* The first time I was on stage was aged five — Irish dancing at an outdoor feis in the wilds of West Cork. I was dancing away happily until a bee swooped down and stung me on my knee. I promptly fell over, but — predating Chumbawumba here — got back up again. Later, I was very cross that the organisers gave me a medal when I clearly did not deserve one.
* I have a phobia about vomiting.
* Over the past ten years, I have lived in four different cities and had 57 housemates in total, give or take a housemate or two. Right now I’ve four lovely housemates. The most I ever had was 13 in San Francisco for three months. And, yes, hustling for the shower in the morning was a pain.
* If I was heading to a desert island for a lengthy stretch, I’d be bringing albums by Radiohead and Depeche Mode with me.
* I’m a total geek for American magazines — I read more American magazines — The New Yorker, Spin, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly and Vanity Fair — than I do Irish ones. I love going to coffee shops with a great magazine and just reading…
* I spent quite a long time playing classical guitar, but my left hand was always a bit rubbish. I had some great guitar teachers, though. There was Zav, who was French and used wear a dressing gown and pointy crocodile shoes. And Angel from Mexico who was always telling me to “hold ze guitar like a gun!”. My favourite teacher was my first teacher, Norman the hippie from West Cork who could listen to anything once and write down the notation as it played. I remember he took great exception to Courtney Love’s music on the grounds that it didn’t make sense musically. He used occasionally make me sing — but all that stopped the day he commented admiringly that I sounded like Nancy Griffith. Frankly, I don’t think I ever recovered.