20 questions with Xero Vodka founder William Seth-Smith
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
I try never to turn down adventure for the sake of easy apathy.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
Those that mind don’t matter and those than matter don’t mind.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?
Looking for shale gas, it’s a fracking disaster.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
The fast lane in Argentina, metaphorically and also driving on the Panamericana
What might you swap all your wealth for?
Health for family and friends.
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?
If modern civilisation under capitalism produces an outcome where 15% of humanity are hungry and 20% are overweight, financial distribution is slightly warped.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
“Shall we sit soft?”
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
It’s natural to think of home first but you then must extend your reach. My mother runs a local RDA meeting, they do great things. I have worked for VSO, which sends professionally skilled volunteers to desperate places in order to improve infrastructure.
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?
Try not to use either in the company of others, bombs or phones.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
Marianne Faithfull, Dennis Hopper, Kingsley Amis, Cleopatra, Orson Welles, Idina Sackville, Lucien Freud and Marion Cotillard. They’d all be jostling at the bar between my friends and family.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
English fry up in the Alps.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
A family friend always has a ‘heart starter’ on the 8am to Waterloo, he used to say he propped up the city but I think it’s the other way round.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
A pint of Doom Bar.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
The weighing room at Cheltenham festival after the Gold Cup. There is no better leveler of people than jump racing.
Who is the most positive person you know?
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
No tattoos please.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
A Bedford TK because they are reliable but not because they drone on.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
I was the official timekeeper when Ann Widdecombe drank a yard of ale in under a minute at the Fox and Hounds whilst canvassing in the village of Little Brington.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
Some photos, some cards and a china Don Quixote.
William Seth-Smith is a director of Imported Brands and the founder of Xero Vodka, an artisanal Polish vodka brand.
Follow him on Twitter @XeroVodka
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My dear and recently departed papa was always rather sneering at Smith’s who hyphenated their names….but let that pass. This young man seems just a trifle pretentious. He might think that having Idina Sackville as a guest rather daring, but in reality she, like his other, Marianne Faithfull are really rather dull. My favourite observer of our times, Craig Brown, got Sackville in one….”
“The basic story can be told in a brief sentence. She(Sackville) was born; she drank; she had sex; she painted her fingernails; she had more sex; she went back and forth to Kenya; she drank; she died. To lend this tale an upmarket literary sheen, Osborne insists Idina was the inspiration for the heroine of both the steamy Twenties bestseller The Green Hat, by Michael Arlen, and Nancy Mitford’s character The Bolter, although her evidence for both these claims is pretty flimsy.
What a pompous arse Pete Wayde is. Why is he so negative in every post? William Seth-Smith comes across as a fun man who even makes a joke about fracking and who cares if he chooses a member of the Happy Valley set as an Orient Express choice. Fantasy: That’s exactly what the question is about and plainly Mr Wayde lacks the imagination to understand it. As someone else said elsewhere on these pages, Pete Wayde should volunteer to do these questions himself instead of carping like a little girl.
Oh do stop making a fuss Terry!
He’s just some young chap who flogs vodka!