Oppressed by the ordinary - and her own ordinariness
- Toyah, bless her, keeps on declaring that the extraordinary exists.
Fundamentally good natured, completely non-cranky, a conformist in the
sweetest kind of way, the lady Hayot forces upon herself an unlikely confused
romantic pessimism "The most merciful thing in the world", she tries to
say, "is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."
All her songs - and they bleed into the world
with formidable consistency - are based on the basic lore or legend that
this world was inhabited at one time by another race who in practising
black magic lost their foothold and were expelled, yet live on outside,
ever ready to take possession of this earth again. Those of you who recognise
the saggy skin of HP Lovecraft hanging around Toyah's waist are of course
correct: Toyah bursts open and collapses in on herself in a terribly vain
attempt to mimic Lovecraft's "guerrilla warfare against civilisation and
materialism". Life, she wants so much for everyone to believe, is for her
a hideous thing - when really she's truly the content cat.
At times during 'The Changeling' it seems as if
Toyah is cultivating a defiant self mockery, as if she is totally aware
of her own delightful phoniness - there are glimpses of someone at work
setting themselves up as a perverse pop-art object and taking a surrealist
delight in watching people's over-serious response to it. Most of the time,
though, it's obvious that Toyah is a daft, happy young girl who is beginning
to seriously believe that she has a meaning all of her own - 'the world
can be transformed by play acting and ideals.'
Whichever way - cheeky and knowing or simple-minded
and desperately over-ambitious - 'The Changeling' by Toyah reaches the
type of irresistibility her previous LPs never did: of the second rate
new pop entertainers, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Classix Noveaux, it
is Toyah that is the most likeable, because her arrogance is beautifully
stated and maintained, never limp. The best song on the record, 'Run Wild,
Run Free', is classic Toyah: massively over compensating, done in a way
Bauhaus wouldn't know how, and featuring a type of arrogance that doesn't
cause titters as it usually does but a strange dizziness: "I'm devious
/ I'm small / I'm impeccable / I'm a warrior / I'm immaculate / I'm imperial
/ I'm unique / I'm inscrutable / I'm gonna break free."
Now that's lovely. I could almost believe her.
12th June 1982