|Here to have fun
Back in the mid-1990s I interviewed Toyah as she
changed in her trailer after a gig in Gateshead. It was surreal; a face-to-face
with a former pop icon who is semi-naked as you try to ask serious questions.
Toyah does not remember the interview - it's ingrained
on my memory - but she does remember the concert, and is looking forward
to her return trip to Tyneside tonight.
She forms part of the Here and Now tour at Newcastle's
Telewest Arena, alongside the likes of Belinda Carlisle, Howard Jones,
ABC, Go West and three of the lads from Spandau Ballet.
"I don't think there's anything sad about it,"
says a fully-clothed Toyah. "It's a hits tour; each of us is only on stage
for a certain amount of time, so we all do the songs we're best known for.
"It's a celebration of that period of time. So
I'll be doing It's a Mystery, Thunder in the Mountains, things like that."
But will she be dressed like the wild woman of
pop she once was?
"I'm going to go for it, but it's 2002 and fashions
have moved on," she says. "I'm working with Tim Tolkien and he's designed
some great armour pieces for me to wear. But it's very subtle. I'm not
coming on stage dressed as a warrior princess or anything like that."
"I think it's going to be great. We've all grown
older together and everyone who's there on the night, be it on stage or
in the audience, will be there to enjoy themselves. It'll be a great feeling."
Toyah is as well known these days for her acting
and presenting work as for her singing.
"I never really made plans," she says. "You never
know what's in front of you. You have a path and you follow it.
"I never really looked beyond the age of 30. So
things came with a bit of a jolt, the acting, the TV presenting. But it
made it all the more exciting in retrospect.
"I like challenges and diversity. I really do
enjoy diversity in my life. I've never had to do anything I find mundane
or boring. I only ever pick things I really want to do."
So what next for the singing star? "Right after
the tour I'll be working on the musical Calamity Jane, which will also
be going on tour.
"It's an absolutely massive musical and I'm busy
studying the music. It's going to be terrific. We open in September and
it goes right through to April, so no doubt we'll be coming to Newcastle
and then into the West End.
"The scary thing for me is that 90 per cent of
the show is me."
That is something of a commitment, but while Toyah
is happy to tour with a musical, she is not so keen to rekindle her pop
career to any great extent beyond Here and Now.
"I'm too old to be spending 12 hours a day travelling
and then four hours in the dressing room just to be on stage for an hour.
I've outgrown that," she declares.
"But my voice has never been better. I'm not giving
up the wonderful life I have now to sit in a dressing room for four hours
at a time. I'm in control of my life. I don't want anyone else to be."
Newcastly Evening Chronicle
24th April 2002