The Toy Dolls 1981

The Toy Dolls 1981
toydollstixNow and then I come across a ticket in my collection, and I can’t remember the gig at all. This is one such ticket. Now I think I might have read somewhere that this gig didn’t take place, which might explain why I don’t remember it 🙂
The Toy Dolls, of course, emerged from the Sunderland punk and pub/club rock scene in 1979, and quickly built up a reputation as one of the best live bands around. The Toy Dolls were, and are, led by crazy lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter Olga and produced great tongue in cheek ditties which told stories of local people, clubs and events like “Tommy Kowey’s Car”, “She Goes To Finos”, “James Bond Lives Down Our Street”, “Fisticuffs in Frederick Street” and “Geordie’s Gone to Jail”. They hit the charts in 1984 with a zany cover version of “Nellie the Elephant”. Toy Dolls’ music is fast; part punk, part new wave, part Oi with catchy melodies, humour, and lots of energy. Gary Bushell termed it “punk pathetique”; a subgenre of British punk rock which involved humour and working class cultural themes. This ticket shows the support acts for this “festival” as being local bands Dance Class, who released a great album in the early 80s, and New Studeau. Although I don’t recall this gig, I do remember seeing The Toy Dolls play in local pubs and clubs including the sadly missed Old 29 and West Cornforth (Doggy) club.
A quote from Olga: “I became involved in music as soon as I saw a picture of Suzi Quatro in a magazine when I was delivering newspapers in Sunderland, about 12 or 13-years-old. Punk came to me about four years later, changed my life and suddenly all the barriers were broken down and it was possible for me to become a singer too, or at least pretend I was. Getting bullied at school was a big factor, wanting to prove I could do something, and then hearing Sweet, Slade, Suzi Quatro etc, I knew exactly what I would do with my life at that point.”
The Toy Dolls continue to play and remain successful in Japan, and Europe.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Dance Class were great live. Saw them on a number of occasions perhaps the most memorable being The Foyer of what was then The University Theatre.


  2. Posted by Rich on September 21, 2015 at 9:51 am

    I saw the Toy Dolls in a kids’ park in Sunderland around this time.

    I don’t know how many parks they played – maybe this gig did take place?

    I saw Dance Class a couple of times too but I’m not sure where – they were great.

    Seems you were at a lot of the same gigs as me in the early 80s.

    My tickets are in a book in the loft, which has got so much crap in I can’t get to it.

    Still a big Toy Dolls fan.

    Your blog is bloody great.

    Cheers, Rich.


    • Posted by vintagerock on September 21, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Cheers Rich Pleased you are enjoying my blog
      I also have a vague recollection of seeing the early Toy Dolls in a park somewhere. I think Olga was wearing a red plastic mac?
      Maybe as you say this gig did happen
      Best wishes Peter


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