Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Toyah: Doilies Not Asylum-Seekers. (Nimby)

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Toyah: Doilies Not Asylum-Seekers. (Nimby)

Article excerpt

Nobody demands meaningful political engagement from ageing punks. Clearly, you can't expect much in the way of joined-up thinking from a movement whose core weapons against the state were atonality and self-mutilation. So, Toyah Wilcox can get away with a sentence like this, for instance: "We broke down so many attitudes and made life easier for gays, women, all classes." Yes, she can get away with it: even though appearing in a film by Derek Jarman does not count as "making life easier for gays"; even though all punks were in fact raging misogynists; and even though it is logistically impossible to make things better for all classes without exploiting some outside agency like, say, the developing world-which may indeed be the net result of the past 30 years, and may even be, in some minuscule way, the result of the hippie and punk pincer movement elevating the individual and legitimising self-interest. But that is nothing to be bloody proud of.

What she can't get away with, however, is leading the campaign in the charming village of Throckmorton against the creation of an asylum centre there. Punk may not have stood for much, but, at the very least, it stood against a gruesome, curtain-twitching Englishness that would choose a full set of matching doilies over the safety of another human being, as long as there was breath in its body politic.

"I'm not some terrible racist Nimby. This is about protecting our environment. I've known the area all my life, my parents live there, my house is five miles away," she explains, leaving one to wonder what exactly she thinks terrible racist Nimbys are fighting for, if not the environment, their area, their house. …

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