You write, you’re a painter, you’re something of a raconteur – you create perfumes – was there ever a time when you weren’t going to be a pianist?

Not really. We didn’t have a piano in the house and so the only piano I knew was the piano in an aunt’s house. When we went to visit her I was fascinated by this, and I begged my parents to buy me one. Eventually, after much pestering they said okay. Once I started learning, I would have been about six, then that’s all I wanted to do. I had a brief time when I considered giving it up to be a priest but that didn’t last. I think by now I would have been thrown out of the priesthood [laughs].

So as a six year-old were you inspired by other players? Or was it composers? Or just the physical object sitting in your aunt’s room?

I think it was the physical object! We lived in a village about 20 miles from Manchester, so I didn’t get to go to lots of concerts. I watched an awful lot of television, particularly from the age of about ten – we’re talking six hours a day....