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Posts Tagged ‘Influenced by Toyah’

Shirley Manson of Garbage: I Love Toyah!

May 15th, 2020

Shirley Manson of Garbage, and back in the mists of time, Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, speaks for us all. I would only add, never let the snobbery of music journalists dictate your tastes. I never did.

“I owe her an apology for not giving credit where credit is due.”

This is Toyah Willcox and this is a true story. I loved her growing up but I never admitted it publicly because I knew deep down that it wasn’t considered very cool by the serious music press to do so. The worst possible thing for me at that age was to be thought of as uncool. However truth was she fascinated me and I think it’s fair to say I studied her. By that I mean I obsessed over photographs of her in magazines and tried to emulate her fabulous, esoteric style, copy her make up, style my hair like she did.

Toyah wasn’t considered very culturally “important” like Siouxsie was. She was effervescent. She had a cute little lisp. She seemed a bit nerdy and she was considered pretty mainstream. I was 15 and pretty mainstream myself but as I said, needed more than anything to appear cool to my peers so I kept my tastes to myself.

I can’t remember who accompanied me to see her play when she came to The Edinburgh Playhouse in the summer of 1982. I am assuming it was my best friend Sara. We had been besties since nursery school but I can’t honestly remember. However I DO remember the undeniable, visceral thrill of seeing Toyah on stage. This was a time before pop stars were accessible and culturally omnipresent. The impact of seeing your idols on stage, in the flesh for the first time was something immense and extraordinarily overwhelming. It was the only time you ever really got to see them move through space. See them breathe and hear them speak. I just remember the lights and lusting after Toyah’s hair and being utterly transfixed.

I owe Toyah an apology. An apology for being a Judas. An apology for sucking at her teat and not having the strength of character to ever admit it. I owe her an apology for not giving credit where credit is due. I owe her an apology for, upon discovering she was a idiosyncratic firecracker and not ice cool, withholding my love. I apologize. And I want to thank her. For everything . For being a weirdo. For taking risks. For fucking trying and not being afraid. I love you Toyah Willcox. I wish I’d declared myself publicly sooner but it’s better late than never. “Don’t want to go to school. I want to be free. I want to be me”.