Tag Archives: interview

Interview with Camille Goutal of Annick Goutal

A while ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Camille Goutal, daughter of legendary perfumer Annick Goutal, for a feature in Prestige magazine – which you can read here, if you’re so inclined. I found Camille a lovely, warm and gracious interviewee (especially since I imagine she gets asked many of these same questions for around a decade now!), and I loved how passionate she was about the evocative power of scent – she really gets the emotion and feelings behind creating and describing a scent, rather than just being all about whatever’s new or on-trend.

As always with these things, you put yourself through the torture of listening to your voice on repeat for hours to transcribe your interview, only to end up using about a third of your chat for print, so I thought I’d put up the whole thing for any fellow Annick Goutal lovers out there. Of course, I then forgot about this intention for about a year… but here it is now! And next time you’re met with a snooty perfume assistant, remember that, in Camille’s words, “You’re never wrong when you talk about fragrance!”

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Interview with Charlotte Knight, founder of Ciate

ciate charlotte knight hong kong

As part of my day job as Editor for a lifestyle website, I often get the opportunity to interview people – however, I’m not quite Ryan Seacrest yet so half the time, I don’t even know who half these people are! However, when the email came asking if I wanted to interview Charlotte Knight, the founder of Ciaté who was in town for Lane Crawford’s Vogue Fashion’s Night Out, I jumped at the chance!

I found Charlotte really likeable, fun and down-to-earth – and I loved how heavily involved in Ciaté she still is. I could really tell how passionate she is about nails, which as a customer, is something I really value in a brand. Since I put myself through the hell of listening to my voice over and over again to transcribe our 30-minute chat, I thought I might as well stick up the whole interview on here for all you fellow polishaholics! Enjoy!

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Britain’s Next Top Model, Cycle 6: Susan Loughnane Interview

Since I reviewed Britain’s Next Top Model, Season 6 EXTENSIVELY for Teentoday (sadly, now lost to some Internet dark hole), rather than talking about the whole cycle, I thought I’d just bring you my favourite contestant from the series instead – flame-haired Oirish actress Susan Loughnane.

Given that she lasted all of two weeks, she’s a bit of a strange choice for favourite, right? What I liked about Susan was that, apart from being exceptionally pretty, she proved you didn’t have to be some raging drama queen to make for good viewing on a Next Top Model show. She came across as funny and likeable – a fact proved even more by an amazing interview she gave me a long time after her exit. Honestly, I just wanted to sit down over a cuppa tea and have an off-the-record natter with her!

Some self-portraits about the comfort of tea. The lighting, the mood, the expression – so evocative. Love it!

As usual with BNTM, most of the photos were a bit rubbish. Every year I have high hopes they’ll up their game and every year they disappoint, with cheap-looking shoots, crappy sponsorship deals and dull concepts. So Susan can feel smug about the fact that, although she doesn’t even want to model anymore, she already has a body of work from her pre-show days that is actually quite stunning – the ‘pretty things’ that are scattered around this post (some taken by herself, multi-talented girl!). Red hair just looks so amazing, doesn’t it?!

Susan’s interview is a must-read for any Next Top Model fans; it blows the lid on the whole series! Since Teentoday has been scrobbed from the Internet (and with it, about five years of my life and work *sad face*), I’ve reproduced it here in its entirety – enjoy!

So… the big question… who are you rooting for in the final?
Do you know what, I’m rooting for Tiff. She is the real underdog here because she’s not 100% British. I can empathise with that. She won’t get the same level of support the other girls will get. I think all the girls deserve it though, I would be over the moon for Alisha or Joy to win. I would have loved to see Amelia win as well : (

You’re going to be at the final with the rest of the girls… do you have any idea what’s gonna happen during the show? Will you be wearing one of your impressive jumpers?
Yes I can’t wait!! I have no idea what’s going to happen! All I know is that they have booked for me to get my hair done at Daniel Galvin before the show and all the girls will be staying in a hotel together! I’m super excited. I don’t think it will be an appropriate time for me to whip out one of my amazing jumpers unfortunately, however I do have a lovely dress which will have to suffice.

You’re also going to be at BNTM Live along with the other girls. Any idea what you’ll be doing there? Excited?
Actually I don’t think I’ll be doing BNTM Live. The models aren’t being paid. The show will undoubtedly make a huge amount of money. I don’t do unpaid work anymore. I’m not demanding a lot but if I don’t value myself, who will?

I guess it must seem a long time ago since you left the competition; did you keep up with watching the show? Were you OMGing at stuff along with the rest of us?
I don’t actually have a telly here! I do watch all my favourite shows online though, god bless 4OD! However I’ve had to wait to watch BNTM on youtube. But mostly I knew how things went, because we all found each other on facebook and got the gossip there. It’s funny to watch how it’s all edited though!

sue loughnane swimwearYou may have gathered by now that I’m a sucker for 50s styling. The colours here are so vibrant and Susan looks like Rita Hayworth. Hot!

I wanna talk a bit about your time on the show… as you know I was a big fan and really sad to see you leave so early : ( Were you upset/shocked about how you were eliminated?
Aw that’s nice, I love hearing that. Honestly, I couldn’t believe I’d even gotten onto the show. I don’t really see myself as a model and have trouble understanding how anyone else sees it. I think I made it on there mostly as a result of my personality! I really clicked with all the producers and I think they really liked me. I think they wanted me there more than Elle and the judges. I thought the way I was eliminated was great, very dramatic, just how I like it! I loved how fans were outraged and really got behind me! That was brilliant, I was so unbelievably grateful for that. It could have been far worse. Delita got a very hard time from the fans for being in it as long as she was. And the photographers on the show didn’t seem to like her either. I think that would be much harder to deal with. I felt quite sorry for her. I was lucky that the photographers on the show really liked me, I came across well and a lot of people were disgusted when I left. You couldn’t ask for a better exit than an unfair one! I’m quite ‘glass half full’ about the whole thing.

It seemed strange as you hadn’t received as much criticism as some of the other girls for either your walk or your photos. Do you think if you’d been given more constructive criticism, you could have improved and stayed longer?
They want the girls to have a character arc. It is the same with acting. There has to be a story. You have to start somewhere, preferably a fairly rocky start, or where they show your potential but how you might falter, and then there has to be hurdles, breakdowns, obstacles, triumphs… Me, I was always quite stable and happy. This was my flaw. I think I was too grown-up for the tantrums and the breakdowns, and I knew enough that I wasn’t starting from a disadvantage, so the story wasn’t there in the long run. So they got rid of me. It was never about how I performed as a model. Am I ruining it for you?? Sorry.


The people at the go-sees didn’t seem encouraging at all and looked like they were sucking lemons when they saw you! Did you already get the vibe that they weren’t interested? Were you angry (I was and I wasn’t even there!)?
I know that they were told to criticize me, because it was my time to go, but man they were total assholes! They weren’t nice people, they had no scruples, no shame, no empathy, nothing. The majority of the horrible things they said were actually edited out because it was just too mean and completely unjustified. It took all my strength not to tear them to pieces for being horrible human beings. But karma will get them, they will come back in the next life as a warthog and a stinky hyena. [Guess they won’t be getting a Christmas card this year…!]

I read in one interview that you wanted to deck them! Models 1 will also be at the BNTM Live event… have you been working on your right hook?!
Haha I have better things to do than take them out. But in fact I have been working out a lot lately. I do want to be able to throw a good punch in case the need ever arises. It’s actually quite empowering as a woman to work on your physical strength.

Were you upset that you didn’t get a proper goodbye – seeing Elle, writing a farewell letter etc? What were the other girls’ reactions to your departure?
Oh no, as I said I was very happy with how I went. I didn’t have to go through another elimination, those are the most horrible nerve-wrecking things! And all the girls were there to help me pack and make me feel better. They even tried to bake a potato for me to bring with me, they knew how much I loved my spuds, and Tiffany gave me her last energy bar, which meant a lot in a house where food was scarce and you couldn’t just pop out to the shop and buy more. And they were just so lovely and supportive. They were really a great group of girls! Afterwards, Tiff and Amelia went into the diary room and said some really sweet things about how much they were going to miss me. I cried watching that.

Did it frustrate you that, whilst some judges complained that your acting detracted from your modelling, loads of stuff after you’d gone revolved around acting? You’d probably have rocked the bullying campaign, the horror shoot and the Hollyoaks challenge!
Yeah, well I couldn’t have stayed on really, could I? That would have been my chance to shine. So they had to find some way to get rid of me. So they found two callous assholes with no scruples who would be quite happy to shamelessly put me down and bully me. And that was followed by an anti bullying campaign…

Do you think you had a different experience to the rest of the girls as, with your acting, you’re more savvy to being in front of the cameras and dealing with criticism? What do you prefer – reality tv or having a script?
I honestly prefer having a script, however I am quite comfortable just being myself. But I was completely sure of who I was and what I would and wouldn’t do. I think that comes with age. At my age, I know who I am and cannot be pushed around by producers and convinced to do something I would be ashamed of later. The younger girls were more malleable which makes for better TV.

Give us the inside scoop on filming a reality tv show – were the cameras really on you 24/7? Did you feel pressured to come up with good soundbites? Do you feel the producers deliberately amped up the drama for better tv? Did you feel the judges were being honest at panel or just trying to be controversial?
The cameras weren’t there 24/7, there was a lot that the cameras did not see! We weren’t allowed to play music in the house because it would interfere with filming and they might not be able to hear what we were saying. But one night, Kirsty found a stereo system in the bedroom and after they had all gone to bed we used to put it on and have a bit of a boogie. They found us at it one night and decided to film it because it would show us bonding or some shit like that. But there was a lot that they didn’t see. They did deliberately amp up the drama, but I wasn’t really involved in that kind of thing, I tried to mostly stay away from drama. I wasn’t a very good contestant really was I? I would never make it onto Big Brother!! I’m a bit too chilled.

None of the judges were honest really, except maybe Charley. Grace was quite honest at times but always exaggerated what she really thought to make it sound more extreme, because she wanted to be the Simon Cowell one. Julian was always just being controversial, he didn’t seem to have a filter in his brain to sieve out the ridiculous comments. It was like he had Tourettes. The producers obviously loved that.

It sounded like you entered BNTM on a bit of a whim (especially as, you admit, you’re not even technically British!). Were you happy you just got as far as you did? What was the feeling like when Elle called your name last at Model Academy? (Only for her to kick you out without a goodbye a few weeks on – bloody cheek etc!)
I couldn’t believe I actually made it in. It was mad. I went over on a whim. If it hadn’t been for a Ryanair sale and £10 flights, I wouldn’t have gone because I really thought they were highly likely to turn me away the minute they saw my Irish passport. So I just thought, well it would be nice to see Glasgow and it will be a funny experience either way, and sure the flights were practically free. I actually laughed when I was told I had a call back. I did always have to pinch myself when I was on the show and I never felt I would make it to the next week at any stage, so I was shocked to even get as far as I did, and I was really honoured to be there. So I was fine about leaving. I felt a bit abused by their manner of doing it, but I didn’t expect to stay, and I knew there was an elimination that day, it was completely pre-planned in advance, so I was not shocked. It was not a shock elimination like they made out. It was totally scripted. That’s a Fact.

A few unkind people have suggested you only entered to get exposure for your acting – what’s your response to them?
It’s the truth; I have no real interest in being a model. I completely used BNTM for my profile and it worked. So there.

susan loughnaneSusan’s gorgeous 2012 Irish Tatler cover; photo by Barry McCall Photographer

What have you been up to since you left?
Thankfully, I’ve been doing quite a lot of acting. I shot an Irish TV series called Single-Handed down in beautiful Galway. I’m told it will be on ITV over here in the New Year. I’ve just been cast in a play here, I have a fantastic new London agent and he is getting me lots of auditions here so things are great. I love living in London. [NOTE: Since BNTM, Susan has actually become a quite well-known actress, with roles in acclaimed Irish drama Love/Hate and Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, plus has also written her first book!]

You can model, act and have a nifty taste in jumpers. Let’s assess your true triple-threat potential! Any other talents hiding under there?
Haha, that’s really sweet. I do love my jumpers all right. Actually I am also an artist and dabble in photography. I’ve been a professional portrait artist since I was about 17, and still take the odd commission to supplement my income. I find painting a very relaxing and therapeutic thing to do; however, I have taken a break from it since coming to London because I couldn’t bring over all my easels and oil paints and canvases, and it would be a big investment to buy new stuff. Also I am focusing solely on acting for the time being, I think to be truly successful at something you have to be single-minded, and now I am totally focused. I do still carry around my SLR from time to time and snap casual pictures of friends and London life in general.

I just noticed on your CV that you trained for a year at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York (most famous student: Marilyn Monroe!) – how was that experience?
I loved New York. It felt like home straight away and whenever I think about it my heart actually aches a little. I think it is homesickness. I do feel the same way about Ireland though. The Lee Strasberg Institute was an incredible experience. Not only did I get fantastic training but I met truly brilliant people. It was like the UN, I now have friends from literally all over the world and all walks of life! It was a true all-round life experience.

My boyfriend thinks you look like Amy Adams – have you had that before?
All the time, I used to get called Nicole Kidman too, but I think my personality is closer to Amy Adams… now if I could only have her career…!

How do you think being part of BNTM has changed you?
It has made me very determined. And I have a lot more belief in myself. The fans were very supportive I’ve gotten some wonderfully positive fan mail. It is fantastic and invaluable to have the support of your family and friends, but when complete strangers have a strong faith in you it has an interesting effect. I throw away every negative comment, they are irrelevant to me unless they are constructive. But the really positive ones are like little badges I sew onto my sleeve, like when I was in a kid in girl guides, and they add to my confidence and sense of purpose and self-belief. I really am grateful for that.

And finally, what’s your top style/beauty tip for Teentoday readers?
I believe in rewards. When I have worked really hard I like to reward myself with something I don’t need but really want. Like that jumper I wore on the show, for example. I was shooting a TV series up in Belfast last November, and one day I had two big emotional scenes that were very hard work and emotionally exhausting, but I got a few hours off after so I went shopping in Belfast and bought myself that jumper. I returned to set that day with a huge smile on my face. And now I have a jumper that always makes me happy and reminds me of the great work I did that day. Love yourself, take care of yourself and reward yourself when you deserve it.

All photos from Susan’s website and Flickr. As ever, click on the photos for enlargements.

The Pipettes Interview: Earth vs The Pipettes, line-up changes, moustaches and more…

the pipettes

This was also originally published on Teentoday.co.uk, which has since fallen down a giant snarky-pop-writing consuming Internet manhole (RIP). So I wanted to post this here as I think it’s a pretty good interview if I do say so myself… and because Earth vs The Pipettes is holding up pretty well actually, as I listen to it whilst typing this very sentence!

They may not have the costumes of Gaga, the “Samson-esque lesbian haircut” of Bieber or the peen-grabbing devotees of Teentoday fave Fugative. Hell, they aren’t even part of our indie music exploration remit and were definitely not involved in the controversial Race for Life charity single. But they did talk to us. So behold, our interview with The Pipettes (or at least one of them…we’re thinking Gwenno) and here’s hoping it goes better than our Stop The Music shit or hit which you loved so much, it rapidly became a depository for Bananarama spam:

So are all the polka dot dresses burning on an incinerator somewhere?
Ha! No, quite the opposite really… I’d say they were on ice for a little while.

How is it working with your sister? Do you squabble over who gets the lead or are you over all that sibling rivalry?
It’s really great working with my sister; we’re quite hard on each other sometimes but it’s great knowing you can really rely on someone. The trust is there naturally and we both want what’s best for the other and for the band. There is more chance we squabble over who has to carry the dresses than anything else… I usually end up carrying them! Pah!

A couple of people are comparing you to Bananarama (partly their early sound, partly the line-up changes!). Is this a comparison you like/understand/are actively basing your sound on?
We don’t mind that comparison at all. We’ve frequently referenced Stock, Aitken & Waterman when discussing our love of British pop music and so Bananarama sit nicely in there. The new sound and image for our second album was something that was discussed a good while before the band finished touring the first album. It’s an evolution that would have inevitably happened regardless of line-up changes.

The Our Love Was Saved By Spacemen viral video was ermmm… interesting. What did you think of you with a moustache? Fanciable?
Better interesting than boring, eh? We just wanted to give something that was fun and a bit light-hearted to the fans that had hung in there while we got ourselves together over the past couple of years. It was our Valentine’s Day gift to them; we actually didn’t realise so many people would see it! A cheeky moustache now and again never hurt anyone… why not!

How would you describe the sound of Earth vs The Pipettes? Can you tell us about your favourite tracks?
The sound on our new album is a lot more dance-oriented, a lot of disco beats in there. It’s fuller, it’s bigger and it’s a lot louder; a bit of an obnoxious cousin to the first record, it’s demanding to be heard. My favourite tracks change daily. There are certain ones I like to listen to and others I love to sing so it really depends. I do love From Today today and everyday.

Who would win in a fight to the end in Earth vs The Pipettes then? Surely two girls taking on the whole planet is a bit much? What are your special moves?
The Pipettes will win hands down! We just plan to brainwash everyone with our songs, simples.

Since your single’s called Stop The Music, what music would you like to see stopped for good? Specifics please.
I love pop music; I don’t love most of what’s on the radio BUT what I would say is that any bad music out there makes the good music oh-so-much better. There are so many talented people out there but most of the pop music we hear on the radio is written and produced by the same people. That’s why we’re so proud of our album – RedOne didn’t get anywhere near it!

We’re pleased that even if you’ve dropped most of the influences from your first album, the Stop The Music vid sees you keep your propensity for the dance routine. Can we expect more classic Pipettes dances from the rest of the album? Will we get Youtube tutorials?
Of course! We will never stop dancing, that would be criminal! We wouldn’t know what to do! You can, of course, expect more classic Pipettes dances, some spacey shakes and some other-worldy twists… all in the name of POP!

earth vs the pipettes

The electro bandwagon – will The Pipettes be boarding or do you think the end for that sound is nigh?
The only thing we’ll be boarding is our spaceship. Since the band was formed six years ago, we’ve done exactly what we’ve wanted musically and we’ll keep doing just that. We’re still in search of the perfect pop song and we’ll keep writing songs until we make it, synth or no synth.

OK… we have to talk about the line-up changes (sorry!). Is Gwenno the scariest girl in pop since Keisha Buchanan or is she just misunderstood? Did you ever feel like jacking it all in? What made you decide to carry on?
Things are never as they seem; I can’t talk for Keisha but it’s really not easy being in a band. You can work really really really hard for a long time and it can seem that there is no reward – it’s at this point that a lot of people decide to give up. We thought again and again about throwing in the towel but the only thing that kept us going was the belief we had in the songs we had made together.

It’s obvious from some other interviews that you’re very clued up on the music scene. Can we have a few Pipettes views on:

– Will The Saturdays ever be good? I thought their first album was very very good.

– Will Girls Aloud get back together and if they don’t, will pop music that great ever be made again? I can’t really imagine them doing another album but it would be pretty incredible if they did, you never know. Xenomania are still churning out amazing British pop music and keeping the standard very high so there is a pretty good chance that we’ll have great pop music for a while to come.

– Should the Sugababes carry on? I don’t see why not? About You Now was an amazing song and they could still have more amazing songs.

– Would La Roux have been all-conquering if she hadn’t had “The Quiff”? Why of course. It’s a great and solid pop album but me oh my, that is one mighty quiff!

– Any other music recommendations? Music Go Music, Fun., Lucky Soul and always go back and listen to the early Madonna records, sooo good!

– Would you ever have auditioned for The X Factor? Could either of you have been Dorothy on Over The Rainbow? No no no to X Factor but I want to be Glinda or Toto please!

And finally… Pull Shapes is an amazing song. That’s all really. I just wanted to thank you for bringing it into existence.
Why thank you!

Earth vs The Pipettes (what a ‘disco in space’ where ‘all the genres and styles that have set the dance floor going for the last fifty years were loaded onto a rocket and fired into the stars’ would sound like – a soundbite too good to be confined to a press release, methinks) is out now.

Nerina Pallot Interview: Year Of The Wolf, Cheryl Cole’s hair and other stuff…

nerina pallot

This was originally published on Teentoday.co.uk, which has since been lost to the dark dusty recesses of the Internet’s store cupboard (RIP). So I wanted to share it on here as Nerina is not only an amazing singer-songwriter but also a very fun interviewee…

Here at Teentoday, we’ve been crossing our fingers for the day when Nerina Pallot makes it big so we can say we told you about her first. You know, like we did with Girls Can’t Catch, The Dolly Rockers and VV Brown… whadd’ya mean, who?!

Anyway, in celebration of the recent release of Nerina’s really-rather-good single, Put Your Hands Up (which has received regular-blasting-out-of-speakers status at Teentoday Towers) and its parent album, Year Of The Wolf (nothing to do with Twilight), we had a little chat with the woman herself about all sorts of important matters. You know, like Cheryl Cole’s hair, the probability of her doing grime, Arsenal’s goalkeeper and mistakenly insinuating that she’s an old lady. Oops. We let her talk about serious stuff too, promise!

We’re loving your new song Put Your Hands Up and the one-take dance-athon video… but how come you’re not busting out a few more dance moves here and there? We wanted to see your funky chicken!
Nobody needs to see my funky chicken, let me tell you.

Can you fill us in on what exactly was the ‘inappropriate content’ that got Put Your Hands Up taken off Youtube? Too much dancing?
That’s right, it was too much of my funky chicken…. Um, no, basically Chris Moyles tweeted the link to the video and it went from a few hundred views to a few thousand in a matter of minutes, so YouTube thought something weird was going on. But it was Moyles. He broke my vid! Ha.

Is it true that PYHU was originally written for Kylie?
I wrote it with my husband around the time we were writing tracks for her last album and there is a track called Put Your Hands Up on that too which is where the confusion has happened I think.

We love the PYHU Like It’s 1987 remix even more! Any chance of you giving some similarly poptastic remixes to some of your older stuff? Or doing the remixed version at live shows?
I’m very tempted. I’m very tempted to make a two-CD album where one is acoustic and the other is bubblegum pop versions of the same songs. [This sounds AMAZING. Make it happen Nerina. And then credit us for giving you the idea too!]

Can you tell us more about the sound of your forthcoming album, Year Of The Wolf? How does it compare to your previous releases?
It’s a little more reflective than my last album The Graduate, but also a bit more epic I think. Loads of strings, brass, all sorts.

Any particular favourite tracks you can tell us about?
I’m really pleased with the way Put Your Hands Up turned out, it was so much fun to record. There is another song on the album called Grace, which means a lot to me, and was recorded the night before my son was born.

You dressed up as a rabbit for your last album, The Graduate. Can we expect to see a wolf costume this time? Any howling/Shakira gyrating in a cage antics up your sleeve?
Everyone thought that I would be in a wolf costume on the cover. But no. It’s just me, with a hat on. Not very Shakira at all.

nerina pallot year of the wold

You sing your own material yet also write for other people like Kylie Minogue and Diana Vickers. Is it hard to give up your songs or do you enjoy hearing other people’s interpretations of your lyrics?
I feel really honoured when people choose to record my songs. I wrote them for as many people as possibly to hear them, so I never feel like I’m giving them up!

Any good gossip on Kylie or Diana?
My lips are sealed…

You write and produce with your husband. How’s that feed into the work/life balance? Any blazing rows over the speakers?
No, my other half Andy is the only person I can co-write with and not feel self-conscious.

I read that you “struggle with the co-writing process” and have discarded lots of co-written songs in the past. How come?
Because I felt like I wasn’t being honest or really myself with someone else in the room who I didn’t know really well. As a songwriter, you often go into a room with someone you barely know to do something that can be quite soul baring and emotional, and I seize up in those situations.

It feels like you’ve always been “on the cusp” of being the next big thing. How did you get over things like being dropped from your record contract and “disappointing” chart positions, and carry on?
I guess I’ve always done music for music’s sake – so I just keep making music regardless of whether it goes in the chart or not. That stuff has never motivated me – writing the best songs I possibly can does.

You take a lot of cover requests via Twitter for your live streams. Are there any songs that you deem un-coverable? Can we hope for Nerina’s take on rap or grime?
I wouldn’t know where to begin with Chipmunk. That kind of stuff just hurts my ears, it’s totally lost on me. And I like a lot of hip hop but it’s just nonsense to me. Nah. No grime covers from me any time soon.

You’ve been “in the industry” for a long time now; what are your thoughts on the whole X Factor/Idol breeding ground of pop stars? After the whole Cheryl Cole fiasco, would you ever be a judge on these panel shows?
I think it’s important that these shows exist. I think it’s unlikely we’re gonna get the next Prince or even Adele from one of them, but they’ve always existed. I just wish the music the artists released was a bit more creative and less predictable. Yeah, I can totally see myself as the new Cheryl Cole. I mean, come on, I’m worth it, aren’t I?!

How do you balance the demands of being a pop star with having a baby?
I don’t really think I’m a pop star and he comes first really, so it’s how do I fit everything in around him.

Your son is called Wolfgang Amadeus. Surely, with a name like that, a career in pop stardom beckons? Is he showing any musical inclinations yet?
Well, mad as it sounds, we just gave him that name ‘cos we loved it, not ‘cos we wanted him to be a musician, but… yes, he is already really into the music. It’s quite scary!

nerina pallot put your hands up

You’re a renowned Arsenal fan. As a girlfriend who is abandoned every weekend for the Arsenal game, can you give me any tips on how to improve my fandom? Are you also as stressed about Almunia [Arsenal’s crap goalkeeper who apparently ruins their chances every game] as my boyfriend is?
The problem is, this Almunia stress has been going on for YEARS, and it shows no sign of going away, so your boyfriend might be a bit stressed for a while longer. If you’re still not sure about whether to go to a game, think about this: if you get decent seats, you get to see hot fit young men running around all sweaty, and depending where you’re sitting, you get to see them bending over a lot and taking their tops off. Believe me, it can really cheer a girl up on a rainy Saturday afternoon….

You also recently completed a degree in English Lit. Why did you decide to go back to that? Were you ever bullied by any of the young and hip teens on your course? [There used to be an eighty year-old mature student on my English course called Eve and someone set up a Facebook Fan Page saying she was one of the original characters from Paradise Lost and may also have appeared in The Canterbury Tales… It got shut down.]
Are you saying I’m EIGHTY? IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE SAYING?! I was actually not the oldest person on my course actually so no, no bullying went on. Even though I realised the other day that I am old enough to be Justin Bieber’s mother, and that made me want a little lie-down.

Finally, a few quick pop questions:

– Fave Spice Girl? Sporty – Mel C.

Britney Spears: still got it or past it? Past it, which breaks my heart.

Cheryl Cole: nation’s sweetheart or bored already? A bit bemused by it in the first place. I mean, she beats people up in toilets. But she has lovely hair.

Fantasy X Factor judging line-up? Simon Cowell, Anne Robinson, Robbie Williams and Me.

Favourite Kylie era (Aphrodite bias nonwithstanding)? Confide in Me and the whole Kylie Minogue album era. Amazing. She should start wearing specs again, she looked incredible.

– Lady Gaga: insanely awesome or getting a bit much? Aargh. Getting a bit much, but only just.

– Biggest pop star crush? George Michael. I still haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that we won’t be settling down and raising kids and small animals together.

– Tip for one to watch? Birdy, she’s got an amazing voice and is still about 8 years old or something.

– Greatest musical inspiration? Kate Bush. If I’m old, she’s like your granny or something.

Nerina’s latest album, Year Of The Wolf, is out now. It’s quite good.