1) My dad singing me to sleep with Frank Sinatra I WAS a girny baby and toddler, and I’m told I talked sheer babble until I was three (then it was full sentences). The only two things that could calm my weirdness down were a) the adverts, and b) my dad John Kane singing his Sinatra repertoire straight on to my skull, lips to the temple.

John was a mysterious man to me; injured by his wartime experiences, overly concerned with respectability. Later on, we fought like dogs. But I thank him for putting Frank directly into my brain, and giving me such a high musical ideal so early.

Every time I practise or prepare for a gig, I sing some of Sinatra’s songs. I stretch out the melismas, try to tighten my vibrato: like my Dad, he still sets me a high standard, which has stood me in good stead. And when I match up, I’m ready to sing free. I’m then in an excessively happy place, dwelling with Frank and my dad.

2) The Moon landings DAD horrified me as an eight-year-old when he announced that the moon landings were a fake. “All done on a Hollywood sound stage, Pat. Don’t be a mug.” It’s the first time I remember consciously breaking from – being aware of – the harsh, cynical adult world: No, I will believe otherwise.

So I would wheedle to stay up as late as possible, to watch these tiny scraps of communication from the cosmos – crackled speech, ghostly videos of bouncing astronauts, James Burke and Patrick Moore interpreting manfully behind their desks. And my wee body was with every move up there, viscerally engaged, moondust all over my Clarks shoes.

For many years I genuinely thought I might end up being a spaceman, until I realised this might need a working understanding of physics and engineering (rather than knowing Asimov’s Foundation novels back to front). But the romance and imagination of going to the moon – actually, shudderingly, impossibly going to the moon – has always been my default mode of agency ever since. If this is concretely possible, what else can humans really do? Surely there’s no limit.

It’s nice to recover that feeling, in a moment where Moon or Mars bases are only plausible as tourist operations, mining opportunities or boltholes for plutocrats, as we choke ourselves to death. Though overall, sometimes the oxygen gauge on my kid spacesuit flickers gey low.

3) School musicals SCHOOL was a constant experience of facing the scythe meant for tall poppies (otherwise known as “Kaneo ya weird poof”). Until one day, when I was drafted into the St Ambrose RCS annual musical.

I was walking past the tatty modernist cubes of our school music department when a sharp voice called me upstairs. A penguin-shaped teacher called Mr Winslow had spied me “deliberately overdoing it” in my rendition of Phil The Fluter’s Ball on leaving day at primary school.

I was then invited into a fabulous, foundation-caked democracy, composed of teachers and pupils of all sizes and stages. (I was once painted brown, in order to sing Those Canaan Days in Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, by two peculiarly attentive sixth-year girls. You don’t forget that). It was an annual utopia for me, where performing above and beyond yourself — in the company of fellow show-offs, all leading to your moment in the spotlight — was the very point of existence.

High up on the St Ambrose stage, I was completely safe. Not only could the knuckle-faced scythers not get at me, but they were consigned to a subordinate, ignoble gloom. Since then, and right up to today, I feel a great sense of security when performing.

4) The Falklands War SUCH extreme times. My brain was exploding in the early years of an English literature degree at Glasgow University. I was filling up with the great works, coming upon political philosophy for the first time through my film studies and literary theory.

The National: File photo dated 26/05/1982 of smoke pouring from the Type 42 destroyer HMS A Sheffield as fire rages through the warship after she was hit by an Argentinean missile. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Issue date: Tuesday June 12 2007. See PA Story WAR Falklands. P

My Walkman was crammed with post-punk gods like Scritti Politti and Simple Minds. I was beginning to amass a tiny collection of proper and equally intense peers, for the first time in my life. My world was fascinating, absorbing, full of satisfying and solvable problems.

And then this stupid, tin-pot Falklands War! I’d never felt the division so sharply and acutely – between what a government I didn’t vote for did anyway, and the complex and humane life I knew was possible.

A shift to the right or left, a different balance between market and state: that’s politics. But a war, with boats, territory, deaths — and all that forced, orchestrated patriotism coming through the media? We all trembled over our ciders in the Queen Margaret Union at the prospect of conscription (ridiculous, in retrospect, given the minor nature of the conflict).

My sense of oppositionalism to the current (usually Tory) political regime started there, and again is with me right up to the present.

But to be honest, I’m fed up with the experience of oppositionalism. Can I have a decent stretch of pleasant living in the early days of a better nation, please, before my lights go out?

5) Meeting Joan McAlpine HER line – muttered determinedly over a soggy croissant in a Glasgow West End back lane, in the autumn of 1984 – was not to be forgotten: “You better cut out all that Marxist anti-nationalist crap, or we simply won’t go any further.”

I liked Joan McAlpine, a lot. So I parked the critical theory when I was with her, and began a journey into Scottish nationalist culture (Joan’s dad was a deep-dyed Nat) which has shaped me for my adult life.

In the early years of our relationship, and on the wings of our journalism and my pop career, we hung out with Jim Sillars and Margo MacDonald, entered conclaves with Alex Salmond and Roseanna Cunningham.

Even though it didn’t work out between Joan and I, she removed every trace of the Scottish Cringe from my being.

And no matter how frustrating the prevailing political conditions are, we share a belief in the amazing potential of Scotland.

We also share responsibility for bringing our daughters Grace and Eleanor into being.

So an inescapable thanks to Joan McAlpine, for her part in making these glories, who “change” me every time I meet them, as they adapt to this unpredictable, ramifying world we’ve bequeathed to them.

6) Recording music in New York IT was the dream come true. One year, you’re staring deep into the covers of albums like Kind of Blue, Only The Lonely, Pretzel Logic, Thermonuclear Sweat, Remain in Light, Born To Laugh At Tornadoes, as the nylon curtains flapped in the Coatbridge breeze... The next year you’re actually on those streets, strolling down Broadway from Carnegie Mews to the Ed Sullivan Theater.

Sitting right round the corner from the theatre was Sigma Sound Studios. You went up a dull flight of stairs and into a wood-panelled monastereo, a cave of groove and melody. There flitted Jam and Lewis, in fluttered Whitney and David Byrne. And amid them, spending all their London record company’s money in the big main studio, two chancers from Scotland, bringing the coals of sophistipop back to Newcastle.

We (or more honestly, my brother Greg) bolted together two records over three years whose songs sustain us to this day. There’s two ways to frame this. We drew from the best talent in the world’s most competitive music city – and this readies you for any challenge, winding your incompetence tripwire very tautly. Or, we were spoiled rotten for the rest of our musical lives.

But I also got to know New York – its galleries, museums, bars, bookshops, delis, debating spaces; and also its open-sored beggars, its rapacious merchants, its pseuds honking like ducks – very well. I have always vaguely imagined that somehow I will end my days there. Though Trump’s Caligularity makes it unlikelier by the day. 7) Compuserve WHEN we stopped our music-travelling to the US, I remember one afternoon in the early 90s, having the most startling experience.

In Manhattan, I used to spend many hours drifting through the book and magazine racks of the bookshop just across from the Mayflower Hotel at Columbus, sampling the vigour of the megacity’s publishing culture. I missed that profusion in Scotland (though the periodicals floor of the Mitchell Library in Glasgow could give the same thrill).

The National: The location of the trailer would have been 25-metres up from St Vincent Street towards the Mitchell Library.

But here I was before this beefy Compaq computer, recently fired up with my Compuserve internet provision, idly typing the title of one of my favourite US magazine titles, Mother Jones, into the Yahoo search engine.

And instantly there the magazine was, in lurid blue hotlinks, its main articles all for free. Add to this the fact that I had just discovered LexisNexis on Compuserve – nearly two dollars to retrieve that article from Scotland On Sunday, which I couldn’t go to the library to get because of childcare – and the outcome was a total conversion to cyberspace.

That’s almost 30 years that I’ve actively chosen to live some of my time in a virtual world, where information is easily retrievable, where connections can be global, where knowledge intensifies and crams into your short material lifespan.

Currently, the internet is being gamed by powerful, manipulative forces. But I won’t give up on another one of my utopias-made-real. The Net makes me feel planetary. It may be that planet also needs us to feel that way.

8) Meeting Indra Adnan WHEN one situation unravels, you’re open to some re-ravelling elsewhere. A Dutch-Indonesian Buddhist Londoner girl meets a flinty, indy-minded techno-progressive Scots boy, while both are on promotional duties... No, it’s not the opening line to a joke: it went well, and it got even better.

It would be hard to meet a more indefatigable idealist than myself, but Indra proves it’s possible. She has not managed to “shakabuku” or convert me (“of course, that’s what you think,” she says), but she has opened up a whole new section of striving activism and spiritual humanity to me, post my abandonment of Catholicism as a young man.

9) The 2014 independence referendum THIS definitely changed me – although I don’t think it’s made me stronger. Basically, I had too much riding on it. My cultural activism, begun sailing round Govan with The Proclaimers on an SNP campaign van in 1988, had been premised on trying to dispel Scottish inferiority complexes of all kinds. My political ambition was fully expressed by the idea of Scottish nation-state independence: the right amount of power, for the right national consensus, to do great, just and progressive things, nationally and globally.

I cried at many random and surprising moments for two years after September 18, 2014, and to be honest I’ve only been able to think of it with equanimity in the last three.

We’re now under a 10-year climate deadline, the robots and AIs are coming to take our routine jobs, and Gaia is chucking killer bugs at us. Yet I still think that the establishment of an independent Scotland would be a beacon of hope for many. The craziness of the world makes me more committed to the indy outcome.

10) Discovering the power and potential of play THE only proper deskjob I’ve ever had was as one of the founding editors of the Sunday Herald (the predecessor to this newspaper, under different management).

After one titanic tussle over the watercooler too many, I was off, and with an idea under my belt to write about something vaguely defined as “The Play Ethic” (this being whatever the work ethic wasn’t, as I cleared my desk).

I wrote the book 2000-2003, in the early days of Google and blogs, and when it came out in 2004 it began a journey in life and ideas which have taken me everywhere from Washington to Seoul, Mexico City to Milan.

People in organisations all over the world were intrigued by the title – though mostly interpreting it as “can we get people to be happier and jollier doing what they have to do for us?”

I was so bad at delivering on this promise – basically telling them that human beings need both deep security and real freedom if you want them to be transformatively creative – that I came to call myself a deconsultant. That is: I went in, dismantled what I saw into little coloured bricks, left them in pieces and was never invited back. It’s been fun (for me).

But the more serious legacy is the way that play led me to explore the relationship between human nature and evolution.

Play is far from trivial – it’s the space and headroom humans (and other social mammals) give themselves to try out new modes of survival, in order to make sure we don’t get stuck in toxic or stifling niches.

When I discovered that we vitally need such a glorious, experimental faculty as play, in order to be healthy and flourishing creatures, this tied together a lot of my intellectual interests in life. I’ll be studying and thinking about play till the day I die.