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Toyah's life seems to be pretty varied and busy at the moment, so when we grabbed her on a rare day off recently, it was a chance to find out just what she'd been up to.

"I've just finished doing a number of TV appearances with the band, which is something you always do at this time of the year, and I've been working on promoting a new live album for the last couple of months."

What are the main differences between a live album and a studio one?

"The live one's much quicker - we recorded two of the Hammersmith concerts. If there's any drastic mistakes you can re-do them, but that doesn't happen very often. I hate listening to it, it sounds so bad, but that's just me being over-critical. It's certainly diferent - it's unpolished, but it's got raw energy.

"You go onstage thinking, 'I'm going to sing better, concentrate on that rather than moving around, but that just doesn't happen. It made me a bit nervous and frightened of making mistakes - after all, it's going to be representing your abilities as a live performer - but then you forget about it and get involved with the audience. They didn't know, of course, I didn't want them to feel they were being used."

1982 saw the year that Toyah and the band first visited America and she says that she returned here with mixed feeling

• 'Unknown' (1982) | Read the full interview here. (Thanks to Stephen Bennett)


Toyah is petty, pretentious, petulant and bitchy. She is self-important, impatient and impossible - a spoilt brat who has never grown up from a sheltered childhood.

That, no doubt, is how most detractors see Toyah, and it's maybe even how I wanted to picture her myself... but I have to admit she's not in the least impossible, other than being
impossible to resist.

In the flesh, she's more petite than her gargantuan, Amazonian stage appearances would suggest, and her red hair still shows the orange streaks from a previous style as she continually flicks back her fringe and giggles.

Toyah is very attractive, even without the geometric designs of make-up which grace unnumerable record sleeves and posters, and when she screws her face up in laughter, she looks like an adorable pixie.

How could I do anything other than fall in love with her?

Do you want to talk about your new record or something else?

"Ooh-er, it doesn't bother me, I can talk about the new album for ages! Right, it's called 'The Changeling' and the reason it's called that is because I've changed and the band's changed, and at the same time I like the original meaning of the word where an elfin community snatches a humanoid and puts one of their people in his place!

• 'Noise' (June 1982) | Read the full interview here and here. (Thanks to Sean)

"Unsociable, arrogant, selfish, stubborn and jealous..."

That's the real Toyah, according to Toyah. Dave Rimmer watches her at work. Mark Rusher takes the pictures.

Along the driveway of Reading's Radio 210, small groups of Toyah fans cluster in anticipation.

At 3.00 they'd heard deejay Keith Butler say he'd be interviewing Toyah later in his show, and promptly came charging down armed with cameras and autograph books. There's about 30 of them. In Liverpool a couple of days earlier there'd been 500.

At 6.15, Toyah's car comes screaming up to the building. She's late, having got lost on the way, and pauses only to say "thank-you" to someone who hands her a bunch of flowers before rushing inside.

In the studio, she talks about her sleeve designs, is provided with the obligatory plug for her new single, album and forthcoming tour, and deftly fields questions from listeners about her make-up, her costumes, her worst stage experience, and keeping fit. At one point, while Keith Butler plays "Brave New World", she chats on the phone with her record company about the album design.

Interview over, and it's back out the front to sign autographs. She takes this very seriously, scribbling her name on anything that's thrust in front of her until everyone's satisfied.

• 'Smash Hits' (May 1982) | Read the full interview here.


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