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Publisher's Summary

A. A. Gill's memoir begins in the dark of a dormitory with six strangers. He is an alcoholic, dying in the last-chance saloon - driven to dry out, not out of a desire to change but mainly through weariness. He tells the truth - as far as he can remember it - about drinking and about what it is like to be drunk.

Pour Me is about the blackouts, the collapse, the despair: 'Pockets were a constant source of surprise - a lamb chop, a votive candle, earrings, notes written on paper and ripped from books' and even, once, a pigeon. 'Morning pockets,' he says, 'were like tiny crime scenes.' He recalls the lost days, lost friends, failed marriages.... But there was also 'an optimum inebriation, a time when it was all golden, when the drink and the pleasure made sense and were brilliant'.

Sobriety regained, there are painterly descriptions of people and places, unforgettable musings about childhood and family, art and religion, friendships and fatherhood and, most movingly, the connections between his cooking, dyslexia and his missing brother.

Full of raw and unvarnished truths, exquisitely written throughout, Pour Me is about lost time and self-discovery. Lacerating, unflinching, uplifting, it is a classic about drunken abandon.

Read by Dougray Scott.

©2015 A. A. Gill (P)2017 Orion Publishing Group

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  • Overall
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  • Tommy Ripley
  • 08-08-17

Blood and Wine

Engaging but uneven narrative, for what made AA Gill a great columnist restrains his longer prose, here and elsewhere. He is insightful and often sardonically amusing on a range of subjects, from his own alcoholism to education, but - as he admits - he can't quite rein himself in. The result is wildly uneven, yet there are deeply affecting, perceptive passages such as his account of his lost brother, Nick. Dougray Scott seems a slightly strange choice for narrator, with some bizarre pronunciations throughout, yet he keeps the pace brisk and lively. Gill's untimely death adds poignancy to the recording. An affecting, honest yet optimistic memoir, and not too long.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 08-04-17

A Man of Letters reflects...

Wistful and poignant with great passages of warmth and humour amidst the sadness. His parents, his brother and the Tatler stand out. Also, the war reporting. The depiction of alcoholism is gut wrenching like watching a train wreck.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel Redford
  • 08-15-17

'Every long, hallowed word'


Michele deserves to be named and credited for this, and all of Adrian Gill’s writing. Gill is severely dyslexic, writes on screen and then dictates it all to her. If he leaves it on screen for more than a couple of weeks, he can’t interpret it. This memoir isn’t really a book as a consequence, it’s a kaleidoscopic torrent of engaging, witty, always engaging, disorderly, dictated experiences which may or not be true, anecdotes and musings. This makes it particularly successful on audio. Dougray Scott’s spot-on narration rattles along at high speed, but he mangles many words and his attempt at French (louche, raconteur…) is rubbish. A pity.

Words are Gill’s life blood and this memoir is led by words and not chronology as he darts about from childhood (born in the hospital where Burke and Hare sold their corpses; learning the ‘kiddy patois of internment’ at his boarding school for dyslexics; failure at art school (where the life model’s ‘histrionically hideous’ scrotum dangled to his knees); failure at various jobs including in a Soho sex shop; years of alcoholism until stopping drinking at aged 30 (having been told he wouldn’t see Christmas if he didn’t); years of brilliant journalism; the disappearance of his chef-brother (still a source of deep anguish); the birth of his children and his visceral love for them (very moving); his religion (finding transubstantiation in oil and egg becoming mayonnaise)…. It goes on and on.

Similes (many 30 words long or more as the words spill out like lava) pour out from Gill as generously as he once poured the drink down his throat. Although they can be overdone or just silly, they usually make you laugh. The copy editors discuss sex (one described being ‘shagged by a minaret’ ); the Tatler editor’s smile is ‘like a string of pearls breaking into a urinal’ ; snobbery is like ‘peeing in your pants.’ He’s full of garnered facts – did you know humans are the only species who can eat and make eye contact at the same time?

There are some brilliant parts: one which had particular punch and insight for me was the impassioned talk he gave to a group of dyslexic children - the English language is ‘bigger than any god ever imagined’; words are ‘subtle as dew on a web’ – showing them that they CAN access its riches. Gill certainly has.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Reluctant Reviewer
  • 04-16-18

The author would not approve

...of an old sentimentalist writing a review of a critic’s work, but I find it difficult to listen to this without missing the honesty, wit and style of A A Gill.

This book is a fine example of his work and reminded me of what I miss every Sunday morning.

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  • John Sharpe
  • 02-05-18

Good Story - Well Told

Any book that captures my attention from start to finish deserves 5 stars. Great distillation of a life that bloomed from being mired in that which matters least to recognition and full immersion in to that which matters most.

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  • Gracelikestoread
  • 11-23-17

Witty, funny and tragic.

Always enjoyed his articles and enjoyed this. A gentle narration with a tinge of a Scottish accent made this a p!easant listen. AA Gill writes honestly about his addiction and life with humour and enough cynicism to keep us entertained.
You don't have to like all of what he says but you will like how he writes it. So sad to hear of his premature death. He faced it and wrote about it with his own inimitable style - the clues to how he did that are in this book.

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  • gro bennett
  • 10-17-17

Disappointing

Nothing much here. The narrator has a completely different accent to A.A.Gill and just reads it out like he is reading out some boriing rules. Why choose someone with a regional accent? Only stories from when he was very young - nothing about his later life.

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  • Katharine
  • 08-28-17

Truly touching

It wasn't the book I was expecting but wow. It's been a long time since I read a book that got into my heart as this one did and still remains there hours after finishing it . Very special