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Art: Imelda May

Arthouse life.

You were raised by a Hollywood-loving mother and a dance instructor-turned-decorator father. Was that as arty as it sounds?

Yeah, it was a pretty arty house. My family was a normal working class family from Dublin. It was a real working class area with no money but a great community. 


How did those artistic pursuits fit into that environment?

It was an antidote to hard times. My mother saw a lot of kids in the area getting into bad gangs and drug problems, so she and a friend set up a local music and drama group. That gave my mum an outlet for her ideas as a dressmaker, and my dad did the backdrops. So the house was full of all this stuff.  


How important is the visual side of your music? 

It was definitely the music that attracted me first, but I’m sure as a teenager the whole package had something to do with it. I mean Adam Ant, say, and Ian Dury were very visual onstage and I absolutely loved that. And I loved Siouxsie Sioux. I think I was always drawn to things that slightly scared me but thrilled me at the same time.


A man in Warrington had your face tattooed on his arm this year. And you punched him.

Well, it was more of a slap than a punch! He lifted his arm and showed me and I went: “Oh, Jesus!” and punched him! 


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