Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

The Guardian: Toyah & Nick Tauber Talk ‘It’s A Mystery’

September 12th, 2022

Toyah and, Anthem – and many other Toyah releases during the Safari Records years – producer, Nick Tauber are interviewed in The Guardian today, discussing It’s A Mystery, from the Four From Toyah EP and the, just reissued in deluxe formats, iconic/legendary/magnificent 1981 album, Anthem.

Toyah on It’s a Mystery: ‘I told Princess Margaret I was a punk rocker. She said “How ridiculous”’

‘There was a vinyl shortage when it was released. Old records had to be sent to the factory to be melted down and pressed. But soon it was selling 75,000 copies a day’

I was a cult punk singer playing sweaty little clubs and getting covered in so much gob that dry cleaners would go: “Yeuch! We’re not touching that!” Then a brilliant PR woman called Judy Totton turned everything around. She put me in every parish magazine in the country that would talk to me. I soon had all these fans who said they discovered me because their parents or grandparents had told them about this punk rocker.

I was making singles that were eight minutes long with reams of lyrics and had never had a hit. When Safari Records played my 1980 single Ieya on rotation in their office, a man apparently appeared at their door with a knife and said: “If you play that song again, I’ll kill you!” I started working with a new producer, Nick Tauber, who said I needed to simplify the message. He was completely right.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp Look Back

May 30th, 2022

Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp look back: ‘He came from the 60s, having multiple girlfriends at once’

The musicians recreate a photo from their wedding – a day of panic, pasta and paparazzi

Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp are a rock star couple turned lockdown YouTubers. Actor and musician Willcox, 64, rocketed to fame during the punk rock era, appearing in cult movies such as Quadrophenia, before releasing 80s hits such as It’s a Mystery.

Meanwhile, Fripp, 76, is a founding member of King Crimson, and has collaborated with artists including David Bowie and Brian Eno.

Both prolific musicians, they launched the successful Sunday Lunch video series in 2020, in which they cover classic songs in their home in Pershore, Worcestershire.

Toyah: This photograph was taken on our wedding day in 1986, which started off really dull and rainy, but as soon as we got to the church the sun came out. Robert was terrified. I was enjoying it, but very nervous: I had to keep the ceremony secret so photos weren’t leaked to the press. Sadly, the papers got wind and we were chased by paparazzi for two days afterwards. They were banging on the car door, shouting and saying that if we didn’t let them get a picture they were going to print a bad story about us. It wasn’t fun.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Great Outdoors/Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

August 20th, 2020

Great outdoors: the magic of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – in pictures

Theatre has returned to Regent’s Park in London with a socially distanced revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, plus comedy nights under the stars. We look back at memorable past productions.

Toyah Willcox throws herself into the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by John Doyle in 1995.

• Continue reading at The Guardian. (Photo © Tristram Kenton)

The Guardian Archive: Toyah Willcox, The Thinking Man’s Punkette

July 3rd, 2020

An archive Toyah interview has been re-published today by The Guardian.

Toyah Willcox, the thinking man’s punkette – archive, 1980

3 July 1980: “No one can rip me off. I’m too much of a bitch,” the self-confessed megalomaniac tells Robin Denselow

Four years ago, Toyah Willcox left a “very boring all-girls public school” in Birmingham with only one O level, in music, and a whole heap of bad reports. At 14 she’d been banned from art, her favourite subject because her paintings were too erotic. She got into fights, confused the teachers by making her own clothes and “by wearing a Dr Spock haircut with the back of my head shaved. I was a very paranoid kid and I hated every minute of it.”

Today, at 22, Toyah is being hailed as a sort of Thinking Man’s Punk, and is certainly the most impressive female all-rounder to have emerged in the latter days of the new wave. Earlier this year she won considerable acclaim for her part as Miranda in Derek Jarman’s exquisite film version of The Tempest. Her acting career had already included everything from Jarman’s punk celebration Jubilee, to Quatermass, and Quadrophenia.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Richard Madden Interview

May 6th, 2019

A great retro Barmy Aunt Boomerang photo of Toyah and Richard Madden was included in The Guardian‘s interview with Richard, published on Saturday.

The lengthy feature also references Toyah and Barmy Aunt Boomerang:

Madden has had a taste of this all-consuming busyness before: with Game Of Thrones, in his early 20s, and even before then, when he was cast, aged 12, in a BBC One series called Barmy Aunt Boomerang. So, he says, he knows enough for the shift in status not to go to his head

… Then he got the lead part in Barmy Aunt Boomerang (Toyah Willcox played the eponymous aunt), so he didn’t really go to school much between the ages of 11 and 13, and when he went back, he struggled.

• Continue reading at The Guardian. (Photo © BBC) NB: Toyah and Barmy Aunt Boomerang were previously included in a BBC feature on Richard Madden earlier this year.

The Guardian: Toyah Willcox Interview – The Q&A

April 13th, 2019

guardian19bToyah Willcox: ‘Relax? I have no idea what the word means’

The musician on her white rabbit, giving advice and still holding hands with her husband after 32 years

Born in Birmingham, Toyah Willcox, 60, appeared in Derek Jarman’s 1978 film Jubilee, and Quadrophenia in 1979. Her early hit singles included It’s A Mystery and I Want To Be Free, and by 1982 she had made two platinum-selling albums.

She has just released a new studio reworking of her album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, and is currently on tour in the UK. She is married and lives in Worcestershire.

When were you happiest? Between 2007 and 2016, I had a large white rabbit called WillyFred. I was happiest pressing my ear to his fur and hearing his heart beat.

What is your greatest fear? Living in an environment of banality.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I am disproportionately ambitious.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: From The Cardiologist To The Baker

February 11th, 2019

guardian19aFrom the cardiologist to the baker: how busy people manage sleep

Today presenter Martha Kearney goes to bed at 8pm, while at 4am Toyah Willcox is going through her emails – 10 people with odd work patterns reveal their bedtime routines

Toyah Willcox, Singer and Actor

I have always had disrupted, broken sleep. Over a year, I could count on my fingers the times I have slept through the night. I don’t think my insomnia is fixable: I think it’s in my DNA. I cannot emphasise enough how important exercise is. I have to do at least a three-mile fast walk a day, usually in the afternoon. Movement is incredibly important in helping my body use up my energy. When I’m disciplined enough, detoxing of stimulants and exercising is also a conscious part of my day.

Routine: I take books on learning to bed – music theory, colour theory – and usually my brain thinks, “Um, I think I’d rather turn off,” than learn something. But my natural pattern is to sleep from 11pm-1am, then I’m awake till 7am and I only get into deep sleep at around 7-10am. Instead of lying there praying to go to sleep all night, I get up and work. At 4am you do feel a bit jet-lagged and brain-dead, but it’s a very practical time to go through my emails, pay the bills, get rid of the mundane tasks. And there’s times in the summer when I’m awake as the sun is rising and I think this is the best, this is absolutely wonderful. Of course, if you have a 9-5 job this is a real problem, but as a singer, it can work well for me.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

Categories: Interviews, Press Clips Tags:

The Guardian: Can The NHS Top The Charts?

July 7th, 2018

guardian18cCan a team of pop stars, doctors and nurses help the NHS top the charts?

Toyah Willcox says she was lucky. Back in the day, they used to lop off dodgy legs like hers. But her mother – and the NHS – came to the rescue. The musician and actor was born with a twisted spine, no hip sockets, clawed feet, a clubbed right foot and one leg two inches shorter than the other. “It was a time when the way you dealt with a problem was to remove it, so my mother fought for my leg. My mother saved my leg.”

Twice a day, she was given intensive physio by her mother, and every six months she had corrective surgery. Willcox flexes her impressive biceps. “See, I hold myself through my own muscle strength. That is why I’m built like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m really muscular because my mother had to teach me how to straighten my own spine. It wasn’t good for my relationship with her because she was dictatorial about it, but in the end I was able to disguise what I had. I always wore boots and my raise was hidden in them.” At 51, she had an operation to make her legs the same length.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Culture Highlights Of The Week

February 15th, 2018

guardian18bWhat to see this week in the UK: Five of the best … theatre shows

Jubilee – Chris Goode’s stage version of Derek Jarman’s classic punk-era film stars Toyah Willcox, who played Mad in the original, as Elizabeth I. It is wildly entertaining, billing itself with a knowing leer as “an iconic film most of you have never heard of, adapted by an Oxbridge twat for a dying medium, spoiled by millennials, ruined by diversity, and constantly threatening to go interactive”. Not for the faint-hearted; definitely for the big of heart.

Lyric Hammersmith, W6, Thursday 15 February to 10 March

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Your Questions Answered on Punk, Rabbits…

January 26th, 2018

guardian18aToyah Willcox webchat – your questions answered on punk, rabbits and fighting for her back catalogue

The singer and actor, who is starring in a stage version of Derek Jarman’s Jubilee, on her bucket list, how she’d explain punk to aliens and what she’d like for her 60th birthday

This has been great fun! It’s enlightening to hear your questions. Thank you so much for your time. Let’s do it again! And come and see Jubilee at the Lyric Hammersmith from 15 Feb to 10 March. Be prepared to be offended, to laugh til you hurt, to shed tears at the sheer brilliance and beauty of it.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Toyah Willcox Webchat

January 19th, 2018

guardian18aThe singer and actor, who is starring in a stage version of Derek Jarman’s punk movie Jubilee, will answer your questions at 1.30pm GMT on Monday 22 January

Toyah Willcox is not a woman to be pinned down. A singer, actor, TV presenter and stock market magnate, she has been a permanent fixture in British culture since the age of 19, when she played flame-haired pyromaniac Mad in Derek Jarman’s 1978 punk film Jubilee.

Since then, she has recorded 24 albums and had 13 Top 40 singles, including It’s a Mystery and I Want to Be Free. She has also appeared in more than 40 plays and 15 films, including Quadrophenia, The Ebony Tower (opposite Laurence Olivier) and The Corn is Green (with Katharine Hepburn). On TV, she’s been a religious affairs reporter for The Heaven and Earth Show, narrated Teletubbies and done a stint on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!

Now, she is returning to Jubilee in a new stage adaptation at the Lyric Hammersmith in London. She takes on the role of the time-travelling queen who arrives in a dystopia where a new generation seethes with anger at the establishment. “At the time it was made, it was utterly outrageous,” Willcox has said of the original film, describing it as a story of “women who are trying to kind of kill everything that controls them or that has exploited them … It’s a very resonant story today. Nothing’s changed except the technology.”

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Jubilee Review

November 8th, 2017

guardian17bJubilee review – rude and raucous return for Jarman’s punk pageant

Chris Goode directs Toyah Willcox in a wild reimagining of Derek Jarman’s film about a time-travelling queen and a generation with no future

‘Welcome to Jubilee,” says Amyl Nitrate near the start of Chris Goode’s reimagining of Derek Jarman’s 1978 punk movie. The straight-talking Amyl, played on stage by the mesmerising transgender performer Travis Alabanza, tells us what to expect: “An iconic film most of you have never heard of, adapted by an Oxbridge twat for a dying medium, spoiled by millennials, ruined by diversity, and constantly threatening to go interactive.”   That just about sums it up, and if you go with the flow you will be taken on a wild theatrical experience that knows exactly what it is doing, even at its most cracked, rude and raucous. This is smart work, spikily and lovingly performed.

Toyah Willcox, who starred in Jarman’s original film, sounds cheekily like Judi Dench in the role of Queen Elizabeth I, presiding over a day trip to the future conjured by court astrologer Dr Dee (Harold Finley).

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: The Unmissable Theatre of Autumn 2017

October 12th, 2017

theguardian15aJubilee – Derek Jarman’s chaotic and giddily incendiary punk classic is reimagined and updated for the stage by Chris Goode, 40 years after it first appeared in cinemas. One of the original cast members, Toyah Willcox, returns, this time taking on the role of a time-travelling Elizabeth I who finds herself in a contemporary London where girl gangs rampage across the streets and order has given way to violence.

Royal Exchange, Manchester (box office: 0161-833 9833), 2-18 November.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Jubilee To Be Reignited On Stage

June 7th, 2017

guardian17aDerek Jarman’s punk classic Jubilee to be reignited on stage  

Toyah Willcox plays the time-travelling Elizabeth I in the Royal Exchange’s version of the film that caused outrage after 1977’s silver jubilee

Derek Jarman’s anarchic punk film Jubilee is to be adapted for the stage with a cast including Toyah Willcox who made her screen debut in the original version 40 years ago. Willcox played the cackling pyromaniac Mad, a member of a girl gang whose fights, orgies and random acts of cruelty are witnessed by Queen Elizabeth I when she is magically transported to the 1970s. The new stage version, which will open at Manchester’s Royal Exchange theatre this November, casts Willcox in the role of the time-travelling queen.

“At the time it was made, it was utterly outrageous,” says Willcox of the film, which she describes as the tale of “women who are trying to kind of kill everything that controls them or that has exploited them. It’s a very resonant story today. Nothing’s changed except the technology.” The stage version will be firmly set in the modern day, with the script updated throughout the show’s run to acknowledge current events.

“If there’s something noteworthy in the news at 1pm, hopefully you’ll be hearing a reference to it in the show in the evening,” says Chris Goode, the show’s director. Goode, who first saw Jarman’s film as a teenager and has been influenced by the DIY punk ethos throughout his theatre career, added: “We didn’t want our version to be an exercise in nostalgia. Part of the impulse was thinking about where punk is at now.”

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Thursday’s Best TV: Film Choice

March 17th, 2016

theguardian15aWill Brand manage a 20-mile-a-day hike from the Humber Bridge to Liverpool? Does it matter who pulled the trigger if your father is gunned down? And would you trust Neil Morrissey with your life?

Plus: the Who’s rock opera Quadrophenia.

Quadrophenia (Franc Roddam, 1979), 12.15am, ITV4
Roddam’s screen version of the Who’s rock opera is an excellent recreation of a seedy, sultry, angry time – the mods v rockers seaside clashes of 1964. Phil Daniels leads the way as Jimmy, a pill-popping rebel on a scooter, and there are vigorous performances from Ray Winstone, Leslie Ash, Sting and Toyah Willcox. Plus, of course, Pete Townshend’s explosive music.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Aaaaaaaah! – Not All Video On Demand Is Rubbish

October 16th, 2015

theguardian15aThe world of VOD is sometimes seen as the bargain bin of film but new services like Frightfest Presents and its new ape drama might be about to change all that

British comedy stalwart Steve Oram’s directorial debut Aaaaaaaah! sees a host of famous faces (Toyah Willcox included) occupy a world in which human beings act like apes, their social graces eradicated and all known language replaced by a series of unintelligible grunts. So far, so kooky, but from the opening moments of the film – in which Oram’s character weepily urinates over a photo of his ex-wife – Aaaaaaaah! reveals itself as something much more tender than its offbeat premise might imply.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Aaaaaaaah! Review – Satire of Beastly Behaviour

September 11th, 2015

guardian15aSteve Oram’s entertaining drama imagines a world populated by vile beasts who look like humans but behave like apes

The directorial debut of Sightseers star Steve Oram is a singular item of monkey business that imagines a world populated by vile beasts who look like humans, but think, act and converse like apes. Shot for peanuts (or bananas) around decidedly trusting souls’ flats, the result often resembles an actors’ body-language workshop run amok, but between the territory-marking and leg-humping – funny on some primal level – a narrative and wounded psychology does evolve.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

Categories: Films, Reviews Tags: ,

Toyah Newsy Bits & Pieces!

September 8th, 2015

theguardian15aThe Guardian: This Week’s New Films: AAAAAAAAH! (18) (Steve Oram, 2015, UK) Steve Oram, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Toyah Willcox. 79 mins – In this highly original comic horror fable from Sightseers co-writer and actor Steve Oram, modern-day London is populated by a tribe of grunting, ape-like humans – Continue reading…

Derby Telegraph: The Flowerpot celebrate 20 years of live music at the venue with an enticing autumn season: RAW Promotions celebrate 20 years of bringing great live music to The Flowerpot , in King Street, Derby, with a landmark autumn season which launches tonight. It kicks off this evening with late 1970s mod revival band Secret Affair and over the next four months goes on to feature 70s/80 punk starlet Toyah Willcox – Continue reading…

Brutal As Hell: Festival News: Full Line-Up for Mayhem 2015 Revealed: It sure is horror festival season here in the UK – we’ve got another line-up to reveal today, from the fine folks at Mayhem. We’ve already gawped at the amazing unmade Dracula script-reading that the Nottingham festival has planned, and now they’ve revealed their full schedule and cor, is it good… – in addition to the previously announced opening and closing films, Aaaaaaaah! and The Invitation – Continue reading…

Metro: 21 things you only know if you grew up in East Kent: It was once known as the Garden of England, and even though it has lost the title now, you have fond memories of a bucolic childhood – taking long walks in Bluebell Wood and summer days at Minnis Bay – There was Howletts Zoo, the Whitstable Oyster Festival and a fading soap actor starring in the panto to turn on the Christmas lights. We had Toyah Willcox once, and Wizadora – Continue reading…

The Guardian: Next Week’s Radio

July 12th, 2014

guardian13cMusical moment of the week comes in John Shuttleworth’s Lounge Music (Sunday, 7.15pm, Radio 4) in which he welcomes guests to his lovely home, offers them a cup of tea, demonstrates his less-than-complete mastery of his electronic keyboard, and tries to stop them being bothered by his manager Ken in the conservatory. In a regular feature called Under The Covers, guests are invited to perform one of their host’s tunes. This week, cockney songsmith Chas Hodges chooses Shopkeepers In The North, John’s poignant meditation on the relative merits of the retail experience above and below the Wash, and he plays and sings it with the delicacy and accomplishment you would expect from somebody who’s been in bands since before the Beatles. Future guests being warned to watch the sharp edges on the wicker furniture will include Toyah Willcox and Leee John. They’ll have to go some to better Chas.

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

The Guardian: London Fashion In The 80s Remembered

July 10th, 2013

guardian13cA new show at the V&A celebrates the creativity of the 80s clubbing and fashion scenes in London. We find out what inspired the decade’s cool kids. We asked those who were there about dressing up, making images and dancing till dawn.

Toyah Willcox on the pop wardrobe: “Melissa Caplan made my costumes from the 70s to the mid-80s. I was very influenced by futurism and reading a lot of Marge Piercy. Look and image were very important – there was already incredible pressure to look feminine and sexy but I wanted to look individual and strong. I didn’t have any role models except Little Nell from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I remember stepping out on to the stage in 1981 at Hammersmith Odeon and seeing row after row of people looking identical. Every image I created was like setting a fire off in someone’s mind.”
Toyah Willcox is a singer and actor

• Continue reading at The Guardian.

Toyah Newsy Bits & Pieces!

June 1st, 2013

You Tubing with Dreamscape: Just uploaded a collection of clips of Toyah from the documentary Glam & Glitter, which originally aired on Channel 5 back in 2001. Toyah speaks briefly about David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Alice Cooper and The Sweet.

Live At Kings Place: It appears that the, just released, Weekend Guitar Trio/Toyah/Jan Bang live album is now being shipped to the UK. Get your copy here. It’s also available as a download. (Thanks to Larwi)

The Herald: A Taste of Parka Life: Review: Film – Quadrophenia (18): The film many of us never tire of is playing at the, wonderful, GFT (Glasgow Film Theatre) tomorrow afternoon.

Viva Lifestyle: Win Tickets to Tatton Park Picnic Concert 2013 – Headliners Include The Human League & Katherine Jenkins. Toyah has also been cofirmed for this. Go here to enter the competition.

K9 Stole My Trousers: Toyah is mentioned the publicity blurb for Bob Baker’s, soon to be published, autobiography: A stalwart of HTV, Bob has worked with Sir Laurence Olivier, Leonard Rossiter, Ron Moody, Toyah Willcox and Trevor Eve. (Thanks to James Armstrong)

Still The Beast Is Feeding: Forty Years Of Rocky Horror: Toyah contributed an interview to this new book, by Rob Bagnall and Phil Barden, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of The Rocky Horror Show which has now been published by Telos. It chronicles the extraordinary history, continued evolution and enduring legacy of this immortal stage show/film. Toyah talks about her personal memories of the phenomenon and about joining the Royal Court Tribute concert. (Source: Official Toyah Facebook)

The Guardian: Music Weekly Podcast: Pete Paphides is among us once more, rustling through his comprehensive back-catalogue of pop papers. This week, he returns to the early 80s, and learns a little too much about Toyah in his Parallel History of Pop.

BBC Radio Essex: Read a full transcript of Toyah’s recent interview on Mark Punter’s show at The Toyah Willcox Interview Archive.