AA Gill (2015) Pour Me: A Life.

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This book is a delight to read. I’m not really sure why, I guess it’s because the author is honest. No waffle. He doesn’t believe in dyslexia even though he and his son have been given that moniker by earnest professionals. Early in life he wanted to be an artist, and went to among others, the Slade Art School in London. It’s not so much as he pissed the chance away, he realised early that he didn’t have what it takes. He was at the first Sex Pistol’s gig, memorable for being so forgettable and Adam Ant fell into his lap and asked to lick his companion’s nipples. His brother disappeared, but sometimes he wondered if he’ll get back in touch. He learned cookery from his brother, a Michelin starred chef, but the impetus wasn’t food, but saving money spent on greasy snacks so he could buy more drink and drugs.

Alcoholics get sick of themselves before everybody else. When a doctor cornered him and asked about his drinking Adrian didn’t lie to him, he didn’t drink when he was pregnant and he didn’t miss work through drink, but that apart he ticked most boxes.

He fell into journalism because he had the right middle-class connections. Although he had problems with spelling, syntax and grammar when he joined the Tatler he had something that those nobs that had a PPE from Oxford or Cambridge didn’t have, he’d life experience. He’d been on the front line and when he was sent to the frontline of South Sudan by the Times to report on the murderous Janjaweed he’d a knack for getting the job done and sending back impressive copy. And he’d a knack for humour.

Tony Rennell, news editor of the Daily Telegraph summed him up. ‘You’re a good writer. But there are lots of good writers. The thing is you’re a lucky writer and we can’t teach that.’

Lucky writers, are like penalty box strikers, always in the right (write) place at the right time. AA Gill was there when food was taking off and a food critic was required. Television that working-class snack food was looked down on by the broadsheets, but Adrian saw its potential and he loved TV. Then when he was asked to do real reporting, many thought outside his comfort zone he’d choke and burn. But, hey, when life sucks and you’ve been at the bottom, you know what it looks like. I like AA Gill and I like his writing. I can’t say any fairer than that.

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