AA Gill – Respect to the Master Critic
AA Gill: Still managed to get the last word
Restaurant critic AA Gill, Adrian Anthony Gill, a name that either fills you with regard or total distain, has passed away.
At the early age of just 62. Just three weeks after AA Gill announced his diagnosis with the ‘full English’ of cancers, he made his AA Gill Brexit.
AA Gill Sunday Times
In 1993 he joined the prestigious Sunday Times newspaper with his own regular column as a
restaurant reviewer. Many a happy Sunday breakfast was enjoyed reading the AA Gill Sunday Times articles. His CV included writing AA Gill articles for Vanity Fair magazine, a hugely successful
television critic, author and finally travel writer.
The first AA Gill articles were published was for Tatler Magazine back in 1991, where he described his personal account of being in ‘detox’.
All of his writing was, however, done through dictation as he suffered from, what most writers
could never surmount, dyslexia.
That, coupled with his love for the bottle and drugs, never boded well for him on the ’respected’ or even a ‘ likeness’ public scale.
He was the sole subject of numerous complaints, 62 in just five years to be precise, to the Press
Complaints Commission. Mostly for his unorthodox, brash and more often than not, cruel comments that he passed on many food establishments and individual persons.
AA Gill – Unacceptable?
He was labelled ‘unacceptable and scurrilous’, ‘a tweed suited, Mayfair based writer’ and ‘frightened of smart women’. To mention just a few kinder words said about him!
Perhaps what made many of the public dislike him most was his personal attack on the gay
community. Often through the well known and much liked lesbian sports presenter, Clare Balding. In one of the AA Gill articles, he formally accused her of being a ‘dyke on a bike’. That landed him in pretty deep water.
Many of his best articles were, he freely admitted, based on hate, “hate is good. Hate is fine”.
It was an emotion that seemed to fuel this talented writer. AA Gill was a man who rarely showed
emotion and frankly loved the scandal and controversy that seemed to shadow him throughout his
AA Gill Food Critic
Was he a qualified food critic? For a man to be able to review a restaurant one would expect
having a healthy appetite would be a major part of ones job description. So it was quite surprising
he held this title, since all he apparently ever ordered was salad nichoise! Putting this all aside
there is no deigning that he had an incredible talent for the written word.
Sporting a razor sharp wit, he was totally fearless and highly intelligent; he didn’t miss a trick, furthermore he didn’t ‘mince his words’.
In addition, Adrian was a devoted father leaving behind four children and his partner of almost 25 years
For those of us who read the his articles you will be familiar with “the blonde” as he
always referred to her.
AA Gill books
It wasn’t just the AA Gill articles he wrote, he also wrote many books to name a few:
- The Angry Island ISBN: 9780753820964
- Sap Rising
- Le Caprice co-written with Mark Hix
- AA Gill is away – a travelogue
- Pour Me – recounting his battle with alcoholism
There were of course many more
AA Gill – the last word
As always he has had the final word in his last article published after his death in the Sunday
In the last of this articles he describes his cancer treatment on the NHS and how the one life–extending treatment, immunotherapy, was only available privately. He refused to pay for private treatment stating, “it would have meant more time on earth, but only if you can pay”.
In conclusion love him or hate him, there is no doubt there will be a resounding echo of sighs from
restaurateurs world wide who were apparently the victim of his scribe. However there will be millions of Sunday
Times readers who also will miss him dearly. To many apparently it was like sharing Sunday breakfast with him; after all he did deliver articles worth reading twice.