What is your earliest memory?
When we lived in Basildon, sitting in the laundry bucket which was filled with water, which was our take on a swimming pool, in the back garden. I must have been about two or something.
Funnily enough when my parents were thinking about their wills and we were asked what we wanted from the home, the one thing that I said was I want the laundry bucket.
I still have it indoors, this big yellow laundry bucket.
Where is your favourite place in Essex, and why?
It’s going to be Basildon because it’s where I grew and and because it’s where all my hopeful years were, those times where anything is possible.
When are you at your happiest?
When I have finished a song that I really like.
What is your favourite Essex story or memory?
One of my happy memories is when we lived in Little Lullaway, opposite Gloucester Park and this was obviously in the days when we didn’t have phones.
We’d go out as play at the park and my mum, when it was time to come in, would hang out a big red bedspread from the top bedroom window. You’d know it was time to go home because they’d be this huge red flag hanging from the bedroom window!
I loved everything about growing up there. I loved how clean it was. How many young families were there. The great state of the council house we lived in, it was just a pretty idyllic place to grow up in.
What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you and who was it?
It’s a bit of a dark thing to say, but I’ll go there. My dad always told me when I was young, never to tell anyone I was out on my own.
I remember walking out in the park – Gloucester Park – one time as a kid, and nearly getting, you know, stolen away.
The first thing that came into my head was that I’m just out walking with my dad and I turned around and shouted “dad!” and this guy legged it.
I was lying, because I wasn’t out with my dad I was out playing on my own, but it was my dad’s words in my head, which was never tell anyone you’re out on your own. It was lifesaving advice. Of course I never told my dad because that would have meant I wouldn’t have been able to go out and play again!
Do you have a secret vice?
Of course, but I’m not telling you because it’s a secret!
Who do most admire and why?
I generally admire people who can make things and fix things. I was in my mid-thirties the first time my dad told me he was proud of me and that was when I had rewired the hoover.
I genuinely admire mothers that can care for their kids with a permanently good nature. It’s all those kind of things, the people that live successfully and to me people that live successfully are the people that can take on experiences and dance with whatever music they’ve been given. That’s really impressive.
What is something people might not know about you?
I think my local Southenders know me better than anyone else. The one thing I’ve been keen to do is always be very open about my uglinesses – I’m not talking about my physical ugliness but my fighty, feisty behaviour because I find it quite oppressive when people just want to paint you as something quite asinine and sweet because then they’re constantly disappointed when they find out you’re a bit of a brute.
I like it when people are see my human flaws. We all fall from wombs.
It’s quite an epic tour you’ve got coming up, how do you feel about it?
I’m just so excited about touring and Southend has always been on my tour roster. My fans that keep coming back know the kind of shapes I throw.
It’s all electronic and bass and there is a decent smattering of hits. I do do some Yazoo, and I’ll be doing new material but it’ll all be on an electronic backdrop. My advice to people would be, if they like being familiar with the set list then give the new album [Other, out June 16] a listen, the Minutes gets a good show and then other than that it’s all of my whole catalogue going right back to my earliest days in 82.
How do your kids and family feel about you still performing?
I think it’s certainly a good thing for the girls because it’s a very positive thing to have a female in your life that illustrates the fact that you don’t have to be limited either by your sex or your age. My son is really proud of me. They love it. They like the fact that I’m a little bit other, to quote my own phrase.