Toyah Willcox answers your questions. Mike Stand sorts through the thousands of postcards and sets the scene. Paul Slattery clicks away.

Toyah: 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 eleven.

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 too modest.

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 sales.

Q: 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 very good.

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 fortune.

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 people.

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 it?
(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 a photograph.

Q: Does your belly-button stick out?
(Nicky Salmon, Hereford)
A: No

Q: I read that you were going to get married to your bodyguard Tom Taylor. Is this true?
(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 call them?
(Stephanie Burke, Barnsley)
A: Prats

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 charming person.

Q: What would you do if your chip pan caught fire?
(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 energy.

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 please?
(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.

Smash Hits Magazine, September 1981