HOME PEOPLE: TOYAH'S TREASURES
Fresh from her 80s revival tour, Toyah Willcox
takes Steven Smith around her London home
You bought the house in West London eight years
ago for £117,000. What was it like when you moved in?
An empty shell and a garden that had seen better
days. I couldn't wait to get started on the place. I'm a DIY queen and
don't like builders and decorators getting their hands on my property.
I painted the walls in a warm yellow and bought the floors from the old
Sadlers Wells Theatre, which means stars of the Royal Ballet have actually
danced on my living room floor! The whole place is now worth between £500,000
and £600,000, but I have no plans to sell it.
Why did you choose Chiswick?
Fate! It used to be a record company office.
The owner ran into financial difficulties and needed cash quickly. I had
the `readies' at the time so, as luck would have it, here I am.
You have other homes, too, but where?
I have a home in San Francisco which I share
with my husband, Robert Fripp, who's a rock musician. We're a very close
couple but we live apart and can go months without seeing each other. It
works so well because we give each other our own space. I have another
couple of homes in Worcester. I call one the office, the other my country
retreat. I also plan to buy a property in Corfu because I love it there,
it's so beautiful. It'll be nice for my parents to use it during their
We hear you had the place Feng Shui'd?
Yes, I did. Feng Shui is a Chinese art. The basis
is living in harmony with our surroundings. The first thing I had to do
was remove any cacti from the house as they give off bad energy. They're
great outside as they protect the home. I also had to re-paint the black
spiral staircase blue as black can cause chaos in the home. Any furniture
with sharp edges had to go, too.
How do you relax at home?
I have a beautiful little garden filled with
Buddhas and plants. I love to spend time gardening and relaxing. Indoors,
I like to read, particularly biographies. I also love to do my aerobics
at home - it's more private than going to the gym and I can choose my own
music. I work out to Madonna,
the Chemical Brothers and Fat Boy Slim. I watch
TV, especially fly-on- the-wall documentaries. Louis Theroux is great,
he came on tour with us. He wanted us to be a whole pile of washed out
80s icons, suffering from depression and alcoholism. When he found that
most of us were successful business people he left after three days, never
Where do your knick-knacks come from?
I did BBC's Holiday Programme for a year and
collected bits in the Far East. The Buddhas come from Thailand, Malaysia,
all over. I'm a Buddhist myself, more of a lapsed one, although I am very
At 44, how do you manage to keep in such great
I've never gone down the pop star drink and drugs
route - in fact I gave up drinking altogether four years ago as it made
me irrational and emotional. I've also given up dairy products and cut
my calories down to 1,500 a day. We don't need to eat as much as we get
older and excess turns into fat. I can't tell you how good I feel.
You're touring in Calamity Jane. What made
you do it?
The theatre is my first love. I was an actress
at the National Theatre when I was 18 and I've been waiting to play Calamity
all my life. I've learnt to use a whip, a lassoo, even a gun. The cast
is full of great youngsters who treat me like a dame of the theatre, which
makes me laugh because I still feel 18. I even have Gwyneth Paltrow's bodyguard
looking after me. There's talk of taking the show to Broadway, which I
Willcox's favourite things -
This is the focal point in my garden. I saw it
in a garden centre and the owners told me that, if I could lift it, I could
have it. I was back an hour later with three guys.
GLITTER ROLLER SKATES
I wore these when I played Puck in Midsummer
Night's Dream at Regent's Park Theatre. Puck is meant to fly, but in this
modern version I had roller skates and a skateboard.
This is great - a fan sent it to me and I love
it as it reminds me of all the wacky hairdos I had back in the 80s. It
could take days of preparation, with all the hair pieces.
It was 1981, and I was on my way to record Top
Of The Pops as It's A Mystery was a hit. On the way through Harrow, I saw
this statue of Pan, the god of music, in a shop window and I made them
stop the car. I bought it for £20 and took it to Top Of The Pops
CALAMITY JANE PICTURE
I look so much like my good mate Julie Peasgood
in this picture and I just love the fact I'm doing the show.
27th October 2002