Friday 23 February 2018

Paper Prophet: James Nelson, Celtic Tenor

With the arrival of the recession, have you cut back on any spending?

Not been on quite so many holidays, but that is also, thankfully, as a result of a busy touring schedule.

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

My coffee, my socialising and hmm, let me see ... oh yeah, of course -- my medication.

Do you shop in Lidl or Aldi?

Neither is nearby. Even if they were, I think I'd continue to buy Irish at my local Supervalu in Baltinglass, though I have been known to frequent Marks & Spencer -- about twice a week.

What's your worst customer service experience?

I witnessed a contemptible verbal attack by an Irish supermarket employee on a Lithuanian supermarket fellow-employee, and I felt a compulsion to intervene, as racism in all its forms is one of the many intolerances I refuse to permit.

What car do you drive and how much does it cost to fill up the petrol tank?

A blue Ford Mondeo. At least €60 to fill it.

What was your first job and salary?

Working in my father's shop in Sligo during my school holidays from the age of 6. Think I started at about £5 a week (£1 a day). For a full day at the age of 8, I even went on strike over unfair conditions!

What would you like to achieve in work this year?

Sounds corny but just to keep enjoying what I'm doing. If I cease to enjoy it, I'll give up. I would, however, like to be able to afford to get my little cottage the way I really want it and, of course, for the Celtic Tenors to keep busy, happy and giving enjoyment to their audiences.

Do you have any family connection with business?

My father ran the family jewellery, hardware and fishing tackle business (Francis Nelson & Sons) in my hometown of Sligo until the shop closed in the 1980s. It had been established in 1828 by my forebear Francis Nelson.

Which businessman or woman do you most admire?

You gotta admire Louis Walsh for his indisputable achievements.

What's the biggest financial mistake you ever made?

Not buying a property in the 1980s when I was quite well-off and houses were dirt cheap. I could have bought a cottage in Rathfarnham for £11,000. What was your best investment?

Deciding with fellow tenor Matthew Gilsenan to personally invest in The Celtic Tenors, having parted ways with our Dublin management. A high-risk decision, but having now secured international management in LA, while working on our sixth album, we don't regret it for a moment.

Do you know what interest rate you're paying on your mortgage?

Aha, my lack of business acumen has just been exposed. Is it about 3.5 per cent? Or is that my body fat?

Have you switched your bank or moved your mortgage in the past couple of years?

No. Same mortgage company from the start, and same bank for decades.

If you won the Euromillions jackpot, what would you do with the money?

Of course I'd clear my mortgage and debts. Then family, friends and fellow-tenors would benefit, and I'd fulfil my remaining travel dreams. However, I'd definitely give the bulk amount to Kenya Build & Cheryl's Children's Home -- the work I am heavily involved in in Africa.

What have you got in your wallet today?

Driver's licence, Quinn Direct card, bank and credit cards, business credit card, business cards, €80 in cash, and my Lotto numbers.

If you could design your own Euro note, whose face would you put on it?

The Celtic Tenors -- think of the PR!

What would you spend more money on each year -- petrol or restaurants?

I want to say petrol ... I want to ...

Have you ever been overcharged by a bank?

I'm sure I probably have, but with my lack of interest in everything business and financial, I probably wouldn't even notice.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

No. But I have speeding points on my licence.

How much is a bag of chips?

Regular, large or curried -- can you be more specific? I normally go for the Meal Deal anyway.

James Nelson sings in The Celtic Tenors, who have a Christmas show in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin on December 17, with guests Wesley Senior School Choir. The tenors also play Cork Opera House on December 20 and in University Hall, Limerick on December 21

Sunday Independent

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