I love Sinead O,Connor. I always have done, from the first animalistic raw of The Lion & The Cobra to the vulnerable cover of Nothing Compares To U and through to her torments and struggles, I have believed in her and loved her music.
So when Irish Distillers invited me to a launch event in Ireland at which Sinead was performing, and told me that as I was such a fan, I could sit on her table, I was at first ecstatic and then increasingly nervous. After all, she doesn't suffer fools gladly, and she has a fearsome reputation in relation to the media and the establishment.
And what do I do when I am nervous? I drink.
Actually in Ireland I don't need to be nervous. The combination of fine whiskey, genial hosts, and an Irish impulse to refill any glass that is half empty, all but guarantee that my evenings there will end in high spirits.
So I had to be sensible, and I was. Sinead arrived with one person who I took to be a minder or her manager. She is tiny, and with the biggest doe eyes I have ever seen, just as pretty as any skin-headed woman had a right to be. She seemed more nervous than I was (I know this is starting to sound like the script for a blind date, but only in my mind - there were 12 at the table). She spoke very softly, smiled coquettishly, and was polite beyond belief.
I think I probably stared a lot. And as dinner came to an end and the time of her performance was fast approaching, I plucked up the courage to speak to her.
If you had the chance to ask Sinead O'Connor one question, what would it be? Who is your greatest influence perhaps? Possibly what are your plans for the future? Are you going to tour again? What album are you most proud of?
This is what I asked: "Sinead, I am a big fan of yours. But how did you feel after you intervened with Shane MacGowan, called the police, and reported him for heroin use, even though he is a good friend of yours?"
Journalists know that you keep the tough questions until the end of an interview. The art is to soften an interviewee up, get a story, then leave enough time to get right up and personal, aware that this might kill the interview but might just provide something new and exclusive. I had just driven a tank across our table.
Sinead looked momentarily surprised, then a glint of amusement appeared in her eye.
"The thing is Dominic (she knew my name so I assume someone had told who I was and why she was seated near me), the thing is, if I hadn't done that he would be dead now. It was a tough thing to do but I had to do it to save his life. And I'm glad that I did."
"So am I Sinead," I gushed. "I totally agree with you. I think it was a courageous thing to do."
I stopped short of saying you're super, Sinead, and I think you're great." But only just.
She held my gaze with that same amused glint for another second, and then she excused herself and went to prepare for her show.
I reached for a large glass of whiskey and downed it in one.
And then Sinead came on stage and performed the most magical and perfect greatest hits package, including a spine-chilling version of Nothing Compares To U, which she dedicated to me.
Well that's how I like to remember it anyway. But then again, I'd been drinking.
Next up: Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott.