13 November 2015

TOYAH’S BLOG
JANUARY 2012 DECEMBER
2012


Read Toyah's blog on the Official Page HERE 


DECEMBER 2012

For the last three weeks I have been having a fantastic time in Canterbury. Rehearsing Sleeping Beauty has been a joy. It is a fantastic show and in so many ways a cut above what people would expect from a Christmas show, with many surprises that I will keep under wraps so as not to spoil it for anyone who is coming along. Also the company itself are the loveliest and most supportive gang. Come January 20th I think we will all be very sad it is over. For me, to be in one place for a period of time feels like a total luxury! The same bed, the same bathroom, healthy food available and lots of happy faces! There has been some great experiences. Turning on the Christmas lights in Herne Bay, Deal, Dover and Canterbury has been such a special way to start the Christmas festivities.

This is one of the slightly eccentric things expected of a panto cast, we are bundled into a van, in costume and herded out to meet people and to start their Christmas in their community and it NEVER, NEVER fails to move me to tears. Looking out over the crowds and seeing children who still believe in Santa, seeing families together and the whole spirit of Christmas coming to life is a privilege. In rehearsals there has been much laughter, mainly because away from an audience and out of sounds reach from the public most of the jokes where very blue, being followed by the director/writer Paul Hendy shouting “Don’t you dare say that!”

There are 15 of us in the company and just as many staff but we took huge delight in hiding from Paul if he left the rehearsal room, so he’d return to an empty silent space and after 20 seconds we’d all run out screaming. This prank was also played on Gareth Gates who, bless his cotton socks, jumped out of his skin! Working with young talented people today has become quite fascinating from an anthropological point of view………….when I was in my 20’s I was loud, brash and bombastic and that was the case with everyone of the same age I knew in show business back then.

Today the younger people in the company generally are not as anarchic as the older ones. With Gareth’s generation you can really see the influence of TV, there is almost an introspective approach to performance and a lot of subtlety which has taught me a lot about hanging on to “realism” before I career off into “ultra madness” with my character. Decades FestivalDecades FestivalDecades Festival Gareth has the most wonderful voice, with depth and command and he isn’t afraid to talk about his stutter, he has exercises that help him focus on the vowel sounds, which allows him flow of speech. I feel I should mention my corset………..it has a life of its own. Therefore it should have its own credit in the panto programme.

When I read the script for the first time I thought “oh, ok, I am going to be walking on speaking a bit, walking off,” BUT NO! I am running, fighting, being lifted, being dragged off, being dragged on in a chariot! During all this my corset has a life of its own. It kind of threatens to undo itself and reveal too much at key moments, such as when I am running across stage in a ballet tutu. Funnily enough this gets more laughter from the balconies than it does from the stalls as they can see the effect of the running in the massive ripple effect it has on my ample chest! I quite enjoy the fact my character is always defeated and is always scuppered.

It means I can go to extremes with out worrying that the children in the audience are going to be too upset and believe me in this show there are moments that would have really disturbed me when I was a child, huge depths of sadness and awe inspiring fear mixed with totally surreal humour. AND the best thing for me is …………..I get to sing a METALLICA song with Chris Wong running on and doing a guitar solo………….IN PANTO! There isn’t much time off on a run like this. We have 97 shows in 7 weeks. There’s a lot of publicity to do right through the run and a lot people to meet and greet, so I just about get time to go out and buy food for the day before the marathon starts. Luckily all the Christmas shopping is done, I finished that in November.

My husband has suddenly become a jaunty dresser, the most rock n’ roll I’ve ever known him to be, so I have purchased LOTS of items to support his new eccentricity! On Christmas Day itself our meal will be prepared by a restaurant next door and delivered on Christmas Eve, so all we have to do is pop it in the oven! Because on Christmas Day all I want to do is sleep, eat and watch DVDs! This will be our first Christmas on our own in 27 years, so being true Taureans we will indulge but not move far.

I bet we even up having Christmas lunch in bed! Hubby has been returning from America recently with the promise of great DVDs of the kind we love…………horror sci-fi! OOOOOOOH ROLL ON CRIMBLE! OH! It’s showtime, first of the day! I wish you all a fantastic Christmas, with peace, love and happiness. Thank you to all of you for your support this year and lets do it all again in 2013!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD.

LOVE TOYAH
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NOVEMBER 2012

HELLO AND HAPPY PRE-CHRISTMAS!

Vintage TV and my goodself have just finished filming TOYAH'S CHRISTMAS AT THE ZOO, for their Christmas season. We had a fantastic day at ZSL LONDON ZOO with superb sunshine, wonderful animals in surprisingly good habitats that suited their temperaments and lots of laughter. My favourite experience was being with 9 infant otters that were all playing with 2 pebbles like expert acrobats Oh and us all getting locked in the aquarium after the zoo had closed. We thought we were in for the night but luckily someone had keys in the office and we escaped half an hour later!

The Changeling Resurrection Tour ended at Brighton this month on such a high! What a crazy day. Thanks to technology in the space of 6 hours I shot a new session with Dean Stockings, filmed Chockywockydoodah with Nigel Glocker and helped Ali Carron set up shooting her documentary before taking the stage for one of the most exciting 2 hour gigs I can remember since Drury Lane in 1981. The audience were GREAT! And the band excelled yet again. It all ended on a WOW!

The whole tour has been really satisfying with the right mix of songs from THE CHANGELLING, ANTHEM, SHEEP FARMING and BLUE MEANING. All four albums have such radically different moods they really compliment each other. LOVE IS THE LAW 2013 TOUR is already in the planning, and dates are going in thick and fast for late Sept/ Oct/ early November. The tour will be called LOVE IS THE LAW & GREATEST HITS…….bit of a mouth full but promoters want all ages to come! Thank you to everyone for your support. Thank you to all of you who came to see the show many times. At the Harlequin Emanuel from France presented me with 5 astonishing painter Russian dolls. Thank you, they are exquisite!

I received beautiful flowers in Birmingham and John Wain made the band a cake for Manchester. At Brighton Chockywockydoodah made a Changeling cake which is soooooo yummy! The next 7 months are a marathon. I start panto rehearsals on Monday and open in Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre with SLEEPING BEAUTY on the 30th November. This runs through till the 20th Jan 2013, then I am going over to Seattle to do some work with Bill on HUMANS 3, getting the artwork and promotion ready for the new year and hopefully shooting a video whilst in Seattle.

Then in February the rehearsals for HORMONAL HOUSEWIVES start! HORMONAL HOUSEWIVES is a three hander comedy about ……………HORMONAL HOUSEWIVES! Apparently the audience gets very, very rowdy! The script is hilarious and to be honest takes its humour right to the borderline, but as it is written by a women and performed by women……………..WHY NOT! We are performing at 67 venues across Great Britain in three months. I am really looking forward to the experience and acting on stage again.

NOW FOR THE SERIOUS BITS…. Last week I was asked to give an interview to BBC NEWSNIGHT about the attitudes to women during the 1970s and 1980s. This was a tricky one to do without implicating every man I have ever known, but the fact of the matter is women were living in a completely different world 30 years ago to the world we inhabit today. The main difference being was 30 years ago women were supposed to be flattered if a man was inappropriate towards her. Trying to word this without sounding like Mary Whitehouse was really bloody hard. 

 Also my big enemy Mercury In Retrograde starts this week for the rest of the month, which can mean my being misrepresented in all forms of communication. But NEWSIGHT asked me before hand to write down my experiences briefly and I wrote…….. "My memories of the 1970s was that most men under the age of 30 aspired to sleeping with school girls. Most musicians I knew at the time liked to hang out at the school gates at hometime. There was a very definite and accepted culture of perving after girls in school uniforms. I count myself lucky that I wasn't a 'looker' because if I was I would have been constantly targeted and under pressure to give sexual favours.

Within music, there was a very strong tendency for women to have to 'give out' to get somewhere in showbusiness. This was the period of the Yorkshire Ripper. Women were not as protected as they are today. I truly believe at this time some men admired the ripper. Even though I believe children today have more under aged sex than ever, I believe they are having it with their own age groups, not older men. 

Times have changed.a lot and for the better. "Back then women were seen sexually before intellect. Jimmy Savile's behaviour is totally wrong, but there were many men around his time who sailed as close to the forbidden boundary as Jimmy, but Jimmy took it into a life of exploitation and perversion. Everyone named in the past weeks, Jimmy, Glitter, Starr all took immense pleasure in humiliating women in public and to their faces. I have nothing but bad memories from meeting them all. But I have no solid evidence of them abusing other than humiliation."

What really spooks me about these past sentences is they were written on the 26th October and now Savile is linked to the Yorkshire Ripper! The pressures of the last month didn't ease with doing NEWSNIGHT. I feel we are looking at a "historic period" that all have moved on from, especially in the context of women. BUT then all the news kicked in about the LIVERPOOL CARE PATHWAY which led to the realisation my mother was told she had been put on this whilst she was alone, without any family with her to support her. 

Mum went into the hospice on the Friday, expecting to be assessed and to come home, but her health deteriorated rapidly and by the Monday it was obvious to us she wasn't going to make it home. I performed at Manchester Pride on the Monday and went home to bed afterwards, expecting to see mum Tuesday lunch time onwards.

On the Tuesday morning, four days before she died, I had a call from a nurse saying "your mother has had a bad episode; please don't worry but can you come in." "what do you mean, is she about to die?" "No she is upset about something…………." I thought this was because she had been moved into a single room. I drove straight around to the hospital where my mother was in a full panic attack with a nurse saying "it's OK Barbara the end is near." 

I asked the nurses never to talk to my mother like that again and they were very apologetic. I shed tears thinking of my mothers fear in this moment. I am not saying anyone has done anything wrong, but this language is brutal.

Myself, my family and mums best friend didn't leave mum's side until she died, making sure she only had words of comfort in her last hours. DON'T LET THE NHS BRUTALISE DEATH…………IT IS A DEEPLY SPIRITUAL AND TERRIFYING EXPERIENCE……….LIKE BIRTH! On a happier NOTE! I cannot wait for Christmas. I cannot wait to be in Canterbury and performing in the show. This is my family now. Its funny but when I used to watch Judy Garland in A Star Is Born I always wondered how someone's life could hang on the tenuous surroundings of showbiz…………but this is MY FAMILY NOW!

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD

LOVE TOYAH XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
  

OCTOBER 2012

HELLO FROM SUNNY ENGLAND! Seattle was fantastic and the recording couldn’t have gone better for HUMANS 3. People are starting to hear the material as it is mixed and all the reports back are very excited and favourable AND SURPRISED! 

There are some very commercial songs with radio potential! TEE HEE! Our new sound was possibly helped by the fact we were right on the strip in West Seattle in a fantastic studio built by a member of Pearl Jam. The studio was stunning and the street outside was vibrant with college life and ageing hippies, so typical of America. We decided to record onto 2” tape (like the old days) then convert to digital. We also used valve microphones (like the old days) so the sound is warm, vintage and alive.It is only by using these techniques again that you realise how harsh digital can be.

In all, this plan worked out really well, but was a headache for our engineer Don Gunn when it came to drum overdubs because every time we overdubbed he had to re-route the cabling, which could take up to an hour in some cases. So after 10 days of wires, knobs and three demanding musicians you could tell Don didn’t want to see a 24 track tape machine again for quite a while. The new album, temporarily called SCAR has bass, drums, strings, sax, keyboards and three vocalists. I’m the main vocalist but I’ve been pushing Bill to sing with me for years as he has the most wonderful voice and our voices blend fantastically…………this time I got my way!

The band Death Cab For Cutie lent us their touring amps, which gave us such a fat bass sound………..thank you guys. In fact THANK YOU TO EVERYONE, your generosity abounds. Recording and singing apart Bill had lots of fun telling the locals my name was Daisy. So on many occasions whist collecting food orders for the boys I was left bewildered when people very warmly said “ there you go Daisy”, or on one occasion I forgot to pick up Bill’s potato salad and was chased down the street by a tattooed teenager calling “Daisy! Daisy! You forgot your potato salad!” Thanks Bill! Most evenings Bill would cook Italian recipes for us, he is a remarkably good cook. Wong and my waist-lines started expanding so long walks were in order, boy, Americans eat a lot!

Now back in the UK, the TOYAH tour is underway and it’s going great guns. Having just done Sheffield, which was an astonishing show, I can’t wait for the rest of the tour. The band are playing breathtakingly well and I’m loving being on stage with them. The Changeling set is not only good fun it is also really satisfying. I look forward to each song. I’d never have thought this possible at the beginning of the year. The thought of performing The Pact and Brave New World terrified me but now I cant wait for the Guitar to strike the first chord of each………….I LOVE EM!

For me the audience “song” vote is a lot of fun, in Middlesbrough we did a live vote on the night, we all enjoyed the challenge of. It makes each evening really interesting to put in songs we wouldn’t otherwise do, so thank you for voting. Make the most of seeing this tour because next year, even though the band is going out for festivals we wont be actually touring again until October 2013.

I’ve spent the week fending off press asking questions about Jimmy Saville. I only worked with him three times that I can remember. There was TOP OF THE POPS, JIM WILL FIX IT and I interviewed him for the DAILY MAIL in 2001. I cant say I knew him. Talking to Tony Blackburn this week, Tony said he was steering clear of the whole thing, for what reasons wasn’t clear but I imagine one reason is he doesn’t want to speak ill of the dead. Also if you don’t have a definite story with clear defined events to report why add to the fire. In my experience there were always rumours about Jimmy.

There was an article this past weekend in the Weekend Mail is a piece that is the most accurate depiction of how young women were perceived at the time and quite rightly points out that in the 1970’s and 1980’s young women were fare game to predatory men and school girls where every mans dream and ambition to bed, just look at the most popular TV show of the time Benny Hill! Feminism and the law intervened to address this eventually but I remember in my adolescent school days being either approach or followed home by predatory men attracted to my school uniform, then in the early days of my music career being deemed too old at 20 for the attentions of my fellow male workmates.

Jimmy Saville very possibly did the things he is accused of, but so did many others too! One actress I’ve worked with in the past, was raped in her teens because of her impish looks. In my past experience if you weren’t ready to beat the living daylights out of a man to ward off uninvited interest then you did get groped or even worse. Saying NO was never a sufficient deterrent. Luckily I was never afraid to use my left hook. I hate to say it but there must be more men of a certain age out there, who worked in show biz in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s who know how they behaved in the past.

Not all of them, but a certain group of them who took advantage of their power and status. And interestingly the one’s being named this week are the ones I remember taking pleasure in humiliating women of all ages..............……………… On a happier note……………

I CANT WAIT TO BE GIGGING!

SEE YOU OUT THERE! BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!

LOVE TOYAH

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SEPTEMBER 2012

HELLO THERE !!!!!!!!!!!!
THIS IS A WAVE FROM SEATTLE!

We are madly gearing up for the CHANGELING autumn dates, getting very excited, adding new ideas, new numbers, stretching the time period covered in the last tour and creating a new image. It's busy, busy, busy! If you missed the spring dates, be sure to catch the autumn because live TOYAH dates possibly won't be happening again for about 12 months!
I am writing this from Seattle, where HUMANS 3 is underway.

We have 12 fantastic songs to put down and they are a total departure from anything we have done before. Yesterday we played them to our engineer Don Gunn and he sat there smiling saying "WOW! I didn't expect that! It's great!" 

It's fun, takes unexpected directions. It's infectious and eccentric………….I am really happy about it and can't wait to play the new stuff live. Bill Rieflin has taken the decision to record onto 2" tape and transfer onto digital, so the sound is warmer. We are using Valve microphones that have a unique sound of their own. Basically we are using techniques that were common practice 30 years ago in order to capture a livelier, fatter quality. This album will very likely be released on CD and VINYL. 
Presently we are in the slightly unenviable position of recording 12 songs in ten days. This may sound like a bizarre statement, but we are putting in 4 part harmonies, saxophones, cellos, drums (YES! DRUMS!) and the kitchen sink so it we need all the time we can muster.

I feel like I am a member of the Monkeys because we are all staying at Bill's house and loving it. Bill is doing the cooking and it is fabulous…….he is a great chef. On the first evening we had a fish casserole with chard, herbs, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil bread……Igor bought over Russian cakes…….……OH YUMMY! On our second night we had beef & potato pie with sag and rosemary, ……..sublime! Bill is still skinny………I am short and fighting middle age weight gain, this is hard stuff when the chef is sublime.

Throughout August we had a TV crew at our house. Robert, surprisingly, agreed to do an interview for the BBC 4 LOVE AND MARRIAGE series. This in turn led to me being interviewed too. I really must give my husband credit here; he remembered everything about our wedding day in minute detail. For me it is almost a distant blur, confused by a million events since!
On a more technical point, people who know me well, have had first hand experiencd of what I appear to do to electrical apparatus, basically I break it with out touching it, the smaller the item the less chance it has if I stand near it. I take great pleasure in supermarkets when cash tills at the check out seize up when I stand next to them. On the first day of filming I sat down in the kitchen to start the interview when the cameraman announced, "This has never happened to me before, the camera isn't working, I will need to have another sent over!" 

Two hours later the new camera arrived, worked, and my interview was done. By this time Robert had left for another job and the crew needed to come back the following week to interview him. The interview that will air on BBC 4 on the 26th September will only be one part of an hour-long programme, about 15 mins long, but the crew came back again, and again AND AGAIN! Wanting more stories from Robert and myself. The head BBC commissioner liked our story so much he wanted it to feature more heavily.

Three times the crew returned, very nice people. But here is why I am telling you this. In light of the stories the newspapers are highlighting about the beeb this year, Robert and I were paid 300 pounds each minus 15% commission to my agent for 3 days work, which used our house, our time, which also needed to cover finding and copying all the archive material used in the show AND we bought the crew lunch! There is a mighty imbalance here that needs addressing!

There's been a few fun things in the press this month too. According to local press I opened the Wick Fete on the 1st Sept, ……………..not even I own a time machine that could transport me from Seattle to the UK! And as for opening fetes…………..this is just not my thing, give me another ten years then I might consider it! SURPRISE! SURPRISE! Robert opened it and loved it! 
It has been an honour to discover I am the cover girl of the NATIONAL TRUST magazine this season, 4 million subscribers. We did the shoot at CROOME COURT in the most hideous rain storm imaginable, we laughed and laughed it was so ridiculous, it was like standing in a power shower turned to "cold" for two hours, but the shots are beautiful. However the interview inside says I've had two hip replacements! GIVE ME A CHANCE I'M STILL TRYING TO WEARING OUT THE FIRST ONE!

Oh! And it says I am 52………I'm cool about that, nothing wrong with being two years younger for a season!

I'm away to the recording studio. Don't forget to vote for the two songs you would like to hear on the upcoming tour at the GIGS page!

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!

LOVE TOYAH
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AUGUST 2012

Hello and God Bless you for your support at The Walk of Fame day! 
 
WOW! It was both wonderful and poignant. 

There was a delightful eccentricity about the day, a normal-ness as life went on upon Kings Heath high street yet it was monumental for me. My father often told the story of how my paternal grandfather walked from Lincoln with a wheelbarrow full of tools in search of work, some time before the First World War, ending up in Kings Heath, Birmingham where he met his wife and set up a construction business. So what an honour to have my name on the pavement of not only my home town but a town my grandfather put phenomenal effort into to reaching! 

Bev Bevan of The Move/ ELO very kindly presented the star and my husband even helped me with the reveal, which was the icing on the cake! As Bev made the presentation speech I was pinching myself remembering how the whole family used to watch him on Top Of The Pops during the 70s. If I'd have known this day would come I would have been counting the hours, minutes seconds…………

The concert in the evening was perfect. Very intimate, the venue only takes 250, the sound was fantastic, the best on stage sound we have had in years, the set list was fun and the track the audience voted for Blue Meaning was the best it has ever been………the band's playing was stunning. A big thank you to everyone who made it happen and to all who came to see.
Hubby has suddenly started to do TV interviews. I only flag this up because this is a man who flees all photo opportunities and autograph requests. So when a request came in for him to be interviewed for BBC4 on "Love and Marriage", I was amazed to hear he said yes because so far he has turned down every music programme BBC4 has offered him.

I think we are featured in programme 2 or 3 of the series, which airs in September. I have to say I was very impressed with how much my husband remembered about the wedding day because I couldn't remember a thing accurately, probably because I was cooking and looking after guests most of the wedding day. But I do remember I was terrified, it felt so final and binding, Robert felt the same too. I'm surprised we both didn't do a runner!

AND as if Roberts agreeing to appear on TV wasn't shock enough imagine my jaw hitting the floor when he agreed to open the WICK SUMMER FETE on the 1st September !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! does he know people will photograph him and ask for autographs?
I will be in Seattle by this time waiting to hear stories of my husband fleeing the hordes of autograph hunters with their cameras in hand……………………………

My hubby has somewhat dominated my thoughts and actions this year. It started in February when he told me he felt he could no longer do the 67 incredibly steep steps up to my apartment in France, funnily enough I thought I'd be the one to announce this first, but after many tears I agreed to sell my beloved home in Menton. Boy it broke my heart. Then a few weeks ago we both went over to say goodbye to the apartment and the town forever, me still in floods of tears at the thought of not having a base there. We were having our last breakfast on the balcony when my phone rang. It was my friend Tracy who has looked after me in France for seven years. A first floor apartment in the market square was for sale. We ran to see it, it was perfect and two hours before catching the plane back to the auk …………we got it!

Now all I have to do is hire the wild horses to drag hubby to the knee specialist before he starts crawling on his hands and knees…………why is it so hard getting a man to a doctor? It is a busy, busy, busy time! 

Not only am I doing press for the autumn tour and planning the set list, costumes etc but I start HUMANS 3 in Seattle in three weeks and I am still honing the lyrics and key melodies, which I love doing but it takes time. On top of this Vintage TV has picked up an idea I gave them for a music series and it looks like being a 12 part series and another production company has picked up a serious documentary idea for development, so as usual I am wearing many hats.

I am looking forward to the autumn tour immensely, it has been planned sensibly so we can all give a 110% each night, especially me, because the songs require so many octave jumps, so we have made sure there are no more than three shows in a row in any given week allowing me to use my voice to the full each night and not have to hold back to save myself for the five other shows over the same week!

AND because the "vote for your favourite song" was so popular with the Walk Of Fame concert we are going to do this again so each show has a slightly different slant, but will still be anchored by The Changeling theme. 

The Olympics have been stunning. I don't quite get the anger when people lose, for me just seeing everyone take part so brilliantly is thrilling enough, and they are so young, I could never achieve what these athletes have achieved even when I was their age. The opening ceremony was staggering. I actually flew close to the stadium at 10pm on the Friday and it was throbbing with light. Watching the whole event the next day I was thrilled to see Muhammad Ali taking part. 

I actually met him once, briefly, at Capitol Radio in London around 1982 or 3, and he was quite awe inspiring. It was late, about 10pm and he arrived with four bodyguards who looked as if they were carrying shooters, who ensconced themselves in the four corners of the studio. Muhammad had about three girlfriends with him. At a guess his mind was already effected by the brutality of his career, but he was courteous and fun and every inch a legend! 

Back to writing HUMANS 3. 

I write with a yellow parker ballpoint pen my sister gave me in 1982, which I wrote The Changeling lyrics with. I have written every lyric since with it and still do today!

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD

LOVE TOYAH
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JULY 2012

HELLO AND AAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR!

As you well know it hasn't stopped raining for about two months now. Yes it's fantastic that the reservoirs are filling a treat and the garden still looks like a garden and not a parched desert but the only way I get to relax these days is to grab a book and read in the sun.

For some inextricable reason I am now so busy that I barely get time to eat. I can't put my finger on it but every hour is filled to the brim with dead lines, demands and paperwork from 7am to 9pm most days including Sundays! I thought life was supposed to slow down after 50, I can only see it speeding up.

But enough moaning for this month, joy arrived in the form of the HUMANS resuming our writing sessions and laughter filled the air every day. I hired a local hotel's band room and we moved in for a week, locked the doors and emerged with 14 brilliant…………oh yes! 14 BRILLIANT SONGS! Radically different from anything we have done before. It looks like once all three albums are put together as a trilogy they will all have a different flavour but a similar twist. I can't wait to get to Seattle to start recording.

Decades FestivalBoth Bill and Wong eat the equivalent of a small army's rations per day so to make sure we didn't leave the writing room for hours on end I used to make cheese and pickle sandwiches from giant cottage loaves made at the local bakery………….between them they ate a whole loaf and a large bottle of Branston Pickle a day and had a huge evening meal and neither of them are fat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bill arranged for us to see Patti Smith and her band in Bath. Bill has drummed for Patti on many occasions and is very close to Lenny Kaye. Robert even came with us so we all set off in the one car for a fantastic evening. God she was great! The venue was perfect, seated, the audience were all 40 upwards and we were happy to sit…….the rebellious middle aged. Patti walked on and she looked so astonishingly beautiful, why can't we see models as deep and interesting and as strangely beautiful in magazines? 

Why has the modern concept of beauty become thinly veiled misogyny and legalised peadophilia. I looked at her and felt a kind of grief that her mettle and stance and attitude isn't common place in the greater world, partly because of her age and mostly because she is too plain strong for her own good. Patti's voice was astounding, starting almost mouse like then building and building as she became possessed with the show.

I saw her for the first time in 1977 at the Astoria Theatre (or was it the Round House?) in London and she was utterly magnificent then, physically throwing herself around the stage self harming and dangerous but here in Bath, there was a calm about her, she has grown into a person who so confidently knows who and what she is, we all felt we were with her in her front room having a nice social with blindingly great songs bursting out of the seams in the company of someone who could explode like a volcano if the fancy took her. Afterwards Bill got Lenny to sign his latest book for both Robert and myself saying he was a big fan of the both of us…………..I WAS THRILLED!

I arrived home that night totally inspired and excited about the decade ahead, with the thought that age pulls focus and clarity on the future for the work of my past, which is what it felt like watching Patti. Today I am getting ready for THE KINGS HEATH WALK OF FAME. I am excited! I think it is going to be a scream, I have never played Kings Heath ever and it feels like a homecoming. So many people are travelling to be there and I am immensely grateful.

The unveiling of the star is around 11am to 12 noon, then we are on stage at the HARE AND HOUNDS from 8pm, there will be no support because we are going to do two sets. I'm hoping it is going to feel very intimate and special for everyone. The set list is nothing like this years tour, it is going to be more of a retrospective We are adding some favourite songs that haven't been preformed lately ie; LITTLE TEARS OF LOVE , ELUSIVE STRANGER, LATEX MESSIAH and a few others to make it a total retrospective……………..CANT WAIT! SEE YOU THERE!

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD

LOTS OF LOVE TOYAH
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JUNE 2012

HELLO and THANK YOU to everyone for the Birthday wishes. 

I spent my 54th Birthday in two cities, waking up in York and going to bed in Durham, purely intentional. I hadn't ventured off in some forgetful state………..not yet! 

I was performing for The Stroke Association in Durham on the 19th May and I had my hubbies company for the week so I thought RIGHT! Lets get away from my office, which now runs 20 hours a day AND lets get Frippy away from his constant litigations and continuing wars with big corporate organisations. I swear my husband was Attila the Hun in a past life, he is permanently in War mode. Currently he is suing Universal Music for illegally selling his catalogue ………………GO BOY! 

So we ventured to York City on his birthday, the 16th May, also our 26th wedding anniversary and spent two restful days sight seeing and eating cake at Betty's Tea Room. Thank Goodness there isn't a Betty's Tea Rooms near our home because they'd have to put security bars across the doors to stop me gnawing my way in in the dark of night. We had lunch with the Pauper kings, ex – Vampires Rock boys. It was great to catch up with them, they opened for McFly a few months ago, so they were on a high and we talked about working together next year. 

Then on to Durham, which I fell in love with, everyone was so friendly. Robert and I made our way to the Cathedral perched on a hill in the centre of the city. It is absolutely stunning. We were interested in the history and the architecture but discovered a living vibrant practicing community which bared no resemblance to the sometimes offputting snobbishness of other places, instead here was a full Cathedral buzzing with musicians and artists all having a fantastic time. It was totally unexpected! 

We discovered the tomb of St. Cuthbert ……… 

"Cuthbert was born about 625 and died in 687, he entered a monastery and became successively Prior of Melrose Abbey, Prior of Lindisfarne and finally Bishop of Lindisfarne where he spent most of his days, ending his life as a hermit. After his death and in the face of Viking invasions, the monks of Lindisfarne carried his body on their wanderings until finally they came to Durham in 995 and built a shrine for him in the White Church which was later replaced by the present Cathedral." 

You can pray to St. Cuthbert for healing so I suggested to Robert we better get on our knees and do so. St. Cuthbert is in a private shrine at the far end of the Cathedral. My thinking being after a few years of my body getting its revenge on me and with Robert showing signs of general madness perhaps St. Cuthbert could help us out. 

Then I thought we should pray for Bill Rieflin too in the hope his general everyday perversions might be eliminated, he might put some weight on his skinny frame and kindness seep through his sinewy person (he will kill me for this last sentence) so Robert and I found ourselves not only praying but trying to tweet it too, mobile camera in hand at the shrine. Then shame came over me and I hid the phone……some things are still sacred and even with the advancement of technology some things should remain invisible! 

I returned "up north" last week for the Decades festival in Workington West Cumbria where the locals, again, were extremely friendly, but in a different way. Stepping out of my car at the hotel a young man with a pint in his hand asked for a photo with me, of course I said yes. So with pint in one hand he robustly placed his spare hand on my left buttock and said smile for the camera. I thought "What! Down south you'd be put in jail for the night for that", but he was friendly and indicated he would like to take things further so I moved on and locked myself in my room. 

Then later a very nice man drove me to the venue for soundcheck and in the conversation I asked a question I always ask people "what birth sign are you?" To which the reply came "I'm not going to sleep with you, you know!" Right, so very quickly I was putting 2 and 2 together and getting 5 and realised that in Workington and possibly the whole of West Cumbria, that the men are "up for it". 

At this point I'd recommend to all single women of the world to get "up north" as quickly as possible but I'm sure many attached women in Cumbria might not appreciate the invasion, so lets just leave it at "the men folk are very friendly", possibly descendants of Vikings, very worth a quick visit one day, but don't expect feminism and the female vote to be a topic of conversation! 

And a BIG THANK YOU to the local police for delivering me to the venue for the show and getting me back to the hotel again, you were fantastic! I had a brilliant time there, it was completely different to any other place I have been and that is exactly what I love about Great Britain, it is like thousands of different countries all held together as one, no place is the same and no people are the same…………..Great Britain is a Gem! 

This month I have 20 songs to finish off for The Humans second writing session in three weeks time. That's a lot to do and I must stop procrastinating! The new album is going to be sooooo different to the last two and will be the first actual trilogy I have managed to complete in the whole of my career! 

Have a fantastic Jubilee weekend, I'm of to King's Lynn for a private party, performing with Katrina and Limahl, then back across to headline Birmingham Pride. 

May the sun shine on your celebrations wherever you are.

LOVE TOYAH

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


MAY 2012

Hello and welcome! 

What a fantastic month April turned out to be. 

I can honestly say I had no idea that the Changeling was such a popular album! This time last month I was worried sick about how we where going to make it all work live, it felt like a potentially heavy and clumpy piece of work but we all stepped on stage at Brighton and the missing link stepped in to make each song so relevant and current in today's climate and that was THE AUDIENCE! Boy oh Boy! Song after song the temperature just kept on rising along with the energy. 

EVERYONE sang along to CREEPY ROOM! This took me totally by surprise and at almost every show everyone has laughed their way through the last section "I've been a naughty, naughty girl, I've spoken out loud against the world, Their sending me to the creepy room, for some chemically induced fear, because my minds out of tune"……….the whole audience in hysterics! 

BRAVE NEW WORLD, CASTAWAYS, VOODOO DOLL were received with rapture only to be toped by another level of ecstasy when we played DAWN CHORUS, a song I never believed would work live again but it grabs everyone by the proverbial balls and holds us together as one, but the best was saved for THE PACKT! 

My god to look out and see everyone's face during this apocalyptic song just made my nerves tingle! At Bush Hall I saw one man looking to the ceiling and thanking God during the intro, that was a new on me! In fact every night I had "hair standing up on the back of my neck" moments, especially with THE PACKT and BRAVE NEW WORLD. 
It is a funny thing in the entertainment industry but your critics remain in your memory far longer than the times of praise. Not this time, I'm too wise to hold onto spite, only joy will remain in my memory from now on, ….well that AND the times I've really enjoyed irritating my fellow band members, husband, members of The Humans…….but that's another story….

With me I have always been highly motivated by negative criticism. Bloody lucky really, as I think part of British culture is you get it in bucket loads! You either laugh it off, develop a thick skin or get crushed, I think I've experienced all three! 

My favourite as I grow older is " thick skin". I was brought up at home and at school with heap upon heap of negativity, lovingly thrown at my every enthusiasm and thank god this was so, otherwise id be dawdling round Ibiza now looking at my navel (actually I'd quite like that for a week or two.) So, on stage this month, I was taken by surprise at the wave of praise and appreciation, it has in fact been a joyous month with every show being totally, utterly, magnificently enjoyed by the band and myself. 

We all decided after the tour last autumn to spread the shows a bit so none of us got too tired or under par. One very dominating factor with singing the Changeling is I needed to return to a three octave range………a near impossibility if your singing every day, so we spaced the shows right out so I could keep my top notes clear. 

The voice is a complex and miraculous instrument and one thing is for certain……..you cannot change its strings if the sound gets tired! Exactly a year ago I retrained as a singer with a voice specialist who taught me how to access the higher notes again and also protect my vocal chords for the future. It paid off! 

The remainder of 2012 just gets better and better. The autumn Changeling tour is up on now on this site, with possibly about four more shows to be added. Wongy, Bill and I start Humans 3, which I have tentatively named UP. AND we are announcing a few very special HUMANS shows very, very soon! I hope to see you all in Bishop Stortford for a party of a show.

REMEMBER THE PACKT………

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD

LOVE TOYAH
XXXXXXXXXXX


APRIL 2012

HELLOooooooooo!

Mrs. Malaprop here!

I don't know whether age is simply setting in but I am coming out with corkers at the moment! Whist out walking with the "other half" I exclaimed "OOOH its lovely to spread my legs again!" This went down particularly well with hubby, we were surrounded by children on an Easter Egg hunt and he advised I should not shout this quite so loudly in public ever again!

Then there's the time I said something in front of my trusted friends The Humans and I can see them turning bright red as they try to stifle their amusement, during our writing session in February. "Ooooh that's a nice erection!" followed by stunned silence, until Wongoose cracks up and Bill realises I am not being vulgar, just vague about a crescendo in music. I adore the creative process, starting an album from scratch. Yielding to every idea you pluck out of the air and just going with the flow. Our writing session was very productive, 20 ideas, really good, rocking riffs and lots of space for narration.

The hardest part will be honing it all down to 12 tracks, there's a lot of choice there. We record in August/ September and I cant wait! It has been a "small world" recently. Bill and Don Gunn (our co-producer) have been running around Seattle with Simon Phillips who drummed on The Changeling and on Warrior Rock. Then when we tried to book the recording studio in Seattle for the summer, we discovered Steve Lillywhite, the producer on The Changeling, was in there mixing! I love synchronicity!

In the past week I've set about learning The Changeling and "setting" it in my head. I learn by repetition in this case, running over and over the material until I can recite it backwards. Funnily enough I have a very clear memory of the lyrics from 30 years ago but I want to set it to muscle memory so nothing can distract me when I am on stage. So I can be a storyteller as much as a singer because this album is about stories. When acting in a play, you are guaranteed a silent and attentive audience, with only the odd cough to distract you but when singing anything can grab your attention from someone trying to have a full on conversation with you from the front row to a streaker suddenly being at your side (believe me this has happened ….. twice!

On first re-listening to The Changeling I thought "my god this is pretentious twaddle!" then I remembered the circumstance it was written in. The Falklands War had just started and there was an atmosphere of disbelief and terror. It was a profoundly disturbing time. I remember my brother Kim being warned he could be put on stand by and my whole family were terrified for him. He was a Harrier fighter pilot in the early 1970's, luckily he never saw "action" in his time but because he was highly qualified there was a chance he might be called out of retirement. Thank god it never happened.

So here I am today, 2012, listening to an album I haven't listened to at all in 30 years thinking how am I going to perform this and believe in it and slowly as I repeatedly go over the tracks it dawns on me that there is a hell of a lot of really nice detail in it. The scope in the lyrics is very different to anything I'd written before and the style vocally is completely different to Anthem.

I am now really enjoying the "theatre" of the album. It is crammed with narrative and will be great to perform again. There will also be many Toyah Classics in the set, it will be a fun and "up" event with more theatre than darkness. So much so that my opening costume is quite a statement. Kind of corporate banker cross bred with the devil ………… very nice ….. sinister!

OOOOhhh I cant wait to get on the road and stuff your ears and eyes full of sound n' vision! The mundane has taken over my life in the past 6 weeks and I am starting to rebel……big time. Not wishing to sound ungrateful, or disrespectful but it has taken 3 months to clear my mothers and fathers belongings AND I mean 3 SOLID MONTHS! How any one managed to store so much STUFF into their home I have no idea!

It has taken 5 auctions, 59 box's of books, 20 trips in four cars to the charity shops, crammed with so much stuff (really lovely things) but some of the charity shops actually refused to take any more. This experience has left my whole immediate family determined not to ever let anyone have to do this after we have gone…………we are all clearing out our cupboards and box rooms! PLEASE GET ME ON THE ROAD AND OUTTA HERE!

Right ……….. back to learning! Back to eating carrots! Yes! Carrots! It's my pre tour diet! Gotta be fit, gotta be slim ………..well slim-ish ……. I am trying! ......... failing miserably but trying! See you out there! Oh one last cautionary request ………. please no spray-string! It has an oil base residue and can cause me to slip and fall on stage. Falling can be a problem for me. I don't want to spend the whole show terrified of slipping!

THANK YOU! I CANNOT WAIT! IT IS GOING TO BE A SCREAM!

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!

LOTS OF LOVE TOYAH XXXXXXXXXXXX


MARCH 2012

HELLO THERE!

Cor blimey! For one glorious moment I thought spring had arrived but now the rain is so dense outside of my window I almost need a torch to find my way around my computer.

I am getting HUGELY excited about getting out on the road again. This tour will be very different for the band because we are looking at a new set and deeper, darker more deranged songs. THE CHANGELLING is a graphically mad and moody album mirroring how bonkers I felt in 1982.

I'd just won THE ROCK N' POP AWARDS BEST FEMALE SINGER category (this was the begining of the BRITS) and there was the constant stress and strains of a year of touring and writing behind us and ahead of us. We were lucky enough to have the anchor of STEVE LILLYWHITE who was the album producer and SIMON DARLOW came in on keyboards
for the recording.

BOY OH BOY! The memories are intense. JOEL BOGEN was into writing more expansive songs and going into darker recesses of his own psyche and I could no longer walk down the street with out being mobbed…….so one could safely say the songs from this album reflected the straight jackets of our lives at the time.

The Falklands war had just started and it was deeply depressing to think of all those young men being sent out to fight in a land far away, it was also deeply depressing to think war could ever happen again AND hey! Look at today! Where isn't there a war? So I believe the album in the end drew a picture of powerlessness leading to an inner battle.

For example we all live in open air, yet we are contained on one planet. We all live within the boundaries of a country we can leave, but we persist in crossing other peoples boundaries if we feel like it……….so what would happen if we could leave the planet? We all dislike suffering yet it still happens and even if we stop one bout of suffering someone else, somewhere else, starts it off again. 

So where do you turn? Like animals in a zoo we internalise to rationalise the cage. We can't get in a space ship and leave so we battle in our own heads, thoughts contained by inner rage and outer silence, rattling away in the confines of our skulls…………THIS IS THE CHANGELING!

THE PACKT hasn't been performed for about 30 years yet I think it has never been more relevant. CREEPY ROOM can now be associated to the growing number who surge towards the ugly world of celebrity and fame like refugees from banality being misled into another banality. CASTAWAYS looks like utopia for the battle weary!

We are to some extent replicating the WARRIOR ROCK set list of 1982 with the addition of CREEPY ROOM, BE PROUD BE LOUD and adding some die-hard favourites like BIRD IN FLIGHT and NEON WOMB. My costume is already hanging up and ready to go. It is a metal dress and it is surprisingly heavy! Sean Chapman is beavering away on my headwear. It has a puckish theme!

God I can't wait. This tour is going to be electric!

BILL RIEFLIN flies in on the 13th March. We start writing and recording HUMANS 3. Both Bill and I have been discussing the sound approach and it will be a natural progression form SUGAR RUSH. Metal meets vocal harmony.

God I can't wait for that either!

I've had a lot people ask me in the last month if my shiny new hip is metal on metal!!!!!!???????? No I am ceramic. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I heard I wasn't metal on metal. But still with ceramic you need to be cautious in case you shatter it with an unwise move! Over winter I was dealing with PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME (a right pain in the arse) so I worked on one crutch during panto whilst I was undergoing physio to retrain my walk. I came off the crutch a month ago and am able to control the symptoms now, but it has taken three months to get back to normal!

Spring is so welcome. I need more hours in the day and spring supplies more daylight to work in! I am working on my first script, thanks to encouragement from my agent. A Horror Sci-fi. The writing process is really good for me and is instantly and positively influencing my songwriting.

POWER OF THREE is having a great 2012 so far, being selected for two film festivals: 1st Annual Brooklyn Girl Film Festival www.brooklyngirlfilmfest.com and Miami Women's International Film Festival screening at both in March/April.

I want to see you all in April. It is really going to rock! There's a great new t-shirt going to be available too! Tickets are selling well. :) You can buy tickets by clicking on the links on the GIGS page.

We've been delving into the live archives and will be steaming some recent live recordings….. one exclusive song a month starting this month. These will be up for ONE month only on the gigs page so take a listen.

Right! Back to writing!

See you at the CHANGELING RESURRECTION!

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH


FEBRUARY 2012

HELLO THERE!

Oh Boy! I've had a fantastic start to 2012. Not only have I had my first proper holiday since 2001! It was also my second honeymoon!

Sweetpea……….AKA Robert Fripp………AKA Mr. Willcox took me on honeymoon. In 1986 I took him on honeymoon, well it was 5 days dodging journalists and photographers in high speed car chases around the country lanes of Dorset and Cornwall. Our second honeymoon was a lot more joyous and exciting.

On the 4th jan we flew into Chicago, missed out connection and had a really fabulous night in the airport Hilton watching a soccer game with the locals sipping the most expensive margarita in the world…………30$!!!!!!! Robert can be very pessimistic if out of his comfort zone but even he had a smile on face after the margarita hit. 7am the next day we hitched a flight to Portland then got a boneshaker to Seattle where ……………..WE SAW BILL RIEFLIN!

I'm telling you there are three people in this marriage. Sweetpea, Bill and ME! No actually there are four…….Sweetpea, Bill, Me AND BUNNY. But bunny couldn't come too. Before tongues wag Bill and Robert are inseparable…I tag along like the "just tolerated and besotted little sister, irritating the sh*t out of one and all". We had four days playing with Bill before he had to leave for Mexico to work with Peter Buck and Robyn Hitchcock. 

I am not a drinker but we ended up in a fabulous Japanese restaurant, which had a " Happy Hour" that started at 10 am and finished at 7pm. We were the only ones in there. This is where I discovered pear Vodka. Bill hates me having a drink! Robert loathes me having a drink! Because I become morbidly HAPPY!

Bill still curses me for having a margarita after the New York HUMANS show in September, when I followed him around the venue laughing and being quite generally obscene. "GOD YOU'RE A F------ AWFUL DRUNK! YOU IDIOT." Quote.

This is because when he stopped listening to me I started to speed dial him on his mobile all through the night laughing! Bill was not amused but at the time Wongy was hugely amused. Robert hates me drinking because he can no longer control me. 

SOOOOOOOOOOOO………….. I discovered Pear Vodka in a Japanese restaurant in Seattle with the two men I'd happily die for. I hasten to add I sat on my hands so I couldn't annoy them as much as I would have if my hands where free to wander and I buttoned my lip so as not to lose my two best friends and I sat in the corner laughing at everything they said blissfully unaware if either had actually said anything funny. We had four joyous days together.

Robert and I stayed on a further two days and we walked Seattle from top to bottom. I did some great writing there and geared up to start writing HUMANS 3. Bill comes into the UK on the 14th March when we have our focused writing session before recording. After Seattle we flew to Las Vegas. I have never been to LV and have always wanted to go. Envying Robert every time he flew off there. Robert warned me you only need three days there, I couldn't comprehend why……..until……………. we got there………………….

THE NOISE, THE SMOKE, THE DULL ELECTRIC LIGHT, THE TINTED WINDOWS, THE AIR CONDITIONING, THE IQs, CYNICISM MASQUAERADING AS HAPPINESS, THE PORTION SIZES, THE MOUSTURELESS AIR………………shall I go on?

We had six days there! We were prisoners of our own dreams and we had to make the most of it! The highlights were the shows. KA……..utterly mind blowing. From the purpose built theatre to the magnificent performers…astounding!

LA REVE….THE DREAM…….i never knew a theatre show could be done in a massive pool of water. The guts of the performers as they dropped from what must have been about 60 feet into a 30 foot width of water……WOW! And "O', again simply breath taking and truly worth being in Vegas for. One performer actually dived from about 90ft into a pool. I screamed out loud! I have always loved physical theatre and only in my fantasies have I envisaged life-defying performances and here in Vegas they are actually doing this twice a day.

We were very lucky to get tickets to see Celine Dion. Robert's sister Patricia, lives in Las Vegas and she treated us to both "O" and Celine. Again Celine's show was staggering, beyond the "world class" we all expect from an arena show. Las Vegas venues are around 2000 to 4000 capacity so intimacy is still possible and Celine was magnificent. 

How anyone can sing in the air one gets in LV is a miracle, but she was singing for real and it was awesome! Patricia took us out on the Sunday to the mountains near her home and this was one of the best days we had. The magnificent scale and the colour of the rock, we walked with joy in our hearts to be out of maze of Vegas. I've had two offers to work in Vegas this year. 

I imagine to work there is very exciting and I certainly wont say "no"……..but I will go in for three days and out again! The main reason to protect my voice from the dry air. Dear Dave Lee passed away whilst we were away. I have done 3 pantomimes with Dave in Canterbury and numerous fund raisings for his Happy Holidays Charity. Dave, a very deserving MBE holder, had the most moving send off in Canterbury Cathedral. There were thousands there. The readings were inspirational and totally indifferent to the surroundings. Richard Digance started off with " What I love about the day Dave passed away is 49 Little Chefs closed down!" Dave was a larger than life man.

Bobby Davro finished with……." Dave and I have worked together many times, I remember when he was sweating like a glass blowers anus……………' The cathedral roared with laughter and applause all the way through but the real tear jerker happened when the Dean carried Dave's Ghostbuster bench into the aisle and the choristers sang GhostBusters…………a Dave Lee panto staple! Dave raised thousands of pounds for under privileged children to have holidays with their families " Dave Lee's Happy Holidays". I am truly humbled by all he achieved. What a great man.

Work wise there is so much happening. We are already gearing up for the tour in April. The songs are chosen, the set list discussed, the learning process started and the costume design in motion. But also I've had some really interesting offers. One is to participate in an animation series of Sonia Copland Blooms children's books which are topping the best seller list at the National History Museum. (Sonia is Orlando Bloom's mum.)

I've walked myself happily into a corner by mentioning a short story I was writing to my acting agent who now wants it as a script by May……..heaven help us both……..deadlines are not my forte.

AND a documentary is going to be made this year by Ali Carron one of the original ANGEL AND DEMONS, about 1983 and the "Angels and demons" who congregated outside the Mermaid theatre when I was appearing in Trafford Tanzi. So we will be posting an appeal soon for anyone there that year to get in touch with Ali if they are willing to be in the documentary.

I already know where I will be for Christmas and the autumn is looking fully booked too…………ALREADY!

Have a great month. Keep warm and…………………..

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!

LOVE TOYAH XXXXXXXXX


JANUARY 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

I wasn’t expecting December to be fun but it has been one hell of a fun month!

Accidentally, (really!), I bought a cast member a fart machine (Bob Golding) thinking he’d take it home to his children to play with and he then wreaked havoc with it……..on stage! I had to threaten to kill him (not really) before it was removed from behind the scenery of the dwarfs’ diamond mine where it had been used every time a dwarf moved!!

The panto has been close to sublime. I adore working with Paul Hendy’s scripts and his production company Evolution, run by Paul’s wife Emily Wood who I’ve known since she was about 8 and once when I was filming Songs Of Praise in Paris she came along as our interpreter. The cast have been great. A highlight has been working with a ten year old dwarf called Paddy, seeing the world through his eyes, his struggles with the tall world and his total inner confidence has been a spiritual experience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BELIEVE ME!

Paddy is a beautiful little soul, with so much natural talent, intelligence and a brilliant sense of comic timing. He stole all our hearts but above all he taught me so much about the bodies we live in and the way we choose to perceive ourselves. Here you have a boy, a small boy, living in a world made for giants and here you have me, a woman, who constantly worries about weight, size, work, my husband, my friends, paper work, lack of sleep and if I am liked ………….Paddy has none of these concerns, he is simply who and what he is………lesson learnt!

Over the past year I have had an growing intolerance of carrying other people’s opinions and perceptions of me. Sometimes this has been very uncomfortable as I’ve become the most obstinate person I know but I now realise I’ve been shedding my wonderful mothers intense disapproval of my wayward and insular nature.

On top of this clearly the decade of being in your 50s is about claiming yourself and shedding all guilt. I sensed something very strong on Christmas Day. And ever since I have felt totally transformed. My heart was warm with the presence of my mother, there was no sense of lose but an overwhelming sense of approval, this is something I could never have felt from her in the flesh, she was far too critical!

Yet on Christmas day I felt her presence and I felt overwhelming approval from her. It was a totally rewarding and freeing experience. I am transformed.

On Boxing Day morning I was able to place my fathers cravats, jumpers, hat and mums notes, cards and shopping lists that had all been on my office shelf, close to me eye line for two years, into a memory box lovingly placed at the entrance to my office, (a room I spend more time in than any other room in our house). Time is short, there is a lot to do even in the 80 odd years we are all entitled to live and I feel I have a heck of a lot to get on with.

January is very special for me and I will let you know why in February!

I’d like to thank everyone who has offered support to my friend Owen Reynolds and because of the interest taken in his story on Facebook a funding specialist has been in touch with him and is trying to have his medical funding reviewed so there is a glimmer of hope he will get the medicine that will improve his life quality.………..if this doesn’t work out I will let you know via twitter how we can help. I saw him on Christmas day and even though he isn’t at all well he is an incredible fighter and he thanked everyone personally for the support they have shown. THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN.

Now I’m off to study THE CHANGELING……………never thought I’d be saying that! The thought of playing THE PACKT live again is both exhilarating and terrifying! More dates are to be announced along with autumn dates. The only thing holding the announcement back is everyone disappeared for Christmas!!!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND MAY 2012 BE WONDERFUL FOR
US ALL.

BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD

LOVE TOYAH XXXX


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