JANUARY 2008 – DECEMBER 2008
Read Toyah's blog on the Official Page HERE
Happy Christmas to you all!
Vampires Rock rocks on into Christmas and I'm having fun. In fact we are having so much fun 50 dates have already gone in for 2009's autumn tour. Eleven months ago I could never have guessed this would have been such a rewarding year. It's been tough and challenging but 32 years into my career, it's been one of the best.
New doors keep opening especially with the music. SENSATIONAL is being considered by the BBC for the official OLYMPIC coverage in 2012. And the album has interest all over Europe with newspapers bidding for it.
I've had my costume fittings for POWER OF 3, which shoots in April and SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL shoots April into May. Then I'm pencilled to play Paul McGann's sister in a new film called MASON, with Kelly LeBrock, to be shot in Bristol over the summer. Then…….back with the teeth, for VAMPIRES.
I keep having to remind myself I am working with very young people, in fact I could be the 19 year old drummers grandmother, only my very flirty mind and good health make me forget, and the fact I wear PVC for most of the show, which gives me false hope that gravity has forgotten about me, but then I see Nickky Miller eat his Kellogg's Rasberry Swirl and drink his Apple Fruit Shoot and I realise that at 19, no matter how hard he rocks (and he will kill me for saying this) he is still a child.
OK that's too harsh an accusation for a rocker, he is still………a TEENAGER! When I was 19 I was appearing at the National Theatre in London and starring alongside Adam Ant in Derek Jarman's epic Punk film Jubilee.
Like all teenagers I didn't eat sensibly, didn't sleep and was crap with money, but this new generation, particularly The Lost Boys, who are the Vampires Rock band, have more solid heads on their extremely young necks.
OK we did end up running around service stations on the M6 at 3am after Blackpool, but thats as far as it goes. These guys like a drink but their innocence is admirable because when I was 19 I was always being arrested and had a habit of borrowing cars that weren't mine.
Back in 1976, luckily fruit hadn't been bastardised into sugar saturated snacks, an apple was still an apple, but drugs where prevalent to my youthful generation adding a false glamour to our rebellion, which thankfully in this new generation of rockers seems a by word for Great Big Fu**ing Loser. I have Vampires Rock to thank for more than just a great time. It's made me examine my attitudes.
The responsibility of being a parent has never fallen on my shoulders and now I find myself standing in the wings looking at five exceptional band members and four beautiful dancers and thinking ' God if I knew I could have had children like these people, I would have had children!” Who'd have thought a show about Vampires could have made me examine my inability to commit to a family life?
This is the show that when the truck appeared at Wolverhampton's Wulfrun Hall with SELL YOUR SOUL TO ROCK painted on the side, it so outraged a gospel meeting going on inside we believe some divine spell has been thrown over the production because in the last month the weirdest events have been happening on stage.
The coffin won't open and traps Stringfellow inside, Lights are going on of their own accord and amps are overheating in the first number.
Don't judge a book by it's cover with this show…..it has more family values, more good politics going on than any other production I have been involved in.
So motherhood? And the question of should I have had children or shouldn't i?
It's the ultimate gamble isn't it? Bringing a child into this world and expecting to like it?
With respect, my mother took this gamble and paid the price. I've fought her every decision and ruffled her feathers since I was a teenager and continue to do so even though we have both softened in our attack and defensives.
I'm now fighting her doctors to make sure her medications for diabetes and her crumbling spine don't cause her more damage than they already have. Parents lose their power over you, that's the good news, but your responsibility towards them increases. Well that's my choice.
Last Thursday, after a press day at Liverpool Arena with Steve Steinman I made it to York early for the show, so I had lunch with drummer Nicky's parents, who are both younger than me, just.
We where in a small village outside of the main city and eating excellent fish and chips in the family establishment MILLERS and they where telling me how they like to go clubbing……with their son, who drives them home some nights.
This was so alien to me. I was brought up to be silent, to be always in the wrong, to never discuss any issues with my superiors and certainly not drink and dance in clubs with those who brought me into the world.
Have the age barriers dissolved and does age equality exist in my generation? If so the Punk movement has a lot to be thanked for because Nickky Millers uncle was the drummer in UK SUBS, Steve Roberts and obviously the drummer gene is a strong one in this family.
What would have resulted if I passed my genes on, I like to think a small level of anarchy.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD AND ROCK INTO CHRISTMAS.
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello and WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PVC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For those of you who might not know, I am on the road in VAMPIRES ROCK and having the time of my life! It is a scream!
Having started in September in Retford to reasonable interest, we are now basking in the full light of success. The show appears to be going from strength to strength.
The other night in Nottingham, I peered around the curtain at the Royal Centre, before the show started, expecting to see a few hundred and there were a few thousand. My heart leapt into my mouth.
It is the fact that we are playing such varied venues that I am enjoying so much. The smaller towns like Burnley were really moving to play. The theatre took no more than 500 people, which gave the evening an intimacy that was magical.
After each show, we all go out and meet the audience and sign autographs. This is quite an experience, because the day is a long one anyway after four hours in the car, setting up my costumes, doing the show, packing up the costumes and then getting in the car for another four hours of motorway closures... but it's an incredibly humbling experience!
I've never seen towns like Retford or Burnley or Mansfield and they are the heart of the England. The people are fantastic. My work usually takes me to Birmingham, London, Manchester….all the big cities.
All the places that have had billions of pounds invested in them but there are a mass of towns out there that haven't had the attention they deserve. It has almost made me want to go into politics.
In Burnley there is obviously a drink problem among the young unemployed. The theatre had security in the day time and the evening, letting us in and out of the building and warning us not to stray too far! Purely because young white males are frequenting the bars from 11am and falling unconscious in the streets by tea time. No one deserves this.
I would never have experienced this side of England had I not been on this tour. It has strengthened my belief that with the right leadership there is hope for everyone, we just don't have the right leader. The people I am meeting after each show are fantastic. I'm telling you, next time I get a chance to go to number 10, they are going to get a piece of my mind. How dare anyone invest in casinos, shopping centres, bloody banks, Iceland and not in people?
Being on tour is enough for anyone to deal with, especial when one night you're in Southend and then the next in Nottingham. The travel takes up 2 thirds of the day. But when you add my personal life to the equation I'm surprised I haven't had a breakdown.
My husband has decided that winter/Christmas is the perfect time to put a new roof on our home. So I get in at 3am, the workmen arrive at 7.30am, because they need all the day light hours they can get. By the way my husband is away, in Seattle, sleeping soundly.
Then... my 79 year old mother electrocutes herself on a Hoover, that is so old, I think I remember playing with it when I was three, she needed medical attention. I later discover the reason for her electrocution was an old house rabbit of mine, one I had twenty eight years ago had nibbled the wires and exposed the copper.
THEN... bloody hell the list of my parents dilemmas is endless... I find, in their sitting room, under the sofa, evidence of a small flood where their neighbour has removed part of their ceiling and allowed six months of rain water to run down the walls. All the time I am reading headlines about how we are living longer.
My father is 88, my mother 79. I'm thankful every day that I still have them and desperately don't want them to go into a home… I'm just wondering, can I? Coz I'm knackered!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD.
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Mercury went retrograde on the 23rd Sept and will remain so until the 15th with negative influences being around until the end of October. Just Google 'Mercury Retrograde', and you will know why the world is bonkers. For me 'things' are fantastic and 'trying', both at the same time.
The responses to IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON QUEEN have been brilliant and hugely appreciated. One surprise is the response from people in the USA and other far away places who seem to have discovered me for the first time through the new album. Thank you MYSPACE!!!!!!!!
Its release and availability is opening up many avenues and new ideas. Rather satisfyingly Simon Darlow was called in to meet the head of a record company after I secured airplay on 23 regional radio stations and the album went in to the iTunes ROCK CHART at number 11 in the first week of release.
Apparently this is unprecedented! Not even Sir Cliff Richard can get his own airplay! The album has brought in many interesting and unexpected offers. The industry is so far removed from thirty years ago, now the phone calls aren't just about back to back touring but about 'placement'.
RDF Television are looking to place the songs in their future productions. Supermarkets are looking for exclusive releases just as newspapers are too.
As for VAMPIRES ROCK……. LESSER GOD is a stonking opener for me. I haven't seen as much smoke and pyrotechnics since Apollo 13 took off. Vampire's is wicked fun and a huge step away from the every day problems of banks closing and credit crunch. The audiences fall off their seats laughing, for all the right reasons I add! The jokes are lost on me because I have rammed earplugs so far down my ear canal they touch my tonsils, why?
Because this show is loud, so loud it rearranges my internal organs each night, but that is only on stage, apparently the auditorium is the place to be. This must be true because I haven't seen anyone leaving with their ears bleeding yet.
I am 31 years older that the drummer, in fact I AM THE OLDEST PERSON ON STAGE and do I care? Well age has never bothered me but the dancers in the show are all under 25 and well under 8st and I have to stand by them far too often, it must look like they are taking granny to a disco, so my solution is to drop a huge bag of donuts into the green room each day before sound check in the hope the band don't get there first but the dancers will!
I have made it a personal mission to make sure they don't fit their costumes by Halloween.
The Vampire teeth haven't been a problem, in fact I have warmed to my incisors being half an inch longer than usual, so much so, I went to buy a sarnie in Retford and forgot to take them out. No one commented so I think Retford is used to Vampires. Last week I did 40 interviews in 2 days.
This might not sound a lot, but try talking about yourself for 48 hours, it's not a pleasant experience, in fact I recommend David Blaine tries it for his next stunt, it would be far more challenging than hanging upside down for three days.
It is becoming increasingly alarming what the press ask. Not once was I asked 'How do I write a song?' 'How do I approach a character?' 'What is important to you in the world?'
The average questions where…….'why don't you have children?' 'You said once you like to cover people with chocolate and play with their private parts?' (I offered my lawyers telephone number to this journalist).
Every question was based on what I am not….IE: a mother, a footballers wife, a celebrity shagger, a drug user, an anorexic nor a shopaholic.
On the opening day of Vampires I received an e-mail from the News Of The World's 'Fabulous Magazine'. It went……'we need to know what celebrity friends have been to your flat and what you do with them……'
My reply…….'I don't tell tales on celebrities.' So last Sunday I open the magazine to read that David Bowie and Marilyn Manson visit me in my flat in London and we get so sizzled I fall down the stairs! NOT TRUE. (but I wish it was!)
Two weeks ago The Daily Telegraph had an online' article, the head line was 'Toyah says Madonna is ashamed to perform her 80's hits'. NOT TRUE.
(This was cleverly crafted out of the sentence 'Madonna SHOULD'NT be ashamed to perform her old hits, they mean so much to people and if she sings 'Like a Virgin" at 50, it would have more meaning to it than ever before.' The question was insinuating people didn't want to hear her hits.)
Bella magazine quotes me on the front page 'Toyah pity's women with children'. NOT TRUE.
Yesterday I wrote a book review for The Daily Mail, the book is on insomnia. The editor called and said they want to headline the review with 'Toyah was addicted to sleeping pills'. So I say I have never had an addiction nor been treated for one.
Her reply…………….'but it says so in an article we wrote. It would be true to say the words came out of my mouth during the interviews but they find their way into print in a different order with a different meaning.
I am not complaining. Profile is 99% of what I do. But I don't make a living out of criticising major stars, mothers or anyone else for that matter. And I don't make a living lying about other people. I firmly believe the success of others opens doors for me and the hard work of other people, especially women, is a constant inspiration.
What's more, in times as hard as these we must celebrate the lives of those around us and wonder at how fantastic the human race can truly be. Eventually all fabrications crumble.
BE STRONG! KEEP THE FAITH! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
BE PROUD! BE LOUD! BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
SEPTEMBER 2008 –
I am in the throws of learning my songs for Vampires Rock and I haven't even got around to running the songs with my Vampires teeth in yet!
The Boss…Bill Rieflin came to Sunday lunch whilst in the UK with the REM's and I gave him a sneak preview of how I look with my Vampire Teeth in! These are fangs made by a dentist in Nottingham, and I clip them onto my canines! He couldn't stop laughing, probably because I told him before hand that I looked like Margaret Thatcher on acid. So I set myself up there.
We open next week and I still haven't to solved the problem that I can't stop laughing when I have the fangs in because my lisp is more pronounced and I dribble. My opening song is Twisted Sister's You're Gonna Burn In Hell.
It is growing on me daily, having never heard this particular rock anthem before. It has a particularly punctuated lyrical rhythm, which is right up my street, it is bitter and ironic and snarling.
Just as well because that's all I'm good for once the teeth are in. It will just have to be a character trait.
Life is exceptionally, fantastically busy. Having sat in for Danny Baker on BBC Radio London last week I have been asked to come up with my own show, but I'm not sure when I will have time. BBC Radio London have play listed SENSATIONAL, and Robert Elms is singing it's praise over the airwaves.
SENSATIONAL is currently Robert Fripp's favourite track too. Simon and myself have already started the second album and are now in the studio with the composer David Lowe working on some unbelievably 'UP and Kicking" new material, which we work on in Lowe's studio overlooking the Malvern hill's and the valleys of Hereford. So far, Simon and I have three new tracks down, but unmixed.
IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON QUEEN has substantial pre-orders and they are growing daily. Now is the time I can sit back and listen to a body of work that took 12 months to complete. I mainly listen in my car late at night travelling after gigs and it's really liberating listening to the music without the memories of actually writing and recording the songs.
Simon and I are prolific, we work very harmoniously and I think we have a great 'sound', also we work incredibly quickly but that said there where some slow, painful days when we couldn't make a particular track work, or we couldn't agree on the scanning of a lyric, or as in SENSATIONAL, when I had to put my foot down and demand the first line of the chorus was to be HEY LITTLE STAR, LOOK AT YOU YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL, very simplistic and an immediate hook, rather than the hook coming at the end of the chorus.
Simon and I could spend hours philosophising over the slightest syllable, and hats off to Simon, he has taught me more about song writing than anyone else and has made me question my decisions more than anyone else, but above all he has taught me to stick to my ground when I believe in a lyric. And I believe I have taught Simon to trust his instincts and to be bombastic in his approach to music.
For example, LATEX MESSIAH took a day to write, no, an hour. Then we honed and toned it. LOVE CRAZY, took about 20 minutes and I love it's totally direct simplicity. The middle 8 came to me in Jersey airport when Robert and I, in Feb 2008, where about to board a plane in a storm. I text Bill Rieflin in Seattle and asked him to pray for us, and got the strongest feeling back.
Bill later told us where we were sitting on the plane and that he was hovering above us. Bill being American has a use of words I adore and I often pilfer for songs.
LEGACY, took longer. I couldn't find the voice for it. Then, one night in Estonia last year, it came to me. I was in a church on a hill, within the old city at midnight. I was in a vulnerable and chewed up state, and as with all these painful moments a creative idea jumps out at you and smacks you in the face. As soon as I returned to England I went into the studio and put it down. But ANGEL IN YOU, took months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love this track. But it has been through many guises. Eventually we had the guts to strip it down and go with the most immediate, and the very first ideas, we laid down. Do I have favourites on the album? Yes. BAD MAN, LEGACY and LOVE CRAZY. That's because they are deeply personal for me.
On top of all this the Here and Now shows, with my 80's buddies, have outsold all contemporary artists this summer on the same circuit, at Ascot we had a record breaking 27,000 apparently. Two weeks ago I appeared at a seminar at The Round House in London, for students entering the entertainment business, my partner was Michael Palin, who is divine, a true gentleman.
I asked him if he would play my husband in a film and he said 'yes' rather innocently, not realizing I had a plan up my sleeve.
THE POWER OF 3, a small British comedy, in which I have the lead, starts shooting in April 2009 and in the film I have three boyfriends, I'd dearly love Mr. Palin to be one and Phil Daniels to be another, neither know I'm up to this as I have their agents doing all the persuasion!
I take this opportunity to thank SIMON DARLOW, CRAIG ASTLEY, DEAN STOCKINGS, SEAN CHAPMAN and his wonderful team, BILL RIEFLIN for being Bill, ROBERT FRIPP for loving the music, JOHN WAIN my most generous friend and confident AND ALL OF YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope to God you enjoy the album...
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello my salty sea dogs!
I am 12 hours away from Southampton port, in the Atlantic, having joined the Ventura P&O cruise liner in Barcelona.
It's been a bit of a week, there's been a different TV to shoot each day, photo sessions, piles and piles of press for the album and Vampires Rock. Also I had to fit in 24 hours in a haunted castle to review for a major newspaper because of the growing interest in Haunted Holidays, more about that in a minute! AND there were three concerts and the album to master, which is sounding fantastic.
I left home on Monday the 28th July, at 3am having only got back from London's Excel concert at midnight, caught a plane from Birmingham to Amsterdam where I had a 40 minute connection to Barcelona and the bastards at Amsterdam security made me practically strip to my undies because I had a bottle of water in my bag making me almost miss my flight.
I ran so fast to the Barcelona plane I just got it before the doors closed. Sat down and poured sweat all over the snooty man next to me. By the time I boarded the Ventura in Barcelona I'd been up for 48 hours. But at least I had 24 hours to rest up and prepare my lecture. So I walked around the boat to get a feel for the people on board and got a rude awakening.
Children! Children! Children! I was told it was a family ship not a bloody nursery! AND I was told no adult material in my talk, but the first show I saw was a brilliant comedian full of sexual innuendo and adults and children alike where loving his act! Does innocence exist anymore?
My god I had to get my thinking cap on. I normally talk about adult education and pushing out boundaries, here I needed to push out my own.
I visited the entertainments officer and politely enquired……"what is this ship? Tweenies on sea?"
The poor thing threw her hands up in the air and said, "it is the summer holidays!"
No Problem, I locked myself in my cabin and went through my photo files and found pictures of costumes, celebrities, and film stars and wrote a 40 minute speech adding songs and pop videos along the way. I am used to standing up and giving speeches, lectures and after dinner talks but on this ship I was to appear in their main theatre, capacity 750, three times in one night, to give the 2500 passengers a chance to see me.
What I love about these talks is they give me a full technical crew and access to all the equipment; cinema screen, full lighting and spot, plus the technology to vision mix between Powerpoint and DVD, so I go to town.
I normally have 24 hours to study the audience, write the speech and then write the technical script and then an hour's rehearsal before the first audience arrive. It's 'seat of your pants' stuff but it is always thrilling. I had three good houses with only the very youngest leaving before the end, which might have been the fact the boat was rocking so wildly at one point I accidently ran sideways across the stage.
Coming out of the Gibraltar Strait I saw my first Pod of dolphins swimming along side the hull and leaping in the air with such force my first thought was someone had fallen over board. The concerts this July have been better than ever before.
In Kings Lynn where I was headlining we had an estimated 15,000 people in the square for a brilliantly hot and summery night.
The Here and Now shows have hit a new high and are outselling all the current major acts. We are averaging 12,000 a show, Ascot is predicted to be 27,000. When we played Exeter to 10,000, Boyzone had 6000 the night before and Katie Melua 3000 the following night. Bill Rieflin who is still on REM's world tour said I'm playing to larger audiences than him on some nights, I'm sure he is just being kind!
Last Thursday, Wongy, Andy Doble, John Wain and myself agreed to spend the night in Bolebroke Castle with a team of paranormal investigators. I haven't laughed so much since…… since……. since I last spent the night with these three.
As a paranormal investigation it was brilliant, we came up with stunning photographs of spirit activity and had a few hair raising experiences in a séance but it was all punctuated by one member of the team who had wind, and I wont say who, but it wasn't me!
Whenever anything really, really scary happened, for example: the medieval rapist who manifested in a séance in one of the bedrooms, our pall with wind popped one off. I laughed so much that night I almost lost my voice, but it was scary, so scary that I insisted two of the team sleep in the same room as me. I couldn't wait for day light, I was so spooked.
Ahhhh! The boat is rocking nicely now we are coming into the English channel. In 24 hours I play Shugborough Hall, we should have 6 thousand in the audience, so time to try and sleep.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello and where are all the sun's rays….diving in the deep blue sea?!
Tomorrow I play King's Lynn Market square, it's a free event and I'm told if the weather is good there will be ten thousand people in the square and if the weather is bad there will be three people and a dog! So I have been studying the weather forecast with far more interest than usual and there is a freakish 'low front' coming in from the Atlantic bringing gale force winds and storms……….for tomorrow.
I was going to wear a Japanese coral silk kimono with diamante studded arm bands ….looks like PVC and an umbrella will be more appropriate, and a bone for the dog.
It has been a fantastic month, even if Paul Weller's mum did try to steal my husband! Metaphorically speaking!
I was at St. Paul's Art gallery in Birmingham to help launch a charity campaign for the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Group, this is run by the High and Mighty of rock, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, U2 etc. etc. etc, I'm part of a new concept to sell limited edition prints to raise money for music education for underprivileged and handicapped children. Nick Mason, God drummer of Pink Floyd had his portrait on the wall next to me and Paul Weller on the other side of me.
My painting sold for 15,000 pounds in a silent auction. Paul Weller's sister Nicola is on the board of Nordoff Robbins and Paul's mum came up to represent Paul's presence and she is completely adorable!
My husband, Robert, is a hard nut to crack. He agreed to come with me to the launch but I knew this could lead to anything other than normality and heaven forbid a candle lit dinner afterwards.
About ten minutes in he decided he was hungry so he scooped a banana out of my handbag and ate whilst awe struck fans walked around him wondering if he was doing performance art.
Then……………..he decided he was tired, by now the exhibition was in full swing and I was doing live TV interviews on the local news………
He found a chaise longue, part of the exhibition where rock stars have donated famous items from their memorabilia collections…….and Robert lay down and fell asleep on it with my hand bag on his chest!
Of course what women wouldn't fall in love with this man! Every woman in the building was cooing over him whilst I was dragging him off the chaise long telling him to behave! AND when fans started asking for his autograph……he did a runner…..out of the building and demanded to be taken home.
He did this at our wedding 22 years ago. When we left the church after our Top Secret ceremony there where Papps waiting outside and Robert ran and hid in the car!
Paul Weller's mum rather than find anything slightly strange about all of this, because many people do, they find Robert a bit unreadable and get intimidated by his behaviour, Paul Weller's mum saw right through it and just gave Robert a huge hug and didn't let go for a about an hour. It was fantastic because it completely diffused Robert's power, he was pinned to the proverbial 'wall' and non of his 'running' antics could work.
I've noticed this with our house rabbit Willy Fred, no matter how much he doesn't want to be held, if you keep on 'holding on' eventually the rabbit has to admit 'I'm going to be held - I might as well enjoy the event'. Mumma Weller was a tonic, she should go on the road with Robert and keep him calm!
I was bit pissed off this month when I discovered that the BBC TV series Ashes To Ashes had tried to licence my music for use on the show and for inclusion on the accompanying soundtrack album release, but they didn't know where to go to, to attain my music (We were copied on an e-mail that went to someone at Virgin enquiring about me) !!!!??????
The BBC own the record company who have reissued 4 of my albums and released 2 compilations! 2Entertain - who are releasing this month through their umbrella company Demon, GOOD MORNING UNIVERSE - THE VERY BEST OF TOYAH….. are OWNED by the bloody BBC! What's more GOOD MORNING UNIVERSE has got as high as number 16 in the Amazon pre-release charts.
I think the actress Patricia Routledge said this month the BBC is run by children………F------ Idiots more like! I've decided in my old age……..no, let's rename this statement…….I've decided in my OLD WISDOM……to be as direct in my comments as this present world deserves.
Anyway, please all come to Kings Lynn and bring your umbrellas, there will be no mud but there will be lots of fun.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
MUCH LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello! And welcome!
My 20's where about being a peacock and strutting my stuff, My 30's about panic planning for old age and justifying myself for not having children, My 40's about holding two fingers up to convention and having the time of my life AND now I suspect my 50's are going to be about medical conditions and other peoples projections of decrepitude.
Over the weekend my old friend the journalist Lester Middlehurst, entertainment correspondent for the Daily Mail, visited me at home to write a "Toyah at 50" piece to go in the paper any time now. It was to feature the fact at 50 I am busier than ever and setting standards for all lucky enough to reach this magic number.
So imagine my shock when Lester e-mailed me a day later to confirm quotes I had made during the interview.
"I want a hysterectomy"
" My PMT was hell"
"My mother died (metaphorically) when she lost a child"
"I can't have children"
" Robert was a stud." ( Lester brought this one up) "Am I worried he is unfaithful to me?"
No….he's 61. Have you seen a 61 year old get out of bed in the morning? You are grateful they are still breathing.
So I phoned Lester back and said " I thought this interview was about my career?"
"Yes, it will be."
"Lester, the copy editor will erase all talk of success and headline "I want a hysterectomy!"
"But, Toyah, that's so much more interesting!"
If you are reading this and are about to enter the business let me give you a tip………….when giving interviews never relax the conversation in the last five minutes and even jest or confide because that will be the foundation of what goes in print.
I felt I had to warn Robert that after 21 years of marriage the Mail was about to refer to his past, a past before I even knew him. Of course men love this, Robert was thrilled….he's a stud……does it never occur to people that 'I' am a F------ amazing catch? I am the same weight I was 30 years ago, I am fitter now than ever before. I'm 20 times wealthier, I work, work, work!
Have had past success, present success and predict future success. I have never slept around or stuck my d--- in anything with a face and what do I get for it…………………….?
Has a woman got to take drugs, be anorexic and have severe mental problems to be taken seriously in this country? So to ease my worry about this pending article Robert made a few suggestions for headlines, over supper that night.
TOYAH…NO WOMB AT THE INN
TOYAH….A WOMB WITH A VIEW
TOYAH….NO WOMB INSIDE
TOYAH…A WOMB OF HER OWN…..(Virgina Woolf for all you illiterate vagabonds).
Before you jump to conclusions, there are no ops pending I am far too busy! But part of me wants to announce I am about to sell my detached womb on eBay but I am seriously worried some of you old pervs out there might find that mildly erotic. I see it more as an opportunity to have a highly original handbag. Or hand muff?
Or swimming hat? It certainly would put a new slant on the phrase…….muff diving?
Anyway enough of this, Simon Darlow will kill me! He gets the horrors when he hears some of the things that make it into print that originate from my mouth.
The album is finished!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hurray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So fingers crossed, it will be available to you pretty soonish. We have already started on album two! There's no stopping us because we can write a good womb……tune!
I've just had two lovely days filming SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL 2.
I'm only in episode one of this series, but America has taken both series and wants a third series next year, so fingers crossed my character gets more action. Vampires Rock is confirmed and they are using some of the new album material for my character the Devil Queen. All the costumes are being organised.
But before I start that in September there is a possibility of a feature film to be squeezed in around August.
And guess what………I'm not doing Panto this year! For the first time in 14 years, I am not doing Panto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm taking Christmas week off. Yipppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! No getting up early on Boxing Day!
I can spend Christmas in my NEON WOMB!
BE PROUD! BE LOUD! BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
This is my last letter this side of a half century of my life. I pass the half way mark on the 18th May. Just reminding you all lest you forget.
Don't let anyone tell you life ends once your 30. For me it definitely began at 40! My 40's where great and I intend my 50's to be even better.
Age gives you a sense of freedom, funnily enough I feel as though I am now getting ready to move house, metaphorically speaking, moving into a new phase, a new life and towards new adventures.
Talking of adventures, the last 24hours has been more of a misadventure. Coming home from writing with Simon Darlow, we where finishing track ten on the album, a song called "Hyperventilate", I managed to shut my left hand in the car door.
The pain wasn't as bad as the fear. My father and brother have both lost fingers due to working with chain saws, and I was too damned scared to look at my crushed hand and find out if I'd become the first female in the family to have joined the 'fingerless' club. I was alone, unable to get in the car to drive to nearest A&E, with my rabbit, WillyFred about to escape from the back door of the house, blood everywhere and the pain gradually but monumentally growing, I hadn't a clue what to do.
Just then an urgent e-mail arrived on my blackberry to call FOX TV in New York, URGENTLY and you know what I did? Standing, well bent over doubled in pain, I called my agent and said 'I'm just getting myself to hospital but tell FOX I can do whatever it is they want!' There's professionalism for you.
My next step was probably the most dangerous decision I have ever made.
I called my 79 year old mother….."mum? Have you had a drink tonight?"
"Well get over here and get me to hospital now!"
It was 8pm and my mother and father arrived in their little rover mobile, my father, 88, quite intoxicated from his medicinal red wine. And thus began an adventure I thought I would never have again in my life. When I was 7 my brother broke my arm and my mother had to get an ambulance and come to hospital with me.
Now, three weeks away from becoming 50 years old, my 79yr old mother is driving me to hospital as if she is in the grand prix. She kept saying "what does that sign say….I can't see it?"
The hospital was only 8 miles away but mother got lost at least once, maybe twice, I cant remember because I was trying to call FOX TV USA whilst stemming the flow of blood. We eventually arrived an hour later! Mum and Dad bickering all the way! Mum shouting at Dad to shut up…..
Dad going on about the heart checks he is due next week and how when he lost the fingers on his left hand due to resting on a chain saw he didn't know was still going, that he didn't feel a thing , so he didn't know why I was making such a fuss.
Stephen King couldn't have invented this car ride for a book, it was too surreal for words. Thank you to Worcester A&E, who looked after my father kindly as he wandered around the corridors. And to the nurses who x-rayed and bandaged me up. I still have my fingers if somewhat blooded and badly bruised.
I expected to injure myself in the Gobi desert not at home unloading the car. China was exceptional in every way. The people where fascinating. Luckily we where in the far northern provinces, near Mongolia and Old Tibet where the indigenous people still had deep, powerful cultural beliefs.
They showed their children so much love, where ever I looked fathers and mothers where playing with and hugging their children. When the sun rose in the small towns we stayed in, around 5am, all ages came into the public areas and did Tai chi for two hours before work.
There was no graffiti, no gangs, no hoodies and no insolence. No sign of any homeless (and I don't think this was cosmetic, I believe the system looks after everyone there) or people effected by poverty. We where greeted with feasts, inquisitiveness and joy.
But we did see on two occasions the police pulling a man off his bicycle and beating him, also the police pulling a taxi driver out of a car and beating him. We raised the Tibetan question where ever we could and it was clear that China, which runs like an automaton and the people believe in the system because it works for them, that China wants western values and is changing rapidly.
The police escorted us everywhere and kept an eye on us but they also showed us things we would never have known about if they hadn't have invited us to go with them on certain journeys as their guests. One of these was to the 2000 Buddha Caves in the Dunhuang Grottos.
This is where Buddhism entered China 2000 years ago. These are caves, large and small, each with their own Buddha. 2000 of them, the largest being over 32 metres high.
Olivia Newton John asked if people where allowed to come here and worship and the policed said yes. So Olivia got on her knees and chanted. So we saw both lenience and control.
The only English speaking channel on TV was continually broadcasting propaganda against Tibet, accusing Tibet of 'killing its serfs' and 'serf violence', which any westerner would laugh at. It appeared that the general attitude in China is that farmers have no power and are a lower order, which is bizarre. (The issue of food will be the greatest problem in our life time, that and water).
When I asked our guides about the treatment of Tibetans, as they where definitely treated as 'part of the old world', they just didn't get where I was coming from. They had no understanding of the value of these people to the western world. So I think the Tibet issue with China is deeply seated in conditioning among generations over many centuries.
But government and politics aside, I met great people who I admired tremendously. Obviously I was out there to raise money for Olivia Newton Johns cancer centre in Australia.
Once in the desert and walking I was on my phone getting sponsors. Robert was brilliant, he was in Las Vegas with his sister, Patricia Fripp, working with a few hundred public speakers and he got them all to sponsor the walk.
My neighbours, Chris and Karen Cronin, who just happen to build Kylie Minogue's touring stage sets heard I was walking with Kylie's sister Dannii and they sponsored me too. When I told Dannii I'd had sponsorship from her sister she was impressed!
I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored me from my heart. Your generosity and belief gave me the will to break my own physical barriers and to keep walking when I wanted to give up. GOD BLESS YOU.
I hope you enjoy SENSATIONAL. And thank you for all your birthday wishes.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello and I hope you are doing mighty fine.
For the last two weeks I've been doing the usual press round that follows making a prime time TV programme, TONIGHT 8pm ITV 1, on the 11th April. The programme is on sleep disorders and mine is insomnia.
I think CLOSER magazine has played an April fools on me. I've just bought this weeks copy, the week beginning 14th April and the headline for an article on me is I DON'T HAVE SEX ANY MORE! Then there is a picture of my best gay friend John in an orange suit, who is 35 , with the heading TOYAH AND ROBERT HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 23 YEARS……which would mean I married John when he was 12, boy I can see the headline in the News Of The World!
In the article it mentions Robert is 61 years old. Well he ain't looking bad in his tangerine suit and with a shaved head, but no wonder we ain't having sex because he is as gay as a courgette and a tub of I CANT BELIEVE IT'S NOT BUTTER.
My dear husband, I am sorry you have had this headline. What I did say was……..IF WE WHERE YOUNGER WE WOULD CURE MY INSOMNIA BY SHAGGING ALL NIGHT BUT NOW WE ARE OLDER WE DON'T DO THAT………meaning we've slowed down but not STOPPED! It's no good I am going to have to keep hubby up all night apologising.
I'm all for publicity but I do feel protective towards my husband when he is accused of not performing his husbandly duties. The last two months have been a non-stop marathon of work, no days off and no sleep either, so I am quite out of sync with myself.
On Friday 11th I fly to Beijing to take part in THE GREAT WALK TO THE BEIJING WALL. This is to raise money for Olivia Newton-Johns Cancer Wellness Centres around the world. This has also added to my press schedule and it has been hard policing how the interviews turn out.
The press have to have a STORY these days. It's not enough that we are walking in the Gobi dessert to raise money, they want us to have cancer, they want us to have addictions, they want us to loose a limb. The need for headlines seems to be escalating beyond real life.
I've had one journalist chase me for four days demanding that I must have had chemo if a tabloid is to feature a story on me. The journalist just wouldn't take…'.I'M SORRY I'VE NEVER HAD CHEMO AND I'VE NEVER HAD AN ADDICTION'……as an answer, the reply was …"well they wont print the story."
That's just tough. The fact that I've had an awesome life, am healthy, happy and successful counts for nothing. Also I find it insulting to all those out there who genuinely are fighting for their lives with dignity and strength, that I am supposed to moan about my life, when I have nothing to moan about! It's no good , I will have to put on ten stone, loose a leg , shave my head and murder my husband just to get to page three of the glossy gossip magazines.
A big thank you goes out to everyone who has very trustingly put money in my hand and said THIS IS FOR YOUR CHARITY WALK!
Especially every one at the QUADROPHENIA REUNION in Brighton this weekend. Complete strangers have approached me, in public and put cash in my hand!!!!!!!!
Please know it is all in an envelope and will be delivered to Beijing personally. I never expected people to do this and it has taken me by surprise. THANK YOU! This walk means a lot to me. I have lost so many people to cancer, friends and family. My sister's husband, Frank has seen his family destroyed by the disease and I owe it to him to do well.
As for how I will do? I've chosen the flattest part of the walk, knowing that my joints can grumble, but that said I am still doing 14 miles a day for four days. If Joan Rivers can do it then I can too! I envisage whist out there I will embark on my favourite past time, and this is a girly pass time, of missing people. 99% of my time is spent missing people. My hubby, Bill Reiflin (who has often requested me not to miss him), my dad, john (my new husband)……are girls programmed to miss people?
Luckily my hubby is making every effort to spend time with me. We had to go to Egypt two weeks ago to join a ship, the P&O AURORA, where I was booked to give three talks on board, I had a fantastic time but when we arrived at a hotel in Sharm-el-Shiek, the night before embarking, the receptionist seeing we have separate names gave us separate rooms.
When Robert informed him we where married and wanted to share a room, the receptionist replied…"why share when you can have a single room and I get you a Russian prostitute for the night, Russian women very good you know!"
Looking at Robert I could see the fear spread across his face in case I thought he had in anyway encouraged this invite. CLOSER magazine could be forgiven for being my revenge.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
BIG LOVE TOYAH XXXX
Hello and bless you for being here!
Its 4am and ironically I am making a programme about Insomnia for TONIGHT WITH TREVOR MACDONALD, or is it SIR TREVOR MACDONALD. This is scheduled for ITV on the 4th April, but it could be moved by any other news story the way things are going.
In the last couple of weeks I have been with a film crew at PAPWORTH HOSPITAL filming stages of REM SLEEP and NIGHT TERRORS, been with the staff at a VIRGIN call centre in MANCHESTER who are being encouraged to power nap in the day and I've been alone with a video camera at 4am every morning, in my office, explaining what it is like not to sleep.
I stopped sleeping when I was 14, and have never managed a night's sleep since. Its bloody boring not sleeping, because the logical alternative is alcohol and drugs. Out of principle I do neither, I'd rather rob banks.
I believe once you rely on sedation through 'commercial' means you are playing into the hands of those who count on your neurosis to fill their pockets, so awake I stay, I get a lot done, pester a lot of people by e-mail, write semi-abusive letters to gas and electrical providers, spit on the unnatural demands for money from councils, parking fines and speeding cops, twiddle my thumbs and wonder what it is like to be Amy Winehouse and have no principles about partaking in any substance that eventually numbs you. It must be nice to be numb.
Funny things tend to happen if I sleep. Last week Robert and I where sent running from the bedroom at 1.10am by an earthquake I truly believed was going to bring the house down!
The walls where moving, suddenly we where on a fairground ride which was throwing us from side to side yet moving the bed forward across the room.
Sweetpea, as I call my legendary husband, isn't the fastest person to get away from an impending crisis, so I grab him by the scruff of his pyjama's (yes, he wears jim-jams and I love him for it) and I pulled him out of the room and into the doorway of one of our front rooms in case anything came down, after all our home is well over a hundred years old. Our poor bloody bricks and mortar has had to put up with flooding, tornados, gales and now earthquakes, in the last 8 months.
As Robert and I stood in the dark we expected the usual chorus of fire alarms, car alarms and police sirens to cough up, but after the ten second shake all fell silent except for our elderly hearts.
And I remembered a conversation in SEATTLE only three weeks back………'I could never live here (Seattle) I'd be afraid of earthquakes'………….twat that I am, it seems this rock can shake where ever it chooses.
It wasn't long before an e-mail arrived suggesting that as the epi-centre for this quake, which shook most of England, was in Gainsborough, a town I played just seven days earlier and debuted the song LESSER GOD, I was in fact receiving a reply. The gig was great, who cares.
Before the show the band where conceptualising the next BIG THING that the desperate record companies will invent to marry their artists to an ever growing stockpile of music………
KYLIE DOES SLIPKNOT
METALICA DOES STOCK, AITKEN AND WATERMAN
U2 DO KOOL AND THE GANG
Oh the jolly jests of three hours in a dressing room before show time. It took only minutes to return to our favourite subject of the SUPERNATURAL, sparked by a photograph taken outside the front door of where I live in France. It is of an ORB, a ball of light with a 'cellular' structure within it.
This photo has caused a stir among programme makers and the first production team will arrive at the end of the month to make a programme about what is becoming a common occurrence on camera, where I live.
It has nothing to do with me, that's just coincidental, it's the town I live in, a small ancient pile on the side of a hill, the centre of which is a church. Photographs pick up strange phenomena. Robert will be showing some on his diary site DGM LIVE, from the 29th Feb to the 1st March.
We where walking around the town and as usual Robert was photographing buildings of architectural interest. When he down loaded them, there where the lights! In completely unexplainable places, out of focus in a perfectly focused shot.
I had heard about this happening in the area, the Cote d'Zor, but mainly around the coastal rocks, like St. Elmo's Fire. (a light occurrence which causes ships to wreck on the rocks).
What is intriguing about the lights we are discovering is there is intelligence about them……..they appear to be commenting………or predicting events.
The first one I took was four years ago, September 11th 2004. It was my first day in the area and I was looking for somewhere to live, to buy, but I couldn't afford what was on offer. I took pictures to bring home to show Robert and never noticed until this year that there where strange light formations in some of the shots, which weren't reflections or camera faults. The most spectacular one happens to be outside the front door of where I have lived for the past twelve months!
These pictures have been quite comforting for my father, who at 87 is aware everyday he wakes up is a bonus, for me they convey an incredible sense of fun. While I was walking there last week a voice came into my head and said 'the greatest form of time travel is to be born,' and I laughed out loud. How bloody brilliant is that!
Oh! I've just looked at the clock. Its 5.45am, gotta go! There's a press call at 10am in Birmingham. I have lots of facts and figures to learn about how much water the average household uses!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!
LOVE TO YOU … TOYAH XXXX
FEBRUARY 2008 –
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE
Hello there, Seattle is not how I remember it ten years ago.
Then, it was another planet, but after boarding the plane at Heathrow five days ago and staying in the air for ten hours I am convinced the plane circled Whitstable for a day and landed near Dover. I feel as though I am still in England!
Are the worlds boundaries and cultures slowly bleeding into one? Seattle is sleepy, but a welcome break from the tangible tensions of London.
All I care about is I'm here with the 'light of my life' Bill Rieflin. If thoughts could slowly build into solid reality, in my mind, Bill would be the ruler of the universe by now. He is possibly the only human being I love unconditionally.
But I do have this theory he was my son in my last life. Even Robert, even my father, get it in the neck from me. If I am telling Robert off for something, his retort is 'you wouldn't tell Bill off!' My dear husband has supported me unconditionally in this project. Robert……. wait until the Humans are half way into our first world tour I will be kicking everybody's arses, including Bill's!
We've been in the studio for two days now and the hours move so quickly but we are coming up with some really, really good stuff. Sounds and textures around stable songs.
Chris Wong has a permanent smile on his face and cant stop saying "it's grooving!"
Chris Wong also has a permanent plaster on his foot after tearing his Achilles on stage over Christmas. It was interesting getting him to the USA in the first place. He travelled most of the way in a wheel chair!
Our studio is a large room in an industrial part of the city, there are no dividing walls so we sit in a circle and play as live, it's really great because it's true 'organic' team work. This also allows Bill to be surrounded by all his 'toys'. He is a real collector of noise toys and gadgets.
Small boxes which exude strangled alien bleeps. Peter Buck of REM, and Trey Gunn my co-author on Ophelia's Shadow, have both offered to play, (they live in Seattle) but I think we have enough to do in this week, we've given ourselves six days to lay 10 tracks down plus one new one, then we all come back after Bill has toured REM, to mix the album. We have a lot to do.
Before I left Blighty, I was in the studio with Simon Darlow putting down two new, almighty, bloody stunning tracks for In The Court Of The Crimson Queen. We are only two songs away from finishing the project.It's been a good creative month and there's an awful lot happening in the following months to come.
It looks like I will be doing the Great Walk To Beijing in April. It's to raise money for Olivia Newton-Johns Cancer Wellness Centre. I'm on the British team, Olivia is fronting the Australian team and there will be a name representing the USA, as it will be filmed for GMTV and Good Morning America.
I will be doing the Gobi desert section, its flat and I'm too short for the mountainous sections (in my opinion) we will be doing about 47km a day!
It is six in the morning here in Seattle now. I've been awake since 3am. What I would give to sleep! I got a call from GMTV at 3am asking me to go on the show this morning, I politely explained the USA was too far to get to the studio in time. Then another call, an hour later, a friend of David Guest wanting to arrange a date between me and David. ………Then!
A text from Tim, one of my closest friends who is Simon Cowell's right hand and travels the world looking after Leona Lewis. He was just leaving Seattle and wondered if I wanted to meet him in London for Supper! Small world!
In 3 hours we all head back to the studio to lay down another two tracks. It's become evidently clear to me in recent days that some events in an individual's life punctuate their existence and other events in life fill in the gaps. I've been in a permanent state of 'deja vu' since I arrived here, as if the future and my past have finally linked hands. Come what may this journey has been fantastic.
Have a great Feb.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
LOVE TOYAH XXXX
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND THANK YOU FOR MAKING 2007 BRILLIANT WITH YOUR SUPPORT AND FEED BACK.
What I love about 2007 was the 'net was cast', inviting people to listen and view new music and videos and the world responded in a neat and compact way, but it responded all the same, and I am enthused and extremely grateful to everyone who made contact about the new material.
2008 promises to bring new images, new ideas, new music and more live shows. I haven't been this re-charged and excited since Julian Clary claimed to have fisted Norman Lamont!
I am at present in my dressing room New Years Eve, prepping for the Humans album in Seattle and re-assessing all the work done on IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON QUEEN, Simon Darlow and I have three more songs to write and then we allow the industry to take over.
Trends and attitudes change so quickly I am assured that if you stay alive and sane for long enough your respect doubles, this isn't just optimism I think it can safely be called fact and as this will be my 50th year I am planning to be as Diva-ish as my age demands.
One more week of Panto left and after 14 years of doing this great British tradition it seems it is starting to gain respect. Never before has the Daily Telegraph, or The Guardian or even The Mail wanted to entertain print space for those who give their Christmas up in order to get bruises where the sun don't shine.
On Christmas Eve I did BBC Breakfast TV from the theatre in Reading and the ex- Theatre Critic for the Daily Mail Michael Coveney, who appeared with me, even admitted that Panto keeps theatres going financially for the entire following year.
For me I had the realisation that I still do this every year, not just because I am well paid and do it quite well, but because I really care about the particular audiences who are attracted to this form of entertainment.
I do Panto because I care about the audience, simple as that. It is an audience unique to this time of year, and when I look out across them I am genuinely moved. I see community, strength, pride, vulnerability and many lives waiting to be 'lived'. It is some thing I don't think I could live without now.
Yet again I have had my fare share of spectacular falls in this production. One was so dramatic the audience thought it was part of the show until they realised the rest of the cast was laughing so much they couldn't continue talking and the show stopped for about 4 minutes.
The culprit was 'dry-ice' residue on the floor, as I ran on to the stage I slipped onto my arse and skidded on my back for about five feet into the beanstalk.
My fellow actors, although sympathetic, couldn't breath for laughing and eventually decided to lie down beside me. There was only five minutes left of the act but it didn't exactly go as planned as the audience where by this time crying with laughter too.
Then in a warm up I displaced a rib and had to have a physio come in from the local football stadium to click me back in during a show. So take it from me Panto isn't an easy ride, it's like any other performance, it demands 150%.
Thanks to technology I can now watch TV from my computer in my dressing room. I really loved the Christmas edition of EXTRAS, but was baffled by its very truthful, negative portrail of show business. Hasn't any one ever told Ricky Gervais to read Hollywood Babylon?
Show business is cruel, snobby, contradictory, ageist and unreliable on all fronts. That is why it is so bloody exciting!
The crueller a performers life the more money is made from them. Fact!
Run with it, it will never change.
One thing counts and that is the audience.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL AND MAY YOU ALL BE MY AUDIENCE IN 2008, AND I BETTER BE GOOD!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!
BIG LOVE TOYAH XXXX