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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Matthew Steeples – What’s on your mantelpiece?

A 20-question interview with editor-in-chief of ‘The Steeple Times’ Matthew Steeples


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?



“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

“A fact is not a fact until you’ve checked it’s a fact”.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2016?

Aside from Donald Trump and Theresa May, all members of ‘The Club’ that controls what goes on in Britain. Their number includes Sir Elton John and his ghastly titleless husband, Sir Cliff Richard, Alexa Chung, Stephen Fry, Graham Norton, Piers Morgan, Jonathan Ross and Chris Evans. For good measure, I’d also add that Dawn Ward is pretty unacceptable too.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

The time when I didn’t have a mobile telephone.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

I wish I had some wealth to swap.


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 state of the financial system?

It is controlled by people with the morals of Sir Shifty and that’s why it’s such a mess.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

When someone “reaches out”, I simply want to vomit.


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

Charity in Britain is badly regulated and the Charity Commission is a toothless poodle. Too many charities spend too much on administration and not enough on the cause and it is time this changed. I think charities supporting the elimination of cancer and those that protect our environment are the most worthy and I help them when I can.


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?

They shouldn’t be seen and they shouldn’t be heard.


If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

Of the characters I’ve been lucky enough to meet and come to know, I’d pick Alexandra Abrahams (and her suitcase full of gin), Riadh Abdelouahad, Stephen Annett, Chris Aylwen, Emir Bahadir, Kerri Moss Beaumont, Steven Berkoff, Jackie Branston, Anthony Brown, Claus von Bülow, Eugene Carokis, Victoria Casewell-Lunn, Michael Clark, Suzie Cooke, Ronnie Cox, the late Lord Deedes, Henry Deedes, the late John Gaze, Peter Godwin, Christian Huhnt, Nicky Kerman, Iqbal Latif, Arfi Lamba, Kathy Lette, Jon Levy, Rex Leyland, Fie Lucan, the late Marisa Masters, Alan and Gina Miller, the late Martin Miller, Halsey Minor, Barbara Minto, Julian Moss, Oliver Newton, Simon Ogilvie-Harris, Prince Peter Osei-Tutu, Alexis Parr, Barnaby Rodgers, Sheikh Khaled Al-Sabah, Sarah Salter, Alexandre Santamaria, John and Dee Simpson, the late Omar Sharif, Eric Spear, John Stoddart, the late Sir Peter O’Sullevan, the late Margaret Thatcher, the RZA, Angelo and Eleanor Valentino, the late Duke of Westminster, the late Alan Whicker, Tim Woelke, Arthur Woodham, Richard and Susan Young and Claire Zambuni. Several other close friends – apologies to those I’ve not mentioned – would of course be invited too and as long as the ultimate destination was Venice, it’d be a heavenly few hours.


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

I think it’d have to be the tasting menu at The Sportsman in Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent in the company of my five favourite people. The owner calls it a “grotty pub” but it deservedly was awarded the accolade of Britain’s best restaurant recently.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

If you can’t have one at eleven, have eleven at one.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

I love Negronis. I especially like the ones at La Brasserie and The Rib Room at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

I enjoy most parties I go to and if I don’t enjoy them, I depart. One of the most fun parties I’ve been to was the launch of an English sparkling wine at the bowling green in Hyde Park. It was organized by the PR supremo Su-Lin Ong and the photograph that accompanies this feature was taken by John Stoddart there.


Who is the most positive person you know?

My dear friend Barbara Minto. Her disposition is always sunny and we always laugh when we’re together. A close second is Kamil, the barman at La Brasserie. He likes to dance and smiles continually.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?



If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

I wouldn’t ever have a tattoo but if I did, it’d be of a bottle of No. 3 Gin.


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

It’d have to be a Bentley S3 Continental just like that owned the late legend Alan Whicker.


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I’m the co-founder of an online publication but don’t even use a smartphone. I actually did without a mobile phone for a year and I felt utterly liberated. Though they have their uses, I would prefer to be without one again.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

I’m sadly lacking a mantelpiece right now but if I had one, I’d put a photograph by my friend John Stoddart above it.


Matthew Steeples is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Steeple Times. He lives in London, is a graduate of the London School of Economics and has also been a marketing consultant to drinks brands and restaurants.


Follow him on Twitter at @M_Steeples.


Photograph by John Stoddart.



  1. I loved this! Long overdue to interview yourself. Best answer to date for drinking time is have 11 at 1pm!! Brilliant. Also a very busy Orient Express train journey. I gathered you’re not crazy about smartphones!

  2. Very entertaining thanks… Though, of course, if YOU can’t make it entertaining, having seen how so many others have answered you, well or otherwise, AND you’re in marketing, then there’s no hope for humanity.

  3. I am disappointed that you don’t frequent my favourite Diggs in Whitstable; Peter Crushing’s ‘the local Wetherspoons. I am always there.


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