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We Are Cult: Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! Review

May 21st, 2022

Alive, She Cried: ‘Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!’

Cherry Red continue with their impressive re-releases of Toyah’s albums, writes James Collingwood.

After only two albums it may have seemed slightly early in Toyah’s career to record a live album. However there appeared to be three reasons for the release of Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! in 1980.

One: Toyah had been filmed for a one-hour ATV documentary that included clips from this gig and brought her nationwide coverage. Two: It was a last add on gig of a UK tour and would be the last time she played with this particular band. Thirdly: She was on the cusp of stardom and becoming a regular Smash Hits and Look-In cover star.

Cherry Red continue with their impressive chronological repackaging of Toyah’s Safari Records albums with their re-release of the live album Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! Presented as an expanded deluxe CD+DVD and a limited edition coloured vinyl LP this album includes the full ATV documentary Toyah!, originally broadcast December 1980, a 24-page booklet with artwork and photos, an introduction by Toyah herself and sleeve notes by Toyah’s archivist and compiler Craig Astley.

Toyah must have been the hardest working woman in showbiz at the time and really was on a mission to succeed. She seems to have been everywhere. As well as fronting and touring with the band Toyah was constantly working as a TV, film and stage actress. On stage she had recently appeared in Nigel Williams’ Sugar and Spice at the Royal Court. She had appeared as Monkey in Quadrophenia, in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee and The Tempest, and who can forget her appearance in Shoestring!

• Continue reading at We Are Cult. See links to four other Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! (Deluxe Release) album reviews… + recent news!

At The Barrier: Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! Review

May 18th, 2022

Third instalment in Cherry Red’s deluxe reissue series of Toyah’s Safari Records catalogue

Release Date: 13th May 2022
Label: Cherry Red Records
Formats: CD + DVD, Limited edition neon yellow vinyl

So – here we are again. Just about a year ago, we were pleased to review the deluxe reissue of Toyah’s second album, The Blue Meaning, and now, here comes installment number three in Cherry Red Records’ Toyah reissue series – a CD/DVD reassessment of the seminal 1980 live album, Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! And, as usual, it’s a cracking package. The CD-half of the package comprises, for the first time, the entire concert – complete with encores – from Toyah’s show on 17 June 1980 at Wolverhampton’s legendary Club Lafayette. The CD is accompanied by a DVD of the 1980 ATV documentary film ‘Toyah’ – a splendid period piece that captures Toyah at home, at work and at play, just as she reached the very cusp of her major commercial breakthrough. As usual, the package comes complete with an informative booklet, this time with detailed sleevenotes from Craig Astley, Toyah’s official archivist, and an introductory reminiscence from Toyah herself.

The gig at the Club Lafayette was added, for the benefit of the ATV camera crew, to the itinerary of Toyah’s 1980 Ieya Tour to provide some live footage for inclusion in the documentary that was in the process of being compiled. The band played a slightly shorter set than was normal for the time, with material drawn exclusively from the debut album Sheep Farming In Barnet and the (then) new release The Blue Meaning and the resulting live album, Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! was a triumph. Toyah is on top form as she shrieks, squeaks, groans and howls her way through a dramatic performance. The recording captures the enclosed atmosphere of the packed club wonderfully – in the way that the best live albums always seem to manage – and the setlist is inspired. Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! Reached number three in the indie chart and stayed in that chart for over a year and was Toyah’s first album to creep into the national album chart, peaking at number 22. Big things were just around the corner, and that impending breakthrough seems to ooze from the very grooves of this album.

• Continue reading at At The Barrier. See links to three other Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! (Deluxe Release) album reviews… + recent news!

Velvet Thunder: Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! Review

May 16th, 2022

A great, comprehensive, review of the. just released, deluxe Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! by Velvet Thunder.

“These reissues are a long-overdue reassessment of Toyah’s early-’80s output, and reaffirm just how much depth and sheer great musicianship and songwriting there was to her catalogue.”

The deluxe Toyah reissue series reaches its third instalment here, with this 1980 live album getting the treatment. It is slightly confusing now, as a later compilation album was given the same title (coming, of course, from the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!, about the bombing of Pearl Harbour), but this is the original. Coming after the first two albums, Sheep Farming In Barnet and The Blue Meaning, it finds Toyah just on the cusp of becoming a mainstream success, as the next release following this would be the Four From Toyah EP containing It’s A Mystery, and everything would suddenly go up a level in terms of profile. This release, then, manages rather neatly to cap the first phase of Toyah’s career, that of the underground ‘rebel’ new wave/art rock figurehead, before the words ‘pop star’ had even hovered on the horizon.

This was, however, more by happy circumstance than grand design, as the recording was arranged for inclusion in a TV documentary special for ATV, who had got wind of the stir that Toyah was beginning to make, and sensed a popular (and no doubt in their minds ‘trendy’) bit of youth programming. To that end, a special performance in Wolverhampton was tacked onto the end of the UK tour (the last she would do in club venues), recorded and filmed, and thus formed the material for this record. In fact, as revealed in the accompanying booklet, Toyah herself claims to have had no idea the gig was going to be filmed until she arrived to find a camera crew setting up on the stage.

• Continue reading at Velvet Thunder.

Classic Pop: Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! Review

April 30th, 2022

A four star review of the Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! reissue, by Classic Pop magazine. The CD+DVD and colour vinyl is released on Friday 13th May, and can be pre-ordered here.

One of the most tantalising of promised releases in the ongoing Toyah reissue campaign. Cherry Red have thankfully done what fans hoped in overhauling the band’s 1980 live album. A word-of-mouth phenomenon that eventually went silver, the concert from famed Wolverhampton 600-capacity Club Lafayette has added its three missing songs including the electrifying, She.

While Toyah Willcox was soon to brilliantly distil her energy into a poppier world, her band’s original chaos is captured fantastically in an anarchic performance, brought further to life on five tracks filmed on the accompanying bonus DVD, notably a feral Insects.

The DVD also includes the long overdue official release of the ITV documentary Toyah from the same year, which shadowed the singer. For someone who was yet to have a chart hit, it was a commendably prescient programme, though the young Toyah was so magnetic that she was gold dust for anyone curious enough to tune in.

The doc works as cultural history, too, with footage of Toyah’s Battersea home showing it was possible for struggling musicians to turn a London warehouse into a thriving artistic community on the cheap 40 years ago. What could have been dingy chaos crackles with magnetism, both on audio and visual.

• Classic Pop, Issue 75 May/June 2022, is on sale now! (Thanks to Minna)

Brighton News: Gig Review – Posh Pop Tour | Hastings

March 20th, 2022

Sensational Toyah Brings Her ‘Posh Pop Tour’ to East Sussex

TOYAH + HOLLY DEANNA (CURRLS) – ST MARY IN THE CASTLE, HASTINGS 12.3.22

The music scene in Hastings has steadily been getting back on its feet this year and is starting to thrive once again. Tonight’s show at St Mary In The Castle is a sure sign of a return to normality though you could hardly describe Toyah as ‘normal’.

My first encounter with Toyah may have been as a 16 year old hearing ‘Sheep Farming In Barnet’ and being most intrigued by her, or it could have been watching her playing ‘Monkey’ in ‘Quadrophenia’ around the same time, but whichever I was hooked.

I got around to seeing her in the flesh for my one and only time at Drury Lane Theatre Royal on Christmas Eve, 1981, which was actually broadcast on BBC2 as an ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ special. I say seeing her in the flesh but my main recollection of that night is being stuck in the balcony about as far away as you could get. I then lost my return tube ticket home, but luckily the train inspector was full of Christmas cheer and allowed me through the barrier.

Tonight was my opportunity to reconnect having lost touch with her career and was surprised to find out that she has released 16 albums, of which 11 are as a solo artist. Throw in a few compilation albums and a box set, and you have quite an accomplished music career. Of course that isn’t the end of her talents as she has appeared in over 20 films, presented on television, appeared in numerous shows, and done a fair bit of charity fundraising.

• Continue reading at Brighton News. Browse Dreamscape’s Posh Pop Tour News Archive.

Retro Man Blog: Gig Review – Posh Pop Tour at Haslemere Hall

February 12th, 2022

A great, and comprehensive, review of Toyah’s Posh Pop Tour gig on Thursday, at Haslemere Hall in Surrey, from Retro Man Blog.

Toyah at Haslemere Hall, Thursday February 10th 2022

Toyah treated us to a superb career-spanning show last night at Haslemere Hall in deepest rural Surrey, surely one of the poshest places that I’ve ever seen a gig and definitely a very apt venue to host a date on the “Posh Pop” album tour. Even Toyah remarked on how posh the area was, which, given the size and grandeur of Toyah & Robert Fripp’s home was really saying something.

Actually, joking aside, it was refreshing to see a show in a real community theatre, staffed by lovely friendly locals with no over-the-top security or regulations and everyone was extremely helpful. Certainly a bit different from when I saw Toyah for the very first time back in 1981 at the Hammersmith Odeon. So, it was great to see Toyah perform in such an intimate environment and it really suited the Electro-Acoustic line-up which featured Nat Martin on guitars, Chloe Dupree on keyboards, Mike Nichols on bass and Jamie Dupree on guitars and all were superb musicians, really doing justice to the songs.

I loved the new arrangements, they all worked really well and in my opinion “Brave New World” even beat the original. It was nice to hear something different for a change rather than note by note reproductions of songs that we pretty much know by heart anyway.

• Continue reading at Retro Man Blog. Browse all of Toyah’s upcoming Posh Pop Tour, live gigs and festival appearances at toyahwillcox.com.

Daily Mail: Review – Toyah – Whitty Theatre, Wokingham

January 30th, 2022

Now here’s a super trouper: Toyah’s voice is glowing with energy as she charms audiences with her snappy and uplifting Posh Pop

The 1980s are having a moment. As several of today’s young stars revive the sound of synth-pop, a decade that was once derided is beginning to resemble a golden age.

Its music scene was a flourishing ecosystem, full of distinctive creatures from Sade to the late lamented Meat Loaf. Every week on Top Of The Pops they brought us all together to gawp or giggle at them. Younger readers may not believe this, but we even had a serious prime minister.

One of the most 1980s things about the 1980s was the annual vote for the Most Fanciable Human Beings, as chosen by readers of Smash Hits. In December 1981 the male winner was Adam Ant. The female one, seeing off Kim Wilde and Debbie Harry, was Toyah Willcox. ‘Oh God,’ she said. ‘I never expected that.’ Forty years on, she takes the stage in the unlikely setting of a Berkshire boarding school. The Whitty Theatre at Luckley House School is small but perfectly formed, and so, at 63, is Toyah.

Looking around at the audience, I find myself wondering if The Oldie magazine has a readers’ poll. As a singer, actress and TV presenter, Toyah is a super trouper: you could get exhausted just from reading her Wikipedia page.

Undaunted by lockdown, she formed a bubble at home in Worcestershire with her husband Robert Fripp, the legendary King Crimson guitarist, and her co-writer Simon Darlow. The resulting album, Posh Pop, put Toyah back in the Top 30 for the first time since 1984.

On the side, she entertained herself and her fans with Toyah & Robert’s Sunday Lunch, a series of YouTube videos. Each one is a jokey cover version of a classic, from The Who’s My Generation to The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks.

• Continue reading at the Daily Mail.

Close Up Culture: Gig Review: Toyah – The Whitty Theatre

January 25th, 2022

Toyah Willcox – Live Music Review

It’s a mystery. It really is. How can a 63-year-old dressed to kill in a glittery gold dress bounce around a stage like a manic teenager and still look divine in the process?

It’s exactly what Toyah Willcox did on Friday night (January 21) as she shook a rather polite and conservative Wokingham audience out of their torpor and (eventually) onto their feet. Thrillingly so. Toyah was born to perform and age ain’t going to get in the way. Whatever she takes, I want.

It’s A Mystery was a massive hit for Toyah in 1981 and in introducing it at the impressive Whitty Theatre (Lucklow House School) she admitted it changed her life. A song she was reluctant to take on board when she was first approached to sing it because of her connection with the punk scene, but one which received immediate widespread approval from her supporters.

Toyah, a pocket dynamo on stage, is as much a raconteur as a singer – she’s done some mean acting in her time, starring with Katharine Hepburn in the 1979 film The Corn Is Green. And her show is all the better for the fun insight she gives on an artistic career spanning more than 40 years – and a long-standing marriage to King Crimson founder Robert Fripp that goes back to 1986. If you read her latest blog on her website (Toyahwillcox.com) you can tell straightaway that they remain very much in love.

• Continue reading at Close Up Culture.

Get To The Front: Gig Review: Toyah – Robin 2, Bilston

January 20th, 2022

TOYAH – ROBIN 2 BILSTON – 16 JANUARY

In these days of uncertainty causing even major acts, sometimes struggle to sell out venues. Tonight, there was a more than decent turnout to see the rescheduled date at the Robin 2 by Toyah.

Obviously, she has a great connection with her fans and talks to them a bit like old mates, which was nice, but of course it’s music we had come to hear and let’s face it Toyah has a large back catalogue to choose from. But kicking off the night with a cover of ‘Echo Beach’, it was easily apparent she still has a very good voice.

And if you haven’t seen any of her now famous Sunday lunch performances with husband guitar legend Robert Fripp, have a look, very entertaining.

Of course, the hits were performed, ‘It’s A Mystery’, ‘Thunder In The Mountains’, ‘Good Morning Universe’ ‘I Want To Be Free’, but apart from those other less well known songs like ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Rebel Run’ given a slight reworking, which went down very well.

• Continue reading at Get To The Front.

SLAP Magazine: Gig Review: Toyah – Acoustic, Worcester

January 18th, 2022

Toyah – Acoustic | Huntingdon Hall, Worcester, 15th January 2022

The night’s format was easy and accessible, as you would expect from our generous hostess: Toyah. A lady who is most definitely growing old disgracefully – as she openly admits herself. Illuminating narratives of the song’s origins were rolled out before Toyah and her young band offered up an urbane & naked rendition…the whole performance certainly chimed with her audience.

The confessional story of a ten-year old Toyah buying a cow-bell in Evesham to wear in 1968 “because that is what we did back then” introduced the newish track “Summer of Love”. A song Ms Willcox and her “adorable husband” Robert Fripp have a very personal connection with. The sentiment of the song – peace and love – was particularly pertinent tonight as the love in the room for Toyah was palpable. Toyah was obviously pleased to perform a near home-town gig in Huntingdon Hall and the audience was even more pleased to witness this seemingly timeless atom of energy.

• Continue reading at SLAP Magazine. NB. SLAP is an acronym for Supporting Local Arts & Performers.

Inews: Derek Jarman – Protest! Review

December 15th, 2021

Derek Jarman: Protest!, Manchester Art Gallery, review: A fascinating sprint through a fearless career

The exhibition surveys the polymath’s wildly diverse work, from paintings to film, design to drag – and gardening

Film director Derek Jarman had a meteoric impact on British culture in the 70s, 80s and early 90s before his death in 1994. His work spanned low culture and high – Pet Shop Boys videos to Don Giovanni, punk to Shakespeare. Perhaps because in all he sensed the same human urges: sex, power, creativity, cruelty, magic and manipulation, delight in beauty and the urge to self-destructive behaviour.

Painting bookended Jarman’s creative life, and forms the core of Protest! at Manchester Art Gallery. Along the way there are jagged little sorties into his work in set design, performance, film, activism and gardening in adversity. (HOME in Manchester will also run a Jarman film season in the new year.)

• Continue reading at inews.co.uk.

The Sun: Rebel Run – Toyah Is Still A Musical Powerhouse

November 25th, 2021

Rebel Run – Toyah Willcox proves she is still a musical powerhouse at 63 in Cabaret All Stars

Toyah Willcox might be 63 years old but she is still a musical powerhouse who doesn’t drop the ball for a second.

The original punk rocker has started her stint at Proud Cabaret as one of their resident celebs for the All Star shows.

She comperes in between the burlesque, circus and magic acts and takes the time to share some of her favourite moments in her career spanning more than 40 decades.

Toyah doesn’t hold anything back, cracking jokes including “These are the feet that ran away from Jimmy Saville” and did her best imitation of Princess Margaret and the Queen mother. The singer also shared that she wrote an early draft of her song I Want To Be Free when she was nine and had jailers telling her lags were singing it behind bars.

When she sang it live, it was hard to tell that it had been decades since she first sang it on record. She was accompanied by the dazzling Katrina Louise who was doing aerial work suspended by chains – her first time back with this prop since giving birth.

Each time Toyah came on stage she had a new getup from a different coloured breast plate to her hair in a new style – the singer certainly got into the spirit of cabaret.

• Continue reading at The Sun.

Posh Pop: Album Review by ‘Edinburgh Evening News’

September 3rd, 2021

The second great review of the day for Posh Pop, this from Liam Rudden in the Edinburgh Evening News.

Fabulous​,​ flawless, five star pop from Toyah

It’s a mystery how time has flown. I remember clearly the first time I heard the name Toyah Willcox.

I was 15, hanging around the square behind the family home in Leith when a purple-mohicaned punk called Pete appeared. He was visiting pals in the scheme and we got talking about music. He was a fan of a singer who, he claimed, could unite mods, rockers and punks. Some feat in those days.

“Everyone charges to the front when she comes on,” he said, adding, “They don’t even fight when Toyah’s singing.” The next day I headed to Ards Record Shop on Great Junction Street and found a copy of Sheep Farming In Barnet. One listen and I was hooked.

That was 42 years ago, it’s still a brilliant album as is Toyah’s latest, Posh Pop, released last weekend. Reunited with long term collaborator Simon Darlow and with husband Robert Fripp on guitar, Posh Pop is at once reflective and optimistically forward thinking.

…Barefoot On Mars, my highlight of the album, is an arrestingly emotional, uplifting​ and joyous tribute. A tear-inducing salute to Toyah’s mother, it ​will ​touch the soul of ​anyone who has ​​lost a ​truly ​loved one.​ ​A degree of lightness returns with Rhyth​​m ​I​n ​M​y ​H​ouse​, ​an easy listening ​number brought to life with ​unicorn​s​ and bubbles​, which is followed by ​Summer ​O​f ​Love and an unapologetic Sixties’ ‘love and peace’ vibe​.

• Continue reading at the Edinburgh Evening News. This review is also published in The Falkirk Herald and The Southern Reporter. See more Posh Pop reviews.

Posh Pop: Album Review by ‘God Is In The TV’

September 3rd, 2021

Another positive review of Posh Pop, this one from God Is In The TV.

Toyah – Posh Pop (Demon Records)

Even in her sixties and not far off her free bus pass, Toyah is still able to turn heads, as evidenced by the striking imagery on the artwork of Posh Pop, and also by the many highly entertaining videos she and her husband, King Crimson‘s Robert Fripp, have been unleashing on us throughout the lockdown period, providing some much-needed light relief along the way.

What I hadn’t expected though, was the diverse range of reference points you can hear on this, her first long-player since 2008. For example, recent single ‘Levitate‘ seems to take its lead from Roisin Murphy‘s recent splendid resurgence, all fidgety dance beats and breathy vocals, whereas the fantastic ‘Barefoot On Mars‘ recalls Bowie in its composition and is a heartfelt paean to her late mother (“Turned my back on all you valued, I held you when you died“) – it’s deep and poignant, and stopped me in my tracks – I hadn’t anticipated that Toyah was going to release one of the strongest songs in her canon this late in her career!

Elsewhere, ‘Zoom Zoom‘ is seventies rock, pop and glam all rolled up and smoked in one pipe, while ‘Monkeys‘ is pleasingly off-kilter in its delightful chorus.

• Continue reading at God Is In The TV. See more Posh Pop reviews.

Posh Pop: Album Review by ‘Classic Pop’

August 27th, 2021

As well as the Toyah interview feature in the latest issue of Classic Pop magazine, there is also a review of the Posh Pop album. This is an amazing review of Posh Pop, with the reviewer declaring the album…

“Magnificent. The most full-on and imperious pop album of her entire career.”

Now 40 years on from her commercial breakthrough, Toyah releases her most full-on and imperious pop album of her entire career

After years of copyright wrangling, the belated reissues of her early albums has finally allowed Toyah to be reassessed. So far, Sheep Farming In Barnet and The Blue Meaning have shown just how adventurous she was among punk peers. Next up will be 1981’s Anthem, the album which sent Toyah mainstream via its hits It’s A Mystery and I Want To Be Free.

It’s Anthem which Toyah’s 13th full album most closely resembles. It appears having her early work back out has enabled Toyah to be as at peace with her music as such an untenable spirit will ever be.

She’s made excellent questing albums since Anthem, but none have so completely reconciled her fearlessness with a simultaneous love of bloody great big pop songs.

• Read the interview and full review in Issue 71 of Classic Pop. On sale now. Click on the album cover above to buy Posh Pop, on CD, CD+DVD, colour vinyl or Digital Download.

Posh Pop: Album Review By ‘At The Barrier’

August 24th, 2021

Anthems, hope and escapism – it’s all there on the first Toyah album for 13 years!

Release Date: 27th August 2021
Label: Demon Music Group
Formats: CD / CD+DVD / Vinyl / Digital

“Thank you, Toyah, for a great album. And welcome back – we’ve missed you!”

The last time Toyah graced these pages was back in May, when we reviewed the reissue of her 1980 album The Blue Meaning. In that review, we gave a brief a resumé of what Toyah has been up to in recent years, including a mention of the hilarious You Tube postings, Toyah and Robert’s Sunday Lunch (and if you haven’t seen this yet, check it out – it’s unmissable!) and releasing her (until now) most recent album, 2008’s In The Court of the Crimson Queen.

Well… She’s back, and how!! Posh Pop is Toyah’s first album of new material for 13 years, and it’s a blast. Toyah herself is very proud of Posh Pop, considering the album “A career best,” and she could very well be right. It’s a joyful album that draws copiously on Toyah’s glam and punk roots and builds upwards from there; the 80’s synth sound is still around, tempered and enhanced by lots of stunning rock guitar from Toyah’s husband, “Bobby Willcox” and the lyrics are clear and excellent, covering topics as diverse as the lockdown “Zoom Boom,” space exploration, ageing, bereavement, the devastation of war, the fate of humanity and the Beirut explosion. And it all comes enclosed in a wrapper of addictive, anthemic rock and pop.

• Continue reading at At The Barrier. The album is released on Friday. Pre-order Posh Pop here.

Posh Pop: Album Review By ‘Retro Pop’

August 24th, 2021

The Posh Pop reviews are beginning…

Toyah – Posh Pop
Released: 27 August 2021

“A body of work that stands amongst the best of her career”.

Toyah embodies the essence of pop music on her latest LP ‘Posh Pop’

The collection was recorded with husband Robert Fripp and co-writer/producer Simon Darlow during lockdown – a theme that underpins each of the 10 tracks.

Opener and lead single Levitate deals with the forced confinement and sees the star rise beyond the realms of the pandemic and reacquaint herself with a world seemingly gone by.

It encompasses the overall theme of the album, which for listeners and as a creative pursuit for Toyah, is about escapism.

While songs like Space Dance and Rhythm In My House are through and through pop numbers, the genius of ‘Posh Pop’ is in the lyrics, which simultaneously reference the world today while remaining timeless.

• Continue reading at Retro Pop. The album is released on Friday. Pre-order Posh Pop here.

Scene Sussex: Toyah Live: Thunder in Worthing!

August 5th, 2021

Toyah live 29 July 2021 – The Factory Live

Toyah Is a four times Brit Award nominated English musician, singer, songwriter, actress, producer and author. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Willcox has had 8 Top 40 singles, released over 20 albums, written two books, appeared in over 40 stage plays and 10 feature films, and voiced and presented numerous television shows.

Toyah: The Band.
Toyah Willcox (vocals), Chris Wong (guitar), Andy Doble (keyboards), Mike Nichols (bass) and John Humphrey (drums).

Toyah had only recently announced that she was to put on a concert back on the South Coast with her full live electric band. The venue was announced as The Factory Live, located at Unit 9A, Ivy Arch Road in Worthing. The date was set for Thursday 29th July 2021. Toyah last made a visit to Brighton in November 2019 when she played chalk to promote her 2019 charting album ‘In The Court Of The Crimson Queen‘.

• Continue reading at Scene Sussex.

The Blue Meaning: Review by At The Barrier

May 26th, 2021

Toyah – The Blue Meaning (Expanded Deluxe Edition): Album Review

Dark, intense and disturbingly graphic – an early masterpiece by Toyah revisited

Release Date: 28th May 2021
Label: Cherry Red Records
Formats: 2CD + 1DVD, Limited Edition Coloured Vinyl

Cherry Red Records have done it yet again! This week’s lucky recipient of their deluxe reissue treatment is Toyah and the band’s second album, 1980’s The Blue Meaning. In fact, Cherry Red are working their way through Toyah’s Safari Records catalogue – the band’s debut album, Sheep Farming In Barnet, has already received the deluxe repackaging and the rest of the bunch, Anthem (1981) The Changeling (1982) and Love Is The Law (1983) will be along soon – a veritable treasure trove from the happiest, most productive and most creative period of Toyah’s career. Oh – and for clarity – at this stage in the career of Toyah Willcox, Toyah was the collective name for the band in which she featured – Joel Bogen on guitar, Charlie Francis on bass, Steve Bray on drums, Peter Bush on keyboards and Toyah herself on vocals (or verbals and unusual sounds, as the album’s excellent sleeve notes put it.)

• Continue reading at At The Barrier.

The Blue Meaning: Review by We Are Cult

May 22nd, 2021

A review of The Blue Meaning by We Are Cult.

Toyah: ‘The Blue Meaning’

“Cherry Red’s second re-release of Toyah’s early output, The Blue Meaning is full of lyrics that reflect her interest in sci fi, occultism and Nostradamus… Self-admittedly pretentious in a good way, Toyah’s lyrics and singing style often also seem to be influenced by Broken English-era Marianne Faithful and Patti Smith.”

1980 was a busy year for Toyah. Working as both an actress and a musician she was only 22 but had already appeared in films such as Quadrophenia, Derek Jarman’s Jubilee and The Tempest and George Cukor’s remake of The Corn Is Green with Katherine Hepburn and Patricia Hayes. As well as television work in Shoestring, Second City Firsts and the TV remake of Quatermass, Toyah had also already acted in productions at the National Theatre.

In this short one-year period Toyah starred in a Royal Court production of the controversial Nigel Williams play Sugar and Spice, filmed over the course of three months for an hour-long ATV documentary, appeared in the TV series A Question of Guilt and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and guest-hosted the talk show Friday Night, Saturday Morning in which she interviewed (and played Space Invaders with!) Steve Strange, Derek Jarman and Vivian Stanshall. The year was also the prelude to her chart success of 1981, which occasioned hit singles It’s A Mystery, I Want To Be Free and Thunder in the mountains and numerous Smash Hits and Look-In covers.

• Continue reading at We Are Cult.

Film And TV Now: ‘Give Them Wings’ Review

May 22nd, 2021

A great review of Give Them Wings:

Give Them Wings screens as part of the online London Independent Film Festival 2021.

Amidst the challenges of the recent pandemic, a shining light emerged in the form of centennial hero (and sadly recently departed) Captain Sir Tom Moore, whose mega-effort to raise millions through his walking laps around his garden made him the hero of the status quo and a legend of 2020.

Now, a new film from multi-hyphenate talent Sean Cronin celebrates the life of a disabled football fan called Paul Hodgson – and is pretty incredible on its’ own terms.

Adapted by Hodgson from his 2000 novel Flipper’s Side (with additional writing from Cronin, Ian Carter and Tony Waddington) Give Them Wings chronicles events starting in 1989, when Darlington fan Paul (Daniel Watson) , diagnosed with meningitis from ten months – and given two hopes – is using a wheelchair to move around. His mother, Alice (Toyah Willcox in a career-best appearance), is struggling to cope with struggling husband and Paul’s father, Norman (Bill Fellows) who has signed on again for the umpteenth time and prone to bouts of depressive laziness.

• Continue reading at Film And TV Now.