By Helena Drakakis
The Big Issue Scotland
For a brief moment Annie Lennox has been transported back to Aberdeen circa 1958. "We didn't have a bath, but we used to stand at the sink with that very hot boiler spurting out water," she says as her BlackBerry purrs in the corner. "My mother would go to the steamie and she'd scrub clothes and put them through the mangle and hang everything out.
"Everything is so different now," she reflects, adding that even though she is a "contemporary woman" her memories are "almost Edwardian." Lennox -- 56 this year -- looks strangely timeless. The carrot-colored cropped hair of her Eurythmics days has long since been replaced by peroxide blonde. Her face is softer, and she exudes a worldly wisdom, yet her piercing eyes reveal a childlike wonderment at everything around her.
It is just a few weeks since she won the Barclay's Woman of the Year Award in recognition of her dedication to the causes of peace, poverty and in particular women's struggle against HIV/AIDS in Africa. In her thank you speech she called herself a "feminist" and a "humanist". She told an audience of 420 women that feminism was desperately needed in developing countries.
"I asked them if they identified with being a feminist but only half the room put their hands up -- what's wrong? We need to redefine feminism. It's crazy." She shakes her head.
From the moment her rangy figure appeared in a tailored suit and sunglasses on Top of The Pops in 1983, she has bent the lines of gender and creatively challenged traditional notions of power. But despite the 80 million-plus records she has sold to date, she underplays her position in the lexicon of music and women's art.
"As a creative person, you just put something out into the consciousness of the society you live in," she explains. "You don't know the ramifications. At the time, it was just something that happened and passed. It's only now when I meet people who saw that [performance], have I realized it's actually been a small seed of consciousness."
The passing of time has been strange and illuminating. "My daughters met the Spice Girls [Lennox's former husband Uri Fruchtmann produced the girl group's film Spice World]. On the one hand it was such a treat for them, but on the other I could see how besotted they were. It was a weird mania," she says.
In almost the same breath Lennox tells me she's just been to see The Social Network -- the film about Mark Zuckerberg, the American entrepreneur and founder of Facebook.
"You must see it," she insists. "It's about guys who are super-bright. There is a ruthlessness coupled with young testosterone-fuelled, brilliant minds. Money is their goal. It's not about the pursuit of happiness.
"But it's about more than money too, it's about building an empire."
Although Lennox herself is worth around