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Richard Mason: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

The Steeple Times asks author Richard Mason: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”


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

The quest for healthy pleasure.


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

“The ungula has no tail” – an ancient Xhosa proverb meaning, approximately, that one should do things for oneself.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2012?

Todd Akin, who coined the phrase “legitimate rape” and said gay marriage would destroy civilisation.


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

Being able to spend weeks on end doing nothing.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

I’m not sure who’d want all my credit card debt.


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?

It is wrong that the bankers got away with it. Have you seen the latest scandal involving UBS bankers, who manipulated the LIBOR rate for a decade, while pensioners, students and people with credit card debt suffered?  Why aren’t hundreds of people going to jail?


What phrase or word do you most loathe?



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

I set up the Kay Mason Foundation when I was 21 to help South African kids from tough backgrounds get great educations. It has been tremendously stressful at times, but also a source of pure joy.


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?

I hate mobile phones. I particularly hate mobile phones that don’t work properly, like my Blackberry.


Author Richard Mason


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

Amanda Foreman, Usain Bolt, Frederic Chopin, Irene Nemirovsky, Anderson Cooper, my partner Benjamin Morse, and Prince William.  I really would like him to be patron of my charity when Archbishop Desmond Tutu retires.


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

I’d eat a meal of homemade pasta on the lawn of an Italian monastery.


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

I used to think it was 10am. Now I don’t drink.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

Used to be a martini. Now it’s a cup of tea.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

I like Amaury Blow’s crazy theatrical balls, where people from all walks of life dress up and stay up all night. They’re always in incredible places and he goes crazy over the props.  His Napoleonic Ball at Berkeley Castle last summer was the perfect end to eight weeks of isolation as I started a new book.


Who is the most positive person you know?

My father.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

The DKAs at Café Dominique on Spring Street in New York.  If you don’t know what they are, don’t find out.  Once you have your first bite, it’s too late.


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

I’d never get a tattoo.


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

Impossible to say.


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

That I LOVE to be alone.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

I wish I had one for something to sit on.


Richard Mason is a best selling author and philanthropist. His first novel, The Drowning People, was published during his first year at Oxford. It has been translated into 22 languages and his latest work, History of a Pleasure Seeker, is available on eLume complete with music and all manner of interactivity.


For more information about Richard Mason and his works, go to:


For information on the eLuminated app of History of a Pleasure Seeker, go to:


For details on the Kay Mason Foundation and Lulutho, go to: and


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