She is no
longer an angry young woman, but at the age of 51
Toyah Willcox can still be riled.
spark is Nightlifes innocently-intended
last hit single came in 1985, her most recent top
10 album in 1982.
she ever feel frustrated that her recent work is
less widely known than the music she made in her
not true, she says, with a touch of frost.
My last album went to number six in the
iTunes chart. Im in a band with the drummer
are valid points. The album was last years
In The Court Of The Crimson Queen. The band is
The Humans, in which Toyah appears with REMs
tour drummer Bill Rieflin.
either of these projects has eclipsed the publics
image of Toyah with spiky red hair and
paint-factory explosion make-up is a matter for
certain is that the Cumbrian crowd on Saturday
will be expecting to hear Eighties anthems
like Its A Mystery and Brave New World.
trained as an actress and has played many parts
in tandem with her pop career. Ask if the angry
young woman was really her or just another role
and the answer is unequivocal.
was me. In those days there was a scarcity of
women in the profession. They had to fit a
certain mould, a very feminine, sexualised mould.
were much more tomboyish. [We being
Toyah and people like Hazel OConnor and
was a bit of bravado. We paved the way for women
to be musicians, not sex objects. Women could
come into music because they had something to
lot of people didnt like that. But within
the first year virtually everyone of my age was
adopting that look and being very rebellious.
Which means it wasnt rebellious any more.
Thats what happens. The counter-culture
becomes part of the mainstream.
have changed radically. Its great to see
people like PJ Harvey, Lily Allen and Beth Ditto.
music no longer frightens parents. These days
families flock to Here and Now gigs, which Toyah
has been playing for 10 years.
great fun, she says. Its a good
festival for performers. They bring their
families. Its mayhem, but its fun.
music is all about the celebration of the
Eighties. So many generations are into that
music. The audiences are getting younger. It kind
of gives the songs a completely new meaning.
we wrote these songs none of us meant to get
older and get married. We didnt change but
acting roles have reflected this. She burst into
view in Derek Jarmans 1977 film Jubilee and
in 1979s Quadrophenia. Since then she has
been strikingly versatile, appearing in Minder
and Shakespeare, presenting Good Sex Guide Late
and Songs of Praise.
her best-known role has been the opening
voiceover for Teletubbies. No one knew how
successful that would be, she says. How
many millions, or billions, of people have heard
that? I was only in the studio for about 20
lives in Worcestershire with her husband Robert
Fripp, of King Crimson. She will return to
Cumbria in the autumn.
Friday, October 23 she appears at Carlisles
Sands Centre alongside Steve Steinman in rock
musical Vampires Rock.
very much like Here and Now, in that its a
celebration of music that affects peoples
lives. Its all classic rock. The audience
love it from the opening song to the end. Its
also very funny. There are singers and dancers
and a band. My songs include Live and Let Die and
Rock is one of Toyahs many projects. She
has just returned from the US where she was
writing with The Humans. In October she will
appear in Casualty and in a British romcom called
Three To Tango.
never been busier, she says. Its
always hard work. People who are successful are
successful because they work hard. Things dont
fall in your lap.