But it ended with a big fire in a stable with all this smoking hay and they used the coat to put out the fire.” It sounds rather like a story from one of her curious, narrative songs, which are seldom simple boy-meets-girl romances and almost never directly autobiographical.
Little Regina would cling to her mother’s back like a monkey while she played, or sit in the dark and listen to Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty.
Although she began serious classical piano training in her native country aged seven, her studies were halted when the family emigrated to New York in 1989.
But the word – first used by the Beat Generation, possibly derived from “cuckoo” – has cropped up in most reviews of the 32-year-old singer-songwriter’s work since she released her debut album, , in 2001.
It’s a word which, on the positive side, expresses Spektor’s refreshingly idiosyncratic approach to her craft and, on the negative, flags up her cutesy voice and childlike tics which have included dolphin impressions and daft accents.
The question is always about whether she’s ditzing that talent away or using it to express a unique and wonderful personality.