. Then further dates and festivals will be announced shortly after.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello and HAPPY NEW YEAR, HAPPY NEW DECADE, HAPPY NEW EVERYTHING!
I had a fantastic Christmas day, the one day off in four months of solid shows, so I made the most of it! Because it looks like 2010 is going to be fully booked too!
The phone was turned off, the computer left in Sheffield and bags of sweets opened all over the bed! Robert and I woke around 9am and we where both too tired to get up, so we went downstairs and carried all our presents up to the bedroom and opened them in bed, with little Willy Fred the wonder rabbit running around the room!
It was perfect.
Robert bought me tons of DVD's, the whole of the Carry On Film series (love it), Star trek (love it!), Doctor Who (wanna be in it) and Pan's labyrinth (wish I was in it!). Willy Fred bought me a silver bangle with topaz stones, that rabbit is so clever.
At lunchtime we went to mums for Christmas lunch and got mum totally sozzled. She had a very good day.
I am just finishing off performing to 51,000 people in Sheffield. It has been an exceptionally successful season, 100% sold out. With very few mishaps and a lot of practical jokes. My favourite being Deano's uncontrollable fear of clowns.
I understand deep rooted, bowel loosening fear, I have it with spiders of all kinds. Deano cannot even look at a picture of a clown without his knees buckling……..so how did his fellow dwarfs respond………..by dressing up as clowns at every opportunity and jumping out of the dark at him.
The screams gave away the practical joke, screams in the dressing room, screams back stage, screams on stage. Poor Deano was spooked at every opportunity. Dwarfs hiding in cupboards ready to pounce!
My hand goes up as a culprit, once. Having found a picture of a clown in a Sunday paper I pinned it to my back for a scene where the dwarfs had to capture me, knowing Deano would see it. I didn't expect the rest of the magnificent 7 to actually press Deano’s face into the picture for the whole scene.
I loved hearing the little scuffling feet behind me as they all fought to pin Deano's face to the picture, Deano screaming all the way through the scene and eventually running off stage.
Did he get me back? Yes, for 40 odd shows, well all 7 did. Those little Tasmanian devils would tickle, bite, pinch, trip, pull my costume off…………………I loved them!
This all came as light relief to the pressures of the real world. For the past few years my musical past is slowly being reclaimed by lawyers and music specialists who are gathering all the rights to the TOYAH BACK CATALOGUE. Time consuming is an understatement.
Luckily THE HUMANS are managed by a very pro-artist American attorney who is really getting his teeth into the people who are exploiting my past work. Robert’s team too are 'all out for war', and I couldn't be in better hands.
I am fed up of the pointless packages going out all over the world willy-nilly, without my consent and without my control. The misrepresentation of my work, the lack of credibility in how it is sold makes my blood boil. On top of this the original band and myself don't see a penny of the advances………so war is declared!
Craig Astley and myself are looking forward to having all of the material under one roof and creating the TOYAH ONE STOP SHOP. It takes hundreds of e-mail, tons of meetings and a lot of memory of old contracts to gather all the information and evidence.
Most days I couldn't wait to get on stage for a bit of peace! Eventually I will own the entire back catalogue. I'm now too old to be patient and kind about it.
In the past four weeks I have done 51 sold out shows, 2 a day, 3 a day in some cases, but every morning I am at my computer organising THE HUMANS tour, approving moves towards controlling the TOYAH catalogue and doing the laundry. I'm loving it! Time becomes a commodity at my age and I'm getting on with organising the house!
January and February see me finishing off Vampires, so if you haven't seen it please catch it now. Then the HUMANS start in Feb, I cant wait, it is such a departure from anything I've done before and the reviews are coming in for the album and they are surprisingly good……….people are getting it!
I can’t believe I will be working with Robert live again………………now that's one not to be missed……….two bull's in the china shop!
Have a wonderful 2010.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX