Willcox answers your questions. Mike Stand sorts
through the thousands of postcards and sets the
scene. Paul Slattery clicks away.
flaming cockatoo crest of yellow and red hair
retouched that morning, the product of four
different shades of dye subtly mixed and applied
by her own ingenious hand. Eyes to match. Well,
not in colour, but in their blazing liveliness.
Make-up aflame. Gaudy Samurai tunic (courtesy
Melissa Caplan). You couldn't mistake Toyah for
the cleaning lady - nor for the girl next door.
She sits in her publicist's office overlooking
sombre Southwark Cathedral and the dead skeleton
of an impending office block. She's plainly
impressed by the mighty pile of questions Smash
Hits readers sent in and my feeling is that if
she doesn't answer them all she'll eat them -
they make her feel so good.
Q: How, what, where, etc.. did your
parents manage to give you such an incredible,
fantastic, tailor-made star's name?
(Sally Bodi, Carshalton)
A: My parents totally deny any memory of where
they got the name from, but there is a town in
Texas called Toyah. In Red Indian language it
means 'water'. Also the neighbouring town is
called Wilcox, so that must be where my mum got
it from - it was definitely her who named me.
Q: What was your school nickname?
(Sarah Fosdike, Ipswich)
A: I had a lot. When I was ten it was 'Barrel'
because I was very fat. Then it became 'Toilet'
when I was about 14, not only because it sounds
like Toyah but I was always hiding in the toilets
during lesson times, having a smoke or something.
And then I had a best friend called Trisha and
she was very thin and I was very fat and we were
known as 'Stick 'N The Mud' - I was The Mud.
Q: What do your parents think of what
you're doing now?
(Peter Campbell, Wishaw)
A: My parents are my greatest fans, but when I
first said I was going to move to London and
become an actress and a singer they tried to
discourage it because it's such an insecure
profession. Although my dad gave up on telling me
what to do when I was about 12 and just said
"Let her get on with it". My mother
still nags me about the way I look - only now
it's because my hair's yellow and she preferred
the red I used to have.
Whereas when I was younger she nagged me about
"destroying" my hair. So the
viewpoint's changed completely. Well, bleaching
your hair isn't good for it. You have to put the
life back in so I overcondition it. It's not
something I'd advise kids to try themselves.
Q: What was your favourite TV programme
when you were younger?
(Nichola McKenna, London)
A: The Munsters (an American comic-horror series)
Q: Is it true you had alcohol poisoning
at the age of eight?
(Margaret Wotton, Plymouth)
A: Yeah. I blame that on my brother and sister
who have a very warped sense of humour. We were
in Majorca at a barbecue where there was this
very nice red liquid to drink - which was
sangria, quite a deadly thing - and they kept
filling my glass up. I was slowly sinking under
the table. I remember desperately wanting to go
to the toilet, but I couldn't move. I was ill for
about a week after that. They reckoned I'd had
six bottles of sangria. The pain in my stomach
I'll never forget.
Q: Is it true you trained with John
Currie and you wanted to be a skater like him?
(William Scott, Morpeth)
A: I didn't actually train with John Currie. We
had the same trainer at Solihull ice rink. I
started when I was nine and I became very serious
about it. I'd go in the mornings before school
and then again in the evenings - up to six hours
a day. Then when I saw Currie winning the
Olympics I thought "God, I know that
man". I'd had a mad crush on him when he was
younger, he was so beautiful.
When I was 12 I had an operation to straighten my
toes and it meant I couldn't skate again because
I couldn't put my foot in a tight boot. I wasn't
professionally-minded though and I didn't mind
giving it up.
Q: Did you ever predict to your
schoolmates that you would be a star at such a
young age? If so what was their reaction?
(Alan Sharkey, Huyton)
A: I didn't so much predict as tell them the most
abominable lies. I remember once I had the whole
school thinking I'd be leaving at the end of the
week because I'd just been cast in a new musical
with Julie Andrews. I'd get bored and invent
these stories and believe them myself sometimes!
End of the week I got a load of presents off my
friends and then on the Monday there I was again
saying I'd decided not to do it after all.
Q: Is it a disadvantage being so small?
(Helen Langford, Telford)
A: The only time I dislike being small is when I
see lovely women with great long legs and I think
"Oh wow, I wish I was like that". And
when your fans meet you and go "Oooh aren't
you little!" as if it's something dreadful.
Otherwise I don't think about it, though it's
true I am verging on the very small - four foot
Q: If people say unkind things about your
appearance what are your true feelings?
(Alan Taylor, Wolverhampton)
A: If the Press say it I won't read it because
it'll put me in a bad mood for the rest of the
day. But when people in the street laugh at the
way I look I just stick my nose up in the air and
walk on as though I'm better than them - which
annoys them. It's much better than turning round
and swearing and looking hurt.
Q: If you were offered money to pose nude
in a men's magazine what would you do?
(I. Glasgow, Chesterfield)
A: Laugh (laughs). Get a stand-in to do it with
my wig on. I just haven't got the physique to
pull it off. Not only that, it's just not me. I'm
Q: No offence meant, but how did you come
to have your lisp? Were you born with it or did
you have an accident, because I think it's
brilliant like your voice.
(Nick Dudley, Stockport)
A: (Cackles) I was born with it. I think I've got
a very long tongue and big front teeth and they
keep clashing when I say the letter 's'. I have
actually had elocution lessons to try to get rid
of it because when I was at school my parents
were very worried about it. It was very bad then
and I stuttered too - no-one could understand a
word I was saying. Then it wasn't until two years
ago when a reporter said I had a lisp that anyone
ales bothered to mention it. I thought I'd got
rid of it... but it doesn't bother me.
Q: How much do you earn a month and do
you spend it mostly on clothes?
(Julia Williams, Brassington)
A: I don't get money the way most people do. I
get a basic wage, which is fifty quid cash per
week, then if I need clothes for costumes or
photo sessions I ring up the record company and
say "Please can I have some money" -
but that has to be paid back through record
On average how much does one of Melissa Caplan's
outfits cost you?
(P. Johnson, Herts)
A: The same as anything else in the shop. They're
always under a hundred quid which for nowadays is
Q: Your records make my goldfish,
Quasimodo, blow bubbles. Do you think this is
good or bad. I think he's trying to sing along.
(Louanne Martin, Co. Down)
A: It's good because it proves he's alive. If he
can sing along I think she's going to make a
Q: Is it true that most of your early
lyrics were inspired by dreams and nightmares?
(David Brown, Barking)
A: Yes, but also horror films and books of horror
stories and science fiction. That's the main
thing: the fear of death.
Q: In some of your songs why do you
choose to write about the Egyptians?
(Darren Hill, Stoke)
A: I don't think I've ever have written about
them. I do love the costumes they used to wear. I
think they were one of the first races to develop
and really grand style - and technically they
were a super-race. Their strength, their beliefs,
building the pyramids - it's a great mystery. I
just think they were a very beautiful race of
Q: You've said that when you were younger
and you got in a state about something things in
your room would move around of their own accord.
Is it still happening and how do you account for
(Alison Cornell, Sutton)
A: It isn't still happening. It was when I was in
my early teens and I was very distressed about a
death, the first time I'd ever experienced that
loss. I was very unhappy and confused and I do
believe that people can channel their energies of
anger into something more positive - such as
moving objects. It's just like... turning me into
Q: Does your belly-button stick out?
(Nicky Salmon, Hereford)
Q: I read that you were going to get
married to your bodyguard Tom Taylor. Is this
(L & R Gane, Swindon)
A: I don't believe marriage is important. Tom and
I are very close, but marriage is like slipping
handcuffs on each other and I don't think that's
necessary. It's the feelings between you that
count. If I get married it will be in my own time
and the Press will never know about it.
Q: If you had any children what would you
(Stephanie Burke, Barnsley)
Q: Is it true there is friction between
you and Adam Ant?
(Diane Magee, Sale)
A: Um, there was. In "Jubilee" we fell
out over a band we'd formed, an all-girl group,
with me and Adam's wife Eve. He wrote some tunes
with me doing the words and we just fell out. But
I think Adam is the sort of person who if he has
an argument with someone doesn't forget about it
easily. I don't feel anything bad towards Adam
whatsoever. I think it's just a clash of egos.
That does happen.
Q: Is it true that you really hate Hazel
O'Connor? If so, why?
(Donna Eales, Hants)
A: It's not true. I was probably quite jealous of
her when she got the part in "Breaking
Glass" (Toyah auditioned for it too). I
think in a way we are similar - if I hear me
talking on the radio I often think it's her - but
that's in our personalities, not in our work.
I've met her a few times and she's a very
Q: What would you do if your chip pan
(Raymond Sears, Nottingham)
A: My answer to that is I'm not allowed to eat
fried food so I don't have a chip pan.
Q: Why on January 26 this year didn't you
turn up to do a gig at Leeds University?
(Tracy Pullen, Tadcaster)
A: We were never booked. I know that no dates of
that tour were cancelled so some promoter must
have got it wrong.
Q: I've been a devoted Toyah fan for over
two years. We. the original fans, have stuck by
you but have you forgotten us and are you instead
trying to appeal to the people who will forget
you next week?
(Joanne Lee, Royston)
A: No, not at all. When you make singles they've
got to appeal to a larger market to be important.
I want to survive. I have to make a living. I
save what I call true Toyah for the albums when
you can be more adventurous. I think it's not a
matter of forgetting anyone. It's remembering
that there are more people in Britain than the
original Toyah fans. And I say that with all due
respect because I keep in touch with them by
writing to them personally.
Q: Who looks after your rabbit while
you're on tour?
(Darren Raven, Cumbria)
A: My mother looks after him the whole time
because even when I'm not on tour I'm never at
home. I love him dearly. Sometimes I only visit
my parents to see my rabbit!
Q: Is he called Fatso?
(Brian Bennett, Liverpool)
A: I call him Fatso. My mother calls him Samuel.
But his original name is Iggy because he was
given to me for my birthday when I was 20 by one
of Iggy Pop's roadies.
Q: Have you got any habits which tend to
annoy people or disgust them, apart from eating
baby food off a knife?
(Andrew Fletcher, Stoke)
A: I haven't eaten baby food off a knife for
ages. Habits... I can't keep still. When I'm in
meetings with my management or record company I
always pace up and down the room and that makes
people feel uneasy. Sometimes I won't shut up.
And I'm the sort of person who squirts soda
syphons at people.
Q: Is it true that you suffered from a
disease called dyslexia and were unable to learn
how to read and write until you left school?
(Joe Wood, Bedworth)
A: I don't think dyslexia is a disease . With me
I called it social dyslexia - I just didn't want
to learn. I wasn't interested and therefore my
way of rebellion against the school was not to
learn a thing. I could read and write when I left
school, but not really that well.
Q: Does growing old frighten you?
(David Dennis, Tunbridge Wells)
A: Not growing old, growing senile worries me a
bit. Losing control of my mind.
Q: Where do you get all your energy from?
(James McGhee, Leeds)
A: It doesn't come from taking lots of pills I
can assure you. I'm a very nervous person believe
it or not. I'm very concerned about my audiences
and I always feel guilty if I ever think I've
given a bad show. So I build myself up so much
before performing that all my nerves turn into
Q: Do you still practice the limbo?
(Robert Stuart, Doncaster)
A: No, that's something I used to do when my
brother and sister got me drunk.
Q: Are you as tough as you say you are?
(Bernard O'Brien, Waterford)
A: I don't think I've ever said I'm tough. I'm
physically stronger than most women of my age and
size, but that's because I've worked on it.
Emotionally I'm hurt by things people say. I just
stick up for myself.
Q: Can I have my plastic spoons back
(Peter Allen, Pete's Cafe, Leicester)
A: Who? ... where does he come from? Leicester?
I'm sorry, I don't remember nicking your plastic
spoons but I bet it was a guy called Charlie
Francis who did it, not me. He was our old bass
player and he was very fond of plastic spoons.
Q: Will you marry me?
(Stephen McKenna, Blackburn)
A: No, I want to marry someone I know.
Hits Magazine, September 1981