Madonna has just released a new single, Medellin, her first for four years, along with details of her forthcoming new studio album, Madame X, to be released on 14th June.

Some scoff at Madonna - a globally successful icon, in the 37th year of her career, who was a champion of gay rights and anti-homophobia (in its many odious forms) long before it became fashionable - but I've always been a fan - Since being one of the few who bought the first release of Lucky Star in 1983. In Boots, Paisley High St., upstairs at the record section (just for anyone obsessed with details ;))

We need her more than ever in the current abhorrent political climate. And that's something Madonna has always been, political, and not afarid or unwilling to share her views and opinions, no matter what. It's always refreshing when someone says something because they believe in it, rather than to get a like or some followers or sales from it.

Madonna is someone who has always been in complete control of her career and image. She has never let her age define her either - something a true artist should never do - despite being constantly subjected to the most ridiculous, shameless ageism. From gutless trolls and keyboard warriors who seemingly don't have plans to get older. Ageism truly is the most ridiculous form of hate and prejudice.

Although, in these social media times, she has never really been "away" - Welcome back Madonna. I bet she has fun laughing at her haters and the online media trolls. It's essentially all they are worthy of.
 
 
One year ago today my beautiful Smokie died. What a terrible day that was. Miss him every day.
 
 
This week I've been listening to...

Strawberry Switchblade (their 1985 album is a true pop treasure), The Blue Nile (A Walk Across The Rooftops from 1984, just wonderful), The Beastie Boys (Watching Star Trek and just had to dig out Sabotage), Toyah (Dance In The Hurricane...) and Shakespears Sister...

"Life is strange thing, just when you think you learned how to use it, it's gone..."

Lyrical genius from Siobhan Fahey on Hello (Turn Your Radio On).
 
 
So my favourite pop star and childhood/teen years idol, an artist I've been a fan of right through my adult life - and when I say "fan" I mean of her career, not private life - releases a reimagined version of the album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen today. Wishing her, and Simon Darlow - the album's co-creator - every success with a project that appears to be incredibly important to her and close to her heart.
 
 
The utterly legendary Fawlty Towers has just, yet again, been voted the greatest British sitcom of all time. Of course all of these polls and critic choice lists are subjective and always cause great debate. But let's be honest, Fawlty Towers is a two-series work of genius. OK, there are one or two scenes that are a bit near the knuckle these days but it deserves the recognition it still gets 40 years after the second, and final, series aired.
 
 
Still working on the fanzines. Almost complete, slightly ahead of schedule.

At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, I am really happy with the fanzines - as a collection I think they showcase an artist whose visual imagery is unrivalled and I doubt will ever be bettered. Aside from the visuals I'm happy with some of the features in some of the fanzines too. Of course there are some glitches and things I'd change in some of the issues if I could but that aside...

 
One to file under "peculiar" - Having a chat with one of my longtime friends from the US the other day. Have known him for over 20 years and he is the least paranoid person in the universe, as opposite to a conspiracy theorist type as it's possible to be, and yet he mentioned one of the strangest things when I asked what the general atmosphere in America was like at the moment: "Tr*mp and his people are monitoring everything right now, some people are scared to say anything online. I don't even want to mention that family in an email".

How. Fucking. Odd. Is. That. In. 2019?

 
This week I've been listening to...

The Wedding Present, The Smiths, Fugazi, Mudhoney, The Sundays, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Trashcan Sinatras, Sonic Youth, The Cure, Depeche Mode and Lana Del Rey - It's Indie Week at Fleming Towers!
 
 
Have managed to do an hour on the treadmill every day over the past week. Good going but it's so tedious, even when listening to music.

Have started work on new issues of my fanzine - it's an unofficial celebration of various eras of Toyah's career for those who don't have a clue what I'm talking about - I get loads of ideas for it while treadmilling and then instantly forget most of them as soon as I step off the road to nowhere!

 
Does anyone else now in their 50s feel the same? Maybe it isn't exclusively a "50's" thing, though I don't recall being remotely as bothered when I was in my 20s or 30s. Almost everything on the news irritates me... Politics and Politicians, fucking Brexit, people protesting about people who protest, the atrocious way vegans are treated by the media (I'd love to write an article on that). Yes all that and more more more... #Irritating
 
Oops! Almost three weeks since that first post. OK, this week I've been mostly... working, sleeping, thinking about trying to get fit, thinking about possibly doing more of the Toyah fanzines (I must be mad) and thinking that I think about things way too much.

Speaking of fanzines. A good friend recently asked me why I created them, why I would give myself so much work. I said "if you can't tell why just by looking at them then me trying to explain to you why would be a waste of my time and yours".

Not strictly related to fanzines, but something I've found over the past 19 years - the more enthusiastic one is the more contempt one receives. Well, in certain circles anyway :) Some people seem to prefer to celebrate the mediocre and mindless rather than the slightly less mediocre and slightly less mindless.

I've always found it particularly easy to differentiate between what is intelligent, respectful coverage of an artist's career and what is crazy fan/stan blind worship. Ho hum, I'm happy that I couldn't give a fuck about other people's agendas. Spite is an ugly trait.

So it's a New Year (ish!), the perfect time to attempt another blog. Bearing in mind this is about my fifth attempt over the years, and none have lasted more than a few weeks.

My cousin Denise died suddenly two weeks ago and I'm still in shock. She wasn't even 50.

 
 
• All opinions expressed in this blog are mine and not in any way linked to the content of toyah.net -- David Alexander Scott Fleming
 

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