TOYAH'S BLOG 2018
Read Toyah's blog on the Official Page HERE
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!
Well my diet fell spectacularly from grace in the last four weeks!
So much for living wheat free/sugar free/dairy free……..the guilt is so strong I can list every sin: 2 mince tarts, four servings of Christmas pudding and custard, a bag of Liquorice allsorts and a piece of bread and cheese (a serious crime) and it didn’t stop there….a bag of Marshmallows and a serving of Chocolate Log not to mention being found in bed by the Fripp eating a box of chocolates under the duvet.
Now I am in wheat/sugar/dairy free for January and already my waistline is decreasing.
Christmas was excellent. My hubby gave me fantastic pressies….a new I-Pad Pro……spectacular. And I surprised him with a 1780 barometer (yes, just what he always wanted) and three paintings I painted for him in Menton, France last September. “Where Angels Go To Die”, “Angels Over Menton” and “Anatomy Of Flight”.
My dear 71-year old hubby is absolutely wiped out from two months touring the USA. (he is booked to tour until 2024!) I am concerned about how he will cope in the next 6 years, he is doing a hell of a lot of travelling.
On the day his car came to take him to Heathrow at the beginning of October I hid a locally famous parcel in his bag thinking he would find it before he left the house.
The parcel is an innocent Activia yogurt. Over the summer Robert and I played many jokes on our neighbours who run shops in the town by leaving this yogurt on their display shelves, seeing if they would discover it or if someone would offer to buy it. One neighbour not only discovered it but kindly gift wrapped it and gifted it back to us at a dinner gathering.
This yogurt is now about a year old and we still have fun hiding it in silly places. (Buckingham Palace would be our most ambitious achievement) So on the day hubby left to tour the USA I hid it in his bag and forgot about it.
He never found it until I arrived in Pittsburgh and fished it out his bag and showed it to him. He wasn’t impressed even though I was thrilled I truly won this one. This yogurt has not only gone through about 40 airport security checks but has travelled most of America without bursting!
I thought December would quieten down but more bookings for the band came in than any other time in my 45yr career. It’s exciting and 2018 looks great so far.
Thanks to my work on Swipe Right, the director Sean Cronin has given me the female lead in a movie GIVE THEM WINGS, which I am really looking forward to shooting, not only do I have to age but I have to enact a stroke. Before that JUBILEE opens at the LYRIC HAMMERSMITH on the 15th Feb AND before that I have about 13 TV programmes to shoot. I cant wait for JUBILEE to be in London. Sooooooo many people coming to see it.
2017 was an extraordinary year. It was so busy there where times I didn’t have time to have a glass of water or go to the bathroom, which became my war cry……”I need water now”…..it was a marathon.
Because of travel and filming plus all the concerts I didn’t get to Birmingham until December to see my WALK OF FAME STAR, which put the cherry on the cake. I am seriously proud to have this accolade.
2017 was also a very human year. The festivals that the band played had a huge impact on me, the people where so in love with music, with being outside and part of a community. Festival life is vibrant.
In Dunstable, a long day as I played Lets Rock Clapham Common at lunchtime then on to Dunstable for 5pm, playing to a surprisingly large audience of 5000 in a small park. In the audience I kept seeing this baby being launched about four feet into the air, it really looked like a flying baby, it was a father throwing his son into the air every other minute and it looked so bizarre I asked him to come forward and introduce himself.
He was such a beautiful man who was completely bewitched with being a father and this is what 2017 has left me with… how many men love being hands on Dads, we have seen it everywhere and it has been a joy.
IN EXTREMIS winning so many awards has been great for my self confidence. I loved shooting this film and loved writing the outro song. Simon Darlow and myself cried and cried as we recorded it. Touching the nerve that grief leaves so raw forever.
So onwards and upwards into 2018.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD.
I am now based at The Lyric Hammersmith and loving it. For the past 10 years I have travelled so much that London has only been in my life about 10 days of the year and it has changed, in a great way.
I love that with in a space of a mile you can have two different communities such as Chiswick and Shepherd’s Bush, all growing and moving and morphing on a daily basis.
This is the first time in 8 years I have been based in my London home for longer than 4 days in a row. The Lyric is a a very different performance space to the Manchester Royal Exchange.
It is a traditional theatre for starters which means the whole chaotic, anarchic quality of JUBILEE shines out. It looks like we are not only squatting in the space but in the process of destroying it.
Also because there is an intimacy within the space we are able to put in nuances which are both provocative and broadening of the “queer” message.
One such nuance I suggested at a fight call this morning is that there should be homoerotic passes to the Queen, this has opened up an all new meaning to the relationship between the Queen and the girl gang and it’s exciting.
Last week I unveiled a wall plaque in Islington in honour of Derek Jarman. I don’t know what I was expecting but what happened was profoundly moving.
We arrived early to a council worked setting up a speaker and hanging the curtain over the plaque and not a soul in sight other than this, so we popped over to the pub opposite for a cuppa and within minutes about 70 people arrived and most of them I knew from Derek’s days in Butlers Wharf.
Keith Collins, Derek’s long time partner was speaking first and he was in tears and so moved by the event, understandably and as I looked around I saw Jenny Runacre, the original BOD in Jubilee the film and Gaye Black from The Adverts (who happened to be visiting a friend in the very building the plaque was attached to, when she looked out the window she saw me and ran out to join in)……it was a great punky turn out, held with huge warmth towards the memory of Derek.
Rehearsals are not too stressful which is allowing me to get a handle on new technology I was given at Christmas…..my fab iPad Pro plus link up keyboards. With new art apps installed and supper dooper editing equipment too.
I now have everything I need to broadcast out into the world, all I need now is to decide how much I want to share with the world. Last year I made a decision only to be visible through my work as I am slightly unimpressed with the pressure women are under to be seen in posh dresses all the time and not a mention of their creative persons.
I turn 60 this year and I am fully aware I need to pull focus on what legacy I leave behind and I want it to be a creative legacy.
Many people are asking with there be a celebration concert. Well scores of gigs for 2018 have been announced with more added weekly so check out the GIGS page for those. I am sure something will happen but please keep in mind that Craig Astley and myself have spent the last 4.5 years planning a total re-assessement / repackage of all my back catalogue. Broadly, the plans for this include 3 box sets but potentially 8 releases in total over course of couple of years.
The idea was to have kicked this off this year with some really exciting sets but Safari suddenly announced they were selling the catalogue….I cannot tell you the anger I am harbouring over this, it is a place I cannot go, there are women out there who have been physically abused and they deserve justice, lets hope the next step will involve women getting creative justice too.
So my plans for my 60th year have been greatly dislodged. But I am sure something will happen. Stay tuned for more information. There are some confirmed things on their way. News on that soon.
It is 40 years this coming May since I recorded my first ever demos but next year is 40 years since the first Toyah single was released.
In January I shot a wonderful music pilot for LA, ironically the producer is in LA but the series is intended for UK and Europe. I have no idea how the pilot will be edited but we shot it as live and it was brilliant…..can’t tell you anymore about it….too hot a subject presently.
But hopefully we will have news of a possible commission soon, it would involve a lot of programme making. This month I have worked with a lot of friends Glen Matlock, Slim Jim of the Stray Cats, Barbara Dickson, Ralph Mctell , Keith Duffy, Brian McFadden plus Jeremy Vine and Johnny Walker.
It is always rewarding to have time with other artists, to find out what they are up to and what is irking them. Their lives always take me by surprise. With Barbara, Ralph, Glen, Slim Jim there was a stoic focus on touring and with Keith and Brian who where about to tour Australia they were planning where they could play golf around the world.
Jeremy Vine was keen to chat about Sheep Farming In Barnet which took me totally by surprise…it is in his record collection….great taste Jeremy!
The band played their first show of the year last Saturday and we were awesome, I cannot wait for the other shows to come along.
People still ask me if I get nervous. Funnily enough less so because performance is so natural to me now. But two weeks ago I played a sell out acoustic show in my home town and I can truthfully say I new everyone in the auditorium and it was slightly terrifying.
There was Mike Nichols on double bass, Wong and Colin on the two guitars and myself….it was a stunning show. Now when I shop in Asda people no longer say “ It’s A Mystery” instead they say “I couldn’t get a ticket and I hear it was the best show ever.” YEP…..no modesty here.
Roll on JUBILEE, Roll on 2018……its gonna be good.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
I am thrilled to announce DESIRE is being released on limited edition clear red vinyl for Record Release Day on the 21st April.
It looks sooooooooooo cool.
Everything seems to be coming around in full circle. When I was recording Desire at Abbey Road Studios I landed the lead in Gillian Lynn’s Cabaret in the west end. I found myself shooting videos in the day time and playing Sally Bowles in the evening. For one of the tracks we needed a bluesy guitar line and rather cheekily we asked Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones if he would come and play and HE DID!
He just arrived carrying a little amp and happily played along…….he was a legend! There will be another TOYAH exclusive for my 60th birthday on the 18th May.
… and who knows what else in 2018! Presently I am in the last week of JUBILEE. What an amazing journey this production has taken. Apart from being a stunning play it has linked me up to so many people from the original film who have all come to see the play at the Lyric Hammersmith.
Sitting as I do throughout the play in the royal box I have a chance to look at the audience in detail and on some nights I am thinking “I know that person” ……OMG they were in the original film! At the beginning of rehearsals the entire company was taken down with the flu. I have never seen anything like it. The flu passed from person to person in a matter of days and it was bad.
Some of the actors could only just pick themselves off the floor because they needed to sleep all the time. It was really worrying not knowing how they would be by the time the show opened but luckily they all got back on their feet after two weeks.
During this spell I wore protective gloves, washed my hands every time any one touched me, covered my nose and mouth, NEVER touched my face and kept about 5 feet from everyone. By some miracle I didn’t get the bug but my hands where raw from antibacterial soap!
Our stay at the Lyric has seen the play attract the right audience. Because the reviews have been great, truthful and descriptive …. obviously written by people who actually stayed to see the show, rather than dial the review in from the bar, we are now getting an audience who has felt marginalised and oppressed by circumstance and they add a dimension any good performance desires and that is their own social comment. They get the message and are responding with applause.
This entire production has been an education for me. One I am immensely grateful for. It has opened my eyes up to political imbalance and stalemate in how our wonderful country is run. I am grateful to the cast, all brilliant young activists who keep their finger on the pulse who share conversation rather than build barriers.
The one thing I will take away from this is their inclusion of everyone and their ability to express where change is needed, and it is constantly needed. Nothing can remain fixed.
Now I find myself twitching with the need to write. I cannot wait for some space to put pen to paper. My daily home life is one of isolation. (hubby is practicing guitar 6 hours a day)
This suits me in many ways as I am always introspective creatively, but having started each day on Jubilee with the cast in deep conversation about feelings covering everything, the process has led me to discover my relationship between colour and sound.
And to discovering both are vital to me once linked together like ingredients of a loved recipe, probably more so than anything else I know.
I paint the whole time and my ideas are driven by primary colour. This has been a bubbling theme in my life for a while because I often have conversations with the designer Helen David about the emotions of colour. Helen and I have both discovered we have given colour an emotional language.
For myself finding out colour has a language has lead to my discovering music and colour have an emotional link. For example Purple has an authority and is like bass end “B’ on the keyboard and yellow is flirty and like “G” above middle C.
Last night I spent an hour after the show talking to the head commissioner of Channel 5 about this and how I want to take it further, using colour (a visual stimulus) to drive music (an audio stimulus) when it comes to creative writing and to see what kind of songs it leads to.
This is nothing new, my pal Brian Eno has worked with colour for decades, with sound installations but I am talking about colour driving the language of the lyric as well as the musicality.
Lets see what happens. My intention is to finish the Prostitute/Ophelia’s Shadow trilogy. 2018 is going to be fab …. well it is so far.
Lots of great band shows, lots of acoustic shows plus I am making a healthy amount of TV progs too. See you out there soon!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!
It is one month until I turn 60 and I cannot believe where the last 10yrs have gone!
I remember turning 50 so clearly, as if it were yesterday, the past decade has passed in what feels like only one year. It has in fact been fabulous years of concerts, festivals, album making, acting and non stop travel.
50 felt old-ish but somehow 60 feels young and I am putting that down to being released from all social responsibility. No one expects anything from me, I am not responsible for anyone including myself …. it is wonderfully, anarchically liberating!
I plan to dress to impress and express with finesse, yes I am from the generation who grew up and forgot to grow old. My 5th decade was both awesome and traumatic in equal measure. Time brings inevitabilities.
The decade began in turmoil with a minor cancer alarm, spotted well in advance, which lead to two years of radical surgery and now in retrospect I can say I wish I had gone through it a decade earlier as my life has really been on course since the moment I woke from my surgeries.
The seismic event of my parents passing away will overshadow all but then within the grief of this there was an incredible blossoming of potential and future possibilities…… even at 50. Their passing adding huge value to the currency of time, it’s the greatest lesson age can give you. Time awareness.
One thing is for sure …… there is no point in pessimism …. you can only embrace it all ….. and life will throw challenges at you in bucket loads.
Within this extraordinary decade I have moved deeper into music and singing, the live shows allowing me to expand my vocal abilities and hone my storytelling skills.
Then I stepped back into movies, which reignited my love of the camera. And somewhere along the way I regained the “I WANT TO BE FREE” ethos that I am truly unapologetically me, confident in the belief that perseverance wins and Karma does the sorting on your behalf. Oh and the philosophy of Take No Shit arrives at your doorstep in big doses too.
If 50 was the decade of poignant memories 60 will be the decade of rewriting the rule book. Now I am gearing up for my 60th birthday! With the knowledge that the next decade can pass even faster I am grabbing the bull by the horns and getting ready for the ride of my life.
There is a lot to be done, no point thinking things can happen tomorrow ….. things must happen today. The 60th party concerts have been announced for October and November and “FOUR FROM TOYAH: BIRTHDAY EDITION” is now complete and ready for release on May 18th.
The lead track TELEPATHIC LOVER is an all time fave for me. I can’t wait to play it live. The red vinyl of DESIRE is in indie record shops on RECORD STORE DAY on Sat 21 April.
There are plans to have the re-release of SUNDAY ALL OVER THE WORLD’s Kneeling At The Shrine (+ live tracks) CD ready for October. And King Crimson start putting THE HUMANS V KC …. Get In Your Car And Drive into their psyche.
On the 18th May I was supposed to be in France for my actual birthday but now I might be away on a Film shoot for three weeks, with hubby visiting me when he can.
The Fripp/Cox household has the added addition of not only Bill Rieflin living with us until May but also the King Crimson band popping by to rehearse for the month AND a documentary crew making a film about Fripp and the band. At meal times it is not unusual to find a camera rolling discreetly in the corner.
It’s fun, busy and manic. Especially as Bill, no matter how independent he claims to be, needs a lot of “herding” from one room to the other which I love, we are often referred to as The Bill And Toyah show because of the bickering.
Last week I was asked to present a BBC RADIO 4 documentary on the importance of hairdressers within the community and the fact that they are sometimes the only physical and social contact some people have in their lives. This will be broadcast on the 11th May.
The process brought me back in touch with Keith Wainwright who began his hairdressing career in Mayfair at a time when hairdressers where not allowed to talk to their clients …… can you believe that! That was in the 1960s. Keith then went on to reinvent male hairdressing attracting people like Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Ringo Starr into the hair salon. Keith created my hairstyle for the movie JUBILEE.
The recording also took me to a fabulous hair salon on Brick Lane called NOT ANOTHER SALON. Which was a fabulously joyous technicolor experience to walk into, where there is a policy of no judgement, no class specification, no gender rules and acceptance of all ages which made the whole place feel like a “happening”…… they are on to something there which I think will catch on in a big way.
For the next couple of weeks I am rehearsing and adding some TOYAH CLASSICS into the acoustic show …….. it’s taken a bit of pushing and shoving and nagging but when we play the 229 Venue on the 26 April in London …. there’s gonna be some happy people! Have a great April and see you out there.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
MAY 2018 (TOYAH TURNS 60)
Presently I am still in my 50s but all that changes on Friday 18th May……..I will be 60!
The past ten days have been utterly bonkers in a fabulous way, hopefully one day I will be able to say why, but for now….take it from me….bonkers and wonderful things are happening.
In fact, it’s been a bonkers past month. My 5th decade is going out with a bang.
The movie HECKLE came in two days before first day of principle shooting was to start, so I had some frantic line learning to do. My time on the film was very fulfilling, I really enjoyed shooting the spooky, tension sections. Technically this was my first really spooky film and I love horror.
KALEIDOSCOPE MAN is close to being finished. After the Heckle shoot in Stevenage I had to do a dub session at Alan Snelling’s studio in the Cotswolds, Alan worked on The Silence Of The Lambs and various huge projects, even recorded Whitney Houston. Afterwards the director Simon Cox, Alan and myself watched parts of the film and I was taken pleasantly by surprise at how brilliant it is. This is a crowd-funded film and its really, really great. It grabs your attention and holds it.
All I have to do now is sing the outro song then it’s mostly finished. I think it will cause a stir. Big named producers have been dropping by to look at it and have commented on it very favourably. How wonderful would it be for this film that is part funded by the public, to be a success.
The Old Vic Theatre invited me to the press night of MOOD MUSIC. What a fantastic audience, what a fantastic show. Kristin Scott Thomas, Celia Imrie, Matt Lucas were seated in front of me. I kept texting my agent Jamie who was sitting next to me….”have you seen so and so?” “have you seen such and such.”
So many idols under one roof. The play MOOD MUSIC was like watching my life in music unfurl in front of me. It’s about creative power, creative theft and litigation. Also, sadly, about how the true creative voice gets stifled by other’s ambition. Brilliantly acted by all and it looked beautiful. The next few months are really exciting.
I am receiving a fellowship…..but more on that in August as its being awarded to me by one of the greatest songwriters in modern history……and I am slightly nervous!
I hope you really enjoy FOUR FROM TOYAH BIRTHDAY EDITION EP: TELEPATHIC LOVER really rocks. Simon and I started writing it ten years ago and last year I reminded Simon we better actually finish it and wow was it worth it.
WHO LET THE BEAST OUT and FIRE ESCAPE were composed for CRIME AND PUNISHMENT the musical. That’s why FIRE ESCAPE is written from the male perspective and WHO LET THE BEAST OUT is an ensemble piece. OUR HEARTS STILL BEAT (ON THE OTHER SIDE) was composed as the outro song to IN EXTREMIS, an incredibly sad film about the death of a child.
The writing sessions on this started months before Adele’s Hello was released and as we delivered our song to the film company I heard Adele’s Hello on the radio for the first time with the chorus line “ Hello from the other side” and I thought “what the!!!! NO!!!!!!!!!”
Simon and I deliberated about changing our line, which in full is “our hearts still beat on the other side of eternity”. Meaning we are connected after death. Simon was adamant we kept to it.
When we started writing the song Simon’s father had just passed and I was still in the hell of grief over my mother and as Simon and I sang the theme line we kept needing to stop recording so we could sob. Two grown adults just sobbing at the microphone. In fact the very last words were captured whilst I was trying to control my tears.
The 229 in April was one of my fav shows of all time. We have found a way of making ANGEL AND ME work in the live environment……we do it with double bass and acoustic guitars and it ZINGS out into the ether…absolutely broken dysfunctional joy! SO …..NOW I GO FORTH INTO MY 60s.
PLEASE LET IT BE AS GOOD AS MY 50s…..by far my most fav decade.
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
HELLO THERE AND WOW!
That was the most amazing birthday ever.
A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR YOUR BEST WISHES, GENEROSITY AND ABOVE ALL PUTTING ME INTO THE CHARTS WITH “FOUR FROM TOYAH” ON MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!
What a surprise … I was over the moon.
The overwhelming response to OUR HEARTS STILL BEAT really took me by surprise. So many people contacting me to say how much they love this song and that they play it all day long.
Fripp and I escaped to my place in Menton, France, expecting really bad weather when in fact we got a glorious week of summer. Flying into Nice during Cannes Film Festival is not my favourite time as the airport is full of press and star spotters, thankfully the airport allowed the stars to leave through a different exit to the rest of us travellers, who were allowed to sneak away anonymously … heaven knows how Fripp would behave if someone took his picture and asked for an autograph, he would probably have stepped right back on the next plane.
Accidentally we were flying into Nice with the entire cast of the new Star Wars film. Hats off to British Airways, not one of the cast were pestered during the flight. In fact as Robert I and I sat sandwiched between the two leads who were in front and behind us I was told the captain was a big “Toyah” fan and wanted to say hello, which had us in stitches.
Menton allowed me to find my feet after a whirlwind few weeks of movie making, concerts and writing. Holiday or not I am still totally dedicated to my new lifestyle/diet regime and so is The fripp. We did so much walking we had blisters on our tootsies all week.
We ate yummy simple fare of fresh fish and tons of vegetables BUT we bumped into the wonderful lady who runs the NAPOLEON GLACERIE, which is on the promenade by Garavan and our downfall was set in stone.
All three of us screamed when we saw each other. This amazing woman only sees us o nce a year and she remembers us every time (the glacerie only opens in June/July/Aug, which is our main concert time.) And I am about to tell you WHY she remembers us.
Robert hasn’t eaten desserts for four years (how the hell he has the will power I do not know) BUT his willpower slipped on this trip. Frippy has been known to have 15 scoops of ice cream in one serving and he didn’t disappoint on this visit as our wonderful proprietor invited us into the glacerie before it had officially opened for the summer and Fripp had 10 scoops in one go at the cost of 32euro ... which had the lady in howling with laughter…well it was his birthday too. I had three scoops ... heaven.
Another surprising and spontaneous event was I encouraged the Fripp to post a clip I filmed of him playing air guitar to TELEPATHIC LOVER last year on his facebook page as a fan thank you. Within 24 hours it had 200,000 hits … Robert has never had that kind of response before and the hits are still going up.
We had to contact our lawyers/publishers/media managers and warn them this was maybe going to go viral. Fripp was secretly very pleased. Simon Darlow who was the guitar player/ co-writer on the track was thrilled!
It has been a fascinating month. It amazes me how my life/career goes from one extreme to the other. One minute I am playing lovely intimate venues like Cardiff Acapela, or The Fairtykes in Hornchurch and the next I am suddenly and totally unexpectedly having conversations with the biggest theatre company in the UK or a renowned film maker. Absolutely nothing is predictable.
If I was ever to reflect on my career history as a performer the one thing I would stress is performance is a sacred act regardless of the size of the venue or how visible to the world a performance is.
Sometimes in the smaller venues the atmosphere is beyond human. There is a possession taking place especially when I am singing IEYA, other times in larger arenas there is a wonderful transference of positive energy between the stage and the audience.
On my return I played LETS ROCK NORWICH. Hazel Dean was there with her partner and her daughter Stevie, Annabella Lwin, The Fuzzbox girls, Peter Coyle and Pop Will Eat Itself … Stevie made me cup cakes and as we all chowed down I got a round of HAPPY BIRTHDAY from these wonderful people … it was joyous.
I have just survived my first round of 4 shows in three days. Last week I flew to Gran Canaria to play Sparkles, lovely! Lovely! Lovely! I astounded the team with how much I can walk. They wanted me to have cars to and fro but I said NO I will walk everywhere.
After Sparkles, well 4 hours after the show I flew to Birmingham, picked my car up and drove to Manchester to open Irlam Live with The Stranglers, then on Saturday I played Wychwood Festival with The Wong at 2pm, we drew a huge crowd and now the band is being booked for 2019, then I drove to Cardiff to play the Acapela … then home to bed before Bill Reiflin arrived and I have been looking after him for three days.
I am not a mother but I sure appreciate how much Mum’s work …. my boys need a lot of attention! RIGHT…off to the BEEB … I’m voice over-ing for a BBC music documentary. Then a few more gigs, then off to New Orleans to write an article for The Times Newspaper.
All I can say is … BUGGER OFF RETIREMENT!
Lots of love
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
I have just survived my last tricky travel scheduling for this year….I hope!
Last weekend I had a couple of minutes and no space for error to get from Nashville to Lowerstoft on two flight ... Oh Yes!
Two flights, one delayed plane, a slight heart attack but I made it by the skin of my teeth and now the scheduling for the rest of 2018 is pretty normal … that’s until I get a film, or need to stand in for another artist.
I become quite competitive when I have to travel/work and not sleep. I see it as a test of endurance as if I am being challenged by a higher force rather than simply trying to cram as much life into the short days as possible.
June was a beautiful month. Funnily enough “My Boys” left for their King Crimson tour at the beginning of June and I am having a party in their absence. Yes even the ones you love practice Male Entitlement at every turn when it comes to getting their stomachs full/laundry done/hogging the conversation and leaving a mess in the sink.
The house is quiet, clean and man free. I haven’t even entered hubbie’s “man rooms”, the doors are firmly closed, for all I know moths could be eating their way through his waist coats. When Bill Rieflin is in the house too he takes over my spaces, so once they left for the airport a mass “reclaiming” ritual kicked in. The BBC asked me to continuity announce Midge Ure’s travelogue show The 80s Map Of Britain on BBC4. Suddenly I found myself in the studio with a director who is a Super Toyah fan.
She requested her record collection to be signed and in exchange she gave me a limited edition copy of her band Tits Of Death single Iron Nipples. This tickled me pink and I e-mailed Fripp and Rieflin who thought the name was genius. The shows in the last month have been incredible. Devizes Music Festival was great. The evening before I had a call from the Lets Rock team in Leeds asking if I could stand in for an artist who wasn’t well.
I was in Minehead at the time so I drove to Leeds, played Lets Rock Leeds at lunch time and was in Devizes by about 5pm, feeling like shit if I am to be honest, but something happens when you walk on stage. I was too exhausted to eat yet I walked on stage and it’s as if the whole energy in the universe enters your body and WHAM!
The show was fabulous. We looked out at an audience who knew ever single word of every song. They were so heavily in, we kept adding material to the set.
Who would have thought Devizes had so many Toyah fans ... thank you.
In fact the whole month has been like that. The O2 in Newcastle was staggering! So powerful and so well supported.
And as for Morley Town Hall. This had me in tears. The people where so extraordinarily LOVELY! True salt of the earth people, who love music so they hire the Town Hall and put bands on regularly, everyone there made my heart sing, the Human Race is so brilliant.
Immediately after Morley I drove over night to Heathrow and flew to New Orleans to write a travel piece for the Telegraph.
This was a fun week. I was to travel with a team of tourists on a coach from New Orleans to Memphis to Nashville.
There were no English people on the team so no one knew what I do for a living. It was very liberating to be invisible but slowly people started googling my name and one man from New York came up to me mid week and said “I just knew, there was something about you, your confidence, your knowledge, I knew you had to be famous.” One of the main themes I was to write about was women travelling alone in this particular area of the USA called the Music Triangle which is New Orleans/ Memphis and Nashville.
The travel company COLLETTE TOURS specialise in taking good care of solo travellers and I was travelling and writing for them.
At the very end of the week a lady in the team came up to me and said I had given her the confidence to travel alone in future, something she had thought of but wasn’t confident enough to try. The thing is people are good hearted and if you need help or guidance and you ask for it … people are more than willing to help you … this alone makes travelling alone possible.
This incredible week took me to the Mississippi where I sat and watched the water role by, then on to Graceland, where I found the graves by the pool side so sad. Elvis’s costumes where fantastic. Elvis wore more glitter than me!
On to Memphis and I stood beneath the balcony where Martin Luther King was assassinated and onto Nashville where I visited the Grand Ole Opry.
A very moving week.
It amazes me how time consuming age is. My “getting ready for the day” routine takes a couple of hours longer now than it did 40yrs ago.
For example the science of the skin creams I put on myself is so complex I need a degree just to use them … mix this … mix that … this for PM … this for AM.
Don’t eat this…. only eat that. Drink 5 litres of water a day. NOW my eyes are playing up and I am trying to find the courage to have lens replacement, something that fills me with dread but I know I have to go through with it. Robert bravely had it done a couple of years ago. As much as I love the men in my life being away, I now need them back to hold my hand when I get my eyes sorted! By the way I am telling everyone to watch this docu on Netflix: THE MAGIC PILL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61GitUC_678
this is a basic run down: https://www.ruled.me/guide-keto-diet/
This is close to how I eat. Basically eat mainly veg, drink lots of water, cut sugar right down, no processed foods, no fizzy drinks because everything natural helps keep you well.
Have a great July.
At the end of the month Paul McCartney is awarding me a Fellowship to LIPA in Liverpool. I need to write a short two minute speech to inspire the students … the challenge is how to condense such a message into two minutes!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD
I hope you are all getting some serious sunshine and fun this holiday month. There are so many new avenues opening up, it’s surprising, exciting and gratefully received.
There’s interest from Australia and the USA for my music and acting. It looks like I will be playing Australia for the first time in my whole career in January. Currently negotiations are underway for Melbourne and Sydney concerts. Presently I am re-familiarising myself with AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS off MINX.
Having not listened to it for 30 years I found the message within it very chilling. It is as if it was written in protest of Trump today when in fact it was commenting on Regan in the 80’s.
I will be re-recording the song for the sound track album to go with the USA movie 1985, which is out at the end of the year.
Dutch Rall (http://dutchrall.com) is arranging the production and it will be radically different to the original. On researching Dutch Rall’s work (this is something I always do as a point of respect) I was pleasantly surprised to see he directed a video for DURAN DURAN. I seem to be crossing paths with the boys from Birmingham recently.
An LA film director contacted me by e-mail last week asking me to be in his next movie alongside John Taylor. This is an example of how everything in life connects and reconnects from the past into the present. (DURAN DURAN had their first ever TV appearance on my midlands TV show LOOK HEAR in 1980)
The director, Nick Egan, was a fledgling music journalist in 1978 and he made his debut interviewing me for SOUNDS. Last weeks e-mailed opened with “ This interview changed my life, it went so well SOUNDS printed two full pages. I remember you as being ground breaking and highly original ... will you be in my next movie?” Well I remember Nick as being super intelligent, respectful and for treating me as a musician in my own right at a time when women musicians where always compared to other women musicians.
The connections didn’t stop there, the film is to be made in Estonia, a place I am heavily connected to. King Crimson have started recording GET IN YOUR CAR AND DRIVE by TOYAH AND THE HUMANS. The drums where recorded in the TEATRO LA FINCE on the band’s last tour date in Venice and Robert called me excitedly to say it sounds “F-ing ACE !” Delivered to my ears in his finest Dorset accent.
I am kind of wishing this summer heat would tame down a little. Rather stupidly I believed August would be quiet or at least able to gently run as usual but I have a lot of music licensing going on for film, which is keeping me inside a very hot airless office. These days the artist needs to keep the finger on the pulse of everything around them but also run the paperwork, which is always overwhelming with the sheer amount of detail that is needed to keep everything up to date.
Presently I am dealing with a “collection society” who very likely has underpaid me for the past 10 yrs. To resolve this I need to list every song I have sang live for the past 7years …including where I sang the song, when I sang the song, how long I sang the song for! This is reams and reams of paperwork. Luckily my memory is pretty photographic … if asked I would happily tell them what I was wearing and which perfume I had on that day too.
I have experienced two days this year, which easily could be described as the happiest days of my life. That’s two days in 60 years that have far surpassed any other day in my life. Let me put it this way … these two days were bloody awesome!
The first was a few days before my 60th birthday. Contractually I am not allowed to talk about it, but it was a seismic event concerning the world of film. And because of this event I decided whatever I do with rest of my life I can die happy.
The second day was receiving a “companionship” from Sir Paul McCartney for LIPA. The day was looming over me and I was quite terrified about what was to happen. My ego is not so huge that I feel at home receiving accolades. There’s this horrible feeling in my belly of being an imposter most of the time, so to be asked if I’d except this recognition from Sir Paul I was quaking in my boots.
Arriving at the Liverpool Philharmonic two hours early, because I hate being late, the building was already surrounded by hopeful fans ready for Sir Paul’s arrival. I managed to sneak in quietly. Craig Astley accompanied me, which I am hugely grateful for.
As a child The Beatles music kept me sane in an austere world. The arrival of Seargent Pepper gave me my first glimpse that music and visuals were going to mean a lot to me, also the personal charm of The Beatles taught me so much about being humble and human. I am forever indebted to them for their cultural imprinting.
As the day unfurled I was made to feel genuinely welcome and part of the team. Paul was incredibly caring, welcoming and attentive. He put everyone at ease.
Also being honoured was Nile Rogers who was breathtakingly magnificent … there are no words to describe how exceptional a human being this man is ... I was truly humbled to sit next to him for three wonderful hours. He was funny, sharp and emanating light. Once I received my “companionship” and gave my short speech I was able to truly enjoy being there. WOW! So far being 60 has been just FAB!
Right, back to listing every song I have sung for the past 7 years ... ahhhhhh reality! At least I have the thought of the autumn shows shining a light at the end of this bureaucratic tunnel!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!
August has been spontaneous. Even the Fripp has been up for adventures … considering he has returned from 7 exhausting weeks on the road this is a wonderful thing.
It started with a call from Gemma Numan, Gary’s other half. “We are eating lunch in Evesham where are you?” Within half an hour they were at our place and their girls where falling in love with the madness of our house, so we arranged to throw them all a High Tea the next day, as they were in the area for while. I love throwing Tea for friends. It is one of those very English decadent things where the eyes feast and the brain tackles guilty feelings all at the same time.
The next day the Numans arrived as the clouds opened for the first time in two months and it poured down. I had to get the whole caboodle from the garden and into the kitchen. This meant the visual gratification of a sumptuous Tea was there for all to experience as they walked in the house, rather than be surprised when they entered the garden.
As I turned from locking the front door and walked into the kitchen the entire family where half way through a pile of iced buns! This made me so happy. I grew up in Birmingham where iced buns were a staple and here in front of me an entire family, re-situated to LA, are eating iced buns as if they are absorbing memories of England.
I love people who eat with abandon. Robert and Gary got on like a house on fire so I took the girls down to the river to give Gary and Gemma some quiet time with Robert. As we approached the river the swans arrived right on cue with a posse of ducks and their babies plus a gang of Canada Geese. It was noisy, it was magical. We sat there and got to know each other, I am so impressed with these girls, they are special. We decided to call a lone swan Gary and we discussed how Robert looks and behaves like Teddy in the film AI, a super cuddly creature who saves the day.
Then we found ourselves talking about ghosts … a big subject with these girls. I was happy to inform them they where in the right place. My town is reputed to be the most haunted place in the UK. Thus we went straight back inside for a ghost tour of the house ... this went down really really well!
En route we bumped into Robert showing Gemma and Gary around, Robert pointing out everything in great detail … to which the youngest girl asked “Are you OCD?” BANG ON!
Yes my husband is. But aren’t all creatives so? It has been an extraordinary and exhausting few months. I have been asked to do quite high pressured work out of the blue. It’s been hugely rewarding to be out of my comfort zone for the past 12 weeks, it’s exactly how I like things to be.
The recording of AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS was a trip down memory lane. I had not heard the original from the MINX album for 30yrs, my voice is now much more experienced and versatile so we put the new vocal down within an hour. The Producer Dutch Rall was thrilled. The new version has been recorded for the soundtrack of the film 1985 which is released soon and you can see the trailer here.
Another surprise I had was discovering 78 live shows, over the past 7 years had not been listed with PRS, which is a royalty collection society. AND I had a deadline to hit. It was down to me to list/research/ file the past 7 years of my work. None of my shows had been listed with PRS by some promoters, which is how it worked in the past with filling in actual forms and posting off. This non reporting is systematic of a world overloaded by the internet. Promoters no longer take the responsibility. So this artist has to!
28 hours of filing in 6 days and I got the job done. I owe a big THANK YOU to PRS for doing all they could to lift some of this off my shoulders. It has taken team work but we are now up to date. If you are an artist reading this … be warned YOU now need to list your set lists in person unless you have a very conscientious manager.
I want to thank OPTICAL EXPRESS in Cheltenham and Birmingham, who have been amazing to both myself and Robert. They are helping me deal with perfect long sight, apparently the best natural vision the eye surgeon has come across, it’s just I cannot focus on anything close any more, so I am going to try the one lens option in my weak eye and see if I can read up close with just that.
Meeting the surgeon Dr. Jan Venter was awesome. He was brilliant with Robert too and will be helping him in future. I recommend this company, they are helping me and have already restored my keyboard player’s sight, Andy, who is over the moon.
I see EGGHEADS has just aired. I recorded that show in Glasgow last January. Apart from my team doing incredibly well I will always remember this day because as I stepped from the taxi to enter the BBC everyone outside the building watched me walk to the front door and I thought to myself “ That’s quite a reaction!” Then I looked down and right by my side, was a large red fox walking with me to the front of the BBC.
As I entered the building it carried on walking along the river bank Glasgow always reminds me of making BARMY AUNT BOOMERANG, 18 years ago. It was a very happy experience because I lived in Glasgow while making the two series. It is a fantastic city and the Barmy Aunt team where great fun.
BARMY AUNT has a cult following now. Strangely enough when I was singing in Gran Canaria in May a member of the audience was shouting “We want Barmy Aunt Boomerang!” One of my co-stars on the show was Richard Madden, of BBC’s BODYGUARD fame. Back then a brilliant 13 year old actor who would constantly play tricks on me and keep us all entertained throughout the shoot. My husband secretly hopes Richard will be the next Bond … the way he is going ... he very well might be!
BE PROUD, BE LOUD, BE HEARD!