Portrait: His harshest critic

As a food writer, AA Gill is renowned for his withering turn of phrase, but, it seems, he reserves his most merciless judgements for himself

I don't spend any time on my looks. I just shower, shave and go. But looks and style are important to me. They always said that music was the international language, but if you've ever listened to Egyptian pop songs you'd know it just isn't; whereas fashion style is international. It's the one cultural form that everybody in the world takes part in. What you wear is always, more or less consciously, an advertisement for you, or for who you think you are, or for who you want people to think you are - and I find that endlessly fascinating.

Men either don't care about clothes at all - they'll wear their shirts inside out and trainers until the environmental health officer comes and says, "You wear those again and we're locking you up" - or they're quite fussy about clothes. I'm one of the fussy ones.

One of the worst things about being a man in Britain is that the summertime is a real bugger to get dressed in. Men's clothes in summer are ghastly. I pray for wet weather, when I can actually dress like a man again, so I spend a lot of time looking for very lightweight suits or material to have suits made up.

I have two tailors. You should always have two tailors because it keeps them on their toes. I go to Doug Hayward and Ozwald Boateng. They're both incredibly nice blokes, and Ozwald's so funny, and I'm absolutely one of his stock sizes - a perfect 38. I buy Oswald's suits off the peg and Dougie makes them for me. I choose women's headscarves for the linings and they're always very colourful. Dougie's one of the best cutters and suit-makers in this country. Going to the tailors is one of the great pleasures. If I didn't go I'd have to have counselling. It's my own personal form of retail therapy.

I have a kilt fetish, but I look like every shortbread tin you can imagine, squared. At the moment Kinlock Anderson have a kilt whimpering for me in their kennels. It's in the Gill tartan, really bright. I wear nothing underneath them, and it's so much nicer.

I used to wear a monocle, which I loved. It hung round my neck so I never lost it. Then my other eye went and a man with two monocles looks even more stupid than a man with one, so I got rid of it. But I'm very bad with spectacles because I have such a pathetically small nose, and they always fall off.

You probably get the face you deserve. You grow into it. Your face must be formed by your experiences. We look at people's faces and we make strings of assumptions about them, the most important of which is, `Do I want to fuck this person?'. So you look for all the things you associate with being attractive and then you look again, and you go, `That's a really nice old face, it looks like that person's had an interesting life.' So age can be fantastically attractive. Youth can be extremely beautiful, but it's often supremely bland.

The great thing about British looks is that they come accompanied by a voice, and that voice, that soundtrack, changes everything. I have this particular voice - and God knows where I got it from - that immediately makes people go, `Ugh, something vile out of Wodehouse.' But I've had a much more eclectic life than people imagine.

I've always felt quite differently inside from the way I actually look. I often wonder what I would think if I met a man who looked like me. I think my style says about me: fussy closet gay, middle-aged man having a crisis. Sometimes I catch sight of this person in shop windows and I go, `Aagghh, who's that?' And it's me.

I've got lousy teeth and I hate my smile. I went to the school dentist, who trained under Laurence Olivier and fucked up my teeth. So when I go to parties with Nicola [Formby], there are always photographs of her looking absolutely stunning and me with this terrible nerdy smile. What I like best about my looks is that Nicola can live with them. That she found me not so hideously gopping that I'd have to be The Man in the Iron Mask. In the end, that's what it's about. They're there as an advertisement and, you know, if you ever get a punter you're pleased, and I'm jolly pleased that she found them attractive enough to get on with.

AA Gill's novel `Starcrossed' is published by Doubleday at pounds 9.99

News
people And here is why...
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
Life and Style
health
News
i100
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Associate Recrutiment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

    Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

    £120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

    PMLD Teacher

    Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?