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It’s no mystery: Toyah brings acoustic show to Diss

PUBLISHED: 10:48 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:48 01 August 2018

Toyah brings her Up Close & Personal show to Diss in September. Picture: Dean Stockings

Toyah brings her Up Close & Personal show to Diss in September. Picture: Dean Stockings

Archant

Charismatic, outspoken and impossible to categorise, Toyah Willcox is both a boundary-smashing musical survivor from the punk era, much-loved actress and presenter of programmes as diverse as The Good Sex Guide and Songs of Praise.

Toyah brings her Up Close & Personal show to Diss in September. Picture: Dean StockingsToyah brings her Up Close & Personal show to Diss in September. Picture: Dean Stockings

In a career spanning 30 years, during which she has had 13 top 40 singles, recorded 20 albums, written books, appeared in over 40 stage plays, made 10 feature films and been a fixture on television, she has managed to balance a deeply rebellious streak with becoming something of national treasure.

Next month she will be visiting Diss as part of her Up Close & Personal tour that will include a chance to hear her perform an intimate acoustic set.

A talented duo of guitarists, Chris Wong and Colin Hinds, will accompany Toyah on unplugged versions of the hits It’s A Mystery, Thunder In The Mountains, I Want To Be Free and Good Morning Universe.

“I love performing the songs acoustically,” she said. “They sound fresh and contemporary. The lyrics have more meaning and clarity in the sonic space of the two acoustic guitars.

Toyah brings her Up Close & Personal show to Diss in September. Picture: Dean StockingsToyah brings her Up Close & Personal show to Diss in September. Picture: Dean Stockings

“It is fun to do and easy on the ear — no drums thundering around my head! It was quite a leap going from acoustic Toyah into electric Toyah.”

It promises to be a revealing show in which Toyah will perform an unplugged set of her well-loved hits and classic songs, as well as recalling stories from her colourful career — everything from filming pop videos on horseback at 5am to acting alongside Katharine Hepburn & Laurence Olivier.

The once pink-tressed princess of punk, who turned 60 in May, has certainly amassed plenty of strange tales since her teenage years when her parents asked her to invite her elusive friends round for tea — only for her to turn up with 30 members of the local chapter of the Hells Angels.

She was punk long before she appeared in films such as Quadrophenia and Jubilee. Uncompromisingly so. She turned up for an office job with Legal & General, hair dyed jet black and blue. She refused to change her hair for her part in Tales from the Vienna Woods at the National Theatre.

“It was like every lost soul found a place in punk,” she says, “and I haven’t seen anything like that happen since for a young generation. Everyone would turn up at Sloane Square tube station and get changed out of their school uniform and become a punk. It was cute in many ways but also I think it was the beginning of some great literature; music and an attitude that was great for women too.”

• Toyah will be at Diss Corn Hall on September 1, 8pm, £17.50, 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk

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