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A. A. Gill
Born Adrian Anthony Gill
28 June 1954 (1954-06-28) (age 55)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Occupation Columnist, Author
Nationality British

Adrian Anthony Gill (born 28 June 1954) is a British newspaper columnist and writer, using the byline A. A. Gill. He is currently employed by the Sunday Times as their restaurant reviewer and television critic. His essays are known for their humour and satirical content, but have caused offence to various groups, including the Welsh, Albanians, and Germans.[1]

Contents

Biography

A.A. Gill was born in Edinburgh, the son of television producer Michael Gill and his wife, actress Yvonne Gilan, and brother to Nick.[2] The family moved to the south of England when he was one year old.[3] He moved to London to study at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and the Slade School of Art. He is a recovered alcoholic who drank until the age of 30.[3] Gill suffers from severe dyslexia and, consequently, all of his works are written by amanuenses.[4]

He was once ejected from one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants, along with his dining partner Joan Collins. Ramsay's reason was that Gill had written a review of his restaurant that covered his personal life more than the food, including calling him a wonderful chef, but a "second-rate human being".[5]

Gill has been critical of Welsh people; in 1998 his descriptions of Welsh people as "loquacious, dissemblers, immoral liars, stunted, bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls" in The Sunday Times were reported to the Commission for Racial Equality as racist.[6] Gill's comment was used as a prime example of what was described as "persistent anti-Welsh racism in the UK media" in a motion in the National Assembly for Wales put forward by 18 AMs representing the four main political parties.[7]

Gill has also been critical of the English describing them as "embarrassing" and an "ugly race" as well as a "lumpen and louty, coarse, unsubtle, beady-eyed, beefy-bummed herd".[8][9]

In October 2009, Gill sparked controversy by reporting in his Sunday Times column that he shot a baboon dead. His column averred that he knew "perfectly well there [was] absolutely no excuse for [the shooting]", and that he killed the animal in order to "get a sense of what it might be like to kill someone".[10][11] He went on to state that "[t]hey die hard, baboons. But not this one. A soft-nosed .357 blew his lungs out."[11] The action prompted outrage from animal rights groups[11].

In spite of this combative approach, Gill is known to be sensitive to criticism of his own work, with comments which disagree with his reviews sparingly printed in the Times.

A.A. Gill and the Isle of Man

His best known running feud however has been with the Isle of Man ever since his first review in The Sunday Times of 22 January 2006 of Ciappelli's restaurant in Douglas also included a critique of the island which:

managed to slip through a crack in the space-time continuum...fallen off the back of the history lorry to lie amnesiac in the road to progress...its main industry is money (laundering, pressing, altering and mending)...everyone you actually see is Benny from Crossroads or Benny in drag...The weather’s foul, the food’s medieval, it’s covered in suicidal motorists and folk who believe in fairies.[12]

This sparked off a minor diplomatic incident, the review being attacked in Tynwald with House of Keys member David Cannan demanding an apology for this "unacceptable and scurrilous attack", whilst Tourism Minister David Cretney claimed it would harm the island's tourism.

Personal life

Gill's first wife was the author Cressida Connolly, a daughter of the writer Cyril Connolly. They later divorced.

His second wife was Amber Rudd, a financial journalist and Conservative parliamentary candidate.[13] They have two children, Flora and Alasdair.[14]

He has a long-term relationship with Nicola Formby, editor at large of the Tatler, who appears in his column as "The Blonde".[15] They have twins, Edith and Isaac, born in March 2007.[4]

References

Bibliography

  • Sap Rising (1997)
  • The Ivy: The Restaurant and Its Recipes (1999) with Mark Hix ISBN 0-340-69312-6
  • Le Caprice (1999) with Mark Hix ISBN 0-340-73838-3
  • Starcrossed (1999)
  • AA Gill is Away (2003) collection of travel writing. ISBN 0-7538-1681-4
  • The Angry Island: Hunting the English (2005) a book about England and the English. ISBN 0-297-84318-4
  • Previous Convictions: Writing with Intent (2006) assignments from here and there. ISBN 0-297-85162-4
  • Table Talk: Sweet And Sour, Salt and Bitter (2007) Selection of Gill's writing about food, taken from his Sunday Times and Tatler columns.
  • Breakfast at the Wolseley (2008) ISBN 1-8440-0444-9
  • Paper View: The Best of The Sunday Times Television Columns (2008) ISBN 0-7538-1768-3

Further reading

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