A little before my 10th birthday, I was like, 'Can I please have a puppet, Mom and Dad?' They were like, 'No. You are a singer, not a ventriloquist. You have three brothers, and you're in gymnastics. There's no way we have time for this.'
I can still remember the afternoon, on my 15th birthday, when I opened up 'The Virgin and the Gypsy,' D.H. Lawrence's novella, in my tiny cell in boarding school, and whole worlds of possibility opened out that I had never guessed existed. The language was on fire and sang of liberation.
I remember going to see 'Starlight Express' almost every birthday I had as a treat because I just loved it, and the idea that you could rollerskate in a sort of scary old theatre... It was sort of a novel concept.
Even when I was a kid, I had a good thing with kids. To this day, if I go to a birthday party with one of my kids, I swear to you, I am so much happier hanging out with my kids and their friends than talking to the grown-ups.
School was a big source of anxiety for me. I hated school. I have social anxiety, and it developed when I was a kid. I had trouble going to birthday parties. It was always there. I begged my mom to let me be home-schooled at one point for a semester because I was so miserable at school.
Since graduation, I have measured time in 4-by-5-inch pieces of paper, four days on the left and three on the right. Every social engagement, interview, reading, flight, doctor's appointment, birthday and dry-cleaning reminder has been handwritten between metal loops.
I first picked up a guitar when I was ten years old; my parents surprised me with it for my tenth birthday. I started taking lessons when I was thirteen, but only for a few months, and then I just kept teaching myself.
I was born full grown in the middle of a hurricane and an earthquake on 10 September 1954, 12.52 P.M. When I found out that I had missed lunch, I gave such a shout that the Earth stopped and spun backwards two days. That's why I celebrate my birthday on 8 September.
I've been asking my partner for a dog for a while and she kept saying no. She was obviously keeping it for a birthday surprise, and when I came home from Rotherham, Hugo was sat on the sofa waiting for me. It was a really nice surprise.