"If they knew me at all, they would know the kind of men I like, and while Ronan is a lovely man and we're good friends, he's not my type.

"Keith Duffy, maybe," he jokes, before concluding that maybe Keith wouldn't really be his type either.

In some families, it is very clear there are favourites and I wasn't that guy.

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"Do people honestly think the only people who know how to work hard are Protestant? Some of the most hard-working people I know are Catholic." The singer grew up during the Troubles, which he says was terrifying.

Perhaps to self-soothe, Brian would sing to himself and harmonise with the emergency service sirens that were a permanent fixture of his young life.

"I have never had long-term relationships, but I'm happy out.

I have amazing friends and when you're not close to your family, it's important to have friends. We go into the world and make our own family because sometimes birth families can reject you." Coming in the middle of his family's six children, Brian says that living through a war situation can make you close as a family, or it can rip you asunder. "I am only close to one brother, Stuart, and it's just the way the cards have fallen.

"There is something beautiful about that, but also something very sad, psychologically," he says.

"I was trying to make something scary, less scary." While he got on better with girls as friends, Brian realised very early on that he didn't fancy them, principally because he had crushes on boys around town.

However, the singer from Belfast, who is extremely frank and startlingly direct, also admits it's the trait he doesn't like, as it can get him into trouble.

He recently deployed the direct approach, in response to Deirdre O'Kane saying her husband has a "Protestant work ethic".

"I saw him in the street one day and my natural reaction was to run up to him and kiss him on the mouth because I was so happy to see him.

Our mothers were disgusted, and I was dragged off kicking and screaming and was told that 'boys don't do that'." Brian was approached on a few occasions to join the IRA, but he said no as he was scared, and didn't want to die.

He was threatened with being outed by a tabloid newspaper when he was in his 20s, so he made a point of telling his parents then.