Dreamscape: A Toyah Willcox Fansite [www.toyah.net] : somewhere in the distance : archived Toyah news for the month of March 2004


March 29, 2004: Dreamscape Forum - All over the world! :o)
[ Toyah all over the world! ]A big thanks to everyone who has visited, joined and posted a message or two at, the Dreamscape Forum over the past couple of weeks. So far it's going well.

If you haven't yet paid a visit yet please take a look as there are some interesting topics and polls just waiting for you to read or even contribute to.

Those include a Sunday All Over The World related thread, started by forum member Owen Keenan. Owen would appreciate it if anyone would take a minute to add their support or thoughts on a new SAOTW CD.

He says: "If it drums up enough responses I may even approach the Toyah/Fripp/DGM people myself." 

So, help him out, please. You can go directly to the thread by clicking the picture of Toyah.

March 29, 2004: 'NOTW Sunday' - Home Groans
[ NOTW 'Sunday' - 14th March 04 ]The 'News Of The World' SUNDAY magazine ran an article which included Toyah a couple of weekends ago. I don't want to dredge up all that asylum-seeker's twaddle from a couple of years ago (we know Toyah's feelings about why she was part of the protest anyway) but did think some of you may like to see this. If only because the magazine used the luverly piccie of Toyah with the swan :)

Home Groans - Not in my landscaped backyard!
Celebs are an easygoing bunch - until someone dares threaten their peaceful lives.

Toyah Willcox, ex-punk and I'm A Celebrity star, has clearly still got a rebellious streak. But rather than protest against Third World debt or globalization, Toyah took to the streets to complain about plans to build a hostel for asylum seekers in the Worcestershire village of Throckmorton. Toyah, who owns several properties nearby, lisped: "To dump all these people in the middle of nowhere is crazy. They need to be put in urban areas where their needs can be supported." How thoughtful!

Thanks to Alec Kelly.

March 29, 2004: Toyah newsy update on previous stories!
Well, unfortunately (!!) Toyah wasn't chosen to play the first female Time Lord for the new series of Doctor Who. What on earth were the BBC thinking? I suppose Christopher Eccleston is a fairly good choice instead :)

There's still hope, though, for Toyah to play the 9th Doctor's trusty assistant. I for one think she would be excellent time travelling the earth, and galaxies beyond, righting wrongs with Dr Eccleston. At present the rumours are that Billie Piper is favourite for the new assistant. In a word - Nooooooo!

[ Rainbow/Universe ]Recently received a reply from Cherry Red about the possibilty of them releasing At The Rainbow and/or Good Morning Universe on DVD. The company were looking for suggestions for future music DVD releases and reissues.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, they say they have no plans to release either of these Toyah concerts in the near, or not so near, future. 

Last year the BBC gave a similar reply, so it now looks highly unlikely these will ever be officially released on DVD.

March 24, 2004: Dreamscape's mini-survey - Results
[ Mini-survey ]Thanks to everyone who took the time, over the past few weeks, to respond to the mini-survey. 

There certainly were some interesting choices and comments amongst the 157 emails I received. Of course these results aren't conclusive (or exhaustive, or any other "ive" I can think of!), just the opinions of  157 online Toyah fans...

[ Sheep Farming / The Changeling ]Favourite Toyah Album: 1. Sheep Farming In Barnet (20%), 2. The Changeling (17%), 3. The Blue Meaning (15%), 4. Love Is The Law (14%), 5. Prostitute (12%), 6. Anthem (10%), 7. Ophelia's Shadow (8%), 8. Velvet Lined Shell (2%), =9. Desire (1%), =9. Take The Leap (1%).

Absolutely no votes for 'Minx' (believe it or not) or 'Dreamchild'. A couple of votes for 'Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!' and 'Mayhem' weren't included as, of course, they aren't "studio" albums. And, dumbo here, made the mistake of saying there were 13 studio albums when there are only 12 - Sorry!

[ Brave New World / Bird In Flight ]Favourite Toyah Song: =1. Brave New World, =1. Bird In Flight, =1. Angel & Me, 4. Neon Womb, 5. Danced, 6. Ieya, 7. Jungles Of Jupiter, 8. Rebel Run, 9. Elusive Stranger, 10. Blue Meanings, 11. Race Through Space, 12. Pop Star, 13. Falling To Earth, 14. Furious Futures, 15. Our Movie, 16. Little Tears Of Love.

Plus one vote apiece for the following: The Shaman Says, Troublesome Thing, The Packt, Rebel Of Love, Clapham Junction, Run Wild Run Free, America For Beginners, I Explode, You're A Miracle, Laughing With The Fools, Time Is Ours, She, Secret Love, Dreamscape, Brilliant Day, Ghosts, We Are, Mein Herr, I Am, The Vow, Mother, Space Between The Sounds, Love Me, Warrior Rock, Mummies, Castaways, Take What You Will, Computer, Angels & Demons, I Want To Be Free, Martian Cowboy.

No one plumped for  'It's A Mystery', Toyah's most famous song. Or, 'Victims Of the Riddle', 'Thunder In The Mountains', 'Good Morning Universe', 'Be Proud Be Loud (Be Heard)...

Thanks again to everyone who took part :)

March 24, 2004: '25 Years Of Smash Hits'
[ 25 Years of Smash Hits ]First shown on Channel 4 last April, 25 Years Of Smash Hits is being repeated this Saturday night.

Toyah appears briefly in the 100 minute documentary that charts the history of the UK's most famous pop magazine.

Although her interview is very short, Toyah's 'Brave New World' image is littered throughout this interesting programme. It is used, Andy Warhol style, on the opening credits (both alone and interspersed with The Jam, Adam Ant, and The Police) and first ad break. The actual magazine cover from 1982, with Toyah, pictured is shown a couple of times too, including an amazing shot near the end of the documentary (see below). 

Toyah commented: "I wrote the lyrics to my songs by the time I was 12. So the lyrics were about school rebellion, they were about family rebellion. I think I hit it off with the Smash Hits readers because  Iwas one of the first people that said, 'I'm sorry but I ain't female. I'm a human being, I'm a character, I'm a person'. I think I appealed to a lot of young girls and a lot of young boys that saw me as the spirit of rebellion.

[ Smash Hits - 1982 ]Former editor of 'Smash Hits' Mark Ellen said: "Toyah was just a really exceptional pop star. She made these fantastic videos, usually just Toyah making an internationally recognised hand gesture at her parents. She would put more effort, I swear to God, into having her face painted with little, tiny, seagulls, and having her hair teased up into a great cascade of purple hair extensions, than she probably put into making her records. And  I think she had her priorities right because if you put Toyah on the cover of the magazine it stood out from everything else!" 

25 Years Of Smash Hits : Channel 4 - Saturday 27th March : 10.00pm

Click either picture to see a page of screen caps from this docu in the Dreamscape Captured section.

March 20, 2004: Two Tours and a Novel (or two)!
[ Toyah 04 ]As Toyah has now mentioned (in the BBC Essex 'Ask Toyah' feature - see below) her '04 plans, I guess there's no harm in mentioning the, previously "secret" (well the tour anyway), future happenings here.

• The one-woman-show that Toyah is currently putting together has the working title of 'Chain Reaction'. Previews of the show will hopefully take place in June/July this year. Further info on this can be found at www.toyahwillcox.com.

• Toyah's long-awaited novel, due out around Christmas '04, will be called 'We have Angels Here'.

• She has also started work on a second novel. Toyah says: "I've started a second novel which people have shown more interest in, which might pip Angels at the post. I'm not saying what that's about because it's quite controversial and will cause an absolute stir."

• Toyah may be taking part in another '80s "nostalgia" tour of the UK. There is no confirmation on whether this will actually take place, or any dates but Toyah says at 'BBC Essex': "I go on the road with Nick Heyward touring theatres doing a 1980s tour. I'm touring in October, and I think it might confuse my fans why I'm going out in a package on an 80s tour. The reason I'm doing that is because I feel much happier with other artists."

• Lately Toyah has been working at home on the novel(s), and preparing the one-woman-show. She has also been asked to appear on various TV shows.

• Toyah agrees with the overwhelming fan opinion that - 'Velvet Lined Shell' "rocks"!!

March 20, 2004: 'BBC Essex' - Ask Toyah Willcox
[ BBC Essex - Ask Toyah ]'BBC Essex' have finally published the questions submitted to their ASK TOYAH WILLCOX  feature which closed at the end of January. And a rather interesting "fan interview" it is too:

From punk icon to Shakespearean actress, Toyah Willcox has enjoyed chart topping success, and a varied acting career.

More recently she's been on our screens doing some revolting tasks just to eat! In "I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here".

We've gave you the opportunity quiz Toyah ... here are your questions and her answers.

Throughout your life has anything ever happened to you to make you feel really frightened or scared? Mandy, Westerhope, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Toyah said: Yes, things have happened that have scared me. My work colleague and friend Jill Dando was murdered in 1999 and that was one of the most terrifying things I have experienced, and my heart goes out to anyone whose ever experienced losing a friend or member of the family in this way. It's the most extraordinary feeling of vulnerability and grief.

On a lighter side, there are some many fears that I think we all feel when wars start. Then there's the more ludicrous fears, like for me, the fear of unemployment. I am very typical of a performer, and think I'll never work again. That is a fear, it's a stupid fear, unrealistic fear. Yes, I do experience it and have.

Have you remained in contact with any of the other stars of 'celebrity jungle'? Michael, Chatham 

Toyah said: This morning I've spent the last hour texting Danielle Westbrook. Danielle and I have become very close friends. I think that not only is she a wonderful friend, but a remarkable person and I'm incredibly fond of her and she says I'm a dopplegänger for her mother. She's even asked me to play her mother in a drama about her life that's about to me made. I don't know if I will be, I would love to do it.

I'm still close to pretty much everyone who was in the jungle. 

What was the worst thing in the jungle? Catherine, Chelmsford 

Toyah said: The complete loss of privacy, there were even cameras in the loo. And the reason for that was that if we got bitten by something or passed out our lives were in the producers hands. So they had to watch us 24 hours a day. That was quite bizarre and I didn't like the loss of privacy when it came to coming to the loo and stuff like that.

But for all the bad things about the jungle, it was a huge learning curve. The biggest thing I learnt about myself is how my compliance is my aggression. And I knew that we were going in there to be made fools of to a certain degree, because that makes great telly. But I was deliberating aggressive by being compliant and that shocked me because I was deliberating trying to stop them having good TV and I knew I was in there because I'm feisty and have a temper and I deliberating didn't show it.

Do you think that the music in the late 70s and early 80s is better than the music now, and do you think that they were a better time for music? Peter, Leigh on Sea 

Toyah said: When I was living in the 70s and 80s I didn't necessarily think that the music was the greatest. I loved what I was doing and I loved other artists. But in those periods we were always saying the 60s were a better period for music.

But now, today, I enjoy the music of the 70s and 80s far more than I ever did back then. I don't think it was better, I think its because nostalgically I feel a very strong link to it. I love modern music, I love some of the bands around today but having said that the music of the 70s and 80s is incredibly powerful. In June and July I start developing a one woman show that I want to be working on over the next couple of years and the music in it is purely 70s and 80s music, because the producers and I came to the conclusion that it probably the most profound music that we have today.

Yesterday, I had to sing before an audience for the first time in my life (I'm 40 and I had to sing cabaret, like you have done too). I was very nervous and my voice cracked a bit, well a lot. How do you handle your nerves (if you have them), have you got a trick or something? Bea, Dordrecht, The Netherlands 

Toyah said: I can't handle my nerves. If I had to sing out of context of a show my voice would crack too. I always tell myself that the audience infront of you is there because they want to see you. I have this weird psychological thing that audiences are there to see me fail which is ludicrous. So I always tell myself that the audience is there because they've chosen to be there and because they want to see me. But that doesn't cancel out your nerves. 

If you suffer nerves you have to accept it and go with it, and realise it's just nerves. So I can't offer any tricks really, because for me, even after 25 years of singing I still suffer terrible nerves and I can't control it. The only way I get round it is pretending to be someone else and playing a character. 

Do you still have a house rabbit? From seeing you on a TV programme ages ago we now have two of our own! Sheryl, Colchester 

Toyah said: I don't have a house rabbit at the moment, because the last two years I've been on the road touring with the musical Calamity Jane and my house rabbit passed away just before I started that and I really want another rabbit. I find life at home without a rabbit quite peculiar because I'm so used to being governed by a house rabbit. They're very bossy creatures, and they kind of manipulate you and boss you around so that there feeding times suit them. I fully intend to have another house rabbit, I think they're very much part of my life. 

Toyah, if you were to sing a (cover) duet with David Bowie which song would you pick and why? PS Velvet Lined Shell Rocks! Andrew, Leicester 

Toyah said: I agree with the latter!

It would have to be Je'Taime it would be in the style of method acting, in that everything is for real. It would have to be done from a huge double bed from a penthouse somewhere very romantic, lets say New York because I don't think Bowie likes to travel much these days.

I came to watch you in Calamity Jane twice and you were EXCELLENT and I saw you in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which was also EXCELLENT I was just wondering what are you doing next and when? Katy, Walsall 

Toyah said: I'm kind of busy doing background work at the moment. The next two months I've said to agents and managers don't bother me because I writing. 

I'm writing this one woman show called "Chain Reaction" which is about music which has influenced and written history and its based in the 70s and 80s. It's about songs that narrate our lives. It's partly historical, cultural and news orientated. About 50% of it is about how music has affected me too.

I'm writing a novel which is due out at Christmas called "We Have Angels Here". And I've started a second novel which people have shown more interest in, which might pip Angels at the post. I'm not saying what that's about because it's quite controversial and will cause an absolute stir. 

I don't expect to start performing again till May. I'll then do work for the one woman show in June and July, I then go on the road with Nick Heyward touring theatres doing a 1980s tour. 

I've got a lot of telly. I've been asked to go into programme where you swap genders. 

What inspired you to write the latest book you are working on? Do you ever feel motivated by a need to overcome the adversity in your life, such as your physical difficulties or your dyslexia?
Strange Girl, London 

Toyah said: My latest book has been inspired by where I live. I won't say exactly where I live, only that it's a town in the Midlands. In a very eccentric town that time hasn't touched and I heard a story about a house in the town that inspired me to write the latest book. It's a children's story for adults and its slightly supernatural.

Am I inspired by adversity? No, because I think adversity is a frustration that pushes you harder. So I think inspiration is something more of a joy. Adversity, dealing with it, is to deal with frustration. 

But I do love working and that's why I work. I love being creative, I loved feeling plugged into the world. I have no desire to go away and live in a house in Thailand and do nothing. My adversities frustrate me, and try to deal with the best I can. Most of the time I work because I love the feeling it gives me and its exhilarating.

I love the new album and your 25th anniversary gig in October was great. Are you planning to tour sometime in the near future? Ashleigh, Portressie, Moray 

Toyah said: I'm touring in October, and I think it might confuse my fans why I'm going out in a package on an 80s tour. The reason I'm doing that is because I feel much happier with other artists. I don't feel isolated and put under pressure. I think performing is better when you're happy, and I'm much happier in this kind of environment. I feel I'm not carrying the whole tour on my back which can make me quite tense and that affects my performance.

I'm really chuffed to be going out with Nick Heyward. He's great fun, he's a fellow taurean and I think I can put emphasis on enjoyment which is what music should be all about.

To read the interview at 'BBC Essex', please click the image at the top of the news item.

March 18, 2004: Come join the Toyah Tribe...
[ Dreamscape Forum 04 ]Exactly a year after version one was opened, the Dreamscape Forum is back.

Unfortunately last year's effort only lasted a couple of months. I accidentally deleted the entire database with a simple click of a button.

Hopefully version two will be around a little longer.

Please do leap on over and join. It would be great to have a big crowd of Toyah fans eager to talk about the wonderment of Willcox. Discuss what Toyah is up to, professionally, in 2004, review your favourite album, or just post a bit of news.

As well as Toyah talk, there's also a Trading Post, and an Off Topic section. So, if you're ready - dive in and be rescued!

March 18, 2004: Somewhere In The Distance! - Introducing an occasional new feature
[ Somewhere In The Distance - 1 ]Introducing a new and exciting (okay, maybe not exciting) feature to Dreamscape's News page... The "imaginatively" titled...


An occasional (possibly occasions when there isn't much current news) trip back in time to Toyah past. These sporadic blasts back will be easy to spot, as the date strip will be reversed in colour (see above), clever, eh? And will also, of course, be titled 'Somewhere In The Distance'. I didn't go to uni for nothing, y'know! ;)

The first feature, coming to you courtesy of Andi Westhorpe, is from TITBITS magazine, dated 21st November 1981. Toyah is pictured on the cover and interviewed inside in an article titled:


On stage, Toyah Willcox is a spell-binding performer with crazy clothes, brightly coloured hair and new-wave music. Off stage she also knows a bit about spells - having practised black magic and put curses on her enemies. She even admits that she has slept in a coffin. Toyah, now 23, developed what she calls "a morbid curiosity" in black magic when she was at school. Teachers told her firmly not to meddle in it. "But that, of course, just made me want to look into it a lot further," says Toyah.

As a pupil at an all-girls' public school in Birmingham, she put curses on some of her classroom rivals. "I would put them on girls who had been really nasty to me.

"They'd do very badly in end-of-term exams."

As well as her own curses, Toyah also experimented with ouija boards and levitation, though she says she has now stopped practising black magic.

A chilling experience shook her family when she was just 14. Toyah takes up the story.

"My sister was working in a hospital cancer ward, which she found very disturbing. One particular day, an old lady died and she was very distressed.

"That night my sister was in her room and the old lady appeared by way of thanking her for her help.

"My sister began to rise out of her bed - levitate - and, in the next room, so did my father. He nearly had a heart attack!

"Meanwhile, posters in my room had started flying in all directions.

"Similar things happened to me all the time. We always thought the house was haunted. And it wasn't until my sister married a psychiatrist that we realised we did it.

"I get a lot of letters from adolescents who say things like that happens to them. At the time, I thought I was going mad."

Toyah added that, even now, she's the only one who can sleep in her old bedroom in the house.

"It's as if I left something of me there... my vibrations." she says.

"My mother had to sleep there not long ago. She woke up in the night to hear a man's voice saying what he wanted to do to her!"

But Toyah's bedroom was in no way as chilling as the spot where she later slept. that was an empty South London warehouse... and her bed was a coffin in which it was said she slept naked.

"I certainly slept in a coffin," said Toyah. "But as to sleeping nude, I don't see what I wore or didn't had to do with it."

When Toyah was living in the warehouse, she had to get by on just £10-a-week dole money.

At first, she had been sleeping on a blanket on the cold concrete floor - but then she met two zany French actors who were travelling round in an ambulance with a coffin in the back.

"It was a fibre-glass accident coffin, and they gave it to me," says Toyah. "It was much warmer than sleeping on the floor.

"Down below was a morgue, and the people who worked there said I could have a proper coffin with a lining. But the boss found out, so I didn't get the new coffin."

While Toyah was there, she was robbed of papers and diaries.

"There were these two guys living underneath, and I had this really bad feeling about them. They kept laughing at me, and I think I just concentrated on them..."

Three weeks later, a CID man knocked on the warehouse door and asked Toyah and her boyfriend of the moment to walk to the end of the alley that ran alongside.

Toyah adds: "We got to the end and these two men came out of their door. At the moment, police cars, with sirens blaring, drove up and surrounded them.

"They had robbed me. I got everything back. But I knew there was something that really made me hate them."

Home for Toyah now is a North London flat which she shares with her boyfriend and former bodyguard, Tom Taylor, 25.

Wherever Toyah goes, the fans pursue her. Recently, 14 boys slept in her garden. "Just to say hello," said Toyah.

Although she's becoming a singing superstar and is also appearing increasingly as an actress on TV - the BBC have offered her a magazine series - Toyah restricts herself to a weekly "wage" of £50.

She explains: "I have been paying off debts for three years."

And finally the question that all Toyah's fans are dying to know. What's her hair really like?

"Naturally, it's dark," she says. "I first dyed it when I was 15. I have been dyeing it ever since."

March 14, 2004: Toyah newsy bits & pieces!
[ Toyah bust ]• Anyone glimpsed this bust of Toyah before? This is taken from www.commissionaportrait.com and was created by Etienne Millner. When, and why? Does anybody know?

• Dreamscape has now been online for four years. The site was opened on 10th March 2000. Feels just like yesterday.... sometimes!

• John Hayes @ BBC Essex and his 'Journey Back in Time' reminds us that this week, 23 years ago, way back in March 1981, the 'Four From Toyah' EP was at number 11 in the UK charts.

• Toyah was mentioned in an article about Morrissey a few days ago. The piece, titled 'The magic of Morrissey - the fan who became a star' was published in 'The Telegraph' and 'London Review of Books'. Here is a section of the article, including the Toyah namecheck:

"Former Smiths singer Morrissey - named this week as curator of the South Bank's Meltdown Festival - inspires extraordinary devotion. Andrew O'Hagan explains why

I used to know a girl called Fiona who kept a joint diary with her friend Katherine. They wrote it most evenings in the desolate hours between the end of John Craven's Newsround and the arrival of the ice-cream van on their housing estate, a period marked by the combustion of chip pans in the kitchens of the negligent, pans then carried hurriedly on to doorsteps and thrown into the air like torches at a Viking funeral. 

Fiona's favourite book was Wuthering Heights and Katherine was always trying to grow her hair: their genius they put into the diary, which was all about how much they wanted to kill their fathers, and, more violently, how much they loved the heavily lipglossed singer in a band called Japan.

David Sylvian was his name. The girls called him David. So far as I remember, the diary was a spectacular fantasia of adolescent lusts and local hatreds:

Dear Katherine, David came and took me out of my bed last night and we went for a long walk in McGavin Park and he kissed me in the car park but I didn't let him go all the way, not like that Morag McGregor in 104 who does it with anyone.

Dear Fiona, I wasn't going to tell you this, but David borrowed some of my Toyah make-up last night and I told him he was a two-timing bastard and then we both cried and made up. We decided the three of us might have to run away to London Town before the summer.

My friends had never met David Sylvian, but that didn't prevent them from inventing a planet where they all could live happily together, in a distant universe just for David and Fiona and Katherine, where the words Duran Duran would be banned by intergalactic law. Fiona knew I was turning into a literary type, so she told me to publish the diaries one day if the beautiful trio were abducted (as hotly anticipated) by aliens made anxious by the force of their love. I promised I would: fandom depends on the commitment of believers, and sometimes, even yet, I find myself looking into the night sky and wondering if David and Fiona and Katherine are still living out their perfect lives on the planet Canton Mist."

March 8, 2004: Toyah on TV!
TV Scrabble : ftn - Sunday 14th March : 2.20am
TV Scrabble : ftn - Sunday 14th March : 4.00am
Toby Anstis presents the popular word game turned into a TV game show. Played on a dynamic 3-D board, it is a fast-moving battle of words where contestants compete for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas in the Grand Final. With celebrity guests Toyah Willcox and Rick Wakeman.

Personal Passions : BBC Prime - Thursday 18th March : 3.45am
Toyah Willcox talks to Peter Curran about her drive to recreate the glories of a garden once owned by Cecil Beaton.

March 8, 2004: 'The Times' - Man about the house
Toyah has been given another mention in an article, about the confessions of a "hoarder", in UK broadsheet 'The Times':

Man about the house
Peter Paphides cleans out his closet and concludes that no man is a minimalist

It was with some trepidation last week that I raised the topic of a toy clearout with my daughter. But it had to be done. In a world where the gift-bearing relatives of British children are inversely proportionate to the amount that people in Chinese factories are paid to make those gifts, you end up with a surfeit of three-year-old girls who can barely reach their bed for the huge slag-heap of toys obstructing it. I had the heartrending speech ready. 
But in the end I didn’t need to tell Dora about all the poor children around the world who dream about owning a pink Gothic Barbie castle. After half an hour she had rejected 80 per cent of the pile and, in doing so, showed the kind of maturity that I’m some way off attaining myself. 

Just as my daughter discarded her hobby horse, Cate, my wife, used this as an opportunity to get on hers. Yesterday I scanned the list of recorded programmes on our Sky+ index and noticed that she had pointedly included Life Laundry — the programme in which a bolshie American woman gatecrashes someone’s life and tells them to seek closure on their childhood by discarding their collection of Matchbox toys into a waiting skip. 

“Can you see where she’s coming from?” asked Cate.

“Yes,” I replied, just a touch defensively. “A country with absolutely no sense of history or continuity.” 

Walking across to the part of the front room that my wife refers to as “Pete’s cupboard of old s***”, I briefly felt the need to defend myself. I reached for the first relic I could find — which, unfortunately, was not actually that useful. A Toyah poster bought from her 1983 Birmingham Odeon show. “One day, my daughter is going to pick up that Toyah poster and ask me about the airbrushed Amazon goddess depicted amid a visual representation of her song Jungles of Jupiter. And I’m going to tell her.” 

“What will you say, exactly?” “I’ll say . . . that’s Toyah, bestriding the . . . um, actually, maybe you’re right. That can go.” 

Truth to tell, I’ve long since stopped giving reasons for my hoarding affliction. All that stuff about identity, knowing who I am, no longer rings true to me. I suspect I hoard for the same reasons that dogs bury bones around the garden. My feelings towards people who don’t hoard are primarily suspicious. I don’t believe that John Lennon tried that hard to “imagine no possessions”. Sure, in the video to Imagine, we see him in his huge white apartment with little more in the way of furniture than a piano and Yoko Ono. But I’m not so easily fooled. 

Take, for instance, our mates Steve and Wendy, who used to live in the flat below us. I spent at least two years quietly envying them for the gleaming minimalism of their trendy basement flat. Then, one day, I delicately broached the subject with them. “Where’s all your stuff, then?” Steve leapt to his feet and slid back a steel panel to reveal a secret chamber into which all the mess had been thrown. 

I figured that in the Dakota building John had a similar chamber full of tatty boxes marked “Old Goon Shows”, “Doodles” and “My Rubbish Poems That Only Got Printed Because I’m Famous”. Certainly, the rapid increase of self-storage centres suggests that even minimalists need somewhere to put their belongings. 

Ultimately, this is why I can’t be too concerned when people complain that children don’t appreciate the value of things. If I could reverse through time and give myself some advice it would be exactly this: “Don’t appreciate the value of things!” Why? Because in 30 years’ time, “the value of things” will mean that you’ll put off moving house for years. And when you finally come to do so, it’ll be HELL! You’ll walk from room to room, staring at all the stuff you hoarded — the antique coffee table that’s too valuable to chuck, but doesn’t go anywhere; the one-armed Nookie Bear toy; the zillion old Melody Makers; the stuffed alligator, for God’s sake. And you ’ll pray for some sort of Fairy Godburglar to do what you cannot, and take it all away. 

[ The Times - Saturday 6th March 2004 ]

March 1, 2004: Toyah newsy bits & pieces!
[ Toyah makes some noise! ]• I've now heard all three tracks on the 'Killing Made Easy' CD, and have to say they are excellent. The 'Shot in the Dark' remix is particularly good, complete with samples. Toyah sounds in fine voice too. Excellent work from all involved.

• The Centenary College's Spring 2004 calendar includes a Seminar in Film Studies: Animation, Documentary, Avant Garde. Week 12 (March 30th to April 5th) of the course covers Experimental Film: The Punk Aesthetic.

Included in this is a comprehensive look at Jubilee and its director, Derek Jarman, with students watching the film and various documentaries about the film and director.

• Quotes from a recent(ish) unknown interview with Toyah and Tori Amos, talking about Joni Mitchell:

TOYAH WILLCOX: And Joni's spirit is embodied even more by Tori Amos, currently one of the world's top singer-songwriters. 

TORI AMOS: She took the clay and moulded it in a way we hadn't seen before. If you really sort of analyse songwriting at that time, male or female, what she was doing with her structures and her use of melody and her poetry and the voice too, you know that's just one of the gifts that we've had. 

• Apparently a Toyah video or two have sporadically been played on the Pure 80's show on the VH1 Classic channel. Not sure which ones, if any, as it was my non-Toyah fan little b(r)other who gave me the info, but he did say it could have been 'I Want Free Thunder In The Brave New Universe'. Maybe he's just getting me back for the years I forced him to listen to Toyah and look at her (via strategically placed psoters) every night before he went to sleep!

March 1, 2004: Toyah! - At a shop near you... now!
[ Toyah - At a shop near you! ]There is currently an abundance of Toyah (and Toyah related) "product" available to buy and enjoy. In stores online, and in the "real" world too.

The days when there was absolutely zilch Toyah merchandise around now seems like a distant memory. 

At the moment you can choose from the CD's 'Velvet Lined Shell', 'Prostitute', 'Ophelia's Shadow', 'Sheep Farming In Barnet/The Blue Meaning', 'Anthem', 'The Changeling' and, the just released, 'Killing Made Easy'.

On DVD there is The Tempest, Maigret, Jubilee, Minder, and Quadrophenia. And not forgetting the region 1 Brum for the kids!

Plus, Toyah's autobiography, 'Living Out Loud', is still available too.


March 1, 2004: 'Castaways' - Toyah, Miranda & The Tempest
[ Castaways - The Tempest ]With The Tempest renaissance in full swing, the first UK DVD release, Toyah reminiscing about the film in her recent diary, and the 10th anniversary of its director's (Derek Jarman) death, I thought it was about time to update the Castaways section of the site with something Tempestesque!.

Please click the picture for Toyah Castaway number three - Toyah, Miranda & The Tempest!

March 1, 2004: 'The Times' - Power of the steeple
Toyah was mentioned in the leader, and main text, of an article in Friday's 'The Times' looking at the city of Salisbury, and its famous cathedral.

Power of the steeple, by Patrick Kidd of The Times
From Sir Ted to Toyah, Salisbury is as rich in celebrities as history

When E. M. Forster looked out of a Florence hotel window at the magnificent Duomo and thought “not a bad view, think there might be a book in that”, he didn’t know what he was starting. Almost a century after he penned his novel, the phrase “a room with a view” (or some variant) has slipped into the armoury of all lazy marketing executives. 

A good view is one of the virtues that improves the quality of life and also adds value to a house. It’s rare that the view justifies the Forsterism, but if one area of the country can truly boast of a room with a view then it must be a house overlooking Salisbury Cathedral, which was captured in a painting by Constable and was voted “Britain’s Best View” by Country Life in 2002. 

It’s easy to see why it is popular: Salisbury lies at the confluence of four rivers and is surrounded by beautiful countryside, with the vast Salisbury Plain (and its stone and wood henges) to the north. Perhaps because of the influence of the mystic stones, the area encourages rather eccentric types. Among the local celebrities is the author Terry Pratchett, who lives in what he describes as a “Domesday manorette” on the southwest fringe of Salisbury, while Toyah Willcox, the singer and narrator of the Tellytubbies, lives in a home that once belonged to the society photographer Sir Cecil Beaton. 

Salisbury also nurtured the acting talents of the Fiennes brothers, Ralph and Joseph; the sporting talents of not one but two England rugby players called Richard Hill (the 1990s version played at scrum half and the modern-day Hill is a stalwart of the back row); and the musical talents of the 1960s whip-crackers Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. Sadly DDDBM&T are no longer pulling in the groupies like they used to — Dave Dee is now a magistrate and Mick a driving instructor. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the flamboyant roly-poly panto favourite Christopher Biggins spent his formative years in the city, when his father ran a used car dealership. 

Mind you, when it comes to big names, very little can boost an area’s reputation more than having Sting practising his tantric yoga on the doorstep. The former Police frontman bought a Grade I listed, ten-bed stately home just outside Salisbury for £2 million in 1992. It’s just a shame there isn’t a local rainforest for him to save. 

Although technically a city, Salisbury has just 40,000 residents and is very much a small rural town in size and outlook. Within the city the names of many streets, such as Butcher Row, Salt Lane and Fish Row, betray Salisbury’s market past and the city is full of well-preserved and charming old buildings, such as the Wyndham Arms, which has been described by the TV archaeologist and local resident Phil Harding (he’s the one with the broad hat and the even broader West Country accent on Time Team) as “the best pub in Christendom”. 

A three-bedroom terraced house in the centre of the city would sell for about £210,000 with McKillop and Gregory, while a larger detached property a bit further out could cost anything up to £500,000. For the loveliest houses, however, you either need to go outside the city or wait for one of the 100 or so properties fronting the cathedral to come on to the market. The artist Rex Whistler lived in one; Handel, the 18th century’s answer to Sting, gave concerts in another; while the largest of them all, Mompesson House, a National Trust property, was the set for the film Sense and Sensibility. 

Many of these houses were originally built for the clergy, but the Church is still clinging on to a stake in the best views in town by keeping the freehold on most of the houses on the close. And because the Dean and Chapter of the cathedral are exempt from leasehold legislation, they can offer just 60-year leases on their property. Strutt & Parker is selling one of these — a restored four-bedroom Victorian property with a courtyard garden — for £1.3 million, but the lease has only 50 years left to run. Freehold houses are very rare, and there hasn’t been one on the market for a couple of years. 

Dominating the close is the spectacular cathedral. For such a beautiful place of worship, it was knocked up in a hurry. From cutting the turf to the passing round of the first collection plate took 38 years — a whizz compared with the centuries that most of our other cathedrals took. But just because it was a rush job doesn’t mean that the cathedral lacks grandeur. Perhaps the most impressive thing about it is the steeple: at 404ft it is the highest medieval structure in the world and weighs 6,400 tonnes. 

In addition to the tallest steeple, Salisbury boasts the largest cathedral cloister, one of three surviving copies of Magna Carta and the oldest working medieval clock in the world. It is also host to another impressive record — the world’s longest sulk. That honour is held by the former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, who has been brooding Eeyore-like upon the unfairness of life ever since he called a snap election in 1974 to ask the great unwashed “who runs the country ” and got the response “not you”. 

Sir Ted sloped off in a huff and in 1985 bought a Queen Anne house on the west side of the cathedral close, from where he could mutter biliously about his successors. However, he could still appreciate some of the finer aspects of life. In his autobiography Sir Ted reveals that he was once visited by Roy Jenkins, who said of the scene from the window: “Ted, it must be one of the ten finest views in Britain.” “Oh really,” responded Heath. “Which do you think are the other nine?” Is that what you call a gloom with a view? 

[ The Times - Friday 27th February 2004 ]