|From sexy lisps to the book lists
She has gone from possessing the sexiest lisp
in pop to presenting Songs of Praise. During her colourful days as a punky
priestess, she rocked the rafters of the Oxford Apollo as she stamped around
the stage in all her raging glory, dressed like the sort of warrior woman
your mother warned you about, writes George Frew.
Her gigs would attract fans of all sorts, from
university colleges to residents of the Cowley Road.
Her more thoughtful fans could also catch her
appearing at the Oxford Playhouse, in roles like that of the flighty Constanza
in Schaeffer's Amadeus.
She made a highly effective Peter Pan in pantomime
Back then, Toyah Willcox had a bit of a reputation
for duffing up journalists who wrote things about her that she didn't like
but then, she was always capable of giving herself a hard time.
During a pop career that involved 13 top 40 singles
and 15 albums, she expressed the hope that one day, she might actually
produce something she liked.
And while she was appearing in plays likeThe Tempest
and movies such as Quadrophenia and regularly being voted 'Sexiest This,
That Or The Other,' Toyah would dismiss herself as "a midget" (she clocks
in at 4ft 11ins).
She comes from the Midlands and went to the sort
of posh school that has the words 'Young Ladies' in its name, where she
failed most of her 'O' Levels, music excepted.
All this and more can be found between the covers
of her autobiography, Living Out Loud, which she was busy signing copies
of last night at Oxford's Borders bookshop.
Toyah's been married to rock guitarist Robert
Fripp for the past 15 years. At 42, she seems more comfortable in her own
skin and sounds like she wouldn't trade her new career as a TV presenter
for a pop comeback if you offered her a pile of tenners the height of Carfax
She admits: "Doing book signings can be embarrassing,
though you get four people turn up at lunchtimes and 400 in the evening,"
You're as likely to catch Toyah on the telly presenting
The Holiday Programme as the aforementioned Songs of Praise.
She lists her current hobby as "feminist theology"
and has one main regret: "I wish I'd been a little wilder when I was younger
it would have made me more emotionally independent."
This is Oxfordshire
8th February 2001