What’s your favourite restaurant?
Any of a number of Chinese restaurants in Soho – Artisan in Corbridge is the best I know locally.
Who or what makes you laugh?
What’s your favourite book?
Couples by John Updike.
What’s your favourite film?
There’s Something About Mary.
What was the last album you bought?
Yaara Tal and Andreas Groethuysen, Mozart Works for Two Pianists, Vol 3.
What’s your ideal job, other than you current one?
Travel writer (for the travelling, not the writing).
If you had a talking parrot, what’s the first thing you’d teach it to say?
‘Pretty Polly’ of course.
What’s your greatest fear?
Being transferred to Basingstoke.
What’s the best piece of business advice you have ever received?
Always try to hire people that are better than you.
Worst business advice?
If you get the strategy right the detail will take care of itself.
What’s your poison?
Young’s London Special (beer).
What newspaper do you read, other than The Journal?
How much was your first pay packet and what was it for?
£12 – making sausages in the local Co-op butcher’s shop at Christmas.
How do you keep fit?
I gave up smoking.
What’s our most irritating habit?
Sneezing very loudly, without warning, and often behind people’s backs.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
Books – I buy hundreds (my second biggest extravagance is shelves).
Which historical character do you most admire?
The 17th century Scottish economist Adam Smith – just about everything he wrote and said remains fundamentally true today.
Which four famous people would you most like to dine with?
I hate this current obsession with fame – I would choose Phillip Larkin, Errol Garner, J D Salinger and Vincent van Gogh – all reclusive, shy people who were more concerned with being good than being famous.
How would you like to be remembered?
The Post Office issuing a commemorative stamp would be nice.