A. A. Gill : biography
Adrian Anthony Gill (born 28 June 1954) is a British writer and critic who uses the bylines A. A. Gill and AA Gill – he is The Sunday Times restaurant reviewer and a television critic, he is also a Vanity Fair restaurant reviewer. Gill wrote his first piece for Tatler in 1991, and joined The Sunday Times in 1993. Gill’s writing is often controversial – in 2010, The Sunday Times disclosed that Gill had been the subject of 62 PCC complaints in five years.. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
Life and career
Early life and education
Gill was born in Edinburgh, the son of television producer and director Michael Gill and actress Yvonne Gilan, and brother to Nicholas, now a chef. The family moved to the south of England when he was one year old. In 1964 he appeared briefly in his mother’s film The Peaches.
Gill was educated at the progressive independent St Christopher School in Hertfordshire and would later recall his experiences at the school for his book The Angry Island. After St Christopher, he moved to London to study at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and the Slade School of Art, nurturing ambitions to be an artist. Following art school Gill spent six years "signing on, trying to paint, until one day he realised he wasn’t any good". At 30, having abandoned his ambitions in art, he spent several years working in restaurants and teaching cookery.
Gill began his writing career in his thirties, writing "art reviews for little magazines". His first piece for Tatler, in 1991, was an account of being in a detox clinic, written under a pseudonym. In 1993 he moved to The Sunday Times, "where he quickly established himself as their shiniest star", according to Guardian writer Lynn Barber in an article which is mostly uncomplementary about him. Gill suffers from severe dyslexia and, consequently, all of his works are written by dictation.
In 2010, The Sunday Times disclosed that Gill had been the subject of 62 PCC complaints in five years.
Killing of a baboon
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". He went on to state that "[t]hey die hard, baboons. But not this one. A soft-nosed .357 blew his lungs out." The action prompted outrage, including from animal rights groups.
Wales and England
Gill has been critical of the Welsh; in 1998 his descriptions of them 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. 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.
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".
In February 2011, Gill described the county of Norfolk as ‘the hernia on the end of England’,http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/norfolk_is_the_hernia_on_the_end_of_england_says_restaurant_critic_aa_gill_1_816009 causing outrage across the east of England.
Isle of Man
His feud with the Isle of Man started in 2006 with a review of Ciappelli’s restaurant in Douglas. Gill wrote that the island: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.