Are you a saver or a spender?

I am a little of both. If I make more money than I need, I will put a bit away. I’m not a big spender, but I always find a great suit of clothing hard to resist. 

  Do you shop around for better value?

I’m choosy about value in restaurants. Generally, if I see something I like and I think it’s a fair price, then great. If it’s on the pricey side and I really want it, I will buy it – within reason, of course.

  What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

In 2000, I bought an absolutely beautiful Zenga coat in New York when I really didn’t have the money for it. It was a long black French military-style coat with a huge collar made of rayon. The evening I bought it, I arrived to see Amadeus on Broadway, where I received rapturous applause because patrons thought I was part of the act. It was $1,000. The salesman told me I couldn’t leave the shop without the accompanying electric blue silk scarf for an additional $200!

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

My VW Beetle or perhaps my bicycle. I would go for the bicycle if I didn’t have two already stolen.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

Local. I like to shop where I can peruse the goods or produce and support the local economy. However, good service is important to me and unfortunately, that’s becoming a rare commodity these days. It is there, of course, but less and less.

Do you haggle over prices?

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No. If it’s too expensive I won’t pay, and I will let the retailer know.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Which recession? I’ve lived through two and have been through quite a few of my own. The music business is full of surprises. In good and bad times, people like to be entertained, and sometimes I cut my cloth to measure and other times I throw caution to the wind. 

Do you invest in shares?

I’m not a gambler by nature and wouldn’t regard myself as financially savvy. However, against my better judgment, I was persuaded to dabble in an investment; a sufficient scorching deterred me from any such further folly.

Cash or card?

A little bit of both. Cash is nice, but I do like the convenience of a card.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

I am currently buying a beautiful suit and its value for money will remain to be seen. I am quite old fashioned, you see, and get great mileage from placing a deposit. It’ll be ready just in time for my next big birthday.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

If that includes a wedding and a house, then yes – there’s no other way to do it. I don’t envy anyone trying to do it these days.

Have you ever lost money?

Yes, the aforementioned investment!

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?

No, I’m not a gambler. A social flutter is as far as it goes. No big wins as yet.

Is money important to you?

I’m not driven by or obsessed with money. It’s not important to me, but I am aware of its importance. I often reflect on my father’s approach to money, which was to have enough of it. Money is handy if you want to take a holiday, have some lunch, or fix the roof.

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How much money do you have on you now?

Enough to pay for my coffee and porridge.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea 



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