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