Bunhill: Accounting for the cost of a rock star lifestyle

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The Independent Online
BRYAN FERRY, the popular musician, is attracting a fair amount of publicity at the moment. As with all pop singers, this normally happens around the time they are trying to sell records, CDs or whatever.

Ferry does have a record to sell but more interesting, to Bunhill at least, is his financial standing in the community. Ferry has insisted that he is not in the same league as Andrew Lloyd Webber or Mick Jagger.

Unlike most singers of his stature, Ferry is not reckoned to be very rich. Indeed, much has been made of his reluctance to rush out songs merely to appease his public and bank manager.

He prefers to spend years perfecting his craft and then releasing his melodic tones for public consumption. Sometimes these are well received and money flows in; sometimes they are not and it doesn't.

But Ferry lives well. He has a town house in the capital and a country seat near Petworth, in Sussex.

Some say he affects the pose of a country squire and the cost associated with it. Certainly he likes fishing, and he has four young boys to educate. So it must be assumed that he is a man of financial substance.

Bunhill can throw further light on the Ferry finances, for I discover that he is a director of a company called Firelight Music, which appears to deal with at least some of his royalty payments and singing engagements.

In 1991, Fireflight had net assets of pounds 73,000, down from pounds 132,000 in the previous year. But in 1990, Fireflight had creditors amounting to the not-inconsiderable sum of pounds 571,000.

Fireflight has also knocked up the odd overdraft with the bank. Take, for instance, the accounts for 1987. Fireflight had a pounds 5,000 overdraft, despite the fact that Ferry appears not to pay himself substantial amounts, although in the past there have been some quite nice pension contributions.

But the full picture may be different, as the singer prefers to file modified accounts.

One thing worries me, though. It has been reported that Ferry's marriage is in need of some repair. His wife, Lucy, recently booked into Farm Place, a drink and drug unit, at around the same time she also resigned her post as company secretary.