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Write Wyatt: New Toyah Interview

June 21st, 2016

writewyatt16bA new interview with Toyah – one of the best for quite a while – has been published by the Write Wyatt blog.

Getting up close and personal with Toyah

Regular readers of this blog won’t be surprised that this scribe is an avid viewer of BBC 4’s Top of the Pops re-runs, a point I soon confess to my latest interviewee, Toyah Willcox.

“Oh, God bless those!”

The more recently re-aired shows take me back to my early teens, at a time when this highly-recognisable West Midlands raised actress and singer was enjoying a string of hits, not least the distinctive It’s a Mystery, Thunder in the Mountains and I Want To Be Free.

Admittedly, you’ve always had to wade through a lot of rubbish on Top of the Pops, recent examples ranging from Captain Beaky and Joe Dolce to The Snowmen and Starsound. But it also makes me realise how many great characters there were in music at the time. ‘Old bloke with rose-tinted nostalgic specs’ alert, but the charts today just don’t seem to have that same level of OTT theatricality. This was after all an era when the disparate likes of Adam Ant, Buster Bloodvessel, Clare Grogan, Hazel O’Connor, John Lydon, Lee John, Siouxsie Sioux and Ms Willcox herself were beamed into our front rooms on Thursday nights. Just where are the characters now?

“It was phenomenal back then. There were big characters out there. We all had to perform live and came up performing live. There were very few contrived acts. A very different time. We also all wrote, and I think it’s really important to write your own material. It was almost a dirty word to do somebody else’s song.

“I had to be coerced into doing Echo Beach (1987). That was a hit for me, but I felt a sense of shame at the time. Now I absolutely love performing it. Back then it was really important that the songs were your voice.”

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