I was born in London in 1963 and am a Londoner through and through. My father was a very serious man. He’d been in the air force during the war and life for him was serious. But my mother’s attitude was “you’re here once, just enjoy it”. I think I’m a mixture of both my parents. My dad was a businessman. I didn’t spend too much time talking to him, but I do remember him telling me to focus on what I want to achieve, but do it slowly. It’s something I’ve taken with me through life. My older brother is eight years my senior. He’s the polar opposite of me, very quiet and demure. Even though we are very close now, that didn’t happen until much later in life. My father died when I was 14, so I didn’t get to know him so well. My mother was a very independent person and I think children for her were something you didn’t necessarily have to embrace through their entire life journey. She was happy to go off and do her own thing and travelled a lot. She employed nannies. I started skiing when I was six and, growing up, I always skied with friends or family. My mother wouldn’t go anywhere near a ski slope – she’d go for a bottle of wine and the fondue. We went skiing everywhere but my favourite place to ski is Zermatt , in Switzerland, it’s the most magical place on Earth. Skiing for me became a way of life, I fell in love with it and I was good at it. It was one of the very few places that I was elegant. Ski school I went to a public school (a private, fee-paying school) when I was 13. Everyone at school was learning German or French but I wanted to learn Japanese, it seemed more interesting. I had private lessons in Japanese and also had a great love of English literature. British author Horatio Clare on his nervous breakdown and life as a writer I went to Bristol University to read economics, but university wasn’t me and I quit after a few months and bummed a little around the UK. There was a need for English-speaking ski instructors, so I went to the ski school office in Zermatt and got a job. Life as a ski instructor is interesting – it’s glamorous on one level, but as a skier you are restrained because you are with other people all the time. You get nice students and horrible ones. It was my first taste of expat life, living away from home and being relatively independent. After a season in Zermatt, I went to Australia and did ski patrol at Thredbo for a season. Then reality came home to roost and I needed to get a proper job. Thatcher’s Britain In the 1980s, if you spoke Japanese you had an opportunity to work for banks, because they wanted people who could speak the language. Through a friend of a friend I got a job at British merchant bank Kleinwort Benson, in the City of London. My life changed radically, I had to be in the office at 7.15am and worked for a Japanese woman who was a hard taskmaster. I hated it – it took up the entire day. I was there just over a year and then quit in the winter and went skiing. A friend working for the broking house Cantor Fitzgerald helped me get a job on the company bond desk. It was pure broking and very much at the coalface. Japanese security houses found it convenient to deal with a Japanese speaker, especially if their staff were new to London. Between their English and my average Japanese, we could get on quite well. I stuck with that for about five years and enjoyed it. Those were fun days and I enjoyed wining and dining. It was very much Margaret Thatcher’s booming City of London. I drove a Jaguar XJS and we would hop on Concorde to see clients in New York. Throughout the rest of my non-illustrious career in banking, I was always good with client relations, not so good at paying attention to detail, but there were other people to do that. I was confident about going into a room, meeting people and networking. Nothing personal In 1993, I went to Australia and worked for a couple of banks in Sydney, and in 1998 came to Hong Kong with ABN AMRO Bank to set up their secondary loans trading desk. It was reasonably successful, but it wasn’t something I was particularly passionate about. When I reached my early 40s, I felt I was approaching my use-by date. As someone who liked to get out with clients, I was aware the clients were getting very young and I was getting very old. I’d begun in a world where you rang your client and arranged to meet them for lunch, but with the advent of systems like Bloomberg, you were spending less time with your clients. As the markets became incredibly fast, that personalised world declined and a more impersonal world was created. Coffee and Calvin I met my partner, Calvin, in 2005, when I was with my mother in Starbucks in Alexandra House. I’d found her a table, sat her down and asked if she wanted a club sandwich with her coffee. She said yes and that she didn’t want it toasted. Waiting in the queue I noticed a guy and we chatted briefly. When I gave my mother the sandwich, she said she wanted it toasted, so I went back to the counter. The guy noticed what was happening and laughed. I caught up with him as he was leaving, and we chatted and exchanged numbers. He ran a PR company. We met again in another Starbucks and chatted, and I invited him to dinner and it went on from there. Within a short period of time we decided to move in together. After so many years, he is the absolute foundation of my life. Bipolar artist on fighting bulls and burnouts, and finding happiness Art work After I left banking I was doing some consulting work when Calvin said he’d like to have an art gallery. We called the gallery 3812 after a great ski trip in Chamonix; La Vallée Blanche is 3,812 metres above sea level. We started off with a gallery in Wong Chuk Hang in 2011 and later moved to Central. Calvin is one of the most respected curators of Chinese contemporary art. I love to be out there and wine and dine people and build relationships. All our artists are living and they have a desire to be seen by a global audience, so, in 2018, we opened a gallery just off Mayfair, in London. Family ties My mother used to come to Hong Kong to celebrate her birthday in November, then my birthday in December and Christmas, and then she’d linger. In 2008, I bought her an apartment in Discovery Bay. I used to jokingly call her my Aston Martin , because if it wasn’t for that apartment, I could have had an Aston Martin. I called her most days and saw her once a week. She lived there happily and independently until she had a stroke. It was a seven-year journey until she passed, and I tried to make her life as pleasant as I could. She died at the Adventist Hospital in Hong Kong four years ago, two weeks shy of turning 90. She was cremated and I scattered her ashes at a place my parents used to go on holiday to in New Zealand. Letters to the editor For me, there’s nothing nicer than having people to my house. I love to cook, and I think to be seated around the dining table with good friends, good food, good wine and laughter is the most important thing in life. I’m an avid writer of letters to the South China Morning Post – I’ve had about 400 letters published since 2003. If something needs to be said, I will say it. I will continue to be part of the fabric of Hong Kong and have no plans to leave. This is the headquarters of our gallery and we remain committed to working with Hong Kong artists and striving to get artists represented abroad.