Friday 28 October 2016

Money Talks: 'My mother told me that you should never tell anyone what you earn'

Published 18/09/2016 | 02:30

John Spillane
John Spillane

The Cork singer-songwriter John Spillane has written about 200 songs - as well as an opera. His songs have been covered by the likes of Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon and Mary Black.

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Spillane has performed in front of audiences large and small. In his 2008 tour of Australia, he sang the Irish national anthem before 45,000 people attending the Australia versus Ireland International Rules Football match.

In his new book, Will We Be Brilliant Or What, John gives an insight into the inspiration and stories behind his songs. The book will be published this week.

What is the most important lesson about money which your career as a musician has taught you?

It's a beautiful place: that spot where doing what you love meets the money. I like to spend a lot of time there. The most important lesson about money which my career as a musician has taught me is that it is possible to earn a living as a musician, and it is possible to have a very wonderful life.

What's your favourite song or tune about money - and why?

Money by Pink Floyd. It's just a brilliant, bluesy rock and roll riff, and the sound of the cash register ringing at the start is like music to our ears.

What's your favourite Irish coin?

I love the hen and her little clutch of chickens that was on the old Irish 'pingin'. I also love our national instrument, the harp, on all the Irish coins.

Are you better off than your parents?

It's hard to say. My parents had a more regular income, and therefore more stability in their lives. At certain times, I may have more money than they had but then at other times I've been under more financial pressure. Is this better off? No, not really!

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

A motor car, I suppose! With a combustion engine, four doors, a radio and everything.

What was your worst job?

Picking potatoes. It wasn't too bad on a sunny day, but with the rain spitting down, the cold wind whipping across the hill, and the pain in the back from stooping down, it wasn't that much fun. I didn't last all that long at the potato picking.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

My mother always told me that you should never tell anyone what you earn, ever! This was a deep philosophical belief with her. This question, I'm afraid, comes under the category of revealing personal information about your finances that it is impossible for me to do, because I can feel my mother's presence now, behind my right shoulder!

What was your best financial killing?

I bought a flying horse from a man at a fair in Bantry. The horse had a bluish pinkish hue, with a strong back and a lovely golden flowing mane. I sold the horse to the King of Ireland's son in exchange for a little sapling money bush that produces tiny shining gold and silver pennies every July when the sun shines at a certain angle through its branches!

Do you use any money saving apps?

No! Certainly not!

Android or iPhone?

Android. No, not a robot with a human appearance, but rather an open-source operating system used for smart phones and tablet computers, like.

Do you know how much is in your current account?

I have a good idea! Any more questions?

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

What did you have for your breakfast last Monday? Who are you? Reveal yourself! Now!

Have you ever switched utility provider?

What's that?

iTunes or Spotify?

Certainly not.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Carolan - The Life and Times of an Irish Harper by Donal O'Sullivan.

Do you ever haggle?

With patience and perseverance, you could bring a donkey from Kinsale to Jerusalem.

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