Toyah’s Blog: August 2023

Aug 5, 2023



Last month we achieved 120 million visits to our socials! How amazing is that, we are awed and grateful. THANK YOU.

Being a touring musician who mainly works in the UK, touring is a fantastic way to experience the geography of this incredibly varied land and all the amazing people who live here. From a cave in the Peak District, where everyone arrived on foot, in waterproof clothes, to a Spiegeltent in modernist Milton Keynes and a playing field in far off Holt.

At Holt the dressing rooms were beautifully considered tents. Sofas, cutlery, soap, a fridge and carpets! Proud women running the back stage area made us super welcome, it was appreciated.

Our tent was next to the comedian Julian Clary.

Julian was on stage before us.

Julian, if you don’t know, is a comic, a storyteller, has a quick fire wit, also a person of great beauty. I’d say he is many peoples fantasy of the perfect partner.

I sat behind the stage for his talk with bated breath because this is the person who once said, in 1993 at a televised comedy awards, that he was late for the stage because he was “fisting Norman Lamont” our then chancellor of the exchequer, Julian was subsequently hounded by those of a puritanical nature and forced to disappear from TV for a long time, that was until those puritanical heavyweights started to head the main terrestrial stations and now we have Naked Attraction …….I have loved Julian even more ever since.

Julian began his Q&A with polite, very considered answers, probably knowing that the PA in the open air would carry his voice into people’s homes but this didn’t last long. He was there to promote his new book The Lick Of Love about the dogs in his life and he used a brilliant stage device to separate himself from blame…….he read extracts from his own book that allowed the audience into his brilliant mind and his outrageous take on life.

The story of his dog and Joan Collins coming to stay was like Noel Coward for the unshockable. The people of Holt where laughing their heads off, myself included.

This week we managed to catch up with two close friends who are neighbours, that we haven’t had time to see since the end of lockdown. Both are avid readers and the one is a successful author.

We were talking about finding sacred creative space. I’ve been looking for an off grid bolt hole for a while which led the conversation onto the precious spaces we have successfully written in and how we all hold those spaces in high regard.

The one friend has just had a book release and she talked about the inevitability of others commenting on her work and she said something that really resonated with me: “Comparison is the killer of joy”.

It appeared that as a fellow woman, even one as renowned as she is, we share the indignity of being compared to other women as if we should all be uniform.

It was uplifting to know she has had people come into her home and either completely ignore her or tell her she doesn’t look good enough… must be a universal experience. I explained on those rare occasions in my home I lead the offender to the front door and say goodbye. She admired me greatly for that!

I watch the local news avidly wherever I go. It’s always honest.

Robert and I live in a market town, a town I have known all my life, right on a High Street. I can remember when we moved here in 2001, on a Friday night when the pubs emptied. Those who had consumed a little too much could quite safely lie down in the middle of the road and stay there until they came round the following morning, without fear of being run over.

Traffic was that rare and that slow.

Today the majority of traffic moves so fast that young drivers have face planted their cars through the front windows of houses, they have even gone over the barrier of the bridge and landed upside down in the river, the death rate of young who have hit trees entering the town is tragic, lorries have had to be forcibly stopped because the driver has been visibly drunk while speeding toward the High Street, tractors laden with produce come through the town as if they are on a duel carriageway.

Today, on our pedestrian crossing outside our home, more often than not you have to move quickly, sometimes cars just don’t stop, sometimes drivers are abusive, other times local drivers make a point of being ultra safe.

I mentioned this in an e-mail to a very famous comic who knows the area well, he is now based in a market town in Shropshire and the e-mail I had in return highlights a huge behavioural shift that is nationwide.

His e-mail reflected our experiences, so much so I shared it with my neighbours on the High Street here. Basically his sleepy, single lane town is now experiencing a similar trend…… one feels safe near a road.

In Holt we where playing a school games pitch and revving cars going around the perimeter of the field drowned out the PA, so much so that the comedian Julian Clary decided he had to acknowledge the domineering sounds.

In Birmingham over the past month there appears to have been a pedestrian fatality per day. So residents determined to take back control of their streets have started to block the roads in person…..blocking access with placards to highlight the dangers they experience outside their own front doors.

Where we live, we have welcomed the growth, the buzz, the business that new homes and residents have brought to what has been a suffering economy, a High Street in decline…….the problem we now face is a lack of road sense that is vital when you are in control of a huge chunk of metal travelling at forty miles an hour or more in a highly populated area, nominally 20 mph.

Our High Street is a living community. Children play here. A large amount of elderly live here. The High Street shops are doing really well. It’s on the up.

Last month Robert, myself and a complete stranger crossed the road at a marked area in slow moving traffic and a female driver, in a mini – registration noted – sped up towards a traffic jam and threatened all three of us with such exaggeration we knew if she wasn’t in the car her “social filter” would have stopped her being a T—t. The woman crossing with us was visiting our town, she was shocked and upset at having her life verbally threatened……..she was F—– outraged at the stupidity of the girl at the wheel.

There was such a lack of control that one day this driver will threaten the wrong person, kill a child or elderly person. Actions have consequences, negative actions have far worse consequences.

 The racers in Holt of all places, was a surprise.

Sadly, both Robert and I have started to talk about moving from a town that has always been paradise, a perfect home and a stunning community.

We never thought we’d be looking through property listings for a new home elsewhere. We remind ourselves daily that life is good and problems are surmountable.

This month has some fantastic festivals coming up. Wickham, Cropready, Rewind North, Rewind South, Reepham, Torch Light, Let’s Rock Norwich, Newark Castle……come rain or shine its going to be great.

Every now and then I have what I call my “pain in the Arse days”.

The washing/ the accounts/  the repairs etc etc. I try and do these things while learning a script or a song. The distraction often leads to laughable mistakes.

 Last night while learning a script and music for a new radio series I record next week I thought I would dye my hair. Mixing the dye slapping it on while focusing on something completely different has resulted in my having bright orange hair this week!

See you out there, stay safe.


Photos courtesy Brian Marsh. All rights reserved of the photographer