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July 03, 2014

The Steeple Times; Paul Hammond: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”


3 July, The Steeple Times

The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
Work dynamically, innovate, always be prepared to learn new things and be open minded.

“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
Go hard, then go home sobberish.

Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2014?
Bordeaux En Primeur prices and phone hacking.

Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
Being able to speak to my father.

What might you swap all your wealth for?
To have a mind like Da Vinci and the wisdom of Gandulf the Grey.

Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
I believe in a Hayekian view of free markets: If an investment bank fails, they fail; in terms of bonuses the market will pay what it can afford, the two are closely linked.

What phrase or word do you most loathe?
“Hug a hoody”.

In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
I am a strong believer in active involvement in giving. I founded a charity called 2 Water which metaphorically turns wine into water. We host wine related events to raise money to build clean water projects in the developing world.

The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
The freedom to work, follow news and communicate easily on the move is fundamental to my day and to most people. Smartphones have certainly made our lives easier but I somehow feel uncomfortably dependent on mine. We have recently released an app that allows people to value their wine, review drinking windows and see our current news and offers.

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
Da Vinci, Dostoyevsky, Alexander the Great, Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I.

If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
My mother’s roast dinner with a glass of aged claret.

What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
Taking elevenses now makes you a social pariah so I would say with lunch.

A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
Tea: I love Lapsang Souchong.

Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
Parties at home with friends or those where you make new friends. IG Wines host events and tastings for our clients in interesting venues around London and it is always great fun to spend time with fellow wine lovers.

Who is the most positive person you know?
Meri Mance who does the PR for my firm.

What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Foie gras and white truffles: I know the former is produced in less than ideal circumstances, yet it is just so good with a glass of Sauterne.

If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
I have a small tattoo on my back that means “Buddha”. I had it done when I was 21 and had lofty ideals about the self and balance in life. I try to remain Zen as I get older.

If you were a car, what marque would you be?
The DeLorean from back to the future. It is now a parody of itself.

Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
I did not read a book cover-to-cover until I was 16.

What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
I have no idea as my fiancé moves things everyday. Finding things at home can be tricky.

Paul Hammond is a director of the fine wine investment company IG Wines and the president and founder of the wine charity, 2 Water.