Dreamscape: A Toyah Willcox Fansite [www.toyah.net] : somewhere in the distance : archived Toyah news for the month of Aug 2001

 
  

29 August : The Shagaround
The Brighton run of The Shagaround opens next Monday and runs through to the following Saturday (September 3 - 8). This looks like being the final shows, at least for the time being. Over the last four months Toyah has played Beth in Southampton, Croydon and London.
29 August : New Book?
Amazon and BOL are advertising a new book called 'The Art Of Dexter Brown' by Robert Edwards & Toyah Willcox. Published by the Haynes Group on 6 September, costing a  whopping 35.00.
29 August : Mermaid Days Website
Mermaid Days, the excellent Toyah website created by longtime Toyah fan Kevin Tucker, has a new enter page. The site as you all know is dedicated to Toyah and the Angels & Demons at The Mermaid Theatre back in 1983. This is when Toyah starred in Trafford Tanzi and also recorded one of her best albums 'Love Is The Law'. Go see.


  

24 August : Bad Hair Days
Bad Hair Days : Channel 4
Wednesday 5th September : 9.00pm

Toyah makes yet another TV appearance on this Channel 4 show early next month. Surely they can't be referring to Toyah with that title?

The story of hairstyles through the ages and how they serve as a reflection of modern culture's obsession with image. Featuring contributions from Nicky Clarke, Toyah Willcox and Robert Elms, as well as everyday people with a hairy tale to tell
 

24 August : Punk Girl Website
This comprehensive website dedicated to females 'associated' with punk includes a page on Toyah. Nothing too interesting or exciting but there is a picture from 'The Changeling' Tour in 1982, also used on the cover of the 'Warrior Rock' album. Go see.
24 August : Ever Wondered Webpage
Last month Toyah presented half of a show called Ever Wondered on BBC 2 as part of Open University. There is a webpage online with details about the show, quite interesting if you like that kind of thing. That's Toyah or astrology:o)  Go see.
24 August : Liquid News

Apparently Toyah was one of the studio guests on this showbiz news show last night. Liquid News is broadcast four times daily. Twice on BBC Choice, around midnight on BBC 1, and then as part of News 24 in the middle of the night. Lo and behold I managed to miss all four - duh!
 

24 August : Taste CFN
The Taste CFN website have a page on Toyah, which includes a pic and small bio. Toyah presented 40 Whose Recipe Is It Anyway? cookery shows for Taste throughout June and July of this year. Visit their Toyah page here

While on the subject of Whose Recipe, someone emailed me asking about the interview Toyah did connected with the programme. It must be the one from ON/ITV digital's customer magazine. Read it here.


  

22 August : Toyah & Madonna - Seperated @ Birth
With the recent news that Madonna is set to buy Ashcombe House in Dorset, former home of photographer Cecil Beaton, I got to thinking about all the other similarities and coincidences that exist between Toyah and Madonna...

Both of them were born in 1958 (less than three months apart), both are singers and actresses known only by their vaguely 'exotic' christian names. Both write and produce a percentage of their own music and songs, and both of them frequently change/changed their appearance with dramatic images/looks.

That's not all though. Early in their music careers both had drummers in their bands called Steve Bray (a coincidence of course, but still a bit weird). Steve Sidelnyc played drums on some of Toyah's records including the album 'Prostitute' and is currently playing drums around the globe on Madonna's 'Drowned World' Tour.

And finally in the late eighties Toyah was described as Britain's 'Kadonna'. a cross between Kate Bush and Madonna - praise indeed. If anyone can think of other parallels between these two unique women of music, let me know.

22 August : Toyah On Telly Update
It's Your Funeral : Channel 5
Sunday 26th August : 11.00am

Toyah tells Kaye Adams why she wants to be hacked to bits, eaten by vultures and chain Dawn French, Billie Whitelaw and David Bowie to an altar!

See below (15th August News) for details
 

Brum : BBC 1
Saturday 1st September : 7.30am

Brum : BBC 2
Monday 3rd September : 8.10am / 1.00pm

Adventures of a little car called 'Brum', narrated by Toyah.
 

Heaven And Earth Show : BBC 1
Sunday 2nd September : 10.00am

Second instalment of the repeated 'Sacred Spaces', delayed from July/August. In this Toyah and famous fifth Beatle Pete Best visit Abbey Road studios, Pete's sacred space. And yep, four Toyah's troop across the world's most famous zebra crossing.
 


 

Interesting Note : Toyah recorded her 1987 album 'Desire' at Abbey Road studios, though obviously she doesn't mention this while interviewing Pete. The title track was one of the first songs she and Robert Fripp collaborated on, so perhaps Abbey Road is a sacred space to Toyah too. (Or maybe I'm talking utter bile, as usual!).


  

15 August : It's Your Funeral
This show, first broadcast by Channel Five in February of this year, is being repeated on Sunday 26th August at 11am.

Toyah tells how she would like her funeral to be a Tibetan 'sky burial', in which the body is taken to a mountain top, dismembered, pummelled, and then fed to the vultures. Toyah said she would prefer to die before her father or husband, and if she had to be reincarnated she would like to return to earth as a man and "sin forever". 

The funeral ceremony would include David Bowie lighting an eternal flame in her memory, and Billie Whitelaw, Peter Gabriel, Dawn French & others she admires saying goodbye to her. At the altar would be a huge picture of her from 'Brave New World', the image in which she would like to be remembered. 

Elgar's 'Nimrod' would be played and Toyah would like the poem 'I'm Not Gone' read. Those attending would overeat foods from different cultures, get very drunk, think about their funerals and be confused by Toyah's The funeral would end with a 40 piece orchestra belting out  'I Want To Be Free', with anyone who wants to, joining in karaoke style. 
 

15 August : Toyah @ The Theatre
The Shagaround : Soho Theatre, London
Until Saturday 18 August. 

The Shagaround : Brighton, 
3 - 8 September. 

Aladdin : Stockport Plaza, Stockport. 
12 December - 6 January 2002.
Booking details here.

15 August : Yet Another Review of 'The Shagaround'
Yes! Yet another review of The Shagaround, this one from The Evening Standard from around a week ago.

Set in a grotty pub toilet on New Year's Eve, Maggie Nevill's play features a group of women who take a man hostage until he's coughed up the 50 quid he owes the woman he's recently dumped. His name is Matt, but the women call him "the shagaround" because he slept with another woman before he dumped his girlfriend. So starts a play built almost entirely around gags about what utterly pathetic bastards men are. No news there, but a twist comes late on with the revelation of who Matt actually slept with.

The play could easily have been commissioned by SCUM - the Society for Cutting Up Men - and anti-male jokes abound. For example, why are men like Aramis? Answer: they're expensive, they smell and they come in a box. But any idea that this is a balanced view of gender relations doesn't really wash. The devil (Matt) has few of the best lines, and speculations on the state of modern relationships come right out of the problem pages of Cosmopolitan magazine. The dramatic imbalance wouldn't matter if there was a stronger sense of who these women are and how they are related. Each of them talks and behaves as though they're 18-30, but the cast are plainly almost entirely 30-40. Television presenter Toyah Willcox is a case in point, but the fact that she seems to be playing a character about 15 years younger than she is, is the least of her problems. More serious is the fact that her character is a big sister cipher who shows little personality until the melodramatic ending.

There is more substantial characterisations in the form of Sal who is weepily depressed after being dumped by her boyfriend. Elizabeth Berrington turns her into a likeably gawky frump with amoebic self-esteem. But best of all is Diane Parish as the ball-busting black woman who drags Matt into the toilet until he pays his debt. Parish contrasts strutting wit and attitude with emotional vulnerability and self-doubt - so creating a well-rounded human being. Elsewhere, Nevill's writing trades too heavily on toilet humour and flushes an interesting scenario down the pan. (Patrick Marmion)

The Soho run continues until 18 August, then transfers for one week to Brighton (3 - 8 September).

For a more 'substantial' review of The Shagaround (Southampton run) check out Paul Richard's excellent overview here.

Thanks to Rob Cope for sending me this review.


  

11 August : Time Out Interview
Here is the Time Out (July 25 - August 1 2001 issue) interview, which has, understandably, so pissed off Toyah. Nice pic though! 

Toyah Story : The ex-pop star returns to the London stage.

In Toyah Willcox's cuttings, there's a brief interview about her luggage. What sort of suitcase she likes to buy (Antler, if you are interested); how long it takes her to pack ('two minutes'); and the three things she would most like to take ('Brad Pitt, babyoil, and handcuffs'). There are times during my meeting with Willcox, when I wish that I had a similar, straightforward list of 20 questions. Instead, I discover pretty quickly that, with me at any rate, Willcox doesn't do
discussion. The interview runs out of steam in 30 minutes but it feels like hours.

Willcox is currently rehearsing 'The Shagaround', a new play that has already been seen in Southampton and is about to arrive at the Soho Theatre. In the play, a vengeful woman, aided by her mates, drags her ex-boyfriend into a public loo on New's Year Eve. There she locks him in a cubicle with the help of several pairs of tights and demands the return of the 50 he owes her. The women talk freely and frankly about sex and relationships as they wait for Matt to crack. From behind the cubicle door, he too gets the chance to throw in the odd opinion.

Willcox, against type, plays Beth, one of the more sensible members of the group. Willcox describes her as 'dry and restrained' .When she first read the play, she was impressed: 'It's not only funny, it's not only very obvious what it says on the surface, but there are depths there and you can choose to explore those or not. The depths are that women have moved a long, long way and even though emotionally we still get embroiled and entangled in our relationships, we know why and we still choose to do it.' So we can't escape? 'We could, but we choose not to.' Her tone is so curt that another tack seems called for so I move on to the subject of women's loos. But, as a place for confession, they have no appeal for Willcox: 'I've never experienced that conversation in a women's loo. I have that conversation wherever I am. I just think that a play needs a setting and a loo is a perfect setting.' Nor does she share the women's desire for vengeance. 'My attitude to a heartbreaker would be to go out and have a wonderful life without them and ignore them.'

Willcox is emphatic that she is 'not interested in anything to do with the family structure whatsoever. Therefore why would I want to be in a relationship where you have to cook three times a day and answer to where you go in the evening?' Instead, she immerses herself in her work and claims to have no other interests. When she was younger, she somehow
managed to run a career as an actress alongside that of a punk rocker. Since then, she has created a more mellow image as a TV presenter. The contrasts still persist. I get the singer / actress to talk to who has been there and done it all: the photographer gets a demure, made-up woman in a dress. On her website, she proudly announces that she has
presented 83 TV programmes in 31 days, 39 on her favourite subject of alternative medicine for Discovery Health. Punk rocker to daytime TV presenter is quite a stretch, and a calculated one on Willcox's part: 'I would prefer my work to be intelligent and to have something in it that I am genuinely interested in, but I am not snobbish about it. If I was, I would still pretend to be a singer and would be doing that exclusively and the work would narrow and narrow as I got older. 

Presenting has filled a gap. She now wants to move back into the theatre and hopes that there are enough character parts around. In spite of her success as a singer, she feels that her music career probably got in the way of the acting. 'By the time I had my first hit single, I had already worked with George Cukor, Katharine Hepburn, John Mills, Kate Nelligan. I had worked with them all and was being geared up to being a major new starlet. Then , suddenly I had a hit single and I just think, as wonderful as that musical interlude was, boy did it put a big hiccup in what I was probably good at.' I try to suggest that it would be hard to see her potential as an actress under a punk's strong image, but Willcox won't have it: 'I am not going to waste time thinking about that. I don't care what people think.' After grinding to a halt again, I feel it's time to go.

Jane Edwardes

'The Shagaround' opens on Friday at the Soho Theatre. See Off-West End listings. 

Thanks to Chris Limb for sending me this - catch Chris playing bass with the "Gonzo 'Dog Do' Bar Band" at this year's Edinburgh Festival 

Gilded Balloon 13-19 August 1.00am : 0131 226 2151 
Pleasance Dome 21-27 August 1.10am : 0131 556 6550 

Further details at: www.perretandlimb.com There's also Chris's excellent Toyah site www.catmachine.com/tellurian


  

10 August : TW Diary Updated
Toyah's diary entry for August has been added to toyahwillcox.com. Toyah letting off steam about the "good old" British Press and a little more information about next year's arena tour appearances, plus more. Leap to the official site.
10 August : Toyah On Telly
Heaven And Earth Show : Sacred Spaces : BBC 1 - 10.00am
Sunday August 12th / 19th / 26th / September 2nd

NB: I think these have been delayed until September 

Holiday In Style : UK Style : Friday 17th August - 8.00pm

Beyond Medicine : Discovery Health : Monday 20th August
6.00am / 5.30pm / 8.30pm

10 August : The Times Online
The Toyah interview from the end of July is available online at The Times website. Take a look here and see for yourself why Toyah isn't very happy with it (as she says in her diary entry at tw.com).
10 August : Heroes Of Pop - Slade
Toyah popped up a few times last night during this tribute documentary dedicated to 70's Brummy band, Slade. Repeated on BBC 1, this was originally broadcast at Christmas 1999.
10 August : Dotmusic Awards
Dotmusic have launched their annual website awards for 2001. I have entered Dreamscape, which I know has absolutely no chance of winning but any publicity for Toyah & her music can't be bad. Anyone who can be bothered voting for the site can do so here - THANKS!


  

4 August : The Times
Toyah was featured in a one page article in The Times on 31 July. The Shagaround at the Soho Theatre in London was reviewed, and Toyah was interviewed about her marriage, career and attitude to work. "I never turn down anything, however tacky. I am a slut".
4 August : Jubilee
The latest edition of Q Magazine has a small review of the reissued Jubilee on video and DVD.

A gang of women punks called things like Crabs and Chaos run around London killing people because they get bored playing Monopoly, while Elizabeth I and Richard O'Brien follow them, having been transported into the future by an angel. Edgy and shocking in 1977, whatever message director Derek Jarman was trying to convey has been long lost: all that's left is a disturbing realisation of how swiftly punk was reduced to camp posturing. Noting that a pre-fame Toyah resembled Joe C with a posh lisp is mildly interesting, as is a BBC interview with Jarman from 1993.

Label : Second Sight 
VHS Video : 2ND1085 
DVD : 2NDVD3017

4 August : Sacred Spaces
Don't forget there are still another five threads in this series, being reshown each Sunday morning on the Heaven & Earth Show.
4 August : Daily Mail 'The Shagaround' Reviewed
Yesterday's Daily Mail featured a small review and picture of the Soho Theatre production of The Shagaround.

Maggie Nevill's lively new girl-talk play sounds like a retread of Willy Russell's Stags And Hens.

The scene is a livid red ladies' loo in a Southampton pub, where the two timing male villain of the title - 'There's always somebody else; it's back up, innit?' - is taken prisoner by his dumped girlfriend and her chums.

Patrick Sanford's production, first seen at the Nuffield in Southampton, has fine performances from Elizabeth Berrington and Veronica Quilligan, with Toyah Willcox, Diane Parish and Luisa Bradshaw-White making up the vengeful ensemble.

The Soho run continues until 18 August, then transfers for one week to Brighton (3 - 8 September).

For a more 'substantial' review of The Shagaround (Southampton run) check out Paul Richard's excellent overview here.

Thanks to Paul Lomas for the above article.

4 August : All Star Australian Charity Auction
The Australian Animal Lib Organisation's All Star Charity Auction at ebay: The Toyah lot of a signed fanclub picture, 1981 tour scarf and Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! album on vinyl fetched AU$56 (just over 20) and received 16 bids. Not an amazing amount but every little helps