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ME & MY MONEY: Great Pottery Throw Down star Keith Brymer Jones

Flaming: Great Pottery Throw Down star Keith Brymer Jones

Flaming: Great Pottery Throw Down star Keith Brymer Jones

Flaming: Great Pottery Throw Down star Keith Brymer Jones

Potter and ceramist Keith Brymer Jones was once paid “silly” money to create a pot of ground meat with comedian Harry Hill.

Brymer Jones, star of The Great Pottery Throw Down, will never forget how fat and gross that experience was.

The 57-year-old tells Donna Ferguson he’s bought a chapel in North Wales as his home and studio – but can’t move in until the pigeons that have slept there for a decade are gone. not left. His autobiography, Boy In A China Shop, is out now.

What did your parents teach you about money?

That money isn’t everything – so make sure you enjoy what you do for a living. I come from a fairly average suburban family. My father was a director of a construction company, a job he hated, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom.

Money was no problem. We went on vacation every year and bought a new car and decorated the house quite frequently.

But then the financial crash of the ’80s happened when I was in my late teens, and things got a little bad for my parents. Interest rates started to skyrocket. They didn’t really know how to cope. Money became scarce and my mother went back to work as a teacher.

Have you ever fought for me and my money to make ends meet?

Yes, in the early 2000s. Throughout the 90s I designed and handcrafted ceramics for major retailers such as Habitat, Marks & Spencer and Laura Ashley. I was the only person to handcraft products for household retailers and they absolutely loved it.

But in 2003, a retailer – whose name I won’t mention – canceled several large orders when I had already bought all the materials and equipment I needed.

I stayed dry, with all these materials and a very large VAT bill to pay. On top of that, I had already started placing some orders and couldn’t find anyone to sell them to.

Things got very difficult for me. I had to mortgage my house to pay my bills.

I started having sleepless nights. I kept thinking about the money. I didn’t know how I was going to spend each day. It was not good for my mental health.

To rectify the situation, I started to rethink the way I work. I realized that making handmade products for retail was no longer viable. So I started producing work in the Far East for retailers, which meant I could make a bigger profit.

Have you ever been paid “dumb” money?

Yeah, for doing a comedy sketch with Harry Hill. I was asked to throw a pot on the wheel – but ground meat, not clay. I got a stupid hourly rate: around £250 an hour for an afternoon of my time.

We had to add all that fat to the ground meat to make it stick together. It was disgusting. But it was great fun.

What was the best year of your financial life?

It was 1995. I threw thousands of pots at my wheel that year. The largest order was for 16,000 pieces of ceramics from Habitat, which took me three months to make by hand. The margins at the time were very good. I made six figures that year.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought for fun?

My Grenson boots. These are handmade British classics and I love them. They cost £560. I bought them in 2015 and I still wear them.

What is your biggest financial mistake?

Giving my house to my ex-wife. I bought a house in Whitstable in Kent for £78,500 in 2000. I gave it away about four years ago when it was worth £450,000. Our pensions and other assets were worth about the same. But an unnamed TV presenter advised me to make her an offer she couldn’t refuse, to get a clean divorce, which I did.

What’s the best financial decision you’ve made?

Also giving my house to my ex-wife. I remember the judge said to me: are you sure you want to do this? And I said, yes, absolutely. It gave my son, who was 11 at the time, security – it meant he and my ex-wife didn’t have to move.

Divorces can be very complicated and I always feel very good about what I have done. It was my best and my worst financial decision.

Are you saving for a pension or investing in the stock market?

No. I used to save in a pension, when I was in my early twenties, but now I think it’s a complete and utter scam. They allow other people to gamble with your money. Also, I never see myself retiring.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to study the scholarship. Investing in stocks and shares is essentially legalized betting, in my opinion. That doesn’t fire me up with much enthusiasm.

Personally, I think property, gold, and silver are the three things to invest your money in.

Do you own a property?

Yes, my partner and I have just bought a massive old chapel in North Wales to live and work in. It’s about 9,500 square feet and currently houses pigeons – it’s been deserted for about a decade. We plan to do a lot of weird and wonderful things inside once we renovate it, like growing trees inside.

At the moment we are renting a two bedroom flat in Margate but are planning to move to North Wales early next year.

What is the little luxury you offer yourself?

An incredibly peated bottle of Laphroaig whiskey for £120. I buy one every six months. I have it with ice cream which my partner Marge says is sacrilege.

If you were Chancellor, what would you do first?

I would tax the rich more, by increasing the amount of income tax they pay, and close the gap between rich and poor. There are people who work full time and still can’t make ends meet. The system is broken.

What is your number one financial priority?

Renovate this chapel. This is the next chapter of my life and I must continue.

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