Toyah’s Blog: March 2024

Mar 2, 2024

© 2024 Toyah Willcox. All rights reserved


I hope you are all well.

This new month I am feeling ready for the year ahead. Psychologically getting Febuary over is a huge leap forward. Seasonal light, or lack of it affects me. I found myself resorting to carrying a high powered torch to give the illusion of sunlight and shadow in dark spaces!

It’s been an extraordinary few weeks.

My speech for the Digital future of the NHS was apparently the “best given in 20 years”

I have never been so nervous in my life. Possibly because as I mature I realise just talking about myself and my past isn’t enough, I need to be in the moment expressing shared experiences with all ages and that’s quite a challenge to hit but I focussed on how important the human brain is in a universal context….. meaning AI must never undermine the miracle of humanity.

The audience were incredible, all professors, a Dame, leaders in their medical fields….all musicians it appeared, they were HUGE fun and an inspiration to me.

RELAX is NO.1 in the Legacy Charts. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! TO ALL  OF YOU WHO LOVE IT SO MUCH. And of course Thank you to Trevor Horn who is a genius.

Later this month, we’ll be unveiling the announcement for WARRIOR ROCK. And it’s a great package worth the wait! More on that soon…..

Last night, and earlier in February I have been appearing with GARY DAVIES SOUNDS OF THE 80s SHOW in Bristol, and before that York. I love this show, it’s a non-stop party and the team create a wonderful atmosphere.

The stage set is a radio studio. The crew, Andy and Graeme set it all up so effortlessly. I’ve been talking to them about adding production values to TOYAH & ROBERT’S CHRISTMAS PARTY this December.

We’ve just announced the CHRISTMAS PARTY TOUR this week, and I am already looking forward to it.

We really want the venues to have a party atmosphere. Last year we tried to add visuals to the show, but a vital member of the team just kept shutting it all down. This won’t happen again because our 2024 team is totally in.

Last week we were in York, performing SOUND OF THE 80s and Graeme, who also helps run The Cheese And Grain, Frome and is involved with Glastonbury, said something that resonates strongly with me: “Don’t present the artist with problems, present them with solutions.”

That’s a motto for 2024!

This leads me on to something I’ve been meaning to write about for a long while but have needed to put into words wisely, not to sensationalise but to be factual.

I am contacted a lot by people who are suffering bullying in the workplace, and I try to help with words of self-empowerment but it’s not a solution to their problems. It can be a problem shared because it’s there for all of us, for me it only happens sporadically but when it does it leaves a powerful residue.

When I was very young and moving out into the work place, leaving Birmingham for London I was brash, determined and had a saying “everyone has a unique quality to bring to the world.”

This saying came from necessity, having had a long history of opinion aimed at my body and possibly aimed at my dyslexic brain too. Boys teased, friends scoffed, basically I wasn’t in with the in crowd.

It was sink or swim. I opted for swimming and turned my “oddness” into my industry.

I could say I have been on the receiving end of negativity all my life for my physical appearance, that’s the irony of show business, its a very physique oriented industry. My having short legs, stocky build, the lisp, the limp, not measuring up to the ideal of being attractive have not gone unnoticed when I wondered why I am not a Victoria’s Secret model. BUT i would make a great Richard the Third.

When I was young I didn’t give a toss. Why? Because…. “Everyone has a unique quality to bring to the world.” AND this continues to be my mantra.

I bulldozed my way through others’ opinions. If I couldn’t make the grade as a dancer in Cats or Chicago. There were a million other directions, solutions and paths.

BUT now I am older, especially since about November 1999 something changed.

It’s only looking back I can now see where agism has crept into my life. Experiences in my working life are divided by being 30 something, 40 something, 50 something and so on.

© 2024 Toyah Willcox & Robert Fripp. All rights reserved

If you read Robert’s Facebook, he is very vocal about events in his life that seem to have scarred him indefinitely. No matter how much I persuade him not to air relationship breakdowns publicly he still puts it out there. He feels he needs to.

Historically I could write a book (and will write the book) about events in the past 24 years. For me the only reason to do so is so others see they are not alone. Some of these experiences, nestling in my memory banks, are the detritus of others’ actions and time is too short to dwell on them.

Negative experiences are rare but sadly they have a power to sustain their emotional effect in everyone’s lives. Personally, I don’t want to be defined by the crappy attitude of others. My silence is my aggression, why shine a light on a bad critic, instead render them invisible, most are cashing in by standing in the shadow of greater people. In my industry I can put some peoples’ mean behaviour down to two things: cocaine use and alcohol.

When I look back on events where I have felt unjustifiably under attack I clearly see the attacker’s Ageism/ frustration/ feeling disempowered / self-hatred and drug use. I have been the canvas they paint their experiences on. No doubt I have met people who have been open books to me, and I have blurted my experience of events into their psyche.

My advice has always been, have nerves of steel, keep a poker face, try and see others behaviour from their POV. Great people don’t hurt others.

I remember one of the most traumatic experiences of my life while working on the Holiday TV programme.

It was the morning the death of Princess Diana was announced. The world was heartbroken and shocked, or so I believed. That day I was working with a guest director who was clearly anti-royal.  I was deeply upset, having known Princess Diana and greatly respected her and how she had to deal with so much bullying from photographers.

We were filming on a glider airfield in Hereford and little was being done quickly because EVERYONE wanted to down tools, talk and respect the events of the past 12 hours and just grieve.

The director in frustration at everyone being so saddened EXPLODED, very publicly, standing on the glider landing strip screaming “Who gives a f—- about some woman being killed in a car crash and leaving two children behind, it happens every day!”

Up until this point, this director in the past 20 hours, had been a complete C—- to be with anyway, but at this point I wanted to kill her with my own hands.

In showbiz you can’t do that and everyone, absolutely EVERYONE around her, including me, pulled our socks up and worked incredibly hard, buried our grief for the day and got the filming done. I was so numb and traumatised at one point I turned and walked into the oncoming path of a speeding silent glider about to land, I almost got killed.

This story is one of many I could write a book about, all happening within the last 27 years.

The list is endless, and even in the past few years has seen me dealing with cases of financial bullying, gaslighting, misogyny, public humiliation, physicality, aggression and verbal abuse.

The astonishing fact is most of these people are old enough to know better.

The people who behave like this don’t get away with it for long. I make things work, I am successful, I bring in solutions, I win awards, so at some point you have to look at the abusers. It’s well documented “abusers blame their victims”.

What’s important to me is I want you to know you are not alone, really you are NOT ALONE.

My next autobiography, which has 24 years of extra experiences to add since releasing LIVING OUT LOUD will possibly be the most shocking.

Can you imagine being ready to go onstage when the star/producer of a show is threatening to kill you in the wings, spitting on your costumes, threatening to slash your costumes with a knife, telling the rest of the cast not to speak to you. I have a whole file on this one stored with my lawyer, my media agent and with Robert.

Yes, I support all of you who are tolerating the intolerable in the work space and I stand by my motto:
“everyone has a unique quality to bring to the world.”

If anyone ever tells you otherwise remember “the abuser always blames their victims”.