A A Gill Is Further Away: Helping With Enquiries, By A A Gill
Travelling gracelessly with A A Gill
Sunday 13 May 2012
As a Welshman, I already know that A A Gill regards me as an "ugly, pugnacious little troll". Fair enough. Misanthropy can be entertaining, and in any case, his treatment of the English has been equally scathing. My problem is that his criticism is not always so even-handed. He is cruel about women who don't match his ideal of femininity – the historian Mary Beard, for example, recently attracted his ire for appearing on TV without enough make-up – but never questions his own aspirations to rugged machismo.
That imbalance is much in evidence in this collection of articles, in which our heroic hack describes his travels in places from Madagascar to Algeria to Svalbard. Gill larks about with the lads, mocking those excluded from the fun with a gracelessness worthy of Jeremy Clarkson; on a fishing trip, he compares the trailing net to "toilet paper caught in a fat girl's knickers".
On previous occasions, Gill's brilliant style has redeemed him somewhat, but the writing here seems unusually lax. A journey to the Arctic, he says, requires the "propitiation of kit" – I'm not sure that's what he means, exactly, unless he's been sweet-talking his crampons – and there is also a sprinkling of factual errors (Albert Camus did not play "in goal for Algeria in the World Cup").
Perhaps that title, with its answer-machine tone, is more apposite than Gill realised – because in these pieces, he's definitely phoning it in.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Narendra Modi: Indian Prime Minister wears suit with pinstripes that spell his name to meet Barack Obama
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after that Wembley Stadium rant
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Taylor Swift banned from Triple J Hottest 100: Fans react to epic #Tay4Hottest100 defeat
Mortdecai becomes Johnny Depp's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Last Tango in Halifax, review: Can we ever really move on from Kate?
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'