Golders Green, London

Toyah Wilcox - Vocals Glen Marks - Guitar & Vocals
Tony - Bass Guitar  Shirley O’Loughlin  - Drums

A product of London bedsitland in early 1977, the band, who adapted their name from the Raymond Chandler novel "The Simple Art Of Murder", began life rehearsing at the Golders Green Cemetery.

After leaving school and joining the Old Rep Drama School in Birmingham Toyah had worked as an extra for BBC TV productions at  their Pebble Mill studios.

Her stand-out pre-punk appearance soon had her cast in the lead role as Sue, lead singer with the group Bilbo Baggins, in the BBC TV "Second City Firsts" play called "Glitter" which was filmed in 1975 and broadcast the following year.

The TV play featured Toyah's first public performance, a song called "Dream Maker" (with the band) and "Floating Free" (with a flared-up Phil Daniels on acoustic guitar).

After "Glitter" was aired Toyah was offered a place with the National Theatre, and moved down to London and quickly joined her first band as punk took a slow grip on the capital in the summer of 1976.

"When The Streets Were Dark With More Than Night" were a short lived Lou Reed influenced punk outfit, playing youth clubs and pubs as well as a notorious gig at the Ford Youth club at the Ford Dagenham Car Plant.

They decided on a gay / lesbian underground image, more at home with the New York underground scene than London.

Toyah, complete with the word "lesbian" painted on her bondage top, was photographed during an early 1977 shopping trip to the Kings Road in Chelsea and can be seen on page 25 of the book "In The Gutter" by Val Hennessey.

More TV work followed in April, 1977 as part of the BBC2 "Three Piece Suite" series, where in episode 5 ("This Situation") Toyah appears as a punkette named Buzz.

The following month film maker Derek Jarman would ask her to crop her hair and dye it bright orange and cast her as "Mad" in his punk film "Jubilee" .In this movie she was also a member of the all girl band "Maneaters" whose song "Nine To Five" would be featured in both the movie and on the films soundtrack album. In reality the Maneaters were in fact Adam & The Ants backing Toyah.

'When The Streets Were Dark With More Than Night' would slowly grind to a halt through the summer of 77, with Toyah going on to work with Joel Bogen in a new band called 'Ninth Illusion', who after many line up changes, would become known as "Toyah" in 1978 and soon picked up a devoted following amongst the hardcore London punk scene.


Toyah Wilcox


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