Q & A with A. A. Gill - plus self-portrait

Q & A with A. A. Gill - plus self-portrait

Pour Me is the new, relentlessly honest account by A. A. Gill of his time as an alcoholic.

Posted on 12th November 2015 by Sally Campbell

Like the film The Lost Weekend, A. A. Gill's Pour Me is an unwavering look at the destruction and sheer abandon of alcoholism. But it is written from the point of sobriety, so even the darkest moments are shot through with hope - hope that comes from the knowledge the author will learn to stop and will make it out alive.

It is a hilarious and uproarious tale, full of highs and lows of the chemical as well as the emotional kind. Honesty like this is an unpredictable ride.

Essentially, this evocative and eloquently written memoir is tinged with sadness for all the lost time. A cautionary walk on the wild side, if ever there was one.

Here are Gill's answers to questions posed at the Pour Me launch party:

Best ever meal

A cold partridge and a slab of Dundee cake that I carried in my pocket up a hill on the west coast of Scotland.

Most admired artwork

Gustave Courbet’s ‘L’Origine du Monde’.

Greatest fear

Fear itself

Most embarrassing moment

If I told you that, it would become my second most embarrassing moment.

The most important lesson life has taught you

Skip lessons.

Worst restaurant

It was called The Valley of the Kings, a restaurant named after a graveyard underneath the Cromwell Hospital, now deceased.

The book you wish you’d written

Moby Dick.

Any tips for the aspiring travel writer?

A journey has two ends. Where you come from is as important as where you are going to.

Who would you have at your dream dinner party? What would you eat and drink?

The Sirens from The Odyssey, and we would eat lotus and fish-fingers.

You studied at Slade. Do you still draw and how often?

Yes, and not enough – once a month.

(A Self-portrait by A. A. Gill)

You said you would only ever stop your children from doing three things, having a tattoo, a motorbike and doing heroin. Though you said the heroin was negotiable. What’s the best single piece of advice anyone has ever offered you?

The only piece of advice my father gave me was: ‘If you ever have haemorrhoids, get them seen to.’

Which year of your life has been the most enjoyable so far and why? You’re not allowed to say this one.

1980. I was living in New York and in love. It was the last year when drink and drugs were more fun than not.

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"As readers of Gill's journalism will expect, Pour Me is alert, emphatic, mordant, unforgiving." - The Sunday Times