The Steeple Times asks entertainment journalist, author and teacher Ben Falk: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
Generally being pessimistic and then being extra pleased if something good happens.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
“There are two kinds of people in this world. Those that love Neil Diamond and those that don’t” – Bill Murray. I might be paraphrasing, but it’s very true.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?
I met Kerry once and she forced me to take a picture with her and her then husband, despite my protestations. In fact, to be fair her ex did most of the suggesting. So, I would probably say being forced into having your picture taken (not necessarily with a minor celebrity).
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
Running around building forts and pretending to camp on the field opposite my house. That or living somewhere sunny.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
Batting number 4 for England and scoring a century at Lord’s whilst defeating Australia in the Ashes.
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?
All I know is according to the papers, everyone in the investment department of my bank seems to be getting massive bonuses and I earned £6 in interest last year on all my accounts. I think that says it all, no?
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
Whenever someone says that their God is better than someone else’s God.
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
Chuggers do annoy me – I’ll decide when I want to give, thank you very much. And it often depends on how drunk I am when Comic Relief is on. Saying that, I give money to the WWF and a cancer charity. Although I remember getting irritated when I offered a homeless person a sandwich and he asked me what the flavour was and rejected it when I told him. That probably makes me a terrible person.
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?
Having your phone on in the cinema particularly offends me, unless you are waiting for the birth of your child or something. Not sure it’s murder-worthy, but people Tweeting during a film is just pathetic. You’re not that f****ing important.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
John Irving, Roald Dahl, Graham Thorpe, William Goldman, Kermit and Han Solo. No, not Harrison Ford: Han Solo. I’m married, otherwise I might well say Jennifer Connelly or Winona Ryder.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
I would eat it on the cricket pitch in Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire in the late afternoon mid-summer sun. What would I eat? Rare steak, French fries, a bar of Dairy Milk, chocolate sponge and a pizza from Amigos in Nottingham circa 1994.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
Whenever I bloody feel like it.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
Don’t know what the first one is, the second one is just a posh way to drink a vodka shot, so a cup of tea – milky English breakfast with no sugar.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
I actually like my own if I’m cooking, because it’s fun and you feel like you’ve contributed. Although I’ve been lucky enough to go to some amazing parties. Watching John Legend play Rocket Man with Elton John after the Oscars, getting hammered and dancing with a cardboard cut-out of David Hasselhoff at a film premiere party in New York… Since I’m a hack, I suppose I enjoy any party with a free bar. You should always watch the journalists at a party: we know the exact place to stand to get first dibs on the canapés.
Who is the most positive person you know?
Everyone’s a bit depressed these days, so I don’t really know. David Cameron?
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
A good quality single malt whisky.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
I hate tattoos, so none. Although looking at it, I now appeared to have answered that question in a rather existential way. That’s not the intention, I just despise tattoos.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
Marque? What the fuck does that mean?
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
I went to the same school as Christopher Nolan, who directed the Batman films. I told him so after I interviewed him for Batman Begins. He didn’t give a shit.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
Wedding pictures, Neil Diamond song lyrics my wife gave me as a present, an action figure of BA Baracus out of the A-Team and a photo of me playing quite a nice off-drive in 1995.
Ben Falk is an entertainment journalist, author and teacher. His published works include Robert Downey Jr.: The Fall And Rise Of The Comeback Kid, Television’s Strangest Moments and The Wonder of Brian Cox.
View Ben Falk’s website at: http://benfalk.net
Follow him on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/benfalkwriter