Liam Rudden: Ieya! Toyah is ready to invade Edinburgh... again

Toyah Willcox met up with old friend Colin Chisholm of 'Bilbo Baggins' in Edinburgh in May 1978. She was in the Capital for the premiere of the film 'Jubilee'.
Toyah Willcox met up with old friend Colin Chisholm of 'Bilbo Baggins' in Edinburgh in May 1978. She was in the Capital for the premiere of the film 'Jubilee'.
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HARD to believe, I know, but my hair was once orange. Bright orange. It wasn’t meant to be. It was supposed to be blonde, but the dying process failed miserably, hence the Tangoed mullet.

It was July 1982. I was 18 and stupidly excited as I had front row tickets to see Toyah a couple of days later at the Playhouse.

The ‘hair-don’t’ proved serendipitous; when Toyah bounced on stage we appeared to have shared the same bottle of dye.

That was my introduction to the force of nature that is Toyah Willcox.

A pal, forever known simply as Pete the Punk, had flagged up her music: “She’s so brilliant that punks and Mods ALL rush to the front when she’s on,” he announced gobsmacked - well, she was in Quadrophenia, I suppose.

Towards the end of that Playhouse gig, the front two rows ended sitting cross-legged up on stage as the elfin star danced around us belting out the classic Ieya.. actually, it might have been Danced... or maybe even Race Through Space, my favourite.

Either way, I mentioned it to Toyah as we chatted earlier this week, after it was revealed the newly announced 80s Invasion Tour would bring her back to the Greenside Place venue, next March.

“I remember it well. It happened a lot,” she recalled instantly.

“Audiences right through the punk movement and into the new wave movement felt they had a right of passage to do that. They didn’t like the security keeping them in the auditorium and us on stage, that was unacceptable to them.

“It was all part of the stardom, but I have to admit, if it happened now I’d be a little nervous because I don’t have the physical strength I used to have.

“At the time, though, it was all very good-hearted and there weren’t the security issues you have today.”

No stranger to Edinburgh, one of Toyah’s earliest visits was in May 1978, when she caught up with Colin Chisholm of Bilbo Baggins (pictured) for the premiere of Jubilee.

The Ieya Tour two years later brought her to Tiffany’s, another tour in 1981 to the Clerk Street Odeon.

Starring roles in Calamity Jane, Hormonal Housewives and the acclaimed Picasso’s Women too, saw her return.

“God, I had such a great time on Picasso’s Women because we rehearsed up there and then opened at the Festival.

“I absolutely adore Edinburgh. It still has that uniqueness, it hasn’t become homogenised. That is so cathartic.”

Toyah was also reacquainted with the Playhouse in 2004 for a Best of 80s Tour and in 2009 while appearing in Vampires Rock.

Eight years later she’ll be back. Time get those front row seats booked and become stupidly excited again.

80s Invasion: Toyah/Paul Young/China Crisis/Martika, Playhouse, Greenside Pl, 5 March 2017, £38.65-£80.15, 0844-871 3014