Edinburgh singer Shirley Manson has written a heart-felt apology to her teenage inspiration, Toyah Willcox
EDINBURGH singer and iconic Garbage front-woman Shirley Manson has revealed how Eighties pop star Toyah Willcox inspired her in a heartfelt post on her Facebook page, in which she recalled seeing the diminutive punk princess at The Playhouse in 1982.
Introducing Toyah to nearly 300,000 followers on her Facebppk page, Shirley wrote, 'This is Toyah Willcox and this is a true story. I loved her growing up but I never admitted it publicly because I knew deep down that it wasn't considered very cool by the serious music press to do so. The worst possible thing for me at that age was to be thought of as uncool. However truth was she fascinated me and I think it's fair to say I studied her. By that I mean I obsessed over photographs of her in magazines and tried to emulate her fabulous,esoteric style, copy her make up, style my hair like she did.'
Singer and actress Toyah fronted the band of the same name between 1977 and 1983 scoring chart success with hits like It's A Mystery, Thunder In The Mountains and I Want To Be Free. She also appeared in cult movies such as Jubilee, The Tempest and Quadrophenia.
After recalling how Toyah was considered 'pretty mainstream' back in the Eighties, Shirley remembered seeing the singer, who is now 62, at The Playhouse, 'I was 15 and pretty mainstream myself but as I said, needed more than anything to appear cool to my peers so I kept my tastes to myself. I went to see her play when she came to The Edinburgh Playhouse in the summer of 1982. I remember the undeniable, visceral thrill of seeing Toyah on stage.... The impact of seeing your idols on stage, in the flesh for the first time was something immense and extraordinarily overwhelming... I just remember the lights and lusting after Toyah's hair and being utterly transfixed.'
Posting a picture of her ticket for that gig alongside pictures of Toyah, Shirley concluded, 'I owe Toyah an apology. An apology for being a Judas. An apology for sucking at her teat and not having the strength of character to ever admit it. I owe her an apology for not giving credit where credit is due. I owe her an apology for, upon rediscovering she was a idiosyncratic firecracker and not ice cool, withholding my love.
'I apologise. And I want to thank her. For everything. For being a weirdo. For taking risks. For fuc**ng trying and not being afraid. I love you Toyah Willcox. I wish I'd declared myself publicly sooner but it's better late than never.'
Reposting Shirley's words on her Facebook page, Toyah, who is married to Robert Fripp of King Crimson and who famously narrated The Teletubbies on TV, wrote, 'Dear Wonderful Shirley, thank you and I remember that gig, it was a riot and if it gave you even more courage to be who you are today then I am overjoyed. I love you too xxx'
The singer also acknowledged the post during a live broadcast at the weekend, telling fans, "Shilrey Manson wrote the most beautiful open letter to me about support ... and my life in the last two week's has radically changed because of that letter, and changed for the better."
Toyah, along with Breaking Glass star Hazel O'Connor were due to bring their Electric Ladies of the Eighties tour to the Queen's Hall, earlier this month. That gig that has now been rescheduled due to the Covid-19 lockdown - perhaps one day we might see Toyah Willcox and Shirley Manson collaborate too.